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ALBUM PREMIERE: Chilean Death Metal Band Thy Serpent’s Cult

Thy Serpent's Cult- Supremacy of Chaos

Chilean death metal has been a dominant force for quite some time but it hasn’t been until the last few years that I’ve seen bands from the country mentioned as frequently as their peers from other parts of the world.  Thanks in part to the rise of platforms like Bandcamp and a number of labels that have worked to unearth some of the best material from the South American country, there’s been a ton of great albums to listen to.  One of the latest is ‘Supremacy of Chaos’ from Thy Serpent’s Cult, out today on CD and digital formats from Italian label Ordo MCM.  It’s the third full length from the group and unfortunately their last as they called it quits earlier this year, but the eleven song effort is a heavy hitter filled with old-school riffs that sends Thy Serpent’s Cult out on a high note.  Today we’re streaming the entire album so you can hear for yourself the type of dense, bottom heavy death metal they have to offer.

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SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS – Swedish Death Metal Highlights

Continuing from what we attempted to do with our German death metal article, which met with a good response, with several known and unknown bands getting highlighted in the style, this time around we have shifted our focus to Sweden, which was once known as the Mecca of death metal and influenced thousands of bands since the ’90s. After the resurgence of old school death metal largely in the new millennium, several bands came up with excellent albums that are definitely worthy of notice. Some might not be as popular but you could check them out nonetheless. Feel free to post your own recommendations in the comments. – Kunal Choksi (Owner/Editor)

Interment – Scent Of The Buried (Pulverised Records, 2016)

The roots of Interment can be traced back to 1988 when four guys from Avesta formed a death metal band called Beyond. They recorded a demo in 1990 but when some guys left Beyond the remaining members decided to change their name into Interment. Between 1990 and 1994 the band recorded a couple of demos. Other than that not a lot was going on and Interment called it quits. Most guys stayed active in bands such as Uncurbed, Moondark and Dellamorte. In 2002 Interment reformed and they have released quite a few recordings ever since. Six split releases and two full-lengths to be precise. ‘Scent Of The Buried’ is the latest full-length and it’s a prime example of rotten Swedish death metal. Recorded with Tomas Skogsberg in the famous Sunlight Studio in Stockholm this album contains everything you can wish for when it comes to Swedish death metal. – Pim Blankenstein

Under The Church – Supernatural Punishment (Pulverised Records, 2017)

Doing a special about the current state of affairs in Sweden when it comes to “Svensk Dödsmetall” with that trademark Boss HM-2 buzz-saw guitar tone you can’t leave out Under The Church, can you? Even when they formed relatively recent (in 2012) the band’s key members are Erik Qvick (drums) and Lars Henriksson (bass) who both used to be in Nirvana 2002 in the late 80s/early 90s. That band has a large part in the evolution of that typical Swedish sound together with Nihilist/Entombed, Carnage/Dismember, Grave and the Sunlight Studio. If you haven’t heard Nirvana 2002 I order you to do so now.

Fast forward to 2007, when Nirvana 2002 reunited for the release part of Daniel Ekeroth’s book on Swedish death metal. This event can be seen as a crucial part in the formation of Under The Church. The band wasn’t formed immediately, but in 2012 Qvick and Henriksson got together and started recording. Qvick also took care of the guitars and they recruited Mik Annetts on vocals. They recorded a demo and an EP and in 2015 their debut full-length ‘Rabid Armageddon’ saw the light of day. Compared to Nirvana 2002, Under The Church’s songs are more compact and to the point, but Swedish death metal through and through. Something we can say about their newest recording ‘Supernatural Punishment’ too. When this special is published the album hasn’t been released yet. It is out on November 10th. We have heard it though and this 9-song 30 minute album just knocks you out with an uppercut to the chin. Recordings were done with a revamped line-up. Annetts has left and the new members are Erik Wahlin (Merciless) and Marcus Klack (ex-Morbid) on guitars and Erik Sahlström (General Surgery) on vocals. I’m sure you’ll be able to listen to the first songs of this new album pretty soon. Until then check out the fantastic Razor cover these guys recorded for the split 7” EP with Germany’s Revel In Flesh that was released in April. – Pim Blankenstein

Feral – From The Mortuary (Cyclone Empire, 2016)

Swe-death is Swe-death right? I mean it all sounds a lot alike really doesn’t it? Is it possible for a band to stand out a little from the pack? Why am I asking so many fucking questions? Good point, best I get on with it.

Feral, funnily enough from Sweden have been a major pick up for Transcending Obscurity Records as far as I am concerned, bringing with them your pretty much given HM-2 soaked madness that you would expect from a band in this post seeing as it is in fact about Swedish death metal, so what is it that set’s them apart from the rest of the crowd?

For starters they are batshit as heavy as fuck. Whoopee you say so are all Swe-death bands, and yes you are correct, but where most bands (excluding the mighty Paganizer of course) have amps that go up to ten, these guys have ones that go up to 11! A well worn cliché you may say so let’s put it another way. Imagine a mammoth, you know, those big hairy fuckers that died out a while back due to a lack of whatever it was that a mammoth can lack, now put a Motorhead T-shirt on the bastard, invite his friends over, supply them liberally with the liquor of their choice, and then see what havoc ensues. This is as close as I can get to describing Feral.

Catchy, crunchy, crushing tunes that will have you and your large hairy beast of a friend (and his mates of course) running rampant around the house, this EP contains six tracks of the finest sort of Swe-death that one could possibly want. Well played Transcending Obscurity Records, well played indeed! – Andrew Cook

Paganizer – Land of Weeping Souls (Transcending Obscurity Records, 2017)

You can be as fancy and as hi-tech as you like but after fannying around with the latest fads, in the end you’ll go back to what you know.

In a past life the Remmington 870 was my shotgun of choice. Heavy, made of what appeared to be scaffold poles but ridiculously reliable, simple to clean and able to fire not only our SG & solid slug but also RIP & IMP without missing a beat. You had supreme confidence that this weapon would do what it was supposed to under any conditions. Then someone with some pull on the unit decided we should maybe switch to the more modern and sexy looking Benelli Super 90 (not at all swayed by an all-expenses paid trip to the factory I’m sure). Fancy, a lot lighter and able to go from pump to semi auto with the flick of a switch. It was a piece of shit. Couldn’t handle what we put it through without spontaneously dismantling itself and the barrel was thinner than a coke can, reaching hand blistering temperatures. I had more stoppages on this than all the other weapons we had combined and I even saw one “cook off” a cartridge when no one was even touching it. Utter wank and all the operators hated the thing but the powers that be loved it for whatever reason and we were stuck with it.

Where am I going with this you may ask? Well, most modern metal bands are like that Benelli. All “tits & teeth” but when tested are not only unsatisfying but fall to bits.

Of course, Paganizer is the Remington 870! Nothing remotely fancy or hi-tech but solid as fuck and primo quality! Ten albums in and the Scandinavian Warmachine are at the very peak of their powers on ‘Land Of Weeping Souls’. The main man here as ever, is vocalist / guitarist Rogga Johansson.

Cut this man in half and he has “death metal” running all the way through him like a stick of Brighton rock. Rogga is the very definition of the term “work ethic”. I’ve lost count of all the releases this utter riff machine has played on in the last couple of years. Everything from the Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery projects (with Kam Lee) to Minotaur Head, Down Among The Dead Men and Echelon (with David Ingram) the bloke is the byword for quality death metal riffage and if he plays on an album you have my cast iron, copper bottomed guarantee that it’s worth buying.

