What I’m trying to do here is show the hidden world of the underground as I see it from my neurotic, tunnel visioned hermit hole. Whether or not you think The Black Dahlia Murder is a viable band or complete bullshit, I am a death metal head and I spend almost all of my time with this music. It’s more than a hobby. It’s a passion. I may be pretty sloppy with my English but the main point is getting these bands that I think kick ass some awareness from the masses.
I can only read about Metallica, Meshuggah, BabyMetal and Devin Townsend so much before I wonder if metal publications are even on the same planet as I am let alone in the same scene. How can so many great bands go constantly unnoticed? Why is brutal death metal, which is still growing like a wildfire in popularity at this very moment, shied away from by publications? I never saw myself doing what I’m doing, I think I was waiting for someone else to take the reigns that never showed up. I don’t mean to sound like a prick but I am proud of what I do here at Metal Injection and I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed it too. Without further adieux, here are my picks for this month’s installment.
Antaeus – Condemnation
So ridiculously pumped to see the nihilistic two man troop known as Antaeus back at it again. Lead by the dream team of madman Aosoth vocalist MkM and ex-Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition guitarist Set, they are one of my favorite French Black Metal outfits and Condemnation finds them sounding as vital as they’ve ever been. Right out of the gate we’re struck by that raw and relentless militaristic style that is absolutely cutthroat. It’s so filthy that it’s downright corrosive; almost grindy at times and industrial others. The riffs are savage as fuck and the whole thing just seethes with SATAN in all capital letters. No compromise! It’s grim, post apocalyptic music for the end times. A razor wire wrapped bat right to the kisser. Grab this now stab a baby onto a bayonette with the best of ‘em.
Grab it here
Arizmenda – Beneath This Reality Of Flesh
Bizzaro Cali black metal freak Murdunbad AKA Juan Cabello (also of Kuxan Suum, Dolorvotre, Shataan) is one busy motherfucker. He is a major part of California’s elite Black Twilight Circle, a closed group of extreme individuals creating warped Mexican-American black metal art that’s often heavy on the folk elements. The Crepúsculo Negro (Black Twilight in Spanish) label was created as a vehicle to release the BTC bands music and to centralize the groups efforts into a sort of rebellious movement. Handling all of the instruments at hand, Murdunbad puts on a display of sheer black metal mastery on Beneath This Reality Of Flesh. He summons drug-addled trancelike atmospheric black metal that’s intentionally hazy, unnerving and raw. I merely have a rip but the tape source helps it have a washed out sound… doesn’t sound like it was pro pressed. Believe it or not, Arizmenda is more towards the digestible end of the Crepúsculo Negro spectrum and his last album Stillbirth in the Temple of Venus was three times as weird an unapproachable as this due to it being overly soaked in abrasive effects. I really like this stuff. It’s so organic and untainted. This dude lives and breathes this movement and the passion of Arizmenda is almost tangible. The tape run was limited to 50 copies and is already fetching obscene amounts from collectors who missed the boat. I found evidence that it was up on bandcamp for about a day… wish I could’ve been there to grab a proper FLAC (and also pay for it, like I’ve wanted to). Good luck finding this shit, legally anyway. For now, the whole album is on the youtube link featured above. You can still pitch in however by grabbing a shirt directly from the man himself at Arizmenda’s bandcamp merch store. Be sure to AT LEAST check out the KVLT as FUKK merch pics… they are worth the price of admission alone!
Grab it here
Bacterial Husk – Agnosia Of Omens
Shit! This is awesome. I am loving the resurgence of old school Death/Thrash in the last little while… more of this please! These guys manage a masterful combination of that thrashing death sound with a few progressive OSDM leanings. Bacterial Husk consists of many major players from the Massachusetts scene including ties to Composted, Sexcrement, and Razormaze… Mark Richards, who handles half of the guitar duties is also the talented artist behind Heavy Hand Illustration, who has done some eye-popping shirt designs for TBDM, Pig Destroyer and many others. Right in the first minute I feel like I’m listening to an unreleased Malevolent Creation song from Ten Commandments or something. There’s a fair bit of technical, experimental stuff reminiscent of early Gorguts or Seance sprinkled throughout this bad ass little cassette, too. The vocals are a scary deep and dry bellow… you can’t understand them, and it’s awesome. There is a nice variety here in the tapes short duration. If you liked the muscular stylings of classics like No Return, Dead Head, or the first few Malevolent Creation albums, you simply can’t go wrong with Massholes Bacterial Husk.
