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The Obituarist

Trevor From BLACK DAHLIA MURDER's 29 Underground Death Metal Recommendations for September

Hey kids!  The Obituarist is here, back with another round up of killer releases from this year, each sure to decimate you into utter oblivion.  This time I’m featuring a lot more black metal, but as you’d probably expect by now, there’s plenty of brutality mixed in.  Check out the songs, read the info, and support the scene!

Abhorrent – Intransigence

Abhorrent are from another planet!  Actually, they are from Texas.  Sideways progressive and brutal death metal with otherworldly chops… these guys can play their asses off.  You may recognize the name Lyle Cooper from his time in The Faceless or his other band with Abhorrent brainchild Marlon Friday; Texas blackened grinders Absvrdist.  I sang a few crappy backing vocal parts on song on this album.  I think I brought it from a perfect 10 down to a 9 and a half at best.  Sorry guys. [Bandcamp]

Abyssal – Antikatastaseis

Welcome to the vacuum… your friends, your pets, your parents – they’re all dead.   You haven’t seen the light in so long your eyes have become white with cataracts as you are left to slowly spin in the endlessness of a starless space.  Abyssal truly live up to their name here, purveying absolutely hellish and unhinged avante garde Death Metal that will suffocate you beneath blankets of atmospheric blackness.  Listen now and get in on one of the finest releases of the year. [ Bandcamp]

Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est

Do you like Gorguts?  How about Artificial BrainUlcerate?  If you ticked any of those boxes, Ad Nauseam is the band for you.  Dissonant, experimental, mind bending death metal from Italy that will dazzle you into a drooling catatonic state… these guys are experts at what they do and deserve your attention in 2015.

Alda – Passage

Yessir… this is damn good.  At the outset, the harmonized male and female clean vocals that open the album are haunting, with a somewhat folky sound to them that was unexpected; a pleasant and welcome surprise.  The presence of female bassist/cellist is felt immediately; her vocals and cello lines accent the album’s nature themed beauty in a refreshing way.  Some patience may be required when approaching Alda, as Passage is in no hurry to jump into extremity, these druids prefer to take the time to build up some anticipation.  Once they do kick in, an organic Cascadian brand of black metal storms forth from the speakers that could please Agalloch, or Falls Of Rauros fans… it’s earthy, epic and slightly raw; give them an inch and you’ll find yourself lost in the immense woodlands of Alda’s home state of Washington without compass nor guide. [ ]

Bulldozing Bastard – Under The Ram 

These spike clad German warriors play bottle breaking speed metal/black thrash that will incite a riot at the drop of a dime.  These ripping wildcards surely like Italian 80’s legends Bulldozer; who they obviously took their name from, and offer an exciting jean vest donning tribute.  Under The Ram is part Motorhead, part VenomMidnight and Chapel fans will certainly be into this.  Put on your fingerless gloves and get ready to bang your heads! [ ]

Castrensis – Heirarchies

These Danish dervishes have assembled a stunning album in their Sevared records debut Hierarchies, a crushing amalgamation of styles that will undoubtedly see year-end accolade from those craving a fresh sound in the overcrowded world of death metal.  Pulling no punches, Castrensis are hell bent on turning some unsuspecting heads in 2015, culling their multifaceted arsenal from a stylistic melting pot marrying both the familiar and the not so familiar; ranging in approach from blood covered brutality to the slightly avante garde; all dexterously handled in a most refreshingly modern and razor-sharp manner that is taking the brutal death airwaves by storm.  With the ability to deliver catchy tremolo riffing ala Danish stalwarts Panzerchrist one moment, churning Devourment-esque breakdowns the next, and an off kilter experimental edge that is reminiscent of Usipian or Emeth; this Danish death crew is out for blood… but not without an impressive show of intelligence to round out their shapeshifting canon of corpse mincing shred.  When excited to their most speedy and combustive state… Castrensis unleash a veritable torrent of voracious technical deathgrind that recalls Genocide Landscape era Serial Butcher; grotesque, murderous, and surgically exact. Complimented by a deep and gory vocal approach that I personally love; these young Danish gentlemen have got serious skills and I eagerly look forward to whatever moves they make in the distant future. [ ]

