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TO Staff – Filthy Death Metal Special

Death metal is a genre that’s bound to evoke all kinds of reactions from people. It’s generally regarded as music that’s extreme or in layman terms ‘disgusting’ where it comes to its sonic output and even in its aesthetic appeal. The genre has evolved tremendously since its inception and we’re here to highlight the ones that revel in its core, ‘filthy’ sound, and are proud of it. Heck, some have made their career out of them. The Transcending Obscurity staff has assembled a nasty list (in no particular order) of relatively recent albums that deserve a mention here. – Kunal Choksi (editor)

Autopsy (US) – ‘Skull Grinder’ (Peaceville Records, 2015)


This is the latest EP by the filthy death metal masters Autopsy, and no such list should be made without them being highlighted in it. It helps that ‘Skull Grinder’ sounds fantastic as well – the band haven’t lost their trademark sound or appeal, and at the same time this material drips of fresh flavour and sounds lively for some reason. It’s still oozing of that classic, blood-soaked, dank death metal feel that made them popular in the first place. This is death metal that has won the ever-pertinent battle of trends and time by remaining filthy as ever, bearing that stylistic trait on their sleeves as a badge of honour, flaunting it shamelessly then and now, and being completely deserving of it all. The leads are somewhat melodic too, providing for an interesting contrast from their dark sounding grimy music, and the riffing is ace as always. The vocals remain outstanding, perfect for this rough, bawdy and almost arrogant music. It bears all the hallmarks of death metal and should be continuously hailed. – Kunal Choksi (editor)


Torture Rack (US) – Barbaric Persecution (Memento Mori, 2016)


Oregon’s Torture Rack play death metal that is grimy, blackened and all out dirty. ‘Barbaric Persecution’, the band’s debut full length, is a cacophonous collection of grinding riffs that sound like the auditory representation of medieval torture rituals. With a malicious intent, Torture Rack unleash riffs that sound murky and thick like the blood gushing from a freshly cut jugular. The grotesque and bludgeoning death metal presented on the album is reminiscent of early Blood, especially in the way the band maintains a steady, addictive groove underneath the mounds of filthy riffs. A no nonsense record from this power trio, ‘Barbaric Persecution’ is an ugly creation that is proud to bare its hideous features. – Shrivatsan Ragavan 


Ruin (US) – ‘Plague Hell’ (Nero One Records, 2015)


Ruin are one of the most exciting bands to emerge out of US. They’re peddling in the kind of filthy and ominous death metal that Blood created circa ‘O Agios Pethane’. It’s that combined with the despicable grainy sound of early Abscess, Pungent Stench, and even Necrophagia. It’s pulsating with this thick, chunky energy that also hearkens back to Sinister, but it’s filthier than your butt-socket after being toyed around with pokey objects of all kinds by people generally considered to be aggressive. The atmosphere is dank not unlike Autopsy and there’s a pensive air to the whole thing, as Ruin trudge along cautiously, retaining the bone-stomp momentum, and just spreading their brand of abject sickness to every possible ear that’s tuned into the death metal underground. The fact that the lineup is anonymous only adds more mystique to the whole thing. Watch out for the CD version coming out on Memento Mori this year. – Kunal Choksi (editor)


Castle Freak (US) – Human Hive (Independent, 2016)


Philly’s Castle Freak returns after being on hiatus for most of 2015 with a new EP titled ‘Human Hive’, and it’s a quick blast of filthy death metal with a little bit of grind added in for good measure. Consisting of two new songs, re-recordings of Toxic Winds from the 2012 demo and Sickening Corpses from 2014’s ‘Still Rotting’ EP, and a cover of Impetigo’s song Boneyard, Castle Freak offers up a little bit of everything you could want from this particular variant of dirty and heavy hitting death metal/grind. The riffs ooze forth with layers of dirt and grime while singer Andrew Gigan vomits forth abrasive screams that spread over the instrumentals with overwhelming intensity. Throw in some well-placed horror movie samples and a thicker, crunchy production and you have an EP worth taking note of. With a new drummer and bassist in their lineup, Castle Freak is back with a vengeance and sounding better than ever and hopefully a full length isn’t too far off. – Chris Dahlberg

Irkallian Oracle (Sweden) – Apollyon (Nuclear War Now! Productions, 2016)


Taking its name from Babylonian mythology, an aura of mystery surrounds Swedish self-described “apocalyptic death metal” collective Irkallian Oracle. Nothing substantial is known about its membership, or who plays what instrument. Certain is that the band sounds anything but typically Swedish. ‘Apollyon’ churns ominously with the darkest death metal this side of the most subterranean and harrowing works of Incantation (‘Diabolical Conquest’) and Morpheus Descends (‘Ritual Of Infinity’). The gloomy artwork by David Herrerias serves masterfully to enhance the atmosphere of claustrophobia and isolation. – Wouter Roemers


Interment- Scent Of The Buried (Pulverised Records/Dark Descent Records, 2016)


It has been almost six years since the last time Swedish death metal band Interment released a full length, with small amounts of new material released on splits the last few years. One time through ‘Scent Of The Buried’ is all you’ll need to come to the conclusion that the wait has been worth it though, as this long running group delivers one killer riff after the next on this new ten track album. There’s plenty of that classic Swedish death metal buzzsaw guitar sound, but Interment’s approach comes off as a little dirtier and grimier than some of their peers and they are better for it. The title track and Chalice of Death are examples of the band at their best, with riffs that hit hard and are likely to get stuck in your head for some time. Swedish death metal may have reached a saturation point, but the quality of Interment’s latest makes it clear that the veterans of the style who have been there since the beginning still have some of the best material out there. – Chris Dahlberg