Grab it here
Bog Wraith – Viscera EP
Nice name… reminds me of endless Magic The Gathering sessions with my pals back in 7th grade. Due to my macabre nature, I always had a soft spot for the black cards of MTG (Bog Wraith and his undead friends included). These Lansing, Michigan revenants are extremely good and pretty damn fresh sounding to these old man ears. As you’ve probably gathered by now I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with deathcore as a genre. I’ve only recently begun to find bands that excite me. By in large, just hearing the words still triggers an automatic eye roll and anticipation of the worst. Bog Wraith manage to transcend the genre’s trappings and have brought forth an inventive cross pollination of styles incorporating death and black metal with their special brand of swampy weirdness to impressive effect. There are plenty of deathcore bands attempting to incorporate black metal but falling flat on their stretched-eared faces. Bog Wraith thankfully know how to do more than just mindless crappy tremolo picking and they’ve heard more black metal than just Dark Funeral and Dimmu Borgir. They get that being blackened is more than wearing Black Craft Cult shirts and having lit candles onstage. These dudes are the masters of that “spiraling downward" feel. It’s as if you are descending lower and lower into a pit of black slime grossness with each passing moment. The vocals here are a big selling point for me, I love the villainous wet creeper style that has been opted for. Dude sounds like a freakazoid covered in lily pads and pond scum that probably soiled the vocal booth with his swampy swag. I can just imagine a trail of wet footprints leading out of a studio. Well done. Give these hideous harbingers a go, you won’t regret it!
Grab it here
Bullcreek – Osschaert
Dutch death dealers Bullcreek (ex-Burial (NL)) storm forth with the vengeance of war in their hearts. Their offering? Cool mostly mid-paced old school death metal with a very attractive melodic undertone that reminds me slightly of Illdisposed or mid era Hypocrisy. It’s really good stuff and surprisingly emotive if you’ll let it get its hooks into you. The melancholy it exudes is quite infectious. It’s overall pretty slow material but it’s done with such confidence and epic note choices that it doesn’t feel longwinded or boring. There is a lot of well done acoustic and clean guitar parts used to break things up a bit; it all works very nicely together. If you like your death metal professional, classy, epic, and powerful Bullcreek will make you join them on the battlefield for a guaranteed victory. FFO: These Are They, Illdisposed, Hypocrisy, later Bolt Thrower.
Grab it here
Chaos Catharsis – Renaissance Psychotique
Let’s face it. As far as death metal goes, the Canadians know whats up. The concentration of amazing bands in Quebec alone is astounding. There never seems to be a shortage of new talent popping up there yet for whatever reason (language barrier?) awareness of these bands doesn’t always make it over the US border. Content to fight the good fight, Unleash The Underground records is an up and coming French Canadian label I have only become aware of recently when I ordered the Splitwig album, but they seem to have a keen eye on the local Québécois extreme scene as well as the global one. Renaissance Psychotique isn’t much to look at it, and I can’t understand a word of it (it’s frankophone to the bone) but when it comes down to it and the headphones are on, Chaos Catharsis comes out blasting shit hot and and thats where it counts. I’m talking top notch scathing, hate-fueled and at times slightly blackened death metal with a technical flair in the vein of Azarath, Abused Majesty, and Dissenter. It’s fast, muscular ultra evil sounding aggression that’s fairly well produced. I’m guessing from the cover art that all the money was put into recording… I kid, I kid. It sounds good. Tight, yet somewhat raw and forceful. A nice balance. Check out the fine roster amassing over at Unleash The Underground (I have to recommend last years excellent Kaotik album also) for some exciting new extremity.
