Hello mutants! Trevor from The Black Dahlia Murder here taking a well-needed break from slaving over lyrics for the impending 9th TBDM album to deliver a barrage of extreme metal goodies for you all to plunder. I’ve assembled quite a crushing line up here, heavy on the Maggot Stomp releases, who are obviously ruling my old school death metal world right now.
The evil cold weather in New York is finally breaking, and I have been able to reclaim enough of my sanity to finally finish this latest installment of underground recommendations, largely unscathed. Check these awesome bands out and as usual, I encourage you to support the bands by picking up their releases in either physical or digital formats. A little love goes a long way in the underground! Thanks for listening, without further delay, I offer 16 Odes to Death and Dismemberment for your most depraved enjoyment.
Breaking Wheel – Ceremonial Torture
WOW! These dudes have improved vastly since I heard them last. Breaking Wheel, hailing from my homeland of Detroit Michigan, have dropped one heavy-as-fuck manifestation of Death Metal-goes-Hardcore, the kind that is driving the kids crazy in recent times. Most of what they do is firmly rooted in old school Swedish death metal. It’s got echoey, cavernous vocals, huge tremolo riffage and a dark end-time vibe. These dudes have some truly wicked grooves… just monstrous! The Hardcore twist is mostly in the immediacy of the material. They do however know how to interject some serious breakdowns (ala Homewrecker) sure to incite some spinkicking in the pit. Its dark, dense, and brimming with a brute force that is simply neanderthalic. This is a great soundtrack to fashioning a new killing shank. Grab this now and get sharpening!
FFO: Gatecreeper, Fuming Mouth, Time Walk, Creeping Death, Homewrecker, Skinfather, Spinebreaker
Chrome Waves – A Grief Observed
Masters of emotive post black metal magic Chrome Waves are back on the scene with a new lineup, following Jeff Wilson’s departure from the underappreciated Wolvhammer. Like the depressive look of the album art, these dudes will have you seeing the world through a colorless grey scale lens of absolute sorrow. Truly gripping, emotive stuff with beautiful slightly shoegaze influenced guitarwork and a nice balance between acerbic black metal vocals and bone chilling melancholic singing. Jeff’s songwriting skills are sharper and more emotionally stirring than ever here. The soul draining weight of this music won’t be for everyone, but you fellow self-loathers are going to absolutely love this. If you’re considering suicide, this album might be the push out the door you’ve been looking for.
Crematory Stench – Grotesque Deformities
I’ve been following these sick Californian throwbacks since their self-titled release in 2016. While the inaugural outing was heavy on the Pestilence influence, 2019 sees Crematory Stench going for an even more earthy and rotten sound. Grotesque Deformities is raw, raucous and echoey old school death heavy on the Swedish and Finnish influence. It’s foul, murky, timeless tape trading-era madness that’s about as authentic sounding as it comes. I can almost guarantee these dudes have shoes with giant tongues and closets full of pit-stained white metal shirts and I wouldn’t want them any other way. True as fuck and truly sick!!!
Deserted Fear – Drowned by Humanity
2019 finds the ever impressive Deserted Fear in more melodic territory than ever before. Amon Amarth, Hypocrisy and bits of latter day Bolt Thrower congeal into a war machine of epic proportion. Very emotive from the first moment, Drowned by Humanity is truly gripping stuff. These dudes know how to hit hard on a really dramatic, serious level. It feels like you are listening to something direly important. A real battle cry from the heart. It’s pure, genuine death metal magic from these young German lightning rods who have managed to get increasingly better with each outing. In my travels I’ve seen these dudes a couple times at the outdoor Euro festivals. Absolutely huge live. I recommend checking them out if you get the chance. These songs are perfectly built to be heard live. I can already imagine the spilling beer and seas of denim vests. Total pros in every regard!