‘Land Of Weeping Souls’ follows on less than a year or so from the superb ‘On The Outskirts Of Hades’ EP and this LP showcases an overall faster and meatier sound. The thrashy as fuck opener Your Suffering Will Be Legendary is a total blast with pounding drums and knicker dampening riffage. This track also reminded me why I believe Rogga is a really underrated DM vocalist. His voice, to me at least has got more powerful over the years and exhibits some nice little nuances over the course of the ten tracks here. He can growl with the best of ‘em that’s for sure as his roar at the opening to Dehumanized shows only too well. This is a super intense three minute bombing raid that will leave your neck feeling like Diane Abbott’s bicycle seat……by that analogy I mean “wrecked” as opposed to “unused”…….obviously. Forlorn Dreams up next and this tune, has a really epic feel to it. More mid-paced and with and awesome intro riff / drum combo. Yes please Sir, may I have another? Yes you fucking may!

Every track is a total vertebrae botherer and you’ll be hitting the “play” button again as soon as Prey To Death has finished ragging you round like a rabid tiger. Credit to Transcending Obscurity Records of India for picking up Paganizer amongst some other top signings. Good job Kunal!

Paganizer have released another killer record. Everything you want as a fan of Swedish death metal is here. Great, memorable song writing, killer riffs, aggressive but intelligible vocals, tasty leads, and megaton drumming. All soaked in lashings of groove. 100% recommended. – Mark Eve

Vanhelgd – Temple of Phobos (Pulverised Records, 2016)

Vanhelgd put out a stunning album in ‘Temple of Phobos’, side-stepping the conventional Entombed/Dismember sound to create something darker, moodier and even haunting. It’s as if Unleashed were taken over by the dark side and created something absolutely vile and grim. There’s an otherworldly vibe that’s unique to them, as though they’re dabbling in an occult-tinged medium that only they are privy to. The album also has its share of dark melodies in addition to the trademark Swedish death metal flair, and on the whole they’re doing something markedly removed from their ancestors which in my opinion makes them not only comparatively refreshing but also one of the strongest bands in the style as of now. – Kunal Choksi

Sorcery – Garden of Bones (Xtreem Music, 2016)

Sorcery can boast of one of the best comebacks in death metal with their album ‘Arrival at Six’ but they’ve taken things up another notch with their latest album ‘Garden of Bones’. No longer remaining under the shadow of their ’90s material, the music of Sorcery is seriously good and right up there even if they were a new band altogether. The music on the album is intense, spiteful and yet they know when to squeeze in those remarkable melodies and hooks. Sorcery have remained underrated right from the start, but if they continue like this, they’ll definitely do something truly significant. – Kunal Choksi

Entrails – World Inferno (Metal Blade, 2017)

When Entrails formed in 1990 the popularity of Swedish death metal and death metal in general was at its peak. Besides rehearsing Entrails never managed to record anything and they gradually dissolved into obscurity. In 2008 the band was reformed and in 2009 they recorded a couple of demos. They were picked up by FDA. Records whop releasedtwo albums (‘Tales From The Morgue’ in 2010 and ‘The Tomb Awaits’ in 2011). Those albums drew the attention of Metal Blade. That label has released three more albums of which ‘World Inferno’ is the most recent. What Entrails present on their records is Swedish death metal through and through. Probably not the most original band out there, but they simply stick to the basics of the genre and in that sense you can never go wrong. So, classic-styled death metal in the vein of Entombed, Nihilist, Dismember and Grave so to speak. The fact Entrails have always worked with Dan Swanö guarantees their albums sound really great. So, if you look for a band that defines Swedish death metal Entrails is a safe bet. – Pim Blankenstein

Gods Forsaken – In A Pitch Black Grave (Soulseller Records, 2017)

Gods Forsaken was formed in 2016 by three guys who have been working together in Just Before Dawn too. Even though drummer Brynjar Helgetun is of Norwegian descent, we can easily state Gods Forsaken is a Swedish force and therefore has to be part of this special. You might know Helgetun from bands such as The Grotesquery, Putrevore or Megascavenger to name just a few. The list is endless. Jonny Pettersson (Ashcloud, Henry Kane, Skineater, Ursinne, Wombbath amongst others) takes care of the vocals and Anders Biazzi is responsible for guitars and bass. The latter is also known for his part in the early recordings of Amon Amarth when they were still cool according to some. When he left that band they became really successful with their easy to digest brand of death metal. Anyway, this trio recorded their debut ‘In A Pitch Black Grave’ , which is released on both CD and vinyl by Holland’s Soulseller Records. Nine tracks in that classic Swedish style with buzz-saw riffs and melodies that tear your soul apart. It’s almost as if Dismember has never left the building. – Pim Blankenstein

Bombs of Hades – Death Mask Replica (War Anthem Records, 2017)

Bombs Of Hades was formed by the duo Jonas Stålhammar and Anders Ekman to play crustcore with some other guys just for the fun of it. When Magnus Forsberg and P.O. Söderback joined the band in 2007 things got a bit more serious. Musically the band with a history in acts such as Abhoth, God Macabre/Macabre End and Utumno changed their style to a mixture of death metal and crustcore. Over the years Stålhammar’s love for prog rock has also left its mark on the compositions of Bombs Of Hades, which becomes all clear on their 4th and latest album ‘Death Mask Replica’. All the various influences work really well, because Bombs Of Hades understands that a song has to be a song. In the end it’s just catchy and groovy as hell, but due to the various influences everything sounds interesting and original too. This is just magnificent in both simplicity and complexity. That seems like a contradiction, but Bombs Of Hades show that it works. Stålhammar recently replaced Anders Björler in At The Gates and that’s not without a reason. Let’s hope his activities in that band won’t interfere with Bombs Of Hades’ future, because we need to hear more from them too. – Pim Blankenstein

Mordbrand – Wilt (Carnal Records, Feb 24th 2017)

Well shit the bed folks, these guys come from Sweden! I bet you guessed that already, and what type of music do they play? SWE-DEATH you all yell in unison. You are all so clever. With a ton of releases behind them already, Mordbrand are a recent listen for me, and I must say I pretty much thought it was a little so-so, but I kept this one going in the background while I was doing whatever I was doing (trying to convert the masses into the worship of foul Gods to be honest) and slowly but surely I began to be sucked into their vortex of deathliness. Swe-deathliness it is indeed. If Ikea could package this (along with a few tasty meatballs of course) in their stores they would most certainly be a far more interesting place to visit, although the kids may run away in fear if they played it over the loud speakers.

Brutal and honest Swe-death is what you asked for, and this is as good as it gets. Nine songs of deathly induced deathliness that leave no room for interpretation. You will wilt under their power, and after all that’s why you’re here isn’t it you clever folk. Nuff said. –  Andrew Cook

Wombbath – Downfall Rising (Pulverised Records/Dark Descent Records, 2015)

Originally formed in 1991, Wombbath are O.G.’s of the Swedeath scene. Though they only have a couple of full length albums out (including ‘Downfall Rising’, their most recent), they have kept busy with six splits, a couple EPs, a single, and a demo. Yet another Jonny Pettersson project, Wombbath features a full band: Johan Momkvist (Bass), Håkan Stuvemark (guitars, bass), Pettersson (vocals, bass), Henrik Åberg (drums), and Al Riglin (guitars). On ‘Internal Caustic Torments’, the quintet play nasty, sweaty, filthy old school death metal. They keep the production lo-fi, so it has that classic, ‘recorded in a cave’ quality to it. The band remains rooted the sounds of that caustic Swedish scene, though they had twenty years between full lengths. The differing production values from the two decades in between ring clear. ‘Downfall Rising’ still starts and ends with classic death metal via the HM-2 pedal, but the sound is tighter and clearer, without being any cleaner. Any way you look at it, Wombbath make filthy death metal, perfect for spending an evening hanging out with your zombie pals. – Rick Jackson

Henry Kane – Den Förstörda Människans Rike (Transcending Obscurity Records, 2017)

Thanks to the timing of my graduation from college, which led almost immediately to marriage, the start of family, and the start of my career, I went about a decade and a half of listening to almost nothing now. Though I caught the origins of thrash, and even early groove metal and industrial, I really missed the birth of true extreme metal. It wasn’t until the last several years that I began exploring things such as black metal and death metal. All of that is to say this: Henry Kane was my introduction to the wonderful world of Swedish death metal. I had the (obviously false) impression that all the death metal from Sweden was softer melodic stuff, alright in small doses if I was in the right mood, but overall, just kind of ‘meh’ for me. This solo project by Jonny Pettersson of Wombbath fame (among about a zillion other projects) set me straight. As my students would say, “This album goes hard.”