Dead in the Manger – Cessation

20 buck spin continues to surprises me.  I for some reason have them pegged in my subconscious as a sheerly stoner rock label, possibly due to the label being named after a Pentagram song, which is just not the case at all.  Vastum, Cauldron Black Ram, and the rowdy Bone Sickness are all absolutely killer bands and all part of their impressive and varied roster.  These particular hellions offer a somewhat sludge injected take on depressive black metal laced with a sizeable helping of grindcore aggro.  Dead In The Manger wield some pretty filthy sounding bottom end to unleash when they feel the time is right; slightly reminiscent of black doomers Dragged Into Sunlight.  The move deftly and through their creatively arranged songs, varying in speed and approach, but there is always a hateful ugliness and overdriven filth to it all, part introspective Krallice, part venom spitting Fukpig.  Cool stuff! [ ]

Death Curse – Death Curse

When I hear Death Curse’s self-titled album; Repulsion, Slaughter (Canada), Rigor Mortis and Atrocity (US) all come to mind, as do Ohio sleaze merchants Nekrofilth who have a similarly juvenile but endearing lyrical approach.  I feel these freaks embody the perfect Razorback records band for 2015… the artwork and morbid Impetigo style fun level are on par with past RR classics like Ghoul and Frightmare.  The distortion on the guitar, or lack there of, gives it such a proto-death metal, tape trading demo days type of lovable vibe to it that is totally retro.  It has a timeless rawness to it.  I would go see a show with these fellas and Ryan Waste’s BAT in a friggin’ heartbeat. [ ]

Disgrace – True Enemy

Old school straight forward death metal and street wise Los Angeles hardcore collide with monstrous results on True Enemy.  Part Bolt Thrower, part Madball.  These dudes are hard as nails.  The have a great death metal element, but they have that tough guy band swagger to them that makes a band like No Zodiac work. Filthy death metal guitar tones playing awesome thugged out grooves… this is a cross pollinating of styles I can live with. [ AllinMerch ]

Ectovoid – Dark Abstraction

Awesome old death metal with some Incantation and Autopsy leanings from good old Arkansas… these fellas are young but channel the web-covered spirit of ancient death metal to great effect.  I had the pleasure of playing alongside Ectovoid once and they were immense live… I recommend you go see them if given the the chance!  If you like Dead Congregation, Necros Christos, Dominus Xul, or Sonne Adam, these guys will suit you like blood-encrusted glove. [ Hellthrasher. ]

False – Untitled

This is just killer… really glad I was exposed to this by a kind soul following me on Twitter.  False play a varied kind of modern black metal, combining the angular, jagged, and spastic style of discordant legends Deathspell Omega with an ethereal synth driven edge with a result that is gripping and at the same time distinctly American.  At full blast, False sounds like a skeleton driven freight train about to derail… they are masters of creating an unnerving tension that just grips the listener by the earlobes.  They also know how to slow it down with some nice open sounding passages that are just huge.  Also, I feel inclined to give props to the vocalist, who reminds me of Smeagol from the old Hobbit cartoon I used to watch every Easter as a youth.  If you like the aforementioned Deathspell Omega, Plebian Granstand, Necrite, Numinous or the like, this will scar you in all the right ways. [ ]

