Hello boys and ghouls! Trevor Strnad AKA The Obituarist here at Metal Injection reporting for death metal duty! I am currently hungover in a hotel room in Nashville, TN after a rager of a show last night in Atlanta. Tomorrow, my band, The Black Dahlia Murder, and I will play what surely will be an insane co-headlining show between us and our tour mates, hometown deathcore heroes Whitechapel. To say the tour has gone swimmingly so far would be a major understatement. People have been turning out to this beast in droves!
As usual, I meant to have this edition of the column done a lot earlier than I did, but real life and not having a functional keyboard (damn you Yoo-Hoo!) has made things difficult for me. Thanks to Frank and Rob for their continued patience, as well as all the cats who’ve been so kind as to hook me up with promos in the last while. Last but not least thank you for reading and (hopefully) picking up some of these albums!
Aeviterne – Sireless
Featuring two members of now defunct progressive New York grinders Flourishing as well as current members of Artificial Brain and Gath Šmânê, Aeviterne offer a distinguished dissonant approach to experimental death metal that is longwindedly gripping and creatively diverse. Atmosphere is the name of the game with the two song Sireless, and these dudes sure do impress. Aeviterne opt for a confident mid-paced stride that at times brings Bölzer or Our Place Of Worship Is Silence to mind in terms of its obsidian-black ambiance. Powerful! This is thinking man’s music for you craving something outside the usual box. Challenging, progressive and high textured death metal mastery that sucks you into a lightless void, never to return until the last notes have faded. I saw these dudes play their first show with Krallice and they were very good… an impressive live debut, surely. You’d be wise to keep your eyes on these dudes. I expect big things to come when a full length should arrive! Until then, I’ll keep cranking Sireless and longing for more.
Grab it here
Chthe’ilist – Passage Into The Xexanotth 7" EP
THIS IS EVERYTHING. I fucking love Chthe’ilist like no other. If you’ll remember, Le dernier crépuscule topped my year end list in 2016 in all of its slime dripping ancient glory. I’d even venture to say that nothing I’ve listened to has quite topped it since then, either. It’s just that good. Twisted, alien, Demilich influenced perfection! Thankfully while we await a new full-length outing from these young gods of death, Phil Tougas and crew have decided to fluff our unwaining boners with this tasty little ep. This all too brief seven inch contains one new track (actually, it’s writing pre-dates Le dernier crepuscule) and a cover of Swedish legends Crematory. As expected, it’s utterly disgusting! Get this now or we can’t be friends.
Grab it here
Engulf – Gold and Rust EP
One man wrecking crew Engulf is back with a technical death metal vengeance! Hal Microutsicos has got some serious chops in both the guitar and vocals departments. Gold and Rust is chunky, slick, technical and a lot of times brutal death metal with a great scope of variety and clever songwriting ideas. When it’s time for Engulf to get brutal, the beatdown is handed out in spades. At Engulf’s most muscular moments I am reminded of Cali scene titans Decrepit Birth and Odious Mortem. This wholly delivers on the promise made by last year’s tasty Subsumed Atrocities ep. My only wish is that this was a full length! Where many bands get tiring a few songs in, I am still drooling for more after “Sovereign to the Seven Underworlds” ends. Fucking immense stuff! Grab this now from my friends at Everlasting Spew Records.
Grab it here
Extremity – Coffin Birth
Bay Area old school death grinders Extremity return to the fold in 2018 with a sickening effort in Coffin Birth. Grisly and demented, their first full length offering delivers on the immense promise of Extremely Fucking Dead mini LP on all fronts. It’s darker, groovier, and catchier all around. Again, as with the mini LP, I am really loving the multi-pronged vocal attack. Filthy stuff! A lot of influences are at play here, all of them old school, but overall Extremity strikes me as being largely Finnish influenced… think Mordicus and older Xysma. Grab this now and welcome this cute little grave spawn into your life, you won’t regret it!