The theme of the album explores the Reverend Henry Kane from the movie Poltergeist. Horror movies and stories have long been fodder for death metal, and here, it helps make the album outstanding. Musically, ‘Den Förstörda Människans Rike’ claws and shreds its way into your soul with no good intentions. Made up of equal parts HM-2 powered guitar turned to about 13, blasting drums, anguished and unhinged vocals, crusty goodness, and pure unadulterated chaos, the sound of the album took me completely by storm. I had literally heard nothing like it. For this reason, Henry Kane will always be my personal answer to Entombed’s ‘Left Hand Path’, the album that drew me to this particular sound. Everything else will be measured against ‘Den Förstörda Människans Rike’ (including ‘Left Hand Path’). So far, I’ve discovered that Swedeath hits a serious sweet (sour) spot for me, but this is insanity laced, crusty take on it remains my favorite of the bunch. Like a moldy fungus, it continues to grow on me. – Rick Jackson

Ashcloud – Kingdom of the Damned (Xtreem Music, 2017)

Strictly speaking, this entry is about the band Ashcloud more than the specific album ‘Kingdom of the Damned’. That particular album is merely the most recent release by the project. Currently a duo featuring Gareth Nash (Body Harvest) and Jonny Pettersson (just about every other band in the world including my previously discussed Henry Kane), the project started with a 2006 demo produced as a solo project by Pettersson. Following a seven year hiatus, Nash (lead guitar, vocals) joined Pettersson (guitar, bass, vocals), releasing another demo in 2013. A couple of years later, the duo put together a three year streak of album with ‘Abandon All Light’ (2015), ‘Children of the Chainsaw’ (2016), and ‘Kingdom of the Damned’ (2017). While Ashcloud is definitely an HM-2 band, with the buzzsaw tones ringing loud and clear, they also add some more melodic and epic flourishes. Don’t get me wrong. This is a dark, punchy, evil-sounding band. We’re talking in contrast to other Swedeath bands here. The pacing is marginally slower. The chord choices and tempo changes are less chaotic. The buzzsaw is more of an ominous presence than a wielded weapon of war for Ashcloud. I say none of this as an insult. It is just a different take on the Stockholm sound, and it is beautiful! (in a monstrous sort of way) – Rick Jackson

Gravestone – Rotten Kill (Raw Skull Recordz, 2017)

Växjö based four-piece Gravestone was formed in 2013 and in regard to this special vocalist/guitarist Penki Samuelsson is their most well-known member as he defiles the six strings in Entrails too. Earlier this year these guys released their first EP through the relatively new Dutch label Raw Skull Recordz, whose goal it is to infest this earth with old school death metal. That is exactly what Gravestone delivers on the three songs that make up this 12-minute recording. Filthy sounding Swedish death metal that brings nothing new to the table but still makes up a tasty dinner. – Pim Blankenstein

Cut Up – Wherever They May Rot (Metal Blade, 2017)

Even though Cut Up is a relatively new band (formed in 2014), these guys can be considered as death metal veterans having a past in the great Vomitory. Their debut ‘Forensic Nightmares’ was quickly written and landed them a deal with Metal Blade Records, who released said album in 2015. In March 2017 the sophomore recording ‘Wherever They May Rot’ saw the light of day on which the Karlstad based churn out wicked death metal once again. Opposed to most bands appearing in this special Cut Up can’t be seen as a specific Swedish HM-2 death metal outfit. Of course there are traces to be heard within their sound, but Cut Up adds other influences too. The overall pace of the songs is quite fast, but their brutal sounding songs contain a healthy dose of catchiness. This altogether makes Cut Up a great asset to de Swedish death metal library. – Pim Blankenstein

Maim – Ornaments Of Severity (Soulseller Records, 2017)

One of the first times the name Maim popped up was on the 2008 compilation album ‘Resurrected In Festering Slime’ (Soulseller Records) with the track Envy The Dead. That song also appeared on their debut full-length ‘From The Womb To The Tomb’ released in 2009. That album was followed by the album ‘Deceased To Exist’ in 2011. Then things became a bit quiet due to members relocating to different cities and so on. In 2015 the core of Henric Ottoson (drums) and Christian Sandberg (guitars, bass and vocals) remained. As a duo they decided to record a third full-length entitled ‘Ornaments Of Severity’, which was once again released by Soulseller Records. We can add that in 2015 a 7” EP ‘With Dawn Comes Death’ was released as well. ‘Ornaments Of Severity’ shows a band that is heavily influenced by Autopsy. But hey, those Americans left their mark on Swedish death metal when it all started out so nothing new there. Concerning Maim it is a slight change as you could hear they drew influences from bands such as Death and ‘Harmony Corruption’-era Napalm Death next to Autopsy as well. One could say Maim know their death metal history and took the best parts to create the monster ‘Ornaments Of Severity’ is. – Pim Blankenstein

Puteraeon – The Empires of Death (Growls From the Underground, 2017)

Puteraeon has managed to put out three strong albums in rapid succession. If you count their demo releases, which are long enough to be regarded as full length albums as well, the band has put out an staggering amount of songs between 2008 and 2014. However, things went silent for three years after the release of ‘The Crawling Chaos’. In early 2017 they announced that they were going to self-release their new material in the format of a thee-track digital EP, and later announced a physical version of the EP in the form of a 7 inch vinyl edition through the new label, Growls From the Underground. Their love for H.P. Lovecraft shouldn’t have passed under anyone’s radar, this time the man even adorns the cover art. Jonas Lindblood’s well of HPL-lyrics seems to inexhaustible and by now I couldn’t even imagine a version Puteraeon that didn’t worship at the grave of the man at night. Speaking of his grave, “Providence” is the opening track of this EP, tastefully named after the quote “I am providence” which embellishes his headstone. To my surprise the EP has a very strong production, even though they employed the reigning world champion of overly compressed- and ear numbing productions, Dan Swanö, instead of Andy LaRocque who has worked on previous albums. The whole sound has a lot of air and room to breathe even though all instruments are going full throttle basically all the way through. The tracks extremely well put together, and no part lingers for too long before changing it up. It all seems very thought through. This goes to show that you can still write this type of death metal as long as you’re smart about it. Good musicians will still write fantastic songs even if it’s a genre that’s been done several times before. I do somewhat miss Jonas’s deep and guttural voice though. However, the vocals are more articulated here than ever before, and in the end the change is probably for the better. After all, Jonas has lost none of his vigor while bellowing over the epic guitar breaks. The guitars of Jonas and second guitarist Rune Foss harmonize skillfully and without going overboard. While opener Providence is a swirling vortex of madness (in the best possible way), At the Altars is a more catchy affair with parts that get stuck in your head and vocal lines you can anticipate to scream along to at a live show. Closing song Epitaph opens with a blast, in the most literal sense. This is a short track that is over before you know what hit you. A perfect closing number that leaves you hungry for more. Puteraeon seem to have gained a lot from taking some extra time to refine the material before release, and after all three years is not an atrocious time to wait for quality. If you don’t like this, you probably don’t like death metal, and if you’re tired of the genre, you probably weren’t that into it to begin with. Swedish OSDM is obviously here to stay whether you like it or not. – David Nilsson

