When I put up the post for the February 2017 highlights in the staff group, I honestly did not expect these many entries. My tunnel vision and assumption that February’s tend to have few notable releases, led me to believe that there were only a handful of records worth noticing this month. Good thing I work with a bunch of talented scribes that always turn my attention towards the stuff I overlooked. Here are the albums that we believe you must check out this month ~ Shrivatsan R
Ancst (Germany) – Furnace (Black Metal / Crust Punk, Independent)
Continuing with our features on death metal scenes from around the world, we’ve delved into the underrated but powerful Greek death metal scene. Though not as active as the scene in some other European countries namely United Kingdom, Germany or Poland, the bands here reek of potential, are relatively diverse, and as you already know, some like Rotting Christ, SepticFlesh and Dead Congregation have already left an indelible mark with their music. However, unlike certain countries, the Greek bands don’t have a typical sound to boast of (akin to their contribution to the black metal genre) but I’m not sure whether that’s even needed in these times when it’s more about having an individualistic expression rather than forming a clique to further the objective. Admittedly, one of the bands on the list, Abyssus, have released an album under the label division of Transcending Obscurity, but that’s a compilation and they’ve released a full length on another label which has been documented over here for reasons of fairness. Thanks for reading and please post suggestions in the comments if you have any for this article or others that we should work upon. ~ Kunal Choksi (Editor-in-Chief)
German label Wooaaargh! have been consistently putting out fantastic releases, especially in the realms of hardcore, crust and grind. Now they’ve brought together two acts from the UK, for an explosive split 12″ release. Though This Ends Here and Conqueror Worm share very little common ground on paper (except for maybe the strong punk influences on both the bands’ sounds), they come together on this split in a way that the variety on the record is maintained while adhering a cohesive theme. There is a sense of hopelessness that dominates the atmosphere on this record and each band express in their own way the harsh realities of the modern world. We have a full stream of the album from Wooaaargh! below for your listening pleasure (the review follows).
The first half of the split features This Ends Here, a four piece that plays an amalgamation of hardcore / crust and post-rock. This half of the split features the longer tracks and this gives the band an opportunity to imbibe the tracks with an emotional edge. This ensures that the tracks from This Ends Here have arrangements that are engaging and is not all pedal to the metal hardcore riffs. In between unleashing compelling hardcore punk riffs, This Ends Here introduce tranquil, atmospheric post rock elements. This combined with the anguished sounding screams from the vocalist makes tracks like All Our Failed Seekers, 1000 Miles to Warsaw and Seeds much more than a straightforward punk attack. With performances on point, the first half of the split is equal parts melodic and aggressive. It accomplishes in setting up a pensive mood of having no hope.
Conqueror Worm’s style contrasts well with the first half in that the tracks are short, focused and to the point. The noisy, feedback drenched start on Screech in Pain, gives a good insight into the abrasive, caustic sound of Conqueror Worm. But it is only when the quick, frantic riffs of Depleting Vital Planetary Resources kick in that the abrasive nature of this band is felt in full force. The fact that this is a drum and bass only duo that plays hard hitting grindcore, ought to give the listener an idea of what they’re getting into. Conqueror Worm’s side of split gets across it’s message of hopelessness by assaulting the listener with a barrage of sludgy riffs and crushing grooves. This is quite effective in that the claustrophobic nature of tracks like Seven Days of Fire, Corroded Existence and Paradise Experiment takes the listener to a dark place where everything is bleak.
On one half, This Ends Here sends the listener into pensive moods in between moshing to the compelling hardcore punk riffs, while on the other half Conqueror Worm assaults the listener with grimy, unrelenting grindcore that is sure to leave one out of breath. The split as whole is an experience that shouldn’t be missed out on by anyone with an interest in the punk side of extreme music.
January is usually that time of the year, where everyone seems to be recovering from the holiday season. The month in terms of metal releases is usually quite dull. But this time around, the momentum of quality releases from 2016 seems to have spilled over into the first month of 2017 as well. So without further ado, here is that thing we do where we tell you what kicked ass this month (according to us atleast). ~ Shrivatsan R
Ashenspire (UK) – Speak not of the Laudanum Quandary (Avant Garde Metal, Code666)
Extreme music today is a global phenomenon. Barring a few remote corners of the world, metal and punk styles have been taken up by bands around the world and in doing so they impart it with a certain style or aesthetic that is native to their land. Having gone through years of globalization, extreme music today can be tracked down to a particular geographic location based on it’s characteristics.
So we decided to focus our spotlights on some of the lesser known scenes from around the world, starting with Spain. People tend to associate Spain with bands like Dark Moor, Mägo de Oz and Avalanch, all of which lean towards the power / progressive end of the metal spectrum. However, Spain happens to be the home for some of the grimiest and most gnarly underground death metal bands active today. So we present to you a list of Spanish death metal bands that you shouldn’t miss out on. ~ Shrivatsan R
If you’re looking to give 2017 a heavy, bombastic start, here is just the split to get the job done. Titled ‘Trisma’, this 7″ vinyl release brings together two sludge grind mammoths in Italian band Lambs ‡ and German entity Ill Neglect. A collaborative release by multiple DIY labels, this split is a bleak, dreary record that contains a monstrous tone overall. Though it clocks under just twelve minutes, the shear abrasiveness and the intensity of the riffs would have you playing this record over and over again. To give you an idea about what this album holds, we have a full early stream of the album, followed by my review below.
Yay! We’ve completed yet another revolution around our home star! While we celebrate this cosmically insignificant milestone by resetting our man made Gregorian calendars, the staff here at Trasncending Obscurity wanted to call attention to some of their favorite records from 2016. This combined list is split into Black, Thrash, Death, Doom / Sludge, Post Metal and Grindcore sections to reflect the tastes and preferences of our scribes in a better way. I’m sure even with all of us working together, we will not be accounting for every single standout release. So why don’t you comment below and tell us whether you agree with this list or if you had better albums in mind? ~ Shrivatsan R
Ah 2016, how I wish I could call it as just another year gone by. This year will be remembered as one of the most terrifying and mishap filled years in recent memory. Heck, some even doubted that we will ever see the end of it! But here we are, with only a few more days left on the calendar before we take a step into what hopefully fares to be a better year.
For all it’s fault, this year had one good thing going for it. I’m talking about the music ofcourse, especially on the extreme side of things. Then again, music has always been reactionary to the events of the world. So it’s not all that surprising we got so much good music from a year so shite otherwise. There were so many good releases this year that it is humanly impossible to highlight every single one. Hence I’ve restricted myself to 20 of my personal favorite releases this year, while saving away some for the combined TO STAFF list, which should be coming out very soon. So without further ado, here is my personal year end list.
We’ve almost made it! One more month and this wretched year of 2016 will finally come to an end (and we hopefully get there as a species, without blowing ourselves up). The last few weeks, whether you’re in Europe, the Americas or like me, in India, have been tumultuous for different reasons. The one consolation during times like these is the endless amount of excellent releases in extreme music. So yet again, we have a highlights list for you, this time coming from the penultimate month of 2016. ~ Shrivatsan R
Aenaon (Greece) – Hypnosophy (Experimental / Progressive Black Metal, Code666)