Hello you self-loathing mutant scumbags! The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad as The Obituarist here, bringing you your monthly dosage of death and drek!
Boy, have I got some serious aural punishment for you this May! A great bunch of releases this time, some real scorchers that I am confident we’ll be seeing again when year-end-list time should arise this December. Grab a beer, strap on those headphones, and arm your death metal-buying wallets… it’s time for May’s installment of The Obituarist!
Aborted Fetus – The Ancient Spirits of Decay
Eighteen years in, these sick Russians just keep getting better and better. After last year’s kickass The Art of Violent Torture, prolific slamming brutal death horde Aborted Fetus have struck again with the mammoth The Ancient Spirits of Decay. This shit rips! Sinister tremolo riffs and massive, skull-stomping grooves from the Dying Fetus school of thought decimate the listener with a confident ease. You can hear the years of experience under this bands collective belt. Great sound here. It’s raw and lively enough, but still with a monstrous clarity that a good slamming death album requires. Much like brutal death gods Brodequin, the lyrical themes here are fixated on horrendous medieval torture and execution methods ranging from the rack to the brazen bull to the pear of anguish. Grisly stuff! Grab this now from the always impressive Comatose Music.
FFO: Fetor, Jungle Rot, Dawn of Demise
Grab it here
Boethiah – Invocation of the Xenolith
Jesus, that’s a heavy opening to an album! I feel like I’m at my own funeral, being lowered down into the grave as my loved ones look upon, unable to hear my internal cries! That macabre-soaked vibe pretty much sets the pace for the rest of this scorching disc. It’s all graven, dark as fuck Swedish influenced old school death metal of the early Fleshcrawl variety. I know there are countless bands doing this type of swedeath right now, hell I have a handful of them coming to my attention every month doing this column but there is just something really attractive about this album that’s difficult to pinpoint that makes it a necessity in this overcrowded field. It truly seems like a labor of love for the craft of grisly death metal music… there is a homegrown awesomeness to this that makes it less cookie-cutter than some of Boethiah’s contemporaries. In a way, it sounds like a crack-slipping forgotten album of yore rather than something from the 2000’s. The drum machine is a bit of a detraction… the high hats in particular are too loud and sound pretty bad. Thankfully the musical content is so pure and honest that it can be overlooked. Come to think if it, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard HM-2s over programmed drums. Swedish legends Centinex made some killer records without a proper skinsman and this Boethiah is no different. The vocal is cool, kinda like a less wily Chris Reifert (Autopsy). I feel like the strongest suit here is the wide-open moments when they just hit a nasty chord and let it ring. A lot of great horror-movie soundtrack type atmospheres are conjured throughout. Overall, this was a very pleasant surprise and I’m more than happy to share it with you all. At the time of writing this, there are only a few copies of the CD left in their bandcamp store. Act now, or forever hold your dink!
Grab it here
Brutal Blues – BB
Second full-length outing from these Norwegian grindcore deconstructionist weirdos, featuring Steinar of Parlamentarisk Sodomi and Psudoku fame. It’s easy to hear bits of both of his more prominent acts in Brutal Blues… it’s experimentally weird at times like space grinders Psudoku and straight forwardly ripping like Parlamentarisk at others. Brutal Blues excrete intense, mind-bending anti-music bent on scrambling the human brain into a gray hummus-type substance, which it absolutely will do if you aren’t careful. It’s a good thing this is relatively short, I’m not sure how much more sonic punishment I can withstand!
Grab it here
Depravity – Evil Upheaval
Australian powerhouses Depravity are here to bulldoze you into oblivion with their unholy brand of blasting blackened death metal wickedness. Goddamn, these dudes managed to get even sicker since their Obituarist-featured debut EP! It’s somehow even more furious this time around. Do you like Demigod-era Behemoth or sister band Azarath? Perhaps some Morbid Angel? These cats do! They have the perfect blend of the old gods version of death metal and modern, blasting ferocity. Depravity incorporate an impressive modern technical edge and production that places this aural Molotov firmly in the 2018s. Really stunning, tuneful, and professional stuff here that is brimming with fury. If you were a fan of Chaos Inception, these guys should definitely scratch a similar itch. Fucking awesome stuff, do not miss this!