Coagula – Vile Sacrament EP
This tape was handed off to me by one of Coagula’s members at a TBDM show in Boston. I get handed a lot of weird, crappy stuff on the road but the name and look of it definitely struck me as cool so I made sure to hold onto it. Even the fact that it was a tape vs a CD or download was cult enough to pique my interest. What we have here in Vile Sacrament is old school death metal with a raunchy, crusty as hell twist. It’s energetic, punked out, simplistic and catchy stuff covered in sweat, beer, and layers of HM-2 toting filth! This is a tad more to the stenchy crusty end of the spectrum than a band like Gatecreeper… I would liken them sooner to the mustier War Master. There is more than a healthy downtuned dose of Grave’s early output, particularly reminiscent of the album You’ll Never See. Pretty heavy on the Bolt Thrower as a lot of these crusty dm types are, there is certainly a wicked giddy up to some of this material that will get your heart racing. Overall, this was a pleasant surprise. I hope I am handed more stuff this far up my crotchety old alley in the future.
Grab it here
Cognitive – Deformity
Kick ass technical and brutal death metal here, folks! These New Jersey titans have made the jump to the world renowned Unique Leader and have definitely rose to the occasion and unleashed a fine album in Deformity. The line up has been revamped since the self titled release and I believe the changes to be for the better. This is a tremendous improvement over their self titled release, with a forceful, violent sound somewhere between Origin and Disalvo era Cryptopsy. It’s spastic at times; groovy others with well written songs. The level of musicianship here is notable for sure. There is an off kilter jazzy kind of touch to some of their more serpentine chops that reminds me of Cynic or Polluted Inheritance. If you like Origin, Cryptopsy, Desecravity and the like be sure to check this one out.
Grab it here
Convulsing – Errata
Challenging, mind bending weirdo dissonant death/black metal mix is the name of the game from this one man project out of Sydney Australia. While definitely sharing similarities at times to legends Deathspell Omega and Gorguts, young buck mutli instrumentalist (and drum programming extraordinaire) Brendan Sloan manages to include his own creative spin on this spidery and angular style while straddling a blurry line of whether being a death metal or black metal unit. A percussive Gorguts-ish display of crushing low string skronk will be the first thing to greet the listener, just before Convulsing commence expertly and commandingly unraveling his strange and fluidly shape shifting style. Errata goes from a sublime calm state to an incredible sonic din with ease… this guy has an impressive handle on dynamics. The songwriting is great. It’s all over the place yet so well done. You often get the feeling that you don’t know what is at the next turn with Errata. It’s not as explosively violent as DsO and some of their ilk but few really are. Convulsing is content to groove it out a little more at times. There is a really potent atmosphere with this stuff. There’s a good bit of Gateways To Annihilation’s downtuned slime splattered about. A helping of Maveth-like pitch black, low end-y dark death as well. You know how I like to compare things to other things. I’m just trying to make this a no brainer for you. It’s what I do. I could go on all day trying convey everything this awesome one man band is or you could just press play at the link above. Do yourself a favor and take the leap.
Grab it here
Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom ep
I love this band. I eat this shit up. From moment one of “Redemptive Immolation” I was enthralled… standing dumbfounded in the eerie waves of feedback waiting for the axe to fall. When it finally does, it’s immense. And boy, is it dark. This song crawls over you like a blackened plague and I love every second of it. As far as I see it, Greece’s Dead Congregation are the hideous bastard child of the foulest moments of Immolation and Incantation. It’s too dark for words, what they do. The note choice is always so on point with these guys, it sounds familiarly classic yet at the same time so fresh. There is so much drama built into this one little EP, it’s remarkable. They are this generations genre leaders in a league of their own towering over the countless legions of darkened death metal that have flooded the underground in recent years. If you like Sonne Adam, Necros Christos, Incantation and the like, you’d better quit sleeping on one of the finest bands in all the land.
Grab it here
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Well, it’s that time again… the band that ruined black metal is back! Almost ten years ago when I bought Kenose I predicted that these guys would ascend to the top of the heap and look at them now… Deathspell fanboys have amassed the world over and are waiting for their every single move with bated breath. Look how many fucking people bought this through Bandcamp… you’ll be clicking for a while! We are all lining up to have our faces melted into a waxen goo. Since the first listen I’ve been gauzed up like Darkman and loving every second of it. While I did enjoy Paracletus and Drought, I found them to be heading in a more accessible direction then. I did not expect a return to the dense, unbridled violence of Si Momentum, Kenose, or Fas. It’s utter sonic insanity! Crazed, disjointed dissonant riffs are abound and the drumming is as frantic as ever. With time, this could become my favorite release from them. I just need some more spins to let it all sink in. It’s so crazily dense and nuance filled that it welcomes repeated listens. Get down with the greatest around or stay asleep.