Ghost Bath – Moonlover

This album really took me by surprise.  Ghost Bath play depressive and somewhat Cascadian Post-Black Metal to die for!  I had heard that these guys were from China, turns out it was some kind of ruse by some bored North Dakotans who probably never thought their band would take off.  A fine contender for your best of 2015 year end list, Moonlover is host to swirling, emotive, fogged out guitars that will slowly weave you into the fabrics of their ancient Chinese secret universe.  Longwinded mostly instrumental compositions expertly build and release tension, taking the listener on a journey within.  The tortured banshee-esque vocals by mainman 丹尼斯 have a very familiar depressive style to them; somewhere in the neighborhood of Silencer or Bethelehem… just totally harrowing.  Wisely, the shrieks are set down somewhat low in the mix to keep them from being overbearing.   These young alchemists have that emotive magic that makes japanse screamo veterans Envy great.  They sound like they are playing for their lives and every little turn of it is just wrought with an almost palpable amount of feeling.  I guess these dudes get compared to Deafheaven often, and I can see that but I feel like Ghost Bath has their own rightful place in the scheme of things.  Some of the melodies the band chooses almost sound nostalgic; they can take the wind out of you with their impeccable ability to summon the bittersweet essence of memory… moments that were beautiful and innocent that are now gone with the wind… a bent up photograph of better times fading right in your aging hands.  Towers are falling, the clouds are weeping and Ghost Bath are Eazy-E’s face in the sky in the end of the “Crossroads” video; ruling everything. [ Bandcamp ]

Gravesite – Horrifying Nightmares

Italy strikes again with another OSDM band that sounds like it was spawned in the heyday of early Swedish death metal history; the newest lesion covered legions you’ll love to loathe, Gravesite!  These guys have a darker sound than some of their peers, complimented by the demented vocalizations of mouthpiece Gabri, whose ravings resemble the legendary Christ Reifert of Autopsy fame.  I think these Italians are really good and deserve some attention… the songs have a pretty decent variety and flow to them that keeps me coming back.  Bust out your stationary and your dual cassette tape deck…. It’s time to be transported back to the days of death metal tape trading and Xeroxed zines. [ ]

Gravitational Distortion – The Void Between Worlds

These sick Canadians have come out of nowhere with one of the best slam releases of the year… one that will see them to the top of the heap of the overcrowded genre.  The production is just huge and perfect for what Gravitational Distortion dish out… thick, unrelenting grooves and slams that will smush you into absolute oblivion.  There is nothing new here in any way whatsoever, but its expertly delivered in a way that will see them mentioned in the same breath as genre legends Abominable Putridity and Kraanium… if you slam, this is the demented slab you’ve been waiting for. [ Bandcamp ]

HaarThe Wayward Ceremony

The Wayward Ceremony is a surefire banger for 2015, chock full of killer Scottish black metal that is experimental, atmospheric and downright bad ass.  The twisting, obsidian music is propelled by a vocal that is both clearly understood and venomous as hell, recalling those of the polish Massemord or Ofermod’s excellent Tiamtu… just really remarkable and impossible to ignore.  Deathspell Omega comparisons are inevitable, but I think these Scotts are one of the finest examples of reach of their dissonant influence; Haar have taken what they’ve learned from DsO expanded on it, creating an album wrought with an apocalyptic atmosphere that should not be overlooked by those seeking fresh and intelligent sounding black metal. [ Bandcamp ]

Hæthen – Shaped By Aeonlian Winds

Hæthen are robe clad black metal men of the woods from Philly, PA, bringing forth a well written album of earthy atmospheric tuneage that is sure to excite the senses.  Shaped By Aeonlian Winds is organic in feel but a bit faster than Alda, who I touched on earlier… although similarly nature themed, these guys have more in common with Lake Of Blood and Torrid Husk, melodic but still aggressive and blastbeat prone.   The excellent autumnal feel of the album is complimented by an elegant cover art that will help transport you to Hæthen’s wooded and majestic realm,  You can snatch this up for free from their bandcamp, but it’s worth a buy, trust me. [Bandcamp [

