Howdy nerds, The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad as The Obituarist here. Your favorite hunter of all things underground, hellbent on bringing you some skull cracking new tunes this April to keep your ears bleeding. I am currently still recovering from a six-week long tour with the almighty Cannibal Corpse.
The tour was an absolute success but damn, am I tired of being at shows. I have a sticky note on my laptop with all of the sick concerts coming through my new stomping grounds of New York… a truly killer one for almost every day of the week, but I’ve been cautiously opting out. For a moment, I’ve had enough. Weed, Dragon Quest VI, and a nameless cat have been my only friends as I sit in my pajama pants and ponder the universe, resting my ear drums and my aching liver until the call to headbang once again becomes too much to ignore.
“Why don’t you make a Spotify playlist of this stuff?” is one of the most common questions I field on the internet. The answer is that less than half of the releases I post make it to Spotify at all. The playlist would be pretty darn skimpy compared to these actual articles. Spotify is cool in theory but as one of the countless artists on the short end of their stick I take it with a grain of salt. Bands aren’t being paid as promised and their death metal spectrum overall I find to be quite lacking. If you expect to only use Spotify to be on top of your death metal game, you are selling yourself and our beloved scene majorly short. Buy music, go to shows, buy merch, support death fucking metal!
Chalera – Theopobium Excruciation
Damn, have I been anticipating this one! In the massive explosion of insanely brutal bands from Indonesia that came to prominence a few years back, a short two-song demo by a little-known band called Chalera stood out at the top of the heap in 2015. These young bucks purvey an absolutely disgusting brand of post-Disgorge brutality that I find actually shocking in its heaviness. A true rarity to these jaded ears! I was not surprised to see the indomitable New Standard Elite snatch them up and I won’t be surprised when this is one of the most savage albums the label ever releases. I love the way these young maniacs break it down. They seem to know just the right tricks to pull to maximize savagery. The slower, the better! Preorders are up now, stop by the New Standard Elite store and support the greatest brutal death metal label going. Preorder it here
Cist – The Frozen Casket
Holy crap! These young Russian kids sound just like old school Death! It’s love at first bite! After the initial shock wears off, I’m hearing other influences too, absolutely none of which are modern. Sadus, Pestilence, Morgoth… this is strict worship of a thrashy and midrange-y time in death metal long gone by. The authenticity of The Frozen Casket’s sound is downright amazing… it’ll play tricks on your ears! I love seeing young people unashamedly worshipping this kind of music over the slickened tech death options out there. I guess there is hope for the future generations after all!
FFO: Death, Gruesome, Morgoth, Pestilence, Cemetery Filth, Skeletal Remains, Morfin
Preorder it here
Code Error – Code Error
Do you like furious grindcore violently rammed in your earholes? Me too! So do Code Error, a new project featuring members of Singapore’s Wormrot and Maylasia’s Tools Of The Trade. The chaos begins with a tough, hardcore type intro before taking off to full speed blast fest with the second track. This shit cooks! Vocalist Arif from Wormrot is his usual maniac self on the microphone, raging with an indecipherable hatred that compliments the blitzkrieg attack of grindcore mayhem. The riffs are deadly, the bass is jarringly distorted, the drums blast away from here to oblivion. Code Error also sound gnarly at slow speeds. The dirgey parts remind me of Trap Them. The fifth track utilizes this crawling speed to great effect. Overall, there are enough creative ideas tucked in the melee that help keep things interesting from song to song and to make this debut a fun ten-and-a-half-minute listen.