Creeping Flesh – Scorched (Independent, 2016)

This is the latest demo from underground Swedish crushers Creeping Flesh. Dripping with that certain ugly, filthy, Swedish allure, and pausing only to rev up the chainsaws to full killing capacity, this is 14 minutes of Grade A slaughter music.Well-written, full of catchy riffs, memorable hooks, and sinister atmosphere, Creeping Flesh are a band I’ve been keeping an eye on since their hideously enjoyable 2015 EP ‘Rising Terror’. As a sucker for this style, this is a band that certainly know what they’re doing with it. Check them out. – Nigel Holloway

The Lurking Fear – Out of the Voiceless Grave (Century Media Records, 2017)

This crusty death metal outfit features members of At The Gates and Disfear and comes to us via Century Media Records. If you were as disappointed as I was with the At The Gates comeback, know that this is Tomas Lundberg and co’s redemption. The Lurking Fear favor a back-to-basics approach that joins elements of ‘One Kill Wonder’ and ‘The Haunted Made Me Do It’ with groups like Graben or Wolfbrigade. Every single track is a banger filled with relentless vocals, raging D-beats, and old school Gothenburg riffs. ‘Out Of The Voiceless Grave’ is a filthy, stampeding mammoth with no account for you standing in its way. – John Man

ALBUM PREMIERE+INTERVIEW: Greek Death Metal Band Pile of Excrements

Pile of Excrements- Escatology

Memento Mori’s already had a standout year with killer releases from Ruin, Soulrot, and Ekpyrosis (to name a few), but they’ve still got some more quality death metal to unleash upon listeners as we approach the end of 2017. This includes the debut full length from Greece’s Pile of Excrements, ‘Escatology’.  For the type of filthy, sleazy death metal that these guys play I couldn’t think of a better band name, and while you might come in expecting third-rate death metal or low budget goregrind there’s a considerable amount of substance and hooks underneath the grime.  ‘Escatology’ is the type of death metal that doesn’t take itself too seriously (as evidenced by song titles like Cult of the Unibrow and Buttfucked by Giant Cockroach) but brings plenty of killer riffs and a ton of energy to the table.  With the release date of October 23rd a little under a week away, today we’re pleased to bring you a full stream of the record.

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September 2017 Highlights – Transcending Obscurity Webzine Staff

Drouth (USA) – Knives, Labyrinths, Mirrors (Black/death metal, Independent)

Drouth is red-hot. They bring the kind of heat that US-based black metal bands like Uada and Void Omnia have been stoking recently, that black/death conflagration that you just to jump into and immolate yourself upon. The vocals are scathing, the drums unrelenting, and the guitars wind mesmeric riff-paths that manage to both balance and increase in complexity and intensity (a rare feat, indeed). Devote your aural attentions to this one. ~ Eric Seal

Graveslave (US) – Sick/Nasty (Death metal, Self Released)

 

Okay this one may or not have been released in September but hey let’s forget about that and focus on the album. Sound like a deal? Good,

Have you ever had flights of fancy about murder and general mayhem that would more than likely get you locked up? Haven’t we all ha-ha, so if that’s the case then this album is for you. I’m not in any way endorsing that sort of criminal behaviour, live and let live and all that tripe so if you go on a mass killing spree after hearing this then be it on your own head, or lack of after you get caught..

Get past the fact that the album cover may look like your twelve year old brother with an eighties fetish may have drawn it and you will find some seriously fucked up shit going on here. Basically the story of a murderous little bugger and the fun he has whilst self enabling. Not for the faint of heart.

Brutal death metal, probably not befitting this one very much, more like death metal well done, with a story to boot, and an ending that you can only find out about by listening to and/or reading the lyrics, which means you should probably buy the damn thing so I don’t have to explain it to you. Makes my day a little easier.

Disclaimer – In no way shape or form was I forced to write this review or am I being paid to do so, now if the band member behind my back would s l o w l y remove the knife from my spleen I would be very much appreciative. Fucking ouch mate ha-ha. ~ Andrew Cook

Necrophile (Japan) – Awakening Those Oppressed (Death metal, Unholy Prophecies)

Japan, land of the rising sun and all that, people with silly hair and far too many RPGs that involve getting it on with chicks, blokes or a Pidgeon, or a Pokémon. Admittedly they have produced a couple of metal bands over the years of note, not to mention Babymetal (insert groan here) but are we to take this one seriously..

Fuck yes. Necrophile hit all the right notes in an odd sort of circle pit inducing moshfest that is quite brilliant to behold, even if it does sound a little like Napalm Death. Why the bloody hell would you complain when all of your furniture has been ruined because you just couldn’t sit through the album without getting up and going Psycho like Mike Muir on an acid trip! I have no idea what they put in the water over there, but if you want a death grunting, head banging, mosh pit sort of atmosphere in your day, or even at your wedding, invite these blokes. They’ll make it FAR more interesting by far! Crossover, death metal, death by warm not well looked after sushi roll, call it what you may, just get on it mate, it’s good, and if you are feeling a little oppressed, this will WAKE YOU UP! ~ Andrew Cook

LYZZÄRD (Portugal) – Savage (Heavy Metal, Fighter Records)

“Hello LYZZÄRD? Yeah, the 80’s called. They want they’re music back.” I came of age during the 1980’s. My initial musical influences come from the 1980’s. My first concert shirts were purchased in the 1980’s. In short, this particular decade was formative in the development of my musical tastes. Though this band didn’t form until 2013, they are unabashedly stuck in said decade. There are certain bands, such as Dio or Judas Priest, that everybody knows from that decade. Then there was a second tier of bands, like say Angel Witch, that produced quality music on a consistent basis, but never reached the collective consciousness of the public in quite the same way. Savage feels like a record that could have come from one of those bands. They sound so familiar. You bang your head, pump your fist, swig your beer, and can almost sing along with the chorus. In short, this is a quality album by a quality band that fails to fully set itself apart from a long list of other quality bands and records doing essentially the same thing. A fine addition to your collection, but perhaps a more a ruby in the rough than a diamond in the rough. ~ Rick Jackson

 

Myrkur (Denmark) – Mareridt (Black Metal, Relapse Records)

It seems like everybody has an opinion on Myrkur these days (obviously including myself), but you know what they same about that. This latest release ‘Mareridt’ can best be described as ‘blackened Enya’ though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. First, a quick mention of current controversy. I would love to hear/read Myrkur explain her comments in a recent interview, but those comments are unclear to me. I will also say emphatically that I am vehemently opposed to xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments. Now, back to the music. There are two ways to view this album, and generally speaking, the collected works of Myrkur. First, if you are a trve cvlt purist, you will hate this. In know way shape or form is this a black metal record (even though that’s the easy, convenient tag). If you are open minded about music and enjoy beauty both soft and harsh, then you may truly enjoy this. She makes excellent use of her truly beautiful voice (disagree that she has a beautiful voice? Fight me!) and also some truly aggressive, vicious harsh singing. Mareridt leans way over towards the ‘Enya’ side of things, but is still her best proper album. The only thing better released under her name is Mausoleum, which is a near spiritual experience. ~ Rick Jackson

Summon (USA) – Dark Descent of Fallen Souls (Black Metal, Werewolf Records)

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of its release, Dark Descent of Fallen Souls is finally (for the first time ever) receiving the vinyl treatment from Werewolf Records. Originally formed in 1991 and hailing from nearby (for me) Lansing, Michigan, Summon are one of the first American black metal bands. They take the raw style then in formation as the second wave and give it rust belt grit. This particular release, the band’s debut full length, first appeared in 1997 and features tremolo picking, raw distortion, chaotic blasting, and vocals so raw they make my throat hurt just listening. Production is lo-fi and raw, without being uselessly terrible. My one complaint is that percussion sounds a little thin. Don’t sleep on this opportunity to hear an early master of American black metal. Dark Descent of Fallen Souls is relevant today and holds up as superior to much of the glut of black metal currently out there. ~ Rick Jackson