Grab it here
Euphegenia – Promo 2016
Euphegenia is a side project of Guttural Secrete members Randy Thompson and Blue Jensen rounded out by the drumming talents of Cerebral Incubation skinsman Richard Nunez. Their name, as cool as it sounds, is actually a play on the pronunciation of Mrs. Doubfire’s first name Euphegenia. Pretty damn funny. They are brutal as hell and I was pleasantly surprised to realize they had new material inbound. If the two original tracks are indicative of the future of this band, I could see their popularity eventually rivaling that of the much lauded Guttural Secrete. It’s simply that good. The first song opening with a sick Iniquity-esque groove was something I did not expect from these guys. It was grimy as shit as is the entire duration of this brief 3 song promo. This is a slight jump in up quality from the debut ep if you ask me. The riffs are better and masterfully incorporate fragments of shrapnel from a lot of different styles… it’s interesting stuff, to say the least, and that’s actually asking lot for ultra brutal death metal. It’s usually not the most various stuff but these dudes are seasoned brutal experts. Blue Jensen of course sounds as huge as ever. He is the fucking king of the toad man guttural. And finally to round it all off, a fucking crushing Circle Of Dead Children cover. Totally sick! Get on this!
Grab it here
Gaerea – Gaerea
Gaerea is a “mysterious” black metal project out of Italy. There is a definite lack of information on who is making this music… but is this kind of blatant annonymity is so over done right now, is it really even appealing anymore? Masks and cloaks and Mr. X type monikers are what modern black metal is all about… if anything I think it’s getting played out. If 3 out of 5 bands wear cloaks and executioner hoods… where is the fun in that? I for one don’t really care who is making this music. I don’t need that gimmick. It’s good and that’s what really counts. Gaerea provide an artfully woven black metal landscape that is majestic, harrowing, and depressive. It’s nothing new but it’s competently executed and compelling material none the less. I have to give props to Spewy over at the Everlasting Spew for the hook up on this. He was once one of the main proprietors of Italy’s The Spew label, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, has been forced to strike out on his own as The Everlasting Spew label. If you like Secrets Of The Moon, Shining, Merrimack and that kind of sophisticated, slick black metal for the thinker, Gaerea will do you nicely.
Grab it here
Gravebomb – Rot In Putrid Filth
This is fucking sick! Absolutely face ripping HM-2 fueled Swedeath of the highest order right from the motherland. It doesn’t get more authentic than that, folks! Rai Wolters, the friendly and excitable label head at Raw Skull Recordz (and vocalist in the mighty Departed Souls), called them a Dismember clone (in so many words) but these guys are slightly less melodic and often more simplistic in approach. I don’t mean that in a bad way by any means. This is truly some radical stuff. Gravebomb prefer to bulldoze the listener with a bludgeoning akin to Excruciate, Lobotomy or Epitaph… it’s dark, sometimes doomy and always vicious as fuck. If you can’t get enough of that chainsaw guitar in your death metal, these dudes are the casket carbonizing demolition crew you’ve been in search of.
Grab it here
Intricated – The Vortex of Fatal Depravity
Intricated are sick! I find it exciting that the Thai scene has been making some waves lately. I am always rooting for the underdog, and I love when sick sounds emerge from areas where to be in this kind of band must be a real uphill battle in terms of acceptance. We can always count on the Permeated label to bring out the gnarliest in ultra brutal death, they are my favorites in the field aside from New Standard Elite, who are pretty hard to beat. Onto the music. Intricated play an ultra heavy brand of raw breakdown friendly brutal death metal that is not a complete departure from what’s going on over in Indonesia. They share members of other notable Thai bands including Splattered Orgasm and Ecchymosis. The production is raw but very heavy. The breakdowns are laugh out loud crushing at times. There’s nothing new here really but it’s good. It’s some pinch harmonics, some Internal Suffering grindy passages, a bit of Devourment, a dash of churning Suffo type breakdowns. It is however a nice mash up of styles and quite convicted. There is a real intensity to Eastern brutal death, and these guys are no exception. If you like Digging Up, Murtad, Visceral Decay, or Reduced, grab ahold of this beast from the east.