FFO: Cellgraft, Nasum, Rotten Sound, Trap Them
Grab it here
Galvanizer – Sanguine Vigil
Flesh peeling HM-2 madness! Galvanizer come screaming out of Finland with a fuzzed-out sound marrying old school death metal and grindcore in a very appealing manner. It’s raw, galloping, punked-out fury that goes straight for the throat! These guys are a welcome throwback to the tape trading infancy of death metal… to much simpler times. It’s very straight forward stuff that never gets too complicated. They keep it fun. You can really hear the youth of this band on Sanguine Vigil. These dudes are brimming with energy and enthusiasm for their craft. It’s quite endearing. Everlasting Spew is a high-quality label out of Italy. You’d be smart to put checking out their roster on your to-do list. FFO: Xysma, Extremity, Carcass, Haemorrhage, Cartilage (US), VerminGrab it here
Garroted – Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors
Garroted are a talented young death metal band spawned in Walpole, Massachusetts. They play an old school variety of death metal combining many classic elements from the Finnish, Swedish, and American scenes of yore into a melting pot of thinking man’s extremity. This sounds like a total throwback. It feels like an undiscovered gem from the early 90s that just slipped through the cracks. The organic, imperfect analog recording helps sell these vibes tremendously. As with their first demo, there is definitely a Timeghoul vibe present as well as sideways tech wizards Demilich. At their weirdest, Garroted put on a display some seriously warped and challenging riffing and arrangements that will satisfy the most elite of comers. At their most straight forward, they manage tap some sweet war-ready riffs worthy of Armoured Angel or Arghoslent. The longwinded and narrative angle Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors takes is a welcome one. Although its track list boasts only four songs, three of them are over the six-minute mark. The songs are nicely developed and very satisfying. I dig the vocal approach. A classic dry roaring bellow from deep in the gut. There are some scary early Deicide-type layers that I really like. Good old high and low ‘death metal harmony’ vocals, as I’ve come to know them. Overall, this is very cool stuff! Order one now on CD, Cassette or digital and support DIY death metal ingenuity!
FFO: Demilich, Adramelech, Arghoslent, Armoured Angel, Molested, Zealotry
Preorder it here
Gortuary – Divine Indigenous Sacrament
The highly underappreciated Gortuary have returned in 2018 with a hellish full-length album in Divine Indigenous Sacrament, sure to please all brutal death sinners out there. Has it really been eight whole years since Awakening Pestilent Beings? Damn! Time flies in the oversaturated world of brutal death metal releases. After a nice ominous intro track with some harrowing open chords, “Sacrificial Bloodletting” is off to the races. The opening of this song is pure spastic fury… it sounds like being bulldozed by a train run amok. This is a pretty raw recording. It’s still nice and full but the drums are as real as you and me. You can’t always hear every solitary note of what they are doing and I actually like that. It sounds like a real band performing right in front of you. The production here harkens to the pre-protools explosion that took a lot of brutal death metal’s personality away. Divine Indigenous Sacrament is an imperfect beast, but hey, at least it’s authentic! Just ahead of the impressive croaking guttural vocals I find the guitarwork to be the bands strongest suit. Killer ideas, technically impressive with lots of cool harmonics and squeals. Like their previous album, Gortuary still use that wonderful lead guitar to great effect. Nice melodic solos help elevate the material firmly into the third dimension. For brutal death metal, this fairly dynamic and well-crafted stuff with an emphasis on memorability. The extra effort is indeed appreciated by these jaded ears. As much as I’d hate to shit on a label, especially one with such a quality roster, I would not recommend ordering directly from Amputated Vein records as an American citizen. Their store is fucking dreadful, and cd costs and shipping prices are just inexcusably bad. Somebody over there needs a serious wake-up call. I actually somehow saved money by pre-ordering this through Amazon. I’d either do the same if I were you or wait ‘til it hits some distros stateside. You can always grab a digital copy, too.
FFO: Gorgasm, Regurgitation, Broken Hope, Severed Savior, Suture
Grab it here
Homewrecker – Hell Is Here Now
After years of destroying basements and small venues across the nation, Cleveland-area death metal punks Homewrecker have stepped forth with a head-turning full length under the Good Fight records flag that should see them skyrocketing in popularity this year. Hell Is Here Now exists at an interesting crossroads of streetwise hardcore, Slayer-ized metalcore (as I knew it in the ‘90s) and old school death metal. This is by far the most death metal they have sounded… Entombed and Autopsy have crept into their cauldron of molten metal magma more than ever and they sound fucking great for it. I like the lawless multi-vocal approach… dudes channel the raw-as-fuck early days of death metal before the dawn of guttural vocals began to take over. Think Nicke Andersson’s wily vocals on Clandestine. At times a little spastic ala Chris Reifert of Autopsy. Understandable yet feverishly chaotic and dripping with passion! I can dig it. There are some absolutely mean breakdowns on this… some Slayer-tastic ass-kicking parts that would make Integrity proud. I predict many bloody noses in the next two years all cross the US with Hell Is Here Now as the soundtrack. This shit is as real as it gets. It’s fucking primal stuff. I’m glad to say that after all these advancements in art and production, they still maintain their street cred throughout the album’s duration. It’s still got that home-grown DIY awesomeness that made them so appealing in the first place. Homewrecker is rabid, feral punk/death metal played on battle-scarred stratocasters with the straps duct taped on and I wouldn’t want them any other way.