Botanist (USA) – Collective: The Shape of He to Come (Experimental Black Metal, Avantgarde Music)

Botanist is a strange project, no doubt. It’s fair to say that Collective: The Shape of He to Come will appeal to only a select few. It is also fair to say that I am a part of that select few. I actually clued into this project EP 3: Green Metal/Deterministic Chaos. Bizarre black(ish) metal that focusses on ecological themes? Sign me up twice. Usually a one-man project featuring the work of Otrebor, this release takes a more collaborative approach, and includes the work of D. Neal, R. Chiang, Bezaelith, and A. Lindo (aka Golem). The result is a fuller, more cohesive sound to the chaos. Themes remain about the natural world. Music remains black metal at it’s foundation with a plethora of interesting side trips. My advice? Strap on your hiking boots. Allow yourself to be led on this particular journey. Pack out what you pack in. ~ Rick Jackson

 

Neck Deep in Filth (Kathmandu, Nepal) – Self Titled (Hardcore Punk, Independent)

The political situation in the Indian subcontinent has been volitial in the past few years. One of the upsides of it has been the influence that it has had on the metal and punk bands in the region. Nepali hardcore/crust band Neck deep in Filth featuring member from bands like Jugaa, Squirtguns & Asphyxiate have released an politically driven EP. The cover art for 6 track EP has a member of a minority community surrounded by bullets and the Nepali flag. Over multiple listens, the EP has become one of my favourite grindcore releases from the region. I can’t wait to hear new material from the band in the coming years. ~ Peter Kotikalapudi

 

Neck of the Woods (British Columbia) – The Passenger (Death Metal, Progressive Metal, Hardcore Punk, Independent)

Neck of the Woods are a modern progressive metal band with more than enough of a death metal influence in their sound to warrant being labelled progressive death metal, if it wasn’t for the fact that they hardly sound like a traditional death metal band at all. Although not unique, they’ve certainly succeeded in crafting a sound for themselves that’s more individual than not, and this, their debut album, capitalises on this quite nicely. With songs that are well-written and well-realised, they band gather together various different influences and use them to create songs that are modern, emotive, and shamelessly aggressive. Bold, powerful, and full of meaty content, this is an album that firmly demonstrates what Neck of the Woods are capable of. It’s very enjoyable and extremely satisfying. ~ Nigel Holloway

 

Helpless (UK) – Debt (Grind, Punk, Noise, Independent)

Prepare to get crushed, smashed, and mangled. Helpless are feral rage and grinding mayhem incarnate. If you’re unfamiliar with this UK grindcore band, then you’re really missing out; Debt is a 22 minute journey into abrasive insanity and savage chaos. The songs are short and brutally effective in the damage they cause. The band’s style is a hybrid one, taking elements of many harsh styles of music. Punk and powerviolence play out alongside a core of ferocious grindcore. The band also take dark and post-hardcore bands such as Norma Jean and Converge into their embrace too, as well as a bit of grinding dissonance, to add further flavour. Throw in some modern hardcore/grindcore the likes of which bands like Nails, Weekend Nachos, and Unyielding Love do so well, and you have Debt. Helpless have both style and substance, and with this album they have extremely impressed. Get this. ~ Nigel Holloway

 

INTERVIEW: Nepali Hardcore/Crust band Neck Deep in Filth

Nepali hardcore/crust band Neck deep in Filth features members from bands like Jugaa, Squirtguns & Asphyxiate. The band have released an politically driven EP, the cover art depicts a member of a minority community surrounded by bullets and the Nepali flag. Over multiple listens, the EP has become one of my favourite grindcore releases from the region.

I spoke to Vishal Rai about the origins of the band, their self titled EP and also the metal scene in Nepal.

Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): You recently released your self-titled EP at a show called The Pit. How did it go?

Neck deep in Filth (Vishal Rai): It went great. The Pit was put on by our old friends in Ugra Karma at the best venue in town, so it was excellent. They have air conditioning! Sold more merch and CDs than we thought we would too haha

TO: You have all been in bands previously like Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles, Jugaa, Squirtguns and Asphyxiate. How did you decide to form a band together?

NDIF: Well, we all shared a practice space that our bassist ran at one time, and with the underground being so small, we’ve known each other for awhile.

I’ve played guitar in all of my bands so this time I wanted to try my hand at vocals. All I wanted was to start a fast, raging hardcore band. Sushil, our bassist, was down. He and I have been playing in bands together since 2002. As for guitars, I knew “Straight Edge” Sandesh would deliver what we wanted. He also plays in Squirt Guns, which is probably my favorite Nepali punk band. Sandesh delivered a bit more than what I was looking for though thanks to his crust influences haha He brought in a melodic aspect to our music too, which I’m totally fine with now. We later got Sanjay a.k.a. Jeson to join. He comes from a death metal background but he fit in perfectly.

TO: How did you get into this style of music?

NDIF: I got into metal in the early/mid 90s, the regular Metallica/Slayer stuff. The Indian magazine Rock Street Journal had a huge part in shaping my early musical tastes. RSJ was the only music mag worth reading in the pre-Internet era in this region. Then, in 1996/97, I heard Rancid’s “…And Out Come The Wolves” and dove headfirst into punk. Formed my first punk band in 2001, started getting into heavier hardcore around that time, played in a few more bands, and here I am today, 35 and more into this music than ever.

TO: Reading through your lyrics sheet, it is clear that the EP is inspired by the current political situation in Nepal. Tell us a bit more about it.

NDIF: Where do I even start? Over the years, hateful, jingoistic ultranationalism has become more and more common. Then there are the privileged who are committed to maintaining the status quo, people who keep downplaying the legitimate demands of minorities. There’s the bigotry that’s on constant display. There’s the sexism and the complete lack of equal rights. And, of course, there’s the corruption.

If nothing else, it’s cathartic just screaming about the issues that piss me off.

TO: What was the recording process for the EP? Where was it recorded?

NDIF: All of it was done at our main practice space at Mr Music and another rehearsal room called Advent. We didn’t have the need to enter a proper studio. Our bassist Sushil has gotten pretty good at recording bands. He recorded my old band Childwife’s EP as well as Squirt Guns’ full length, and his work on both was great. I realized I had underestimated him all these years haha turns out 25 years of constant weed smoking hadn’t messed him up that bad yet. So yes, it was natural and, more importantly, cheap just letting him record us.

TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

NDIF: I wouldn’t say I’ve been inspired by anyone, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Kesha, Lana Del Rey, Nicole Dollanganger, the new Incendiary, Power Trip, All Out War, Propagandhi, and Integrity albums, along with Beast Jesus, Veils, and Barred from the Philippines, as well as this great Indonesian band called Children Of Terror.

TO: Nepal has quite a few upcoming bands. What are the bands that readers should check out?

NDIF: Nepal has a bunch of great bands these days. However, I’ll limit my recommendations to those that have at least an EP out.

Strangle – Straightforward hardcore with crossover influences. Great band! strangle1.bandcamp.com

Nude Terror – Possibly the best grindcore band in the subcontinent. Amazing live. nudeterrornepal.bandcamp.com

Disorder – Old school thrashers will love them

Rog – Intense powerviolence from Pokhara – https://grindviolencerog.bandcamp.com/

TO: What are your plans for this year? Do you have any more shows or a tour planned?

NDIF: Yep, we’ll definitely play more shows this year. Then, in early 2018, we’re dropping a split with a friend’s band.

TO: Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?