Grab it here
Kastrated – Surge Of Festering Spasticity
UK’s Kastrated unfurl a savage brand of grinding and slamming brutal death metal with a nice variety of technical chops. They have nice various songs with all kinds of paces and ideas, cool slams, and professional production. I would liken them to sorely missed slam heavyweights Vomit The Soul. I’ve gotta say, I’ve been shying away from slam lately due to over exposing myself for a while there, but this is fairly fucking impressive and has me coming right back to it.
The vocals are of a nice gaping variety, coupled with a few high screams and some pretty gnarly REE REEs. I like this kind of singer. You can’t understand a fucking word of it but it’s no less sick. The variation and speed with which the singer switches his styles is notable in its own right. The high screams have that slightly modern deathcoreish youtube screamer “fry” thing going on, but I’ll let it slide this time because everything else is so on point with this band. The tremelo parts are awesome, it’s as if they knew one of my main gripes with slam was the general lack of effort in this department. As I write this I had to stop for a minute during the third song to head bang. I shit you not. It was a real moment where I was possessed by Kastrated’s stylish slams and I can tell you this shit is real as fuck. The next song, Blinded By Faeces starts out similar to the Iniquity groove fest “Spectral Scent”; which is sick as fuck. I like the update. I’m all over this and you should be too.
Grab it here
Martyrdöd – List
Nihilistic d-beating blackened metallic crust madness from this long running Swedish band out of Gothenburg. I have a couple of their earlier albums on disc but admittedly I havent kept up on them in recent years, or much crust at all for that matter. I’ve heard people calling this the best crust album in years if that means anything to you. I’m no real judge here but I know what I like and do find it to be quite excellent, emotive stuff. Top notch recording, production and execution on all fronts. List is oozing with a lively, infectious blood pumping energy. The bulk of what Martyrdöd purvey is dark and miserable, but at times faintly triumphant melodic edge emerges from the fray. The verse riffs in “Wipeout” are just awesome. These guys are a creative bunch and this album absolutely rips. HARD.
Grab it here
Palace Of Worms – The Ladder
Wow! This was a pleasant surprise. California’s growing black metal legacy continues to impress in the creative, and stoic (and quite prolific) one man ensemble Palace Of Worms with his awesome album The Ladder. The intro is very clever and introduces a middle eastern flair that will subtly appear throughout the duration of this colorful album. This is an enjoyable aspect that thankfully doesn’t override the main purpose: to deliver kick ass organic black metal that would do our stateside scene proud. There is a bravely adventurous and sometimes melodic side to the guitar work that brings to mind the works of stand outs Peste Noire and Cali’s own Volahn. The music dares to be obtuse and obscure at one time then and soaring and tuneful others. Tasty bass playing weaves its way throughout offering a nice counterpoint. I find his adeptness at all of these instruments to be damn impressive and his ability to fully realize a vision even more so. Third track “Night World” is slower and somewhat dirgey but very cool. “An Innate Sickness” is a worthwhile palette cleanser, serving to give the listener a second to breathe and long for more of Palace Of Worm’s wizardry. There is a subtle genius to The Ladder that grows with time. It’s layered, deep, multifaceted black metal inventiveness. I’m learning lately to keep my eye on Broken Limbs Recordings for quality underground extremity and you should do the same.
Grab it here
Pighead – Until All Flesh Decays
While I’ve been pretty slammed out lately, this Pighead album is pro enough to make the cut. This is one of the finer slamming brutal death albums I’ve heard in some time. These sick Germans are relentlessly heavy and have ties to fellow quality crushers Intravenous Contamination, of whom I am a fan. Until All Flesh Decays has good riffing, clever technical ideas, humongous subwoofing slams and grimy gutturals for days. The playing is very tight and the attention to minutia makes this a highly playable album. Sonically, this is just crushing. I can’t help but get stoked when I hear this. This is the art of slam perfected. Germany’s Rising Nemesis is one of my favorite labels and this fits right in amongst their roster of top quality output. If you enjoy albums by the bigger names in slam like Abominable Putridity and Kraanium, Pighead will surely send you into an air chopping, wigger-slamming frenzy in no time.