FFO: Gatecreeper, Outer Heaven, Righteous Pigs, Time Walk
Preorder it here
Humanity’s End – Between Life And Death
Damn! This rules hard! I love when cool bands from my home state of Michigan sneak up on me. Humanity’s End is a solo project of sorts from storied local musician Jay Clifton, who I have known primarily as the original drummer of local favorites Earthmover, who were the first local hardcore band I ever fell in love with. When I was young, there was no cooler entity in my high school life than Earthmover. I looked up to them greatly and most of the early shows I went to revolved around them and the killer bands they would bring to town. When Jay contacted me about taking a look at Humanity’s End, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was an honor that he would read the column and also unexpected that he was in a band that he thought would fit in these pages. He was damn right! Humanity’s End shovel on the Swedish OSDM grave dirt without apology and it fucking kills. Between Life And Death sees Jay stepping out from behind the kit to man guitars, bass, and vocals duties… all of which are very well done. I especially love the snarling vocals… much attitude is put forth. The HM-2 sizzle of the guitar is perfectly dialed in. Dismember fodder to the max! I found the material to be convicted and varied enough to make the entire outing an easy and pleasurable listen in one brutal gulp. Stripped down, catchy, no frills death metal worship from the depths of the tomb! FFO: Tormented, Repugnant, Bloodbath, Morbid Vomit
Grab it here
Ingested – The Level Above Human
Manchester, England’s finest slammers have returned in 2018 with a mammoth album in The Level Above Human. A record so goddamned brutal at times I couldn’t believe what my old man ears were hearing! This shit is monstrous! I did not think it possible for them to top their debut, but after taking the plunge into this beast and I’ve forgotten about it almost altogether. This is Ingested in their final form, their potential fully realized in their murderous adulthood. Present as always is the killer pit-churning post-Devourment riffage and absolutely sick vocal cadence by Jay Evans that are perfectly relentless. Let us not forget the 300+bpm kicks from Lynn Jeffs, who puts on one hell of a display of hate-fueled drum battery. Ingested has married in the perfect amount of streetwise hardcore attitude here. That classic knuckle-dragging NYDM swagger. The beatdown here is just relentless… seriously, these breakdowns could not be any harder. I feel like these dudes accepted the challenge to try and out mosh Wrong One To Fuck With. It’s that tough! This is just out and out quality for a slamming brutal death metal album. It’s so professional. These are songs. Well written and varied ones at that. A few tunes in and you’ll have the same revelation I did: this is Ingested’s best album and one of the best slam albums of recent memory. Don’t fuck around. Get this now!
Preorder it here
Kakothanasy – Promo 2018
Sick new two-song promo from France’s technical brutal death grinders Kakothanasy. These dudes are from the Malignancy school of dizzying technicality. Brutal riff shrapnel flies everywhere during the course of these two eye-gouging tracks, replete with thousands of pinch harmonics (which we all know is one of the quickest ways to my chubby heart). Some nice breakdowns peppered throughout. It’s raw, choppy, hectic, erratic and extreme! FFO: Malignancy, Moonfog, Putridity, Intervalle Bizarre, Defeated Sanity
Grab it here
MDMA – Chemical Obliteration
Boy, is this stuff relentless! I’m talking absolutely bananas! MDMA are a two-man brutal death metal group from Spain (both members are moonlighting from the awesome Virulency) hell bent on complete and utter aural devastation. Sheer brutal death ecstasy, if you will! Yes, those are obviously programmed drums you are hearing. I personally like the sound of them. The machinated vibe they create is part of the appeal here in my opinion. This album can exhaust you. A few songs in and you’ll feel like you’ve been ground into human taco meat… it’s just that relentless! Legendary one-man project Heinous Killings is the primary influence here, a total classic of lawless death metal depravity driven by the same too-brutal-to-be-human model of drum machine programming that these crazy Spaniards adhere to. MDMA even utilize some of the same snarling predator-type vocals as Heinous Killings’ Joe Wolfe. Fucking sick! As I’ve mentioned in these pages before, Reality Fade is quickly becoming one of my favorite brutal labels out there along with New Standard Elite and Permeated. Dimitry has an ear for utter brutality and is dedicated to bringing high quality output for the hungry brutalist. The preorder packages for this beast are very cool and feature two color variations of Mark Cooper’s stunning artwork. The ecstasy demon looks lovely in the standard blue edition (herein referred to as Entheogenic) as well as the highly limited red version (called Hyperpyretic). I was very tempted to get them both. Great ideas all around. Get this and get mangled!