NDIF: Thank you for the questions. Visit neckdeepinfilth.bandcamp.com and buy our EP.

ALBUM PREMIERE: U.S. Crossover Thrash Band Agony Kings

Agony Kings- Agony Kings

Crossover thrash is one of those genres that doesn’t seem to get covered as often as most of the others out there, though in recent years bands like Power Trip and Iron Reagan have pushed the style back into the public eye.  But there have been plenty of groups trying their hand at the genre for those that want to look beyond the major labels.  One great example of this is New York’s Agony Kings, whose self-titled debut is set for release on October 6th.  While there isn’t a lot of info out there about the band, the promo material for the album says it has been in the works for over ten years and features Mike Stack from fellow New Yorkers False Gods on vocals.  So what’s a crossover thrash album that’s had ten years put into it sound like?  Today we’re excited to bring you a full stream of the record so you can find out for yourself.

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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE – Melodic black metal band Mist of Misery

Swedish black metal band Mist of Misery are on a roll – this will be their third release in two years, and they’re getting better with each one. They rose to prominence after getting signed to their local label Black Lion Records, starting with their well-received full length ‘Absence’. They released an EP titled ‘Shackles of Life’ last month and I’m a bit surprised to see another release scheduled for late this year titled ‘Fields of Isolation’. Nonetheless, more good music never hurts and we’re pleased to be the first to premiere a song, nay a video, from that release.

It’s the title track and even has Paolo Bruno of the Brazilian black metal band Thy Light doing a guest appearance. It begins in an impressive manner, the subtle piano tunes breaking the silence with the keyboards joining in creating a grand atmosphere. It’s virtually atmospheric black metal but has its base in delicate melodies. It’s not often that a video complements the music, but in this case it not only does that but even goes on to enhance the music by its beautifully shaded visuals. There’s nothing jarring or drastic in the song – it’s just a gentle progression throughout, punctuated by the vocals shrieking from within the mist so to speak, instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s beautifully produced, even better than before, and could possibly be their best material yet. The emphasis on atmosphere is the key and it seems the band have done everything right here. Without further ado then, here’s the exclusive video of this very promising band:

Official Bandcamp | Black Lion Records

SPECIAL ARTICLE – German Death Metal Highlights

In an effort to highlight the death metal scene in Germany, we’ve put together a list of some known and some not-so-known bands for you to check out. Some of them are very underrated like Anasarca for instance, and hope you like our honest descriptions of their music. We’ve deliberately avoided the bands from the ’90s as this is to showcase bands that are active and have only recently released albums. We may have missed some but nonetheless the staff has put up a formidable list.

Necros Christos – Nine Graves (Sepulchral Voice, 2014)

Necros Christos are ubiquitous in the dark death metal space since the last decade or so. Grim, epic and flavourful, their albums have been an absolute treat for the dwellers of the dark side of death metal. Their flirtation with the Eastern influences have been a point of contention but at least it separates the band from the rest of the pack and they also may have escaped the inevitable comparison with Incantation on a bit of a technicality. Even their last 2014 EP, which is over 40 minutes long, serves as a valiant reminder of the band’s brooding prowess and force in a style that they clearly still dominate. – Kunal Choksi

Defeated Sanity – Disposal of the Dead // Dharmata (Willowtip Records, 2016)

Having been around scaring the bejesus out of herds of Lederhosen for 23 years now Defeated Sanity are no new comers in the Germanic scene. Their latest release ‘Disposal Of The Dead/Dharmata’ released via Willowtip Records last year is the perfect introduction. For the unknowing it’s a very clever idea indeed – they have done a split album with, well, themselves!

Side A “Disposal Of The Dead” for want of a better description is pure brutal tech death metal with very minimal production values and a snare drum that just wants to snap you in the face, which it does very effectively, so much so that getting the sound of it out of your cranium may take a day or three. Brilliance. Gutter deep vocals, riffs to make your dear belated granny roll over in her grave and a bass line heavier than that kid at school that you used to think was rather large.

Side B “Dharmata” is a different kettle of fish, not hard to adjust to, as the band have simply decided to change pace and style a little, also recruiting ex-Cynic vocalist Max Phelps to give the effect they were after. It’s more along the lines of where Chuck Schuldiner was going with latter day Death in my mind. Technically proficient, this is just kick arse stuff.

Side A and B don’t really exist in this age, it simply made more sense to explain it so, but this album effectively made me feel like I had two choices. A Pork Knuckle by itself is a damn good feed, add some Sauerkraut and it’s simply divine. Indulge people. – Andrew Cook

 

Profanity – The Art of Sickness (Apostasy Records, 2017)

I’ve always been a fan of this band and their chunky, semi-brutal style of death metal. It’s rooted in old school death metal but their heaviness resembles what has become a new sub-genre in death metal, aka brutal death metal. Either way, you’d be forgiven because they take the best of both styles – the compositional strength of 90s death metal coupled with the forceful delivery and aggression of brutal death metal. Imagine a cross between Sinister and Suffocation and you’d get a very good idea. Moreover, their music has unpredictable twists and turns which keep things interesting and fresh. After releasing a solid EP in ‘Hatred Hell Within’, they’ve taken things to a different level with their latest full length. It’s as solid as it can get and is a rare example of a band constantly innovating while staying true to its original sound. Fantastic stuff. – Kunal Choksi

Revel In Flesh – Emissary Of All Plagues (Cyclone Empire Records, 2016)

Leading the charge for fresh meat of the old-school death metal scene is the Entombed worshipping Revel In Flesh. Hailing from the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, the quintet have unleashed four albums of pure, Scandinavian-influenced aural devastation since their formation in 2011, along with a collection of split releases in true underground, old-school fashion. Taking their name from the third track of Entombed‘s genre-defining debut, Left Hand Path, it should come as no surprise that Revel In Flesh are heavily inspired from the Swedish death metal scene.

Although there is little variation or innovation in Revel In Flesh‘s brand of old-school worship, the German five-piece are a must for any fan of old-school death metal in need of a new obsession. Released in 2012, their debut album ‘Deathevokation’ celebrates it’s fifth birthday this year – and it is an album worth celebrating. One of the finest death metal albums to be released in 2012, ‘Deathevokation’ is a grinding, though melodic, blast of pure old-school death metal. However, Revel In Flesh have gone from strength to strength with each subsequent release – 2013’s ‘Manifested Darkness’, 2014’s exceptional ‘Death Kult Legions’ and one of my favourite albums of 2016, the seminal ‘Emissary of All Plagues’. Their most recent offering is by far their most superior, taking their chainsaw sound and mixing it with more melody than ever, while still maintaining a truly sinister atmosphere. With a motivated, DIY attitude, an abundance of talent, and their unrivaled ability to bring old-school death metal into the modern era, Revel In Flesh are cult legends in the making. But don’t just take my word for it – extreme metal legend Mark Riddick is a staunch supporter of Revel In Flesh, and his opinion is one that should absolutely be listened to. – Fraser Wilson

Anasarca – Survival Mode (Sevared Records, 2017)

Anasarca were one of the most underrated German bands back in the day despite being around since the 90s. Their sound kept evolving and from a shaky but interesting debut in ‘Godmachine’, they kept refining their sound to what I remember describing as a raging locomotive unstoppable in its path. With their last full length coming out in 2004, it came as a surprise when the band decided to put out a new album this year after a gap of 13 years. ‘Survival Mode’ retains the characteristics of its predecessors but showcases a more mature and tempered songwriting. Instead of raging on, they take very well timed pauses and throw in hooks reminiscent of Deranged. For pure death metal fans, this comes as a treat. – Kunal Choksi

Ingurgitating Oblivion – Vision Wallows In Symphonies of Light (Willowtip Records, 2017)


Ingurgitating Oblivion have come a long way since their first album when they were leaning towards the brutal death metal sound. Since then, they’ve gone astral, technical, mind-boggling and it’s all for the better as it has given them a distinct identity more than anything. Reminiscent of mid-period Cephalic Carnage, late Morbid Angel and even Mithras, they’re meticulously churning out their own vision of bold and atonal death metal that’s both challenging and refreshing. In a time when there are too many mediocre and scenester death metal bands around lacking any identity of their own, Ingurgitation Oblivion do the job competently. – Kunal Choksi

 

Nyktophobia – Fallen Empire (Delicious Bowels Agency, 2017)

Staying in Saxony, the next band on our list of death worshipping Germans is Nyktophobia – which happens to be the side project of Dawn of Disease‘s frontman Tomasz Wisniewski. Nyktophobia are one of the newest bands to be featured on this list, having only released their debut album in January this year. But ‘Fallen Empire’, Nyktophobia‘s debut, carries a sense of cohesion and maturity that would leave you forgiven for thinking it was a band’s fourth or fifth album, rather than a debut.