Kraanium – Chronicles Of Perversion

You’ve just got to love Kraanium.  They are the undisputed kings of slam… just the coolest wiggers on earth!  Really, I enjoy listening to anything that Norwegian twins Mats and Martin Funderud touch (see also: Fermented Masturbation and dino-slammers Dragging Entrails), they always bring the subwoofing mindless good time I am looking for in a slam album.  Monstrous downtuned riffs, huge monolithic slams and the grossest vocals this side of a flat brimmed baseball cap amount to a formula that just proves unbeatable here.  With ultraviolent lyrical themes sure to please the most jaded gorehound (see “Rusty Knife Defloration” and “Sodomize Her Headless Corpse”), Chronicles Of Perversion is the gross out you can’t live without this Fall! [ Comatose Music ]

Micawber – The Gods Of Outer Hell

Muscular, well-produced death metal from right here in the good ol’ midwest.  Hard to believe a label hasn’t swept these guys up yet… I could see this being on Comatose or Sevared records easily!  These guys have an excellent groove that recalls Vader or Blood Red Throne and blast with the best of ‘em.  I also hear traces of the early Decapitated output in Micawber’s explosive arsenal.  It’s thick, hammering downtuned death metal with deep vocals that knows how to break things down without going into slam territory… I think Aeon fans could dig this.  Okay, I have to mention the elephant in the room: the cover art.  It looks like a demon mass from the sky is kidnapping a wizard grandpa from his mage grandson… Funny.  Anyhow, don’t let it deter you from the great time you’ll have listening to these Green Bay, Wisconsin slaughterers, they’re truly sick! [ Bandcamp ]

Morbid Vomit – Return To The Crypts

This is the best old school Swedish style death metal record of the year… hands down!  Well, these guys are Finnish, and it’s more of a discography collection of releases from 2012 and 2013… if you want to get technical, but it crushes heads none the less!  The sessions do sound very similar, had I not seen the liner notes of the CD, I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t conceived as one chunk of music.  The tombstone on the back of the packaging alludes to a break up in 2014, but Metal Archives has them listed as active… let’s hope they’ve liked the inevitable praise garnered from this little collection CD and want to make us a bonafide album.  It’s so goddamn catchy, its unreal.,, I think Morbid Vomit is right on par here with Bloodbath and Entrails in terms of creating quality output… this actually strikes me as having more hooks than either band has had in some time.  The vocal is really strong and very striking… dude has a really big voice that just booms… you can’t ignore it.  He drills those lyrics right into your head.  This disc grabs you from second one… right out of the gates and you’re off to the races.  The requisite HM-2 fuzzy guitars sound massive… they create a goddamn wall with the bass guitar.  For one last touch of awesomeness, the finale of this phenomenal slab of death is a previously unreleased Ghost cover tune; turning “Prime Mover” into a swedeath ripper.  A clever idea, and I feel it worked well.  Morbid Vomit… we want more of whatever you’re gonna barf out… you do your thing… we’ll get the saw dust. [ Blast Head Records ]

Nuke – Delta City Demo

Nuke will decimate poser ears!  They brandish a deadly brand of stone washed denim vest wearing Heavy/Thrash/Speed metal from Detroit that has zero to do with anything modern and middle finger attitude in spades.  They have a rad lyrical theme playing up the wasteland-esque nature of modern ghost town Detroit city, complete with a few nods to our most famous fictional export, Robocop!  Featuring an all-star cast of miscreants from some of Michigan’s finest rabble rousers including Shitfucker, Perversion, Anguish, Temple of Void and Acid Witch, the Delta City demo was allegedly recorded in 2013, but has been on ice until April of this year, when it was released on cassette by Dystopian Dogs and made available digitally through the band’s bandcamp site.  Nuke is just sheer lawlessness… if you had set out to record the punk zombie posse from the front of the movie Return Of The Living Dead jamming some pointy-ass BC Rich guitars, this is what you’d surely get.  If you can back Iron Angel, Bulldozer or early (pre-pirate) Running Wild and seek a retro metal rush, these sickos will burn your shadow to the fucking wall! [ Bandcamp ]

Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs

“No blades!  No bows!  Leave your weapons here!” This is some Robin Hood shit, no doubt. Aria Of Vernal Tombs has quickly become one of my favorite black metal albums of the year… it’s just stunning.  Gorgeous and medieval, Obsequiae will transport you from your bedroom to sun-soaked golden fields of ancient times, somewhere far, far away.  The power this record possesses to envelope the listener is just undeniable…  I dare you to smoke some weed and even try to not like this.  The songwriting is highly narrative; and will take you on a great quest, one so vast that the length of the album plays out like an epic movie.  There is some down time between the actual black metal songs, some quiet and peaceful noodlings on ancient sounding instruments that will bring out your inner bard.  Where I would skip this kind of an interlude on a Necros Christos album, these segues are really well done and don’t wear at my patience.  Instead, they ramp up the whole transcendental and fantastic feel of the bigger picture… authenticating Obsequiae’s sagging wooden bridge to the past.  When I play this I see the sun setting red over the silhouettes of magnificent castles, bejeweled crowns, and feasts of plenty … I see majestic lands unspoiled by the hands of mongrel humanity.  Where a lot of bands flirt with the idea of sounding medieval, Obsequiae just nail it in a really awesome way.  I like the rawer old school production here, it sounds dated, as if it was intentionally meant to be stuck in the mid 90’s…  it really matches the cover art; I can see this coming out on Black Mark in 1995 as opposed to an American label in 2015.  I suppose that some comparison to The Mantle-era Agalloch could be drawn, but that’s really the only tie to the modern world I can see. The chorus dipped guitars have a hazy sound that reminds of early Abigor, and are constantly soaring with harmonies that would make Swedish gods Anata proud.  Competent sounding programmed drums are well hidden by the constant barrage of guitar melodies… you won’t be distracted by them, hell, you won’t even notice the drums aren’t real until well after you’ve fallen in love with this album. [ 20buckspin ]

Psychonaut 4 – Dipsomania

The only band anyone has heard of from the Eurasian country of Georgia; Psychonaut 4 return in 2015 with a haunting rocker of an album in Dipsomania, picking up where 2012’s Have a Nice Trip left off. If you’re into the whole suicidal depressive black metal thing, these Georgians do it just as well if not better than their Scandinavian peers.  Lifelover seem to be at the top of their list of influence, but Psychonaut 4 tend to rock it out a little more than the defunct swedes; with some truly headbangable riffs that channel the finest moments of Forgotten Tomb’s output.  The vocals of Graf Von Baphomet are blood curdling; he shrieks, howls and bellows his insanity across the span of Dipsomania, driving the suicidal feel of the music home with reckless abandon.  If you like SDBM and/or hate yourself immensely, grab this slab immediately. [ Talheim Records ]

Putridity – Ignominious Atonement

Putridity may very well be the most brutal thing on planet earth… this album is just annihilating!  Crazy, teched out and fucked up riffs tear by at one zillion miles an hour, making your head spin around, pinch harmonics blazing the whole way.  If there’s one thing I am a sucker for in brutal death metal, its use of an exorbitant amount of pinch harmonics…. Sqwee Sqwee Sqwuh Sqwee!  There they go again… all day long and I absolutely adore it.  The breakdowns on this sucker are just unreal.  Enmity and Disgorge are influences here, and they do their forefathers proud… this utterly insane, twisted guttural death metal of the highest order.  This is a milestone release for the genre that will go down in the brutal hall of fame next to classics like Consume The Forsaken and Psalms Of The Moribund… it’s the new bench mark of how crushing you can be.  As you may recall in my recent interview with now departed drummer Brutal Dave, the line up on this bestial display of violence has already split down the middle, leaving the band currently without a skinsman or vocalist.  Fellow fans, let’s pray the band can respond to such massive losses and will continue to make music of such a high caliber in the coming years.  For now we can worship the pulverizing might of Ignominious Atonement! [ Bandcamp ]