Encoffinized – Chambers of Deprivation
Something about this new Encoffinized full length gives me that grass roots home grown Wild Rags vibe. It’s perfectly imperfect. A little funky and quirky like some old, low budget nineties Finnish shit. Definitely feeling the crazy, trashy snare drum they’ve chosen. That in itself gives the cassette a unique and instantly recognizable sound. The vocals have a gory-yet-evil vibe that I really dig. Indiscernible and completely inhuman. Musically, Encoffinized has a blood-spattered death grind tinge to a lot of what they do, recalling the maggoty classics by Disgrace, Lubricant, and early Xysma as well as the OSDM crawl of Abhorrence and early Amorphis. Speaking of maggots, Maggot Stomp has quickly ascended the ranks to one of my favorite up-and-coming labels out there. Everything they put for is an automatic purchase and is held to the same standard of out-and-out old school death metal quality. Time to dust off the ole cassette deck and see what the ghouls over at Maggot Stomp are all about.
Endless Disease – The End of All Life
This is it! FINALLY a full length from Texan black metal punk ‘n grinders Endless Disease. And its every bit as vitriolic and scathing as I knew it could be. I love how elementary the lyrics are at points. Just sheer blatant nihilism without apology (see: “I hate everything and this fucking world”). I feel it, brothers. These dudes make we want to wear a balaclava and fingerless gloves and throw a molotov directly at a cop’s face. Riff after riff, Endless Disease have the sure-fire juice to keep one listening intently to the entire album. The End of All Life is seriously one of the best iterations of the metal punk combination I have ever heard. Energetic, bottle smashing hatred with all middle fingers blazing the whole way through. That this band remains unsigned absolutely blows my fucking mind. FFO: Impaled Nazarene, Hellhorse, The Ugly, Bonehunter, Rookwood, Craft, Young and In the Way
Fecundation – Morte Cerebral EP
These South Korean killers just keep getting sicker! For my buck, brutal and technical death metal doesn’t get much better than Fecundation. They are at the perfect crossroads of solid songwriting, instrumental prowess and sheer bone snapping brutality. This even sounds good out of my computer’s weak ass speakers, and for brutal death, that kind of clarity is saying something. Severed Savior fans will rejoice upon hearing the thoughtful brutality at hand. Bands like this one are a dying breed, grab this now and be clued in to one of the best brutal acts around.
Gargoyl – Asomatous
WOW! That’s about all I can say to this! New sound alert! David Davidson of Revocation has teamed up with Luke Roberts of the underrated Ayahuasca to create a project so cool it almost defies definition. The closest and most simplified-to-the-tits genre tag I can give them is black metal grunge! That alone should be enough to raise an eyebrow… this is really something special. Atmosphere is the name of the game here folks, and Gargoyl purvey a very unique and unsettling one, to say the very least. Vulnerable, emotional, intelligent… something that to these ears sounds incredibly inventive and fresh. Luke’s singing is outstanding across these two tracks. The haunting layered vocals of Lane Stayley are channeled to bone chilling effect and sit perfectly atop the jangly, gorgeous, cascading guitar work that evokes the majesty of Norway’s Virus (RIP). Sleek, haunting, soul-embedding music oozing with potential. I am definitely left wanting more after the breadth of these two tracks. Bust out the sugar cubes and the absinthe and check them out now so you can say you were cool when they get signed to a big label in the next six months. Also, be sure to check out their upcoming debut live appearances in Boston, Philly, and Brooklyn next month!
Gutless – Mass Extinction
Boy, do I love Maggot Stomp. Anything they put forth is an automatic purchase from this guy. This small California based label keeps churning out the raw and real old school death metal gold and I keep lapping it up. This particular posse of gore slinging bandits hails from Australia, and has links to the sorely missed Sewercide. Deliciously hearty meat and potatoes death metal is what Gutless purvey, and they do it very well. This has a real gory chunkiness to it that recalls not only Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse but fellow Buffalo NY brethren Baphomet and sister band Banished. Gutless however also has a very evil vibe to them overall. It’s as dark as it is bloody. It’s possible to draw parallels between them and A Neccesary Evil era Misery. Just classic straight forward death metal the way it should be. Like many of the classics in early death metal, things get a little wily when the drums start to blast (those old school white knuckle full volume blast beats that overpower everything else). It sounds like a grinding tornado… a train seconds away from crashing off the rails. No throwback detail is overlooked. This could have just as easily come out 27 years ago. It’s timeless. Mass Extinction is a pure, genuine labor of blood-soaked love. Grab the cassette now through Maggot Stomp or a limited CD version through Chaos Records out of Mexico.
Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
Screaming out of the wastelands of New Jersey, Hath have appeared out of relative obscurity this year to drop one hell of a technical melodic black/death metal album on our unsuspecting asses. On paper that genre tag might not grab you by the collar, but I assure you, what you are about to hear is something special indeed. Some of the more death metal elements here have me thinking about label mates Capharnaum or Extol offshoot Fleshkiller. Truly professional, stylish stuff here with expert level musicianship for those looking for some intelligence in their extremity. On the black metal side of the coin, there are some heart stoppingly sick moments that a modern-day Behemoth would kill to have in their repertoire. Throw in some calmer passages ala Opeth or Disilluision and the occasional clean vocal tucked cleverly here and there and you have the gist of what to expect. Jaw dropping material right here folks! Out and out quality from one of the greatest extreme labels of our time, the ever dependable Willowtip. Grab this immediately!
Paroxysmal Butchering – Amygdala
Five long years after the excellent Human Smasher LP, Paroxysmal Butchering has resurfaced out of nowhere, and in sharper and more original form than ever before. Hailing from North County, California, these young brutalitarians have a sound that while firmly rooted in the traditions of California brutal and technical death metal, has a very creative and experimental edge that separates them from the pack. Part of this exceptional creative cannon sees Paroxysmal Butchering dipping into frost-laden black metal territory, a ground less travelled by brutal bands. Amygdala is an exhausting sonic bulldozer of an album, brimming with breakneck speed and youthful intensity. The vocals are completely savage. This dude is spitting rapid syllables and complex cadences at a mile a minute rate… its downright alarming at certain points. Imagine old Arkaik but set to warp drive; complimented by some very well-done black metal flourishes. Crushing breakdowns, inventive turn-arounds and tasty technicality all come to a head in what is easily the bands best output yet. Grab this now and see what blackened brutal death metal is all about!
Rendered Helpless – Suffer, Seraphim
Here we have the sickest entry for slamming brutal death metal so far this year. A solo project of Organectomy vocalist Alex Paul, New Zealand’s Rendered Helpless has achieved it’s final deadly form with Suffer, Seraphim. This one man slamming brutal death assault has gone from formidable to downright crushing over the course of three full lengths. It’s goddamn rare that I hear an album so original in slam that I think “this won’t be replaced in ten minutes” by the next guy with big production. No way! Not here! Where I feel like slamming brutal death often suffers for its lack of creativity, this is simply not the case with Rendered Helpless. There is no shortage of fresh ideas within the crushing advances of Suffer, Seraphim. The flow of the album as a whole is quite thoughtful. Everything here has been calculated for maximum deadly output. No fat whatsoever, just all killer all the time. The attention to detail is what makes this so great. Elements of beatdown, downtempo and some nice atmospheric passages spliced throughout the album marry in way that brings a real touch of intelligence to the genre it so badly needs. A little dash of Immolation’s twisted dissonant genius to color things up. The dynamics here make its most violent moments hit ridiculously hard. Humungous, woofing bass here. The low end is just crushing. The bass guitar sounds like piano notes. It’s a crippling melting pot of percussive slamming force. A slick, perfectly produced muscular juggernaut of brutal death metal punishment. This is for sure the hardest slam album that I’ve heard since Facelift Deformation dropped last year. Complimented by a unique and striking artwork by the legendary Par Olofsson, Suffer, Seraphim is the slamming brutal death metal album to beat in 2019.