Nyktophobia have the same flare of ultra-melodic tendencies that Dawn of Disease have, but with two thirds of Nyktophobia‘s line-up having been in Dawn of Disease a sense of similarity is to be expected. As a whole, however, ‘Fallen Empire’ is far more gritty, and old-school sounding than anything Dawn of Disease has released. The grinding, buzz-saw riffs and sinister melodies make it apparent that Dismember, Bloodbath and Grave well all in heavy rotation during the album’s writing sessions. With a debut of this caliber, however, what Nyktophobia do next is surely something to get excited about. – Fraser Wilson

 

 Infecting the Swarm – Abyss (Lacerated Enemy Records, 2016)

Fancy some one-man death metal that’s utterly brutal and completely lethal? Well, Lacerated Enemy have you covered with the second album from Infecting the Swarm. This is precise, surgical death metal that wouldn’t know how to show mercy if its life depended on it. Which, thankfully, it doesn’t, so ‘Abyss’ is free to be as unrelentingly savage as it likes. Fuelled by blast beats and uncompromising aggression, this is a relentless assault on the senses that you’ll want to weather again and again because you’re masochistic like that aren’t you? ‘Abyss’ is here to mangle, maim, destroy, and devastate. – Nigel Holloway

 

Into Darkness – Sinister Demise (Rising Nemesis Records, 2015)


The origin of Into Darkness as a band goes back to the 1995. Having been a part of the era where death metal exploded into public consciousness (as far as metalheads go anyways), the band released the ‘Misfortunal Odes in D Minor’ tape in 1997. Today unfortunately, this release has been lost to time, with only one track available on the band’s YouTube page. This does give a glimpse at the band’s old school roots which was peppered throughout with lead guitar melodies that reference the Swedish sound a bit.

It would take Into Darkness about 25 years and quite a lot of lineup changes before the release of their second full length ‘Dysphoria’ in 2012. The sound here is more refined compared to the debut and stylistically, one can still make out the old school roots. The guitar work is a bit more fleshed out and the melodies take on a more prominent role. This is a direction the band continues walking in, on their third release ‘Sinister Demise’ (2014). Sebastian Langerer’s guitar work steals the spotlight with hook after melodic hook, all the while punishing the listener with merciless riffs. The old school sound is replaced by influences from slam, groove and melodic death metal styles, to create a record that spans the whole death metal spectrum. Into Darkness are back and they are here to stay! – Shrivatsan Ragavan

 

Keitzer – Ascension (FDA Records, 2016)


Though not a traditional death metal band, Keitzer, from various parts of the country and even Portugal, use death metal as the core of their grinding viciousness. Formed in 1999, and continually active since then, the quintet remain a force to be reckoned with for nearly two decades. Three core members have been around since the beginning. Starting with ‘…To Destroy Planet Earth’ in 2001, Keitzer have released a total of six full length albums, as well as splits with Dead Cells and dasKrill, a steady if not overwhelming output. There are comparisons to be made here to the more direct and vicious work of both Cattle Decapitation and Napalm Death. Riffs are perhaps more driven and less angular. A variety of vocal approaches are employed, all of which seem uncomfortably in-your-face. A number of labels have handled the band’s work, but the most recent three releases have all been released by F.D.A. Records, a German label which focuses on death metal, grindcore, punk, and hardcore.

‘Ascension’, their most recent release, was my entry point to the band. With twelve songs, mostly around the four minute mark, the band is certainly leaning towards their death metal foundation. A brief clip will allow you to hear the grind influence though. This is a death metal skeleton with dark, vicious, and obliterating grind hanging as the flesh on the bones. Malevolently brought to life by five maniacs, Keitzer will come for you. – Rick Jackson

 

Dawn of Disease – Ascension Gate (Napalm Records, 2017)

Sounding like the love-child of Morbid Angel and Amon Amarth, the super-heavy yet super-melodic Saxony quintet Dawn of Disease are one of the most underrated melodic death metal bands on the European shores. Forming in 2003, the band released only one EP before disbanding in 2007. The death of Dawn of Disease was short-lived, however, with the group rising from the grave in 2009 and finally releasing their debut full-length, Legends of Brutality, in 2010.

Following the release of their second album, ‘Crypts of the Unrotten’, in 2012, the band once again took a hiatus with their next release not being unleashed upon the world until 2016. However, Dawn of Disease appear to making up for lost time, with the group having three releases under their belt in the space of 14 months. ‘Worship the Grave’ was their long-awaited and worthwhile third offering, and Napalm Records debut, that dropped in June 2016 – 2016 also saw the release of the ‘Legends of the Unrotten’ compilation: a double album, containing the out-of-print debut and sophomore releases. And continuing the trend of excellence Dawn of Disease have crafted for themselves, the five-piece are set to release their fourth record, ‘Ascension Gate’, through Napalm Records in August this year.

Dawn of Disease‘s brand of super-melodic brutality makes them a sure-fire favourite of most melodeath fans, and those who enjoy classic death metal with a melodic flare. Though they will no doubt have a tough job following Worship the Grave, if the first single from ‘Ascension Gate’, Perimortal, is anything to go by, it could be one of 2017’s best releases and Dawn of Disease‘s best album yet. – Fraser Wilson

 

Maat – Monuments Will Enslave (Aural Attack Productions, 2017)

It’s a little too easy to compare Berlin’s Maat to Nile – other than the lyrical content, occasional Eastern atmospherics and a few flashes of brutal technicality, there isn’t a whole lot that’s similar in a more specific way than “They both play death metal and like Ancient Egypt.” Maat have far more in common with the old-school stylings of Death and Morbid Angel than Nile or Suffocation. They have a much thrashier, groovier, more grinding, buzzsaw approach to death metal than the ultra-brutal aforementioned – this, mixed with the atmospheric flares that pop up now and again leave a really interesting sound.

