XPUS from Italy are invoking the ghosts of the dark and harrowing bands that surfaced in the ’90s such as MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE, INCANTATION and SINISTER, but obviously channeling it through their intensified, dense sound that makes it somewhat unique and frightening. There’s palpable dark energy in this band’s execution and none of it is blurred from chaos, rather it’s brilliantly enunciated and fleshed out for maximum impact. With artwork from the acclaimed artist Misanthropic Art bringing to life their cryptic, graveyard-crawling death metal, the packaging furthermore receives a shot in the arm because of the unique and probably never before done before glow-in-the-dark effect. This is pummelling, dark death metal that doesn’t nod off and makes sure its grip on you keeps tightening.
Death metal band from the UK LIVE BURIAL emerge with an astounding album that melds the best elements of classic death metal from all over. There’s this undeniable rugged and scathing quality that is contrasted with the dark, brooding and often twisted structures. Painful vocals soar over rumbling, heaving parts that hearken back to the days of early DEATH, MORGOTH, ASPHYX and even FLESHCRAWL. There are emotive strains shimmering in a desolate, forsaken landscape. LIVE BURIAL make it all work and it comes through effortlessly. They are forging a powerful sound that will echo through the ancient corridors of this style. ‘Unending Futility’ is an accomplished album that will hold appeal to any fan of well-written death metal and must not be missed.
Australian black metal force WARDAEMONIC return with the mightiest album of their career. They’ve gone from strength to strength and on the new album they’ve even incorporated slower, dissonant parts that work brilliantly when contrasted with their trademark blasting music. This is top-shelf black metal that’s uncompromising and steely in its approach, backed with enough experience to make this memorable and also intriguing enough to keep coming back to it for more. This is superbly executed, timeless form of black metal that melds sounds associated with it into one epic, powerful expression that can be deemed quintessential. ‘Acts of Repentance’ gets more elaborate as it progresses, first pummelling the listener into submission and then casting a spell with their transcendental progressions. This is among the finest albums to come out of Australia and is sure to go down as a landmark album for the unheralded band.
Rage-fuelled adrenaline junkies MEDIUM give us their own fresh take on the grind/crust style with their self-titled debut. Their approach is not very conventional; there’s something unique in the way they blend the best qualities of genres like grind, crust, punk and even death metal and hardcore to make music that’s virtually unforgettable. There’s palpable energy coursing through the entire album, with each song showcasing a slightly different dimension of the band’s own sound. The dark and emotive undercurrent lends to the music a human quality that is not rooted only in aggression like most others in the style; streaks of melodies shimmer through the chaotic blasting parts and leave an indelible effect on you. This is some of the best, honest-to-goodness grind/crust music that you’ll come across in this era, and the most commendable part of it all is that this is from a band from Argentina trying their best to make a mark – the talent is undeniable but the effort and intent is exceptional.
INNARDS play some of the freshest-sounding death metal music where this kind of style goes – they’re taking the best elements of old school death metal and spicing it up with some grind a la early CARCASS, REPULSION and IMPETIGO to create a sizzling blend of both classic styles that’s done to perfection. Founded by ex-GROG guitarist and a bunch of like-minded death metal fanatics, this smashing debut also features vocals from the legend Kam Lee (MASSACRE) as well as guest solos from none other than Frank Blackfire (SODOM). Rooted in the horror movie culture, this one is heaps of fun and has everything that got you into this style in the first place. This is any death metal fan’s wet dream. Get ready for this nasty little debut that’s going to knock you off your feet and will have you begging for more. This one is destined for endless repeat listens.
After years of toiling in the underground, putting out six releases of ever-evolving death metal, COLOSSO have conjured up their finest and partnered with our label to put out their newest and easily their most ambitious one yet. Based on the concept of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, founding member Max Tomé has recruited different vocalists for each song to give them their own identity and it helps that they’re reputed figures in the Portuguese underground namely – Guilherme Henriques of OAK and GAEREA, Diogo Santana of ANALEPSY, and Sérgio Afonso of BLEEDING DISPLAY. Furthermore, to lend a human element to this futuristic album, Robin Stone of NORSE has taken over the drumming duties, with Alexandre Ribeiro of GROG fulfilling the bass responsibilities, while Max Tomé does the rest. The result is a breathtaking and refreshingly diverse album showcasing the myriad aspects of this bold and innovative death metal band without compromising on their aggressive, apocalyptic sound.
This is our most ambitious and diverse label sampler yet. The bands have been carefully handpicked to represent what we feel is the best expression for that particular genre and as such this sampler is segregated as per the different styles we’re specializing in. There’s death metal, grind/crust, technical death metal, black metal, sludge metal, doom metal and of course the avant-garde bands. It’s us our sincere hope that you like some of the music we’re working with and listen to them with an open-mind and see them for what they’re doing within the confines of the specific styles. The artwork for this one, made by Turkka Rantanen, is once again a nod towards our country of origin and its culture albeit having a morbid twist to it, obviously. We can only thank you for your continued support over the years and any proceeds from this will go towards the making of merch, including long sleeves and zipped hoodies. It’s always a challenge to work with lesser known bands but we’re in this for the music and will do everything in our capacity to help them transcend obscurity some more. Here’s a rough demarcation of the genres where possible –
Tracks 1-23 – death metal/grind/crust
Tracks 24-26 – technical death metal
Tracks 27-31 – sludge/doom metal
Tracks 32-41 – black metal
Tracks 42-48 – doom/death metal
Tracks 49-52 – avant-garde metal
This of course isn’t our complete roster and is more of a contemporary annual preview of the new music that we’re working with and what you can expect in the times to come. Not all of it will be released in the year 2020, as some bands have yet to write new songs, but eventually it will happen and you can count on it to be epic. For more information on any of the bands featured on this label sampler, please click on the track to find out.
South American band VERTHEBRAL are a reminder of the potency of death metal coming from their continent. From Paraguay, the band is doing everything right – from the traditionally-rooted riffing to the relentless percussive hammering with savage, barked out vocals to top it all off, everything is meticulously put together and executed to perfection. It’s reminiscent of the Brazilian death metal wave that emerged around the turn of the century and VERTHEBRAL take it a notch higher by imbibing the best qualities, especially the barbaric take on the style, and tempering it with unpredictable tempo changes and whiplashing breakdowns. It’s a sheer thrill for any seasoned death metal fan to bear witness to the raging onslaught and the best part is that the music still lingers in your mind after it’s all over, which proves that it’s not just mindless brutality but a well thought out extreme album that must not be taken lightly.
Members of GAEREA churn out scintillating death/doom metal that’s expansive and harrowing. ‘Lone’ is their debut full length and yet the songwriting is accomplished, as if this is what they were meant to be doing all along. There’s nothing forced here – the music oscillates between the pensive, slow parts to the cathartic, faster ones with relative ease, almost intuitively. The texture of the music does full justice to it all, enhancing the feelings of despair, helplessness and fear, while the Paolo Girardi painting captures the mood perfectly. This is one of the most anticipated releases in the death/doom spectrum and fans wouldn’t be disappointed in the least.