Preorder it here
Of Feather And Bone – Bestial Hymns of Perversion
Bestial indeed! Right out of the gates this sucker is screaming lawlessly with bullet belt clad attitude. It’s at interesting cross section of old school Incantation dirge and the violent, almost out of control din conjured up by bands like Conqueror or Black Witchery. Evil when slow, evil when fast! Cavernous, echoey, and blasphemous shit all around from these Denver Colorado denizens of devilish disposition. If you like your black/death filthy, hateful and downright frightening, Of Feather And Bone are the crew for you. FFO: Embrace of Thorns, Blasphemophagher, Diocletian, Teitanblood
Grab it here
Our Place Of Worship Is Silence – With Inexorable Suffering
Progressive bestial black/death? Frankly, I dunno what to call these Californians, but scratch a unique itch you might not realize you even have. Besides, labelling shit is overrated anyway. In a way, I feel like Our Place Of Worship Is Silence have happened upon a sound that is actually something quite fresh. Something not easily achieved in this day and age. A magical aura seems to permeate With Inexorable Suffering. The sludgy, low string style OPOWIS opt for during the bulk of the material is to these ears very modern sounding. The tone of the low tuned chugging actually reminds me of Meshuggah at times and grime of Morbid Angel others, which obviously gives the whole thing a futuristic alien slant rarely heard in this particular end of the ‘blackened’ musical spectrum. There is a real emphasis on dynamics and songcraft but there is still something that keeps these guys firmly tied to the bestial metal thing that’s hard to pinpoint… an obsidian level of blackness that permeates the material. As with their incredible debut, I feel like I’m still hearing a dash of Bölzer in the guitars here, which is welcome, especially in the face of the misfire that was Hero. Our Place Of Worship Is Silence move gracefully and with what feels like an ancient wisdom or awareness but can get fucking crazy (read: bestial) when they choose to. It’s all very calculated to maximize aural damage. I imagine that we’ll be seeing this album again when AOTY list time comes around. Grab this now on LP, CD, and cassette from the awesome Translation Loss records. The beautiful artwork was conjured by Jef “Wrest” Whitehead (Leviathan) and the packaging is just top notch all around. I’m not a vinyl guy really but the pictures I’ve seen of the LP had me drooling like a cartoon wolf.
FFO: Altarage, Teeth, Bölzer
Grab it here
Quantum Hierarchy – Neutron Breed
Right from the first instant of debut EP Neutron Breed, there is something familiar about these guys. An X factor of brilliance that is hard to place. The riffs and songwriting choices are so on point that I felt a sense of nostalgia when listening to them as if I’d heard them before in another life. They do have a lot of Morbid Angel vibes. I’ve long been a sucker for bands who are into trying to replicate the gods Morbid Angel, and especially at their slow and slimiest moments. The grime that makes them so magical is definitely being paraphrased here and to wonderful effect. There are also some pretty blazing Covenant-esque fast parts. Finally, there is a blackened sheen to the entire package that will appeal to the Dark Descent crowd. Thanks to Kyle from Vitriol for turning me on to these guys and to Spewy for sending me the tunes. I definitely love what I’m hearing. FFO: Excommunion, Maveth, Mithras, Azarath, Altars, Sarpanitum
Grab it here
Shockwave Extinction – Posthuman Fragments
This is really impressive stuff! International technical brutal death metal supergroup Shockwave Extinction decimate all comers with this savage two-song demo. When I saw that it boasted members of Indecent Excision, Precognitive Holocaust Annotations AND Darkall Slaves I knew that it would be brutal as shit. Throw in session drum work from newly-crowned Benighted drummer Kevin Paradis and we have a winning team of extreme metal talent. I love the weird electronic beep glitchy sounds incorporated in parts, it gives it a majorly sci-fi feel and a third dimension that is quite unique. I really would enjoy a full-length outing for these guys, perhaps this entry can help stir up some interest for just that. Be sure to bombard their bandcamp and social media if you like what you hear, I will do the same until we have the ear drum punishing full length I’m sure these space mutants are capable of making.