Grab it here
Take Over And Destroy – Take Over And Destroy
Goddamn it. I already wrote this entire thing once and intended it for last months article but alas I didn’t save it properly and eventually forgot all about it in my special stoner way. I guess late is better than never, and this is still one incredible album that I urge you to hear if you haven’t already. Arizona’s shadowy men Take Over And Destroy (I still wish they’d go by TOAD) have amalgamated one vast and tasty pot of witches brew here sure to please. It incorporates sleek, dark, gothic vibes with rocking old school death metal and some horror synth soundtrack aspects and the result is a real head turner. At TOAD’s very core, the bulk of what they do is from the same school of riffed out retro death metal by way of rock as Tribulation and Entombed AD. Imagine a band like this with an injection of unapologetic cleanly-sung Gothic style ala The Cult or Bauhaus, and you have the basics of Take Over And Destroy. There’s a little bit of Type O Negative, too. The singing is actually very well done and I find it to be an asset rather than an afterthought. It’s catchy and it makes me think of the vampy, widowspeaked croons of early TSOL or The Damned. Did I mention the nods to spooky horror soundtrack music ala Goblin that permeate the album? Or their ties to the white hot Gatecreeper? Piss poor summarizations aside, Take Over And Destroy is a very creative and narrative album wrought with an adventurousness that I can greatly appreciate. If you like Cloak, Tribulation, Horrendous or drinking teenaged blood, Take Over And Destroy could be the band of fiends you’ve been looking for.
Grab it here
Void Meditation Cult – Utter the Tongue of the Dead
These guys are almost too evil! Void Meditation Cult play a darkened brand of ritualistic black/death metal that comes straight from the abysmal depths of the hell that is Ohio. The vocals are constantly layered in an extremely frightening fashion combining highs, lows, and creepy whispers that recall Beherit, Acheron and the first Amon (Deicide) demo. Musically, Void Meditation Cult is of the slow plodding variety. It’s pitch fucking black. They spend a good amount of time drilling in those low string trem riffs… they are a bit like Necros Christos in that way. I can imagine live this is pretty evocative of going to H-E double hockey sticks in a hand basket. This is how I like my black/death… downright scary!
Wormhole – Genesis
I have been waiting for this one for some time now it feels like. Wormhole is crushing monstrosity of an international project with it’s core duo, brothers Sanil and Sanjay Kumar based in Baltimore, Maryland. The dual gutturals have been handled by Duncan Bentley of South Africa’s Vulvodynia and Calum Forrest of Scotland’s Operation Cunt Destroyer and Engorging The Autopsy. Their collective minds form the mighty Wormhole, whose brand of slickly modern, slightly deathcore informed technical brutal death metal is out of this world. While a slam/breakdown album at heart, Genesis is a much more vast and creative animal than I was anticipating. I did not expect so much welcome variety from song to song and such a progressive edge to what they do. Also, the end result is overall more death metal than I anticipated… which is of course a good thing. Monstrous grooves, mechanized blast sections and slamming chunkiness are at every turn. Get ready to kick someone near you’s ass into the dirt. Like I mentioned above, it’s not all beatdown with these cats though. There is a lot of spacey proggy stuff that helps break things up nicely and some pretty impressive soloing that was also a good surprise. Overall, I think the slammers will dig this and maybe some of you skeptics as well. Take the plunge!
FFO: Coprocephalic, Visceral Disgorge, Wormed, 7 H Target
Grab it here
Thanks to everyone for stopping by. I appreciate your readership. Please repost this column anywhere you can and help me spread the world. I encourage all of you to follow me on Twitter (@TrevorTBDM) for more recommendations from this year as well as gold and silver nuggets from death metal past.
Happy holidays to everyone, no matter what you’re into. I’ll be back soon with a year end list to rule them all. Stay tuned!