Skullsmasher – Rocket Hammer Brain Surgery
Fuck! This is pissed! Skullsmasher is a power trio of face grinding purportions hailing from California and featuring Andrew Lee of Ripped to Shreds fame. It’s fast, twitchy, metallic, for-the-throat grind that seems to owe a lot to gulf coast legends Insect Warfare. The fury here and collective disgust for the smart-phone-staring status quo is quite palpable. These dudes are rallying against the ever-present barrage of digital age propaganda we’re all constantly bombarded with a flaming Molotov of discontent. Eye-popping artwork by the always amazing Shoggoth Kinetics (or as I know him, Lucas Korte of Threatener/xbrainiax fame). Preorder this beast now from the ever-excellent Selfmadegod Records and grind your cellphone addiction into dust!
FFO: Warfuck, Lycanthrophy, Shit Life, Insect Warfare, Kill The Client, P.L.F.
Theories – Vessel
SICK! Seattle death/grinders Theories have returned to the fold in 2019 with a scorching full length offering in Vessel. For grindcore, which I find can be a bit samey in the full length format, this is pretty inventive and varied stuff. It culls from not only the annals of classic Nasum style grind but also injects a good bit of dissonant guitar work, stanky OSDM, finger-pointing hardcore fury, and a dose of vitriolic black metal. There’s something very modern and urban about this album. It’s slams your face specifically on the black top with an unshakeable dystopian vibe. It’s a cavalcade of sonic violence of the highest order and should not be missed. Out next month from one of the sickest new labels out there, Michigan’s own Corpse Flower Records.
FFO: Defeatist, Complete Failure, Absvrdist, Parlamentarisk Sodomi, Triac
Unurnment – Spiritual Penury
This is really sick! Unurnment is a new one-man project featuring Federico Avila of Primal Rite fame, who hear shows his love for mid 90’s-early 2000’s brutal death metal in the Californian tradition of acts like Deeds of Flesh, Rise, and Deprecated rather than the metallic hardcore fury he’s been known for. The material is slammy, chunky, technical and all-the-while catchy death metal heaven of an unpolished sort. It’s really quite varied for what it is. It feels like a lot of ground is covered in only three songs. A satisfying listen, for sure! The drums here have been programmed, but sound pretty damn good. Not a detraction at all. You true underground fiends will be all over this shit. It’s no surprise that Maggot Stomp jumped all over releasing the tape version of this only a day or two after the material was released digitally. I sincerely hope there is more Unurnment on the way. I’m not sure I could survive the full length beating Federico could surely provide. Get this yesterday and join the Maggot Stomp cult!
Urosepsis – Malicious Malpractice
Goddamnit, do I love gory death metal! Nothing draws me in like the promise of severed limbs and intestines flying about in an albums lyrical and visual themes. Urosepsis hail from Texas (does that rhyme?) and unfurl a savage yet technically sound torrent of brutal death mayhem with a flavor for the golden era of brutal death (mid-nineties to early 2000s) which I love so much. Technically a one-man project headed by seasoned scene veteran Shane Elwell (Endless Disease, Vaginal Bear Trap, Intestinal Disgorge, Flesh Consumed), Urosepsis has wisely outsourced the drummer seat this time around to none other than the uber-talented Lyle Cooper (Irreversible Mechanism, Abhorrent, Absvrdist, ex-The Faceless), who does a stunning session job of punishing the skins like redheaded stepchildren. I’ve been praying for more output from Urosepsis ever since Shane’s Spewing Rancid Body Fluid demo hit the airwaves in 2016 and it’s twice as killer this time around. Grab this now and get gory!
That’s all for now, maniacs! Spring is nearly upon us! Hopefully I’ve satisfied your lust for blood til next time. Be sure to pick something up from any bands here that have piqued your interest. Also, I am always open to recommendations. Let me know if there’s something you think you should see here in the pages of The Obituarist in the comment section below. Until next month, happy hunting!
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