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TO Staff – Brutal Death Metal Highlights (Pt.1)

This here is a compilation of good brutal death metal acts that are notable for their music from around the world. Since this genre doesn’t get enough attention in the press, it’s imperative that we throw more light on the deserving bands, both known and underground, from time to time. Let this serve as part one of the brutal death metal highlights article, not too dissimilar from our Grindcore Highlights Pt.1 and more recently, Grindcore Highlights Pt.2. As always, there’s no order for such lists – all of them are special. Thanks for reading! – Kunal Choksi (Editor)

Gravitational Distortion (Canada) – ‘The Void Between Worlds’ (Inherited Suffering Records)

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Gravitational Distortion are slamming it in style, throwing enough variations about and lending to the whole affair a futuristic edge not too dissimilar to 7 H.Target and the likes. The album is redolent of Coprocephalic, Devourment, even Extermination Dismemberment, and are about the best in the style for this kind of pummeling brutal death metal. The catchiness is irresistible and everything here has been done to perfection. It’s hard to believe that this is a Canadian band, but maximum props to them for doing it better than some of their US counterparts. The production sounds like the devastation of planets and the artwork too is top-notch and a welcome break from the horrid misogynist themes peddled by some brutal death metal bands. It seems like Gravitational Distortion have a great future in store for them if they can have their music promoted more effectively worldwide and have more American, Asian or European shows lined up. The incessant activity in pits will give way to a different dimension, probably. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)

 

Brutus (Netherlands) – ‘Murwgebeukt’ (Total Loss) (Willowtip Records / Rising Nemesis)

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Originally projected for release in 2006, and finally unleashed no less than a decade later ‘Murwgebeukt’ (Total Loss) is both an ending and beginning for Brutus. Its release heralded a new era of activity for the Dutch combo, and as a time capsule for where the death metal genre was in 2006, it was one of its absolute high marks. Scarily intense, and utterly relentless in its sheer percussive propulsion ‘Murwgebeukt’ is a fitting eulogy for fallen drummer Maarten Luijsterburg. The album manages to live to its title (a better translation for ‘Murwgebeukt’ would be ‘beaten to a pulp’), and even meet the unrealistic expectations of its decade-long gestation. Brutus makes no concessions, but instead focuses on utter and complete annihilation. – Wouter Roemers

 

Wormed (Spain) – ‘Krighsu’ (Season of Mist)

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Madrid Spain’s purveyors of sci fi brutal tech/death/grind are back in a big way with ‘Krighsu’. This album is a fucking monster with its insane speed, dizzying riffs, and demonical death grunts. Good luck deciphering the concept behind this trip through the extreme reaches of outer space, ‘cuz these vocals are not for the meek metalhead. Need a place to start? I recommend the ferocious yet infectious A-Life Omega Point or Zeroth-Energy Graviton. – FlightofIcarus

Corprophemia (Canada) – ‘Abhorrigenesis’ (CDN Records)

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Every song on ‘Abhorrigenesis’ hits hard and doesn’t let up much at all. Everything is constantly moving, as you would expect from a brutal death metal band. The bass is audible and that’s already a great sign. Sometimes it follows the guitar, sometimes not. The vocals have a unique sound to them; they aren’t guttural, not pig squealy, and not high. The best I can describe is that they are harsh and raw. They are also rather clear for what it is; so hearing the lyrics isn’t as much of a challenge. The drumming is unique for the context as there are times of oddly-timed snare hits, the dissonance of which is charming. If you like brutal death metal that isn’t generic then I highly recommend this album. Andriana Milano

Party Cannon (UK)  – ‘Bong Hit Hospitalisation’ (Gore House Productions)

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Fresh from a fleeting bout of social media infamy, all thanks to the incongruity of their logo amongst the other performers listed on the Bay Area Death Fest poster, Party Cannon are justly in the ascendancy due to their frequent live shows, the excellent ‘Partied in Half’ EP, and now ‘Bong Hit Hospitalisation’, their debut album. The Scottish Slam specialists bring much needed levity and knowing comic perspective to a sub-genre leaden with derivation and cliche (aren’t they all though?) reeling off slams as crushing as anyone you care to name, while peppering the heavy groove with generous doses of speed and technical riffery, combining the Devourment influences with classic Exhumed and Dying Fetus. ‘Bong Hit Hospitalisation’ proves their effectiveness over the longer format and consolidates their deserved standing in the UK Death Metal scene. – Ewan Gibb

Injury Deepen (Indonesia) – ‘Anthropophagous Realm’ (New Standard Elite)

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New Standard Elite, the label that brought you Embodied Torment, has become the spiritual successor to Unique Leader Records. Injury Deepen, from Indonesia, offers up a hefty dose of 2000 styled death metal: atonal, midpaced to fast, completely bereft of guitar solos and adorned with lush Jon Zig artwork. ‘Anthropophagous Realm’ makes no qualms about what it is, or where it influences lie: Beheaded, Inherit Disease, Severed Savior, and Fleshgrind. Actually, this sounds a bit too close for comfort to the Beheaded album ‘Recounts Of Disembodiment’. The artwork even seems to be a modern interpretation of ‘Inbreeding the Anthropophagi’ by Deeds Of Flesh. New Standard Elite has become the go-to label for this particular strain of death metal. – Wouter Roemers

Repulsive Dissection (International) – ‘Church of the Five Precious Wounds’ (Sevared Records)