Grab it here
Flesh Hoarder – Homicidal Necrophile
Howling out of San Antonio comes the mighty Flesh Hoarder, a band consisting of many Texan-scene veterans playing a murderous brand of golden era inspired brutal death metal sure to please you gore hounds out there. If you’ve heard Exulcerate or Disfigured (where are few of these cats have come from) you may largely know what to expect here in Homicidal Necrophile. Raw, straight forward, no bullshit brutal death metal of the old school variety. I really dig what these guys are doing, it’s as if they’ve never even heard output from the slam-happy era of modern death metal and are staying their own course. There is still a churning post-Suffocation chunkiness to parts of their cannon but nothing that says “strap on your flat brim, boyz! It’s time to do the hammer dance!” Instead, I feel like Flesh Hoarder has taken some cues from blood splatter of Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse, not unlike early Vile or Prostitute Disfigurement. It is brutal death metal, but it’s also tuneful. There are some seriously fiendish tremolo riffs here. Great stuff! The vocal is a dry guttural that ranges from some indecipherable ree-ree stuff to some more clearly-pronounced territory. Occasionally, some higher backing vocals help punctuate things nicely. I can dig it! If you like your brutality to be true to the ways of old, press play now and let Flesh Hoarder pull your face off with zeal!
FFO: Sodomized, Necrotic Disgorgement, Vile, Mutilated, Prostitute Disfigurement
Grab it here
Heteradelphy – Inundated with Decomposed Torsos
Holy mother of fuck is this shit extreme! One play of that sample track and I simply could not resist! Heteradelphy is yet another face-ripping project of the uber-prolific 28-year-old Taiwanese bad ass Jacob Ning, who you may know from underground dwellers Maggot Colony, Gorepot, or Guttural Corpora Cavernosa. Here he handles all instruments (including drum programming) while outsourcing the vocals to Butters Chang, who does a disgusting job of honoring this horrific musical onslaught. I love seeing Paulo Girardi’s artwork on a brutal release… what a great idea! I’m sure that alone will bring in a few curious listeners… I’d love to be a fly on the wall while this Heteradelphy tune blows their heads to smithereens! If you’re like me and always on the hunt for the most extreme thing going, these guys will surely sate your immediate lust for gore until the next big thing should arise.
FFO: Putridity, Indecent Excision, Menstrual Disconsumed, Disgorge
Grab it here
Immense – Slaughter of Brutality
FUCK! Indonesia strikes again! This might be my favorite entry in this month’s column. It feels like it’s been quite a while since something of this out and out quality has arisen from the crowded Indonesian scene. Countrymen, take note… this is how killer brutal death metal is done! Immense hail from Jakarta and while they do have certain trademarks of the Indonesian sound, these dudes are in a league of their own in terms of variety and overall tunefulness. There is far more dimension to this than the usual 2D world of primitivism we hear from the usual Indo lot. I also feel like Immense have a really nasty sense of groove, something that I find extremely lacking in the super-stiff world of eastern brutality. Decent melodic soloing, tasty harmonic rakes, adventurous song structure… it’s all here, folks! I wouldn’t dare call this original by any means, but it’s definitely just a near-perfect combination of styles and sounds that is downright exciting to the ear. If this is the future of Indonesian death metal, I am beside myself with anticipation. I’ve actually heard Slaughter of Brutality called the album of the year so far by a few esteemed brutalists. Yes, it’s that good! Press play now and find out what the hype is all about!