Grab it here
Unbirth – Fleshforged Columns of Deceit
Super stoked to see Italian brutal and technical death wizards Unbirth now under the New Standard Elite banner. More props to label head Dan Osborn for doing what he always does… finding and enlisting only the sickest of the sick! These dudes are from the Suffocation school of brutal death metal thought, but they also have an uber-virtuosic technical edge to them that could excite fans of Soreption. The material is artful and crushing golden era brutal death metal without any of the mindless trappings of modern slam death. The riffing is delightfully twisted, razor sharp and even quite memorable. Press play now and behold one of the finest brutal death installments of the year so far.
FFO: Carnophage, Vulnus, Decrepit Birth, Severed Savior, Kronos
Preorder it here
Vomitor – Pestilent Death
Underground Bestial black/death/thrash legends Vomitor return from the abyss to grace our ears with a new dose of unbridled hatred for mankind entitled Pestilent Death. Hailing from Brisbane Australia, you’d be hard pressed to find a band that gives less of a fuck than Vomitor and I mean that in the best way possible! These spikes ‘n’ bullet belt clad warriors play raw and primitive death metal music influenced by the most extrem underground releases of the 80’s. Mining from the likes of classic acts such as Bathory, Sodom, and Destruction to wilder territories offered by Sarcofago and Sadistik Exekution, the result is a razor wire wrapped baseball bat of jagged combative metal right to the listener’s unsuspecting grill. Vomitor are truer than true black thrash mayhem, crushing the PC norm with a spike-clad fist. Not for the faint of heart! FFO: Destroyer 666, Bestial Warlust, Perversor, Sacrofago, Antichrist
Preorder it here
Warfuck – This Was Supposed To Be Fun
Have you punched yourself in the chops today? It’s not too late to press play NOW on this new Warfuck album! For the uninitiated, Warfuck are a grindcore duo from Lyon, France that absolutely rip face. I’m not as up on grind as some people but I do know what I like and what these French freaks purvey is definitely a style that appeals to me. Sheer blasting anger with touches of artful dissonance! These dudes seem to take influence from bands like Nasum and Gadget. Like them, Warfuck utilize the HM-2 fury whilst simultaneously being tight as balls and brimming with creative songwriting ideas. The stops, starts and chokes are deadly stuff. There is an almost vorpal sharpness to this very calculated grinding attack. This shit is razor fucking sharp. Not once will you be put off by their smallish two-man stature, this is absolutely fulfilling material if you are in to this kind of music. *Sorry for the lack of proper video, this studio preview is the only glimpse of the material they have released so far.
FFO: FUBAR, Gadget, Noisear, Nasum, Cerebral Turbulency
Stalk the upcoming preorder here
Whoresnation – Mephitism
Piss and vinegar fueled arsonists Whoresnation are another standout act purveying French grindcore for these increasingly violent times. Like the excellent Warfuck above, these guys are not fucking around in the least. Mephitism hauls infernal grindcore ass! Whereas Warfuck has a more Swedish tinge, I find Whoresnation to be a bit more aligned with straight forward brutal Texan legends Insect Warfare. I’m talking insanely, blood-boilingly intense. Fast as fuck with hairsplitting death/grind riffs yet still with a good enough attention to detail to help chop things up and make Mephitism an appealing listen. The vocals are deep, dry bellows and the guitar is cut throat display of metallic grindcore mayhem to the maximum. Get this now.
FFO: Insect Warfare, Kill The Client, P.L.F., Wormrot, Shit Life, Deathtoll 80k
Grab it here
Alright boys and ghouls, that’s it for this month’s installment of The Obituarist! Thanks to both Whoresnation and Warfuck for contacting me, it was a pleasant surprise two be tapped by two of three of my favorite French grinders in the same week (the third being Chiens).
Also, a big thanks to Ingested, Garroted, Homewrecker, Humanity’s End, Our Place Of Worship Is Silence, and Spewy of Everlasting Spew for trusting me with early peeks at their albums, it is an honor I greatly respect and appreciate. I’m still sitting on a stunning album from Arizona’s Lago, just waiting for that first preview song to drop so I can begin ranting about how good it is… so look forward to that one and many more in next month’s installment!