Tommi Grönqvist has been responsible for quite a bit of quality Finnish death metal over the years, as he spent over a decade with Slugathor before forming Desecresy with vocalist Jarno Nurmi. Desecresy has put out albums at a steady pace, and even though this has amounted to four full-lengths over the span of five years each one has explored different elements of the death metal genre. This year’s ‘The Mortal Horizon’ represents the biggest change for the band, as Jarno Nurmi left the band and now Grönqvist has stepped up to do vocals in addition to continuing to write all of the instrumentation.
Over the past year, Swedish label The Sign Records has been exposing listeners to a number of promising bands from their home country. Rather than sticking with one particular genre, they’ve put out releases from almost every sub-genre of metal. One of their more recent signings is black/thrash group Nekrokraft, whose debut full length ‘Will o’ Wisp’ originally saw release in November of last year. With the end of year timing this one may have slipped under your radar, but with an official North American release of the album set for July 7th now is a great time to fix that. Today we’re streaming ‘Will o’ Wisp’ in its entirety so you can hear for yourself how well these guys have this style down.
LLNN (Copenhagen) and Wovoka (Los Angeles, CA) may be 5,590 miles apart, but their collaborative effort, a split entitled “Traces/Marks” releasing June 16th via Pelagic Records, shares an overwhelming, spirit-crushing bleakness. Luckily, you won’t have to wait to lash your soul to ribbons, as we’ve got the full album for you to hear in its entirety right here.
Although they describe their music as “post-apocalyptic,” that doesn’t even begin to fully describe “Marks,”LLNN’s six-song share of the split. It’s a good jump-start adjective for sure, but you could easily augment it with other dismal soundtrack descriptors like “dystopian,” “cyberpunk,” and even “grimdark.” LLNN wastes no time subjecting listeners to the collapsing condition of their world with the grimy opener The Guardian. Vocalist Christian Bonnesen provides a potent, distinctly human contrast to the mechanized drone synths on songs like Swarms, his belligerent shouts drowning out pealing sirens like defiance against a machine god.
The heaviness on “Marks” isn’t just expressed through the pounding, bottom-heavy guitars — you can almost taste the existential futility stinging like battery acid on the tongue. The songs are short, yet honed to a needle-sharp point — each is a two- to three-minute declaration of dissension and mistrust, creating a seamless throughline of urban decay. The exception is LLNN’s last track, Gravitated, which drifts along like an embellished John Carpenter song, dripping with dystopian dread. It’s disquieting end to LLNN’s side of the split, and an effective segue into the grief-stricken song that follows.
A steady guitar with utterly arid distortion opens up “Traces,”Wovoka’s sole contribution to the split. At over seventeen minutes long, “Traces” is content to take its time dragging us through scorching passages of luminous intensity. Where the “Marks” side of the split had us fearfully peering into a darkened world, Wovoka’s realm is bright and fiery yet not an ounce less punishing. A severe 6/4 time signature drives the majority of the song’s first half, urging the listener ever onward… or suffer an end in a consuming blaze.
A break seems to appear around the nine-minute mark, but it too clangs and shimmers with discordant static, dispelling the illusion of safety. The bass guitar, which had previously grumbled along like a disgruntled sidewinder, takes on a quicker gait, building momentum toward an unseen destination. The vocals undergo a similar transformation — the parched screams you’d heard only moments before now sound ethereal and melodious, uplifting you from your despair… but that too is a mirage. As your inevitable ascension continues over the next five minutes, you are pummeled and whipped by increasingly harsh waves of noise — shattering cymbals, crashing snares, and throbbing guitars. Then, before you know it, it’s all over.
LLNN and Wovoka have come together to create a powerful piece of music in “Traces/Marks.” Both are phenomenal in their own right, but united they take the listener on an odyssey into distinct realms of hellish grief and loss.
“Traces/Marks” releases June 16th via Pelagic Records. Read our interview with LLNN here.
They may not have released their first material until 2013, but Chilean death metal band Soulrot’s origins trace back to the early 1990s. It’s clear that guitarist J.L. Olmos and company have been making up for lost time, as they’ve kept a steady stream of releases coming over the past few years. Following a demo and EP, the band is now preparing to put out their debut full length ‘Nameless Hideous Manifestations’ on April 24th via Memento Mori. And it’s sure to make a strong impression, as even though there’s that familiar Boss HM-2 buzzsaw sound and a good deal of Swedish influence to the writing Soulrot doesn’t feel like a clone of any one particular act and has the riffs to back things up. We’re excited to offer you a full stream of the album alongside an interview with the band so you can get crushed by its immense weight and ominous atmosphere.
Ruin’s debut full length has been a long time coming, with the U.S. death metal band having existed in the early 1990s for a year or two before lying dormant for the better part of two decades. The promo material for their debut full length ‘Drown in Blood’ (due out April 24th via Memento Mori) mentions periods of incarceration and institutionalization as one of the main reasons behind Ruin’s disappearance, but whatever the circumstances may be the band re-emerged in 2015 with the ‘Spread Plague Hell’ demo and released three splits shortly after. Now with the full length ready to unleash its nihilistic and filthy death metal on your ears in a little under a week’s time, we’re excited to premiere the album in its entirety.