Sulphur Aeon – Gateway To The Antisphere

I am something of a late comer to this album, but goddamn, it’s a mammoth one and a possible contender for death metal album of the year.  For the uninitiated, Sulphur Aeon play humongous and atmospheric death themed after HP Lovecraft’s masterwork Call Of Cthulhu.  Demigod era Behemoth  and hometown Detroit heroes Konkeror come to mind… these dudes are similarly majestic, powerful, and sure to crush any non-believers into cosmic dust.  Take a listen and get this now… the artwork and packaging are dynamite, to boot. [ Van Records ]

Torturerama – Close Encounters of the Morbid Kind

I find the combo of old school Swedish style death metal and gore lyrics to be virtually irresistible, which is definitely the case here with Belgium’s Torturerama.  In my world, the more gore the better… I guess it’s the 15 year old inside.  With a nice thick production having the obligatory HM-2 pedal distortion intact, Torturerama deliver a rowdy death metal banger of an album that will cause Grave fans to rejoice. [BigCartel ]

Unbreakable Hatred – Ruins

I have a previous album by these French Canadian death metal upstarts and it’s decent, but with Ruins, Unbreakable Hatred have really upped the ante on all fronts.   Dying Fetus and early Misery Index style riffing is quite prevalent and done very well.  There is a lot of old school slam in Unbreakable Hatred’s impressive repertoire; the grooves at times recalling Driven To Conquer era Internal Bleeding or the criminally underrated Pyrexia album System Of The Animal.   If you want brutal death that will get your head bobbing but doesn’t just mindlessly chug on Z tuned 8 string guitars, these Canadians just might be the thugs you’ve been searching for. [Indiemerch]

Visera Infest – Verrucous Carcinoma

Viscera Infest play crazy overdriven Disgorge (MEX) worshiping death grind all the way from Japan.  These gorehounds deliver the gruesome goods… as the fucked up cover will probably tell you, you’re in for one disgusting ride.  These putrid Asians purvey cranked blasting violence that will only appeal to the most depraved underground dwellers… sonically, this album is just mental, it sounds all the instrumental tracks are slightly peaking, giving it a really hot, deranged feel.  The snare is straight from Oscar The Grouch’s trash can… it’s overwhelmingly brutal.  Snarling, snorting, vomit faced vocals that are just foul… imagine a shambling mound of gore in the vocal booth with headphones on and a scab incrusted lyric sheet and you have Viscera Infest.  It’s vile, repulsive, horrifying death metal that will send 99% of you running the other way.  Good luck! [ StoreEnvy ]

Visceral Decay – Implosion Psychosis

Let’s get one thing straight… I will fall for the pile of corpses album cover every time.  I will check out every single brutal looking album that features it, and it seems like there’s at least one emerging a week.  These Ecuadorians play uncompromising brutal death metal that could appeal to fans of early Decrepit Birth or fellow countrymen Digging Up, and have in my opinion, made the best pile of bodies album of the year!  The CD is only $9 from Force Fed Merch, your connection to the Indonesian underground here in America! [ BigCartel ]

Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed

Wiegedood… the name looks weird on paper but it’s Dutch for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome… it doesn’t get any more metal than crib death!  Featuring members of Amenra and Oathbreaker, De Doden Hebben Het Goed is a well-executed album chock full of whirling guitars are slightly Cascadian sounding at times; some of what Wiegedood does could be likened to American black metal heroes Wolves In The Throne Room.  Bleak, ominious, and depressive; Wiegedood expertly paint a melodic black metal tapestry with a palette of harrowing grays.  Think Der Weg Einer Freiheit. Woods Of Desolation.  Not the most original stuff in the world by any means, but it’s well done. [ ]

That’s all for this month, folks!  Do your part and pick some of these phenomenal releases up… keep this awesome underground scene of ours flourishing!

Don't forget, The Black Dahlia Murder's new album, Abysmal, is out Friday, Sept. 18th. Stream it here

View all of Trevor's previous recommendations here.

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