Following their inception in 2009 and the independent release of their decent debut EP – ‘Born in Sand’ – the following year, Maat have gone on to release two full length albums, both through German label Aural Attack Productions. Their 2014 debut, As We Create the Hope From Above felt a lot more certain of it’s identity than their EP, but it is their newest offering, ‘Monuments Will Enslave’ – released in March this year – that really shows Maat hitting their stride. For anyone who has followed the band since the Born in Sand EP, ‘Monuments Will Enslave’ still sounds like Maat, it’s delightfully old-school, with Eastern atmospherics when appropriate, going at thrash speeds and with that classic Tampa, FL, brutality that old-school death metal is known and loved for. Maat are certainly ones to watch in Germany’s death metal revival! – Fraser Wilson

Deny The Urge – As Darkness Falls (G.U.C., 2017)


Deny The Urge are once again a stunning but overlooked death metal band from Germany. They’ve released a couple of fine albums in the last decade but disappeared only to come out with a new album this year, after a gap of nearly a decade. Excellent songwriting remains the case even here, but they seem to have eschewed the flamboyance in favour of more conventional and I daresay old school structuring to a rather great effect. It’s apparent in their aesthetics as well, having opted for the services of the legendary artist Dan Seagrave. Interestingly, they even have the current Vader drummer playing on this album. With such high credentials and exemplary musicianship, they definitely deserve better acclaim. Fans of semi-technical, brisk and indulgent death metal will be all over this gem. – Kunal Choksi

Fragments of Unbecoming – The Art of Coming Apart (Cyclone Empire, 2017)

Hailing from West Germany-via-Gothenburg, Fragments of Unbecoming are possibly German metal’s best kept secret. Playing a brand of melodic death metal more closely associated with Sweden, with signature Teutonic aggression, there is a lot in their sound for a metal head with modern tastes to dig into. the obscure nature of Fragments of Unbecoming is a puzzling one – both the songwriting and the musical execution of the music are fantastic, and there is nothing in their music to suggest a reason for a lack of appeal – in fact, the band were signed to the legendary label Metal Blade for three albums in the 2000s. Following their stunning 2012 release ‘The Art of Coming Apart – Chapter Five’, Fragments of Unbecoming have been in a relative period of inactivity. However, according to updates on their Facebook page, we can expect Chapter Six in Fragments of Unbecoming’s discography in the near future. – Fraser Wilson

 

Soul Demise – Thin Red Line (Apostasy Records, 2017)

Throughout their 19-year history, Soul Demise has never shied away from their At the Gates hero worship. And although this influence feels more apparent than ever throughout the entirety of ‘Thin Red Line’, there’s so much they’re getting right that I can find no fault. Blistering backbeats, earworm melodic hooks, and Gothenburg barks abound, with an aggressive sense for song dynamics that build in familiar yet effective ways — Soul Demise shows us why they don’t deserve to be written off. A few pleasant surprises await (the breakdown in Frustration alone is worth a hundred listens or more), but who better to give us everything we want from the genre than those who want it the most? If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Soul Demise is more than suited to carry this torch. – Eric Seal

 

Encrypted – The Purge (Star Spawn Society, 2017)

 

Although this is Encrypted‘s first non-demo release, it’s a much more mature effort than you might expect, as the band have been around for a few years at this point. The band’s death metal style features aggressive speed, rolling groove, slow and crushing doom parts, grim atmospheres, and the occasional streak of melodic colour. With a balanced production that takes the best bits of modern power and crusty grime, the songs on this underground release shine with a bleak, dark lustre all of their own. As a starting point for demonstrating what they’re capable of, ‘The Purge’ is extremely enjoyable. This is a band that shows great promise for the future, and I hope we hear more of them soon. Check this out. – Nigel Holloway

INTERVIEW: Canadian Grindcore legends Mesrine

Mesrine are a legendary Canadian grindcore band. They have released 4 full length albums and innumerable splits in their career that spans  over two decades. A couple months ago, the band released their 5th full length album, Source of Hatred; after multiple listens, I can say it is one of the best grindcore releases I have heard recently. 23 tracks in just over 30 minutes, the album is another fine slab of grindcore. 

Find out more about Source of Hatred, the metal scene in Québec and more in my interview with Fred and Seb below.

Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): It has been 20 years since the band started. How does it feel looking back?

Mesrine (Fred): yes, already 20 years, time goes on…When we begin Mesrine it was first all for fun by keeping it simple and efficient, 20 years later, it’s still the same deal haha! We are still making short songs with 2 riffs and 3 chords! On theses days we are a little less active than the previous years, we all have day jobs and 2 members are now dads (I’ve got a son and Steve just got twins 2 months ago!). I think we can continue a few years with our new lineup (which is stronger than ever)

TO: How did the band get started & how did you get into this style of music?

Mesrine (Fred): It started with Dan asking me you have a guitar and an amp??? you don’t need to know how to play, you just need the biggest string and 3 notes it’s enough! So Dan dusted off his old drum kit and started blasting and mincing! Mesrine’s first name was Bean (in honour of Mr Bean) but we weren’t completely satisfied… Since we have both a fascination about criminals and serial killers we though having a name more in that range would be more appropriate so we switched to Mesrine, we thought (and still think) that name is killer.

TO: You latest album, Source of Hatred is one of the best grindcore releases I have heard recently. Tell us more about the album.

Mesrine (Seb): Thanx, we are really happy how the album went out! Our guitar player Jack recorded, mixed and mastered it. We don’t have that much things to tell him about any of those things, he knows what he’s doing ! haha Another thing that’s great about this album is that it’s our first release who will be out in all 3 physical format (CD on PRC Music, Vinyl and cassette on D7i and Doomsday Machine Records)

TO: It’s been 6 years between the album and your previous full length,Obsessive Compulsive. What was the songwriting process for the album?

Mesrine (Seb): Well, the band had a few lineup changes, Jack went from being the bass player to a second guitar player, so they ask Decalisse (ex G.O.D/Fuck the facts) to join the band to complete the lineup. After the last Euro tour and recording e.p’s he left for various reasons and to start a new band, so Mesrine asked Crocko to come back in the band. The writing process for the album begun, Crocko left, so I joined the band and we continue writing the album. Sometimes Fred came in with a riff and we work on it, and most of the time we find riffs ‘’on the spot’’.

TO: You share a couple of members with fellow grinders Fistfuck. How do they manage between both bands?

Mesrine (Seb): Steve and I play in both bands, it’s quite easy since both bands are not that much active, we play 2 or 3 shows a year, jamming almost every 2 weeks, so on my side, I have enough time to play in various other bands hahaha

TO: You have worked with a few record labels. What do you think are the role of a record label in this digital age?

Mesrine (Seb): I run a label (D7i Records) since the last 12 years, a label is very important for indie underground bands, yeah we can listen to everything when we can now, but there is still people who likes physical formats, and underground labels can help distribute, sell and helping bands to get a little more known everywhere else. I am still trading stuff, so people from Quebec can get 7’’ of European bands at a cheaper price than ordering from the internet (postage feeds are killing us lately) !

TO: What are your thoughts on the current state of grindcore?

Mesrine (Seb): I think grindcore is doing great, When you meet bands from anywhere it’s like you’ve been friends for years. There are great new bands with the old school attitude. Grindcore will be healthy as long as Agathocles will release split e.p we are in business I guess! hahahah

TO: Québec has a well known extreme metal scene. Could you recommend a few bands that the readers should check out?

Mesrine (Seb): Well I can say Badass Commander (another band with me and Jack), it’s an old school death metal band! Non affiliate with Mesrine we got Saccage (labelmates from PRC), Mortlach, K.A.V, Nevrose. Outside of Quebec city we have deboned, Soil of Ignorance, Hard Charger and many more!

TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

Mesrine (Seb): I know Dan would say the same fucking things I was listening back in the early 90’s haha, on my side, I always been into sludge and fuzzy bands and it’s what I listen the most. We are all into Old school stuff (death metal, thrash, crossover, heavy, doom) I think on Source of Hatred we can ear and feel the various influences of the band more than on previous releases.

Mesrine (Fred): Agathocles, Blood, Impetigo, Extreme noise terror, Johnny Cash, Confuse, Terveet Kadet, Carcass Grinder, Psycho, AC/DC, SOD ect…..

TO: What are your plans for this year? Do you have any shows/tour planned?

Mesrine (Seb): Well, we just played with D.R.I in our hometown, and played the Earslaughter in Montreal with Blood and a few more amazing bands. We are talking about doing a local show with our buddies in Fistfuck and another of our side projects haha. We have no plan concerning touring, ect in the near future.

TO: Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any final words?

Mesrine: Keep supporting everything that’s old school!

Mesrine

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