Italian sludge/doom band OTUS has been around since 2012, releasing a demo in 2013 before taking several years to put together their full length debut. The resulting effort ‘7.83Hz’, originally released independently in 2016, is a 70 minute concept album that was inspired by Timothy Leary’s quote: “Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out”. If you missed this one last year, Argonauta Records is giving you another chance to experience the group’s take on lucid detachment and becoming fully in tune with the universe through their music, as they’ll be giving ‘7.83Hz’ an expanded CD release on March 20th. Today we’re excited to re-introduce the album in full to give you a chance to experience OTUS’ take on the realms of harsh and meditative doom.
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.
There’s simply thousands and thousands of bands out there that are trying to keep the flame of old school black metal alive, while many others are taking the style down bold new paths every single day. And like every other kind of music, black metal continues to have small bands with massive loads of potential go unnoticed in the public eye for the most part. One excellent band that stands out amongst the rest is Ende who for years now has been dishing out their own personalized style of black metal that works too fucking well, and still respects the original flame all the way home. Many others have flown under the radar for years just like Ende, but it’s this duo that truly stands above the rest, and if that fact is ever going to become apparent then it’s with their brand new album of “Emën Etan”.
These Frenchmen have been going at the black metal grinding wheel for literal years, with their humble start back in 2012 with “Whispers of a Dying Earth” that showed their arrival to the world, but it’s with their sophomore album of “The Rebirth of I” that Ende truly showed what they were capable of. Talk about going from zero to one thousand moving from one record to the next because everything Ende did everything that they could have right with “The Rebirth of I” down to the band’s logo itself. It was decisively atmospheric, had fuck tons of power amongst its spine-tingling riffs, awesome power, and black metal prowess that it’s simply stunning to give the record a spin. But then after hearing such excellence for months on end, a question appears: can Ende do it again? They showed with a follow-up split with Sorcier des Glaces the following year titled “Le Puits des Morts” that they can indeed keep the quality going, but what’s to tell for a full-length? It’d be another few months before we’d receive any sort of announcement from Ende, but when we did we were given “Emën Etan”.
To call this third full-length from these Frenchmen a worthy successor to “The Rebirth of I” would be an amazing understatement in every single way. Does “Emën Etan” top everything that Ende has before it? Maybe. The first thing I noticed with this record was how there were significantly fewer riffs than before, yet Ende did not cheap out in the overall quality of the ten tracks we get here. Every single song from the calm yet menacing interludes to the all out black metal onslaught that we get the rest of the time is so finely crafted with nothing but utmost care to when you hear “Emën Etan” a few times it’s not hard to consider this Ende’s magnum opus so far in their relatively short career. Yet, somehow, everything feels so much more powerful and aggressive with this record. Ende uses clips of chanting in churches that slowly transition to the sound of a woman burning at the stake to straight up smashing your skull with the vocals that feel more violent, guitars and bass that are still melodic but feel much more hyper, and a drum beat that’s simply immaculate. There’s so much to love with “Emën Etan” as it feels like the perfect embodiment of modern black metal that’s been constantly looking at the great black metal acts of the past for inspiration, and out of that has come releases that has led up to this ultimate example of what black metal can become in today’s world of progressive thinking and innovation. It’s rare to see a band like Ende incorporate so many things that are great from the genre from its intensity to even atmospheric elements, and all of that is balanced so perfectly in “Emën Etan” that it’s nothing short of astounding.
If there is any fan out there in the entire world that enjoys black metal even a little bit and doesn’t investigate “Emën Etan” upon its release, then that’s the very definition of a mistake. Ende has been pumping out top notch material for years now and they’ve no signs of slowing down yet. With time comes experience and with experience comes skill. That absolutely rings true with this Frenchmen as they’ve done nothing but astound and amaze with just about every single album they’ve put out, and “Emën Etan” maybe just be the epitome of what Ende can do. There are so much talent and skill in this band that it’s palpable, and I cannot help but say that if you want an intense black metal experience that very few others can replicate nowadays then you are absolutely going to want to discover Ende. And should you want to hear what’s already one of my absolute favorites of this year, then mark your calendars for March 1st and experience “Emën Etan” as quickly as you can!
We here at Transcending Obscurity are more than proud to present to you all an exclusive premiere of the full version of “Emën Etan”! An immense thank you to Ende who felt comfortable with entrusting us with such an extreme honor! A listing of all the songs can be found right below, and a private YouTube link to the album can be seen below. Don’t waste any time and check out what’s a landmark album for underground black metal! Enjoy over 50 minutes of scathing intensity that few can replicate!
When it comes to black and death metal, France continues to have some of the better bands out there. One that’s gone a bit under the radar for some people is Ritualization, a death metal act that’s been around since 2006 and released some demos, a split, and an EP to date. They came to my attention back in 2011 with the ‘The Vision of Fading Mankind’ split with Temple of Baal, and following the 2013 EP ‘Beyond the Shrine of Shattered Bones’ Ritualization has finally unleashed their debut full length. Titled ‘Sacraments to the Sons of the Abyss’, the album came out on Iron Bonehead Productions on February 3rd and you can stream the entire release below as well as check out an interview with the band’s vocalist Warchangel.