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Multinational death metal conglomerate Repulsive Dissection sees the coming together of Tom Bradfield (Grindethic Records, Infected Disarray, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Beef Conspiracy) on vocals, Yura Kowalchuk (Ezophagothomia, Ideologies Embodied, Intoxicated) on guitar, Victor Prokofjevs (ex-Bludgeon) on bass, and Dave Billia (Beheaded, ex-Putridity, Septycal Gorge, Xenomorphic Contamination, Antropofagus, Hour of Penance) on drums. This is their 2nd album in 10 years of existence. Put that down to the logistics in organising such far flung parties. ‘Church…’ displays a distinct style in today’s brutal death metal climate (notable in itself considering Brutal Dave’s instantly recognisable battery) thanks to the Demilich style vocals, and the inclusion of chaotic grinding a la Discordance Axis. This is not your usual slab of technical brutality, and all the better for it, surpassing the sum of its considerable parts. – Ewan Gibb

Serocs (International) – ‘And When the Sky was Opened’ (Comatose Music)

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Another band of multi-nationals (hailing from Mexico, the US, Canada, and Finland) with their 3rd album since 2012 following (what feels) swiftly only 2 years on from predecessor, ‘The Next’. The approach from the band has been refined (for the better in my view) to one that is loose but tight, high velocity but rarely blasting, technical but not stiflingly so, ‘…Sky was Opened’ is a refreshing album that hits hard but is not suffocatingly dense, focusing on catchy riffing the 2 guitars interplaying constantly, sometimes to the good and sometimes not so much, but always leading to satisfying leads straight from the Morbid Angel play book. Highly entertaining if admittedly flawed. – Ewan Gibb

 

Iniquitous Deeds (USA) – ‘Incessant Hallucinations’ (New Standard Elite)

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This is mind-boggling. The technicality is over-the-top and the music is oh-so-brutal. I love it when bands push the envelope and Iniquitous Deeds here from US are doing just that. This sounds like a convoluted yet highly delectable mix of Disgorge, Deeds of Flesh, Defeated Sanity and Wormed, and it’s as intense as it gets. One will have to delve into the music to latch on to the crazy speed at which it’s being played. Chances are, if you listen to this using headphones, your head will burst within the first few seconds. This traverses multiple realms, or so it feels like. It’s like a violent, trippy ride, and a relentless one at that. It’s akin to getting multiple blows to your head, so much so, that your brain can barely comprehend with reality after that. This is the stuff that gives meaning to the term ‘brutal death metal’. While memorability can be an issue, for what it’s worth, nothing comes close. It’s delivered with class and what seems like effortless ease. Outstanding. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)

Carnivorous Voracity (Spain) – ‘The Impious Doctrine’ (Amputated Vein Records)

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This is bombastic. Brutal death metal was never this immense. It stinks from every pore and has the girth of a mammoth. It’s beastly, humongous, and bone-rattlingly heavy. It’s like Brodequin, Virulency and Disgorge all rolled into one. The momentum is overpowering and the Spanish band fire on all cylinders. Everything here is coherent and works as an unstoppable unit, almost like a force of nature. Anything getting in the way will be steamrolled. This is true extreme death metal. Anything else is weak. From the moment you press play, you get blown away. Few bands have that first impression. It’s a no brainer. This is it. One of the mightiest albums in this style in recent times. Earth-heaving, bowel-rupturing, body-flailing greatness. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)

Encenathrakh (USA) – ‘Self Titled’ (Independent)

 

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So you like your music extreme? Be honest with yourself. Do you favour sonic output that pushes the boundaries of music, challenging the listener as much as the musicians themselves, or are you content to put up with the umpteenth regurgitation of a musical style defined and perfected over 20 years ago? Encenathrakh are genuinely, off the scale, out there. Death metal from another galaxy, every facet pushed beyond its recognizable limits. This album is a barbarous vortex of free form brutal death metal terrorism, akin to John Coltrane covering Brodequin, or Copremesis cascading down a rocky cliff face to a soundtrack of all the Portal albums played simultaneously, some in fast forward, others in reverse. A release to be experienced and endured, as much as listened to and enjoyed in the traditional sense. – Ewan Gibb

Fungus (International) – ‘Predatory Harvest’ (Ultimate Massacre Productions)

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An international project, Fungus are playing intricate, semi-technical death metal with a massive sound. They’re instantly reminiscent of the post-Suffocation ilk of bands, the more busier and technical ones anyway, like Defeated Sanity, ‘Inbreeding the Anthropophagi’ era Deeds of Flesh, and even Disavowed. The whole thing is pulsating with palpable energy and it throws out a challenge to the listener, which ought to be seized with delight. Fungus waste no time in beating around the bush and right from the start unleash a tornado of in-your-face brutal riffing wrapped around meticulously-structured compositions with able percussion, providing for unceasing momentum despite incorporating tons of variations, that leave you gasping for breath when it’s all over. And then you’d want to put yourself through this utterly gratifying brutal ordeal all over again. Fungus offer much more than what your average brutal band would, and without going the slammy way, hold their own in offering top-notch musicianship and repeat listening value. Kunal Choksi (Editor)

 

Gloom (Spain) – ‘Doggod’ (Morbid Shrine Productions)

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The sheer intensity of the music is impossible to not be caught up in. The sway between death growls and blackened screeches conjures Burn the Priest-era Randy Blythe possessed by steroid-abusing demons. Then there is the guitar. Insanely catchy melodies and killer use of rhythm splatter the listener all over the floor. Riffs are thrashy as hell, combining with death metal to monstrous effect. Think Black Dahlia meets Vader. There are so many great moments, like the abrupt, but perfect, transition to crusty drums and start stop riff of Mass Infection. The racing tremolo lines and double bass of Cosmic Devourer. Bolter and Necromancer are just filled with dirty Devildriver-ish groove, while The Halfman is just endlessly engaging. It’s just a shame I never hear about these guys anywhere else. – FlightofIcarus

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