Grab it here
Just Before Dawn – Tides of Blood
Listen up War Masters! If you can’t get enough late-era Bolt Thrower, then have I got the band for you! Some of you might have heard these cats when they did that awesome BT medley (entitled “We Will Remember Them!”) back when Martin "Kiddie" Kearns sadly passed away in September of 2015, but I’ll bet these guys are new to a lot of you. Made up of leathernecks from both Sweden and the UK, Just Before Dawn exists as a loving tribute to Bolt Thrower’s special brand of tank-treaded old school death metal and Tides of Blood is their most triumphant and battle-ready outing thus far. Hell, they even got Dave Ingram, who fronted BT during their underappreciated Honor Valour Pride album, to do guest vocals on the first single. The slow grind of panzers rolling over a sea of skulls is what you’ll hear, and doubtlessly, if you like old school death, your head will be banging incessantly! Strap on your helmets and sharpen those bayonets… it’s time to go in for close combat.
UPDATE: Holy CRAP! Dave Ingram has joined Just Before Dawn full time?!? Talk about taking your tribute to the next level! Their next output stands to be the most crushing yet!
FFO: Bolt Thrower, Warmaster, Weak Aside, Asphyxiator, Memoriam, Jungle Rot
Grab it here
Micawber – Beyond the Reach of Flame
So stoked to see these Obituarist alumni go from being relative unknowns to clawing their way up the death metal ladder through constant hard work and relentless touring. I guess when you crush this hard, dreams can come true! Post-Vader muscular-as-hell death metal is Micawber’s specialty, and these Wisconsin boys are firing with all guns blazing here with their Prosthetic Records debut Beyond the Reach of Flame. Touches of modern tech death and a flair for the melodic help keep things quite interesting… in fact there are a lot of different styles at play here, a crushing sonic melting pot of cut-throat death metal aggression. The guitar soloing is damn good, too, as added bonus to Micawber’s already deadly formula. I find their energy of the album as a whole to be exceptional and quite addictive. There is an almost shocking amount of intensity brought forth here that only the hungriest artists can replicate. These dudes are literally screaming to be heard! The sound of the album is just huge, thanks in part to the wonderful mastering talents of former The Black Dahlia Murder bassist Ryan “Bart” Williams. Oozing with razor-sharp proficiency and the highest degree of professionality in all aspects, Beyond the Reach of Flame stands to be seen as one of the finest death metal outings of the year, bar none.
FFO: Vader, Abhorrent Decimation, Kronos, Requiem, (old) Decapitated
Grab it here
Necros Christos – Domedon Doxomedon
Let me start by professing my love for this band. Ever since snagging Trivne Impvrity Rites from Metal Haven (RIP) in Chicago ten years ago, I have been a devout follower of Necros Christos and their unholy brand of plodding, catchy-as-fuck darkened death metal mastery. Receiving this whopping three disc (!) album out of nowhere to the promo folder of my inbox was shockingly bitter-sweet. While I’m obviously always down for more output from these shadowy titans, I was greeted with the saddening info that this will be the last piece of Necros Christos’ musical legacy. Yep, these hellions are breaking up, but not without delivering their definitive statement in Domedon Doxomedon. I felt like there was a big jump in overall quality with the last ep Nine Graves and the acquisition of then-new drummer Iván Hernández, and this stark improvement has continued even further in this hellish swansong. Setting pace for the entire album, the eleven-minute opener “I Am Christ” is just monolithically huge. These dudes sure know how to go out with a bang! Present as ever are the polarizing instrumental tracks called “Temples” and “Gates”. They are usually some kind of eerie acoustic meanderings and/or chanting reigning in the ritualistic feel these uber-satanic ghouls strive for. Some people skip them. Some remove them from their ipods or phone altogether! I can go either way… sometimes I’m down to experience the whole “ritual”, and sometimes I’m down to just hear the meat and potatoes death metal tunes without waiting around. Overall, I commend their unwavering seriousness for their art. The evil that these mysterious Germans exude is second to none and will sorely missed by those in the know of this incredibly dark ensemble. Hails to death! Hails to Necros Christos!