Bones (US) – Sons of Sleaze (Planet Metal, 2013)


Bones from Chicago, US (not to be confused with several other similar-named ones) are taking the filthy style of death metal music to a new extreme. They sound like a contemporary, steroid-injected Autopsy/Abscess – sped-up, bolstered with crustiness, and carrying influences of even a few chaotic ‘dark death metal’ acts. Their vile intensity is reminiscent of grindcore, and that can only be a good thing. With just two albums under their belt, they’ve quickly risen in the underground and are a deadly force to contend with. The upbeat nature of this release only guarantees multiple listens, as you find yourself repeatedly lashing out at any object that finds its way into the trajectory of your wildly flailing arms and head. The extremity makes this one special, not to mention the grime-laden sound rendered crusty, while retaining the dark and dank nature. – Kunal Choksi (editor)


Pissgrave (US) – Suicide Euphoria (Profound Lore Records, 2015)


Released on Profound Lore Records, this one is instantly reminiscent of the caustic attire of the ‘Forensick’ release by the Mexican death/grind band Disgorge. But underneath the spiky layer of noise, there’s music with oomph, visceral groove and massive rumbling akin to say early Bolt Thrower, Cianide and even dissonant acts like Blut aus Nord. There’s a lot going here and you’d feel pressurized just listening to this. It’s delectable. It throws a challenge to the listener which very few bands are capable of doing nowadays – they like to play safe. I’m a bit surprised to see something of this nature and extremity being released by Profound Lore Records, but I laud them for it. It’s not easy listening but it gets the job done and satiates the listener like very records do. More people must grow balls and check this out. – Kunal Choksi (editor)

Ritual Chamber – Obscurations (To Feast On the Seraphim) (Profound Lore Records, 2016)


In his latest exploration of the obscure multi-instrumentalist Dario Derna, whose body of work with Infester, Drawn and Quartered and Evoken has established him as a credible underground force, draws heavily from classic death metal sources. While his personal projects (Vetus Obscurum, Krohm) usually are of the black metal persuasion, Ritual Chamber is heavily indebted to early Incantation (‘Onward to Golgotha’, ‘Diabolical Conquest’) and Immolation (‘Here In After’). Derna’s cavernous grunts recall the monstrous vocalizations of Craig Pillard and Daniel Corchado. The thick, gritty production is reminiscent of the earlier USDM standard. ‘Obscurations (To Feast on the Seraphim)’ is the sort record current day Immolation wished they could muster. Ritual Chamber is a welcome return to death metal that sounds ominous, hateful and dark. – Wouter Roemers

Nailgun Massacre (Netherlands) – Boned, Boxed and Buried (Xtreem Music, 2015)


Dutch band Nailgun Massacre remind me of early Autopsy, during their demo period to be precise, added upon with influences in the form of the chunky tunes of Impetigo and the somewhat structured horror fervour of Necrophagia, also The Ravenous where they sound slightly more European than American. The influences are quite diverse and it only adds to the seething madness. It’s like revisiting a lost death metal gem, and despite the overbearing filth, the riffs and especially the drumming stand out. Such a dirty yet well-written release is hard to come by, and it’s high time these unheralded heroes get their due, despite being released on the giant label Xtreem Music recently. – Kunal Choksi (editor)


Abhomine – Larvae Offal Swine (Hells Headbangers Records, 2016)


Bookended by an intro and outro that make the vile intentions of the band clear, Abhomine’s ‘Larvae Offal Swine’ is a black death record that explores the depraved crevices of the human psyche. The solo project of Angelcorpse’s Pete Helmkamp, Abhomine’s music features heavy influences from the aforementioned band. The mix of Satanic atmosphere, lyrics laden with filth and grinding guitar work, the record pulls absolutely no punches. The sharp, blackened riffs provide the perfect setting of grime for the acidic vocal work. The short yet vicious tracks come together to form an dark, disturbing experience. Filth mongers rejoice! – Shrivatsan Ragavan

Live Burial (UK) – Self Titled (Independent, 2015)


Featuring members of Horrified and other bands like Rat Faced Bastard and Plague Rider, the music of this UK entity is reminiscent of the earlier caustic albums of Cianide, but it also possesses that melancholic and dirge-laden edge of the older UK doom/death bands like Decomposed and Paradise Lost. It’s a plodding yet terrifying affair on the whole, and sees the band straddle both the death and doom aspects with considerable poise. It exudes the charm of the classic period demos and showcases much potential. The music is raw but not devoid of depth or conventional appeal. Live Burial are on the verge of releasing their full length debut titled ‘Forced Back to Life’ on Dunkelheit Produktionen which is something to watch out for. – Kunal Choksi (editor)

Dementia 13 (Portugal) – Ways of Enclosure (Memento Mori, 2015)


Named after the first non-nudie directorial effort of Francis Ford Coppola, Dementia 13 play a form of old school, riff based death metal that would serve well as the soundtrack to a gory slasher. The death metal of Dementia 13 is of the primordial kind where the riffs are reminiscent of old school greats like Obituary and Massacre. With it’s grimy guitar tone and riffs that pack a solid punch, ‘Ways of Enclosure’ is a ride that manages invokes images of horror and gore. The Floridian style is effortlessly pulled off by the members of Dementia 13 and is enough to whet the appetite of the any riff based death metal fan. – Shrivatsan Ragavan


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