Grab it here
Petrification – Hollow of the Void
Portland Oregon denizens Petrification are yet another great addition to the underground scene of the pacific northwest and are poised to turn some long-hair clad heads this year with their first full length offering. These down-tuned demons shovel forth a healthy heap of stanky ol’ grave dirt with their classically informed throwback sound that will have you checking your phone to see what year it is. A nice low-end rumbles permeates the melee of stenchy death metal wickedness which borrows from both the Finnish and Swedish schools of thought. Belial, Eternal Darkness, and the neaderthalic Slugathor come to mind. It’s simple, straight forward grime that excels in it’is a slow-to-midpaced tomb stone dragging grind until the very last drop. I like how the Goreaphobia-esque vocals are tucked into the music, leaving room for the grisly, chainsawing guitars to get their rightful glory. Throw in some cool sea-sick Autopsy-type melodies to accentuate the horror, and you’ve got one rotten outing in Hollow of the Void. Grab this now from the impressive Sentient Ruin label.
Grab it here
Posthuman Abomination – Transcending Embodiment
I didn’t really know what to expect from these brutal Italians. I’d seen the name around but not heard a lick. Turns out that they’re really quite sick and a super group of esteemed scene veterans to boot! Devangelic, Interminable Corruptions, Natron, Clitoridus Invaginatus, Precognitive Holocaust Annotations, Xenomorphic Contamination, ex-Septycal Gorge, ex-Vomit the Soul…. the rapsheet of this Posthuman Abomination project reads like a veritable who’s who of the Italian brutal universe. Really cool to see Davide “Brutal Dave” Billia had a hand in the recording here. It sounds great. A nice balance of fullness and realness. The best of all worlds, really. Musically speaking Transcending Embodiment has a somewhat mechanized feel, like that of countrymen Antropofagus. It’s absolutely bulldozing, intensely heavy brutal-as-fuck death metal chunkiness of the highest order. By the second to last song, I was left feeling like an exhausted piece of human beef straight out of the grinder. The flying kickdrums, huge guitars, and booming vocals of Posthuman Abomination had done me in and it will you, too! Grab this now from the unstoppable Comatose Music!
Grab it here
Taphos – Come Ethereal Somberness
Goddamn, this band is fucking filthy! Taphos hail from Denmark and purvey a dark-as-pitch take on blackened old school death metal that is simply to die for. Like Necros Christos above, these dudes are from Incantation’s school of abysmal death, although a far more energetic version overall than their German brethren. The riffing throughout Come Ethereal Somberness is absolutely suffocating stuff. Guitar passages uncoil like a giant blackened serpent, taking the listener on a never-ending descent into the howling abyss of blackened death nastiness. I love how dense the recording is, everything is so loud-on-purpose that it sounds like the instruments are in a constantly heated battle to be up front and attack the listener. As foretold with their Premonition Promo MMXVII from last year, all three of the tunes from the scathing demo have been resurrected here for your sadomasochistic listening pleasure. Thanks to the Slovenian homie Aleks for the sweet recommendation on these Danish murderers. Grab this now and be a cool dude before they blow up. It’s fucking inevitable!
Grab it here
Thirst Of Revenge – Sinner
Yes, haha, Thirst OF Revenge! Not ESL at all! Anyway, we all get what lone member Carlos Mejias (Catastrophic Evolution, ex-Human Mincer) is trying to say: he’s sick of your shit and coming to fuck you up, brutal death style! I’ve been following this dude since his The Instinct of Evil Is Near ep and he has managed to up the brutality level with each release… Sinner is no exception. It’s faster, heavier, and more developed than his previous outings. I like the atmospheric moments he’s managed to entwine into this beast… there’s a darkened Belphegor type flair to some of the parts here… not the usual fodder for a brutal death band. This has a lot more dimension to it than your Torsofuk or MDMA output, but at times Sinner is just as all out, bat-shit-crazy brutal. Overall, this is a fairly impressive album chock full of clever ideas… don’t let its small one-man stature deter you from the might that is Thirst of Revenge! Out now on Morbid Generation records!
Grab it here
Tomb Mold – Manor Of Infinite Forms
Mold is fucking gross. Tomb Mold is even worse. A great name for a great band purveying dark and stanky old school death metal such as this. These Toronto natives turned a lot of heads with their crushing full length debut last year entitled Primordial Malignity under the Blood Harvest records flag, and it seems like the whole scene is ready to greet this new chapter for the mighty 20 Buck Spin label with open arms. Damn, I love the first riff that opens this monstrous sophomore effort. You can tell you are in for the real deal right from the first second. It has a very foreboding, end-time feel to it. The darkest and most foul corners of Swedish and Finnish death metal history are revisited here in a monolithic mish-mash of cobweb-covered authenticity that would have sent tape traders into a frenzy back in 1990. Vocally, ex-Incantation/Disma legend Craig Pillard is being channeled for a nice dry booming bellow sure to rattle bones everywhere. Not too easy to understand what’s being said and it definitely works for this graven style of unapologetic scuzziness. By the end of this 32-minute beast, you’ll be a desiccated corpse in a computer chair with bottom jaw hanging open in cryptic disbelief. Grab this now and get grisly with one of the best out there.
Grab it here
Torture Rack – Malefic Humiliation
Another sick one from the increasingly impressive roster over at 20 Buck Spin, Portland’s Torture Rack are about to unfurl one kick ass, true-as-fuck OSDM outing in Malefic Humiliation. Bits of tried and true classics like Grave, Autopsy and Asphyx have been horrendously mutated together to form one ugly golem of lumberingly sick, groove filled death. Gotta love that jarringly distorted, bone rattling bass sound. This shit is thick as a brick! Just listen to the teaser track “Festering Castration” and even try to deny their meathook-laden style. You’ll be yanked to pieces in no time flat!
Grab it here
Typhonian – Beneath the Streams of Life
Another exciting OSDM entry this month comes from a relatively unknown German horde by the name of Typhonian. Citing both the Swedish scene of yore and mid-era Bolt Thrower as their core influences, these German crushers are taking no prisoners with their highly addictive, well-written style. Right from the get go, we are greeted with some very …for Victory-esque riffing that will get those necks snappin’ in all their wind-milling, mid-paced glory. Things pick up a great deal on the second track, which goes from a quick blast to some funereal grooves and back. Fist pumping, atmospheric, memorable… Beneath the Streams of Life is all this and more. I definitely feel the cover art choice here, it’s got a timelessness to it that sits perfectly hand in hand with the music. Classic stuff that’s sure to impress!
FFO: Deserted Fear, Dawn of Disease, Bolt Thrower, These Are They
Grab it here
Voices – Frightened
Featuring ex and current members of the stoic Ackercocke and The Antichrist Imperium, the thoughtful and eclectic Voices have returned to the fold with their third outing of progressive black/death genius in the majestic Frightened. It’s artful, stylish marriage of sounds won’t be for everyone, but you thinkers seeking something challenging will fall in love with what these genre-bending freaks are up to. Dynamic, dissonant, and gripping, Frightened will hopefully see Voices getting the attention they so rightfully deserve this year when they year-end list chips fall.
, Virus, Farsot, Ved Buens Ende
Grab it here
My wonderful and well-needed break from touring life is sadly about to come to an end, and I’ll be back to the non-stop grind. We kick things off with a two-week tour to Modified Ghost Fest and back with Obituarist alumni Homewrecker followed quickly by a full-scale North American tour with labelmates and longtime pals in Whitechapel on which we will be performing our entire 2017 album Nightbringers. After that, we’ll be storming the European festival circuit and playing some select shows with UK slammers Ingested. Come hang out and see me jump around like a big, sweaty idiot!
That’s all for now, freaks! Much love to you all out there supporting the underground. I encourage all of you to get hands-on with your local extreme scenes and get out to shows and buy merch. The underground will appreciate your support!