Grab it here
Flesh Consumed – Hymns For The Leeches
I’m not sure if this album was supposed to be a surprise but it definitely was to me! I had all but given up on these dudes since their amazing Ecliptic Dimensions of Suffering album came out eight(!) long years ago. I figured them pretty much for dead by now. Even after hearing about Shaune Kelley of Ripping Corpse and Dim Mak joining their ranks in 2013, there was not a peep to be heard from this camp and I was becoming increasingly skeptical. So cool that this has finally been unleashed and so insane to hear a death metal legend like Shaune shacking up with a full on brutal death metal band. He applies his usual sideways and progressive approach to the guitar to the world of out-and-out brutality and the results are quite powerful and unique. As with Ecliptic Dimensions of Suffering, the crushing Hymn For The Leeches embodies everything great about Californian brutal death metal. No one is quite carrying the torch for that late nineties/early 2000’s brutal death metal sound quite as truly as these sick freaks are. Vocalist and mainstay Corey Athos sounds as brutal as ever, easy to understand yet scathingly hellish in approach. Dude is like an even more evil version of Erik Lindmark from Deeds of Flesh. Perfect production and a great mix of all-out blasting mayhem and Suffocation style churning breakdownage makes this an undeniable success. I absolutely love this. There is an undeniably apocalyptic feel throughout the course of this albums duration that only the masters can achieve. Get this now and possess one of the finest brutal outings of the year, bar none!
Grab it here
Gruesome – Twisted Prayers
Chuck Schuldiner’s spirit proudly lives on in the excellent Gruesome. I hope it doesn’t hurt Matt’s feelings that I like Gruesome better than the long running project Exhumed he is more known for. To me, they are both equally tributes to another band’s sound: one Carcass, one Death. This is for sure my favorite Gruesome release yet! As the wonderful Ed Repka artwork surely tells, Twisted Prayers is a loving and carefully executed tribute to Death’s mid-paced classic Spiritual Healing! I can’t believe how well they dialed in the Spiritual Healing production value… the sound is dead fucking on. I love the vocal effect here, absolutely just like Chuck on Spiritual. The drum sound isn’t quite as goofy sounding as old Bill Andrew’s were in 1990, but I think that’s probably for the best. The songs are just excellent… it’s an easy and highly enjoyable listen in one blood-soaked gulp. If you’re like me and simply can’t get enough Death, Gruesome is mostly certainly the answer to your conundrum.
Grab it here
Hoth – Astral Necromancy
Seattle’s Star Wars themed black metal wizards Hoth are back! How this band is still unsigned is fucking beyond me! I hear ten worse bands than this every day that are signed to labels (insert fart sound here). It seems they’ve dialed the Star Wars theme back a bit on this one… not sure what that’s about but this isn’t any less cool for it. Truly great stuff here! I enjoy the frosty, serpentine vocal approach utilized throughout Astral Necromancy. It reminds me of the equally underappreciated Sorcier Des Glaces in their raspy intelligibility. I find Hoth’s musical approach to be largely Swedish at its frigid core. Think the icy tremolo riffage and melancholy of classic bands like Sorhin, Dawn, Naglar, and you’ll be on the right track. I also hear bits of Immortal and even the classic drama of a young Metallica peppered throughout this epic aural quest. There is a lot of blasting passages but they are far more concerned with atmosphere over brutality. At times it’s utterly bleak, at others soaring with triumph. It’s nothing new but it ultimately works very well and comes highly recommended. Join Hoth now on their journey to total global dominion!
Grab it here
Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury
Damn, I love these dudes! Mysterious, artful and violent black metal weirdos Imperial Triumphant have unfurled one hell of a twisted record here in Vile Luxury continuing their musical tribute to the empire state. It’s the most unsettling piece of music they’ve put forth yet. Bath salts in musical form. Dizzyingly complex urban black metal modernity that feels like it could just spin completely out of control at any given second. This music scares the crap out of me, honestly. They seem so mercurially unpredictable that one literally cannot know what to expect next. These gold mask toting freakazoids could effortlessly kill you at any second and wouldn’t bat an eyelash! The din of chaotic aural damage these dudes manage to conjure is second to none. This is very challenging stuff, I don’t think it will be for everyone, but I personally really dig it. Vile Luxury is crazed, skronky, post Deathspell Omega and Gorguts deconstructionist extremity taken to its logical extremes. The piano notes and orchestral touches do wonders to reign in that metropolitan swagger that these dudes so cleverly go for. I haven’t had the good fortune of seeing Imperial Triumphant yet since my move to New York but you can bet I’ve been on the lookout for them. For now I can only imagine how insane this must be live.
Grab it here
Ineffable Demise – Beyond The Marrow Gates
Ineffable Demise are a crushing new international supergroup (of sorts) playing ultra-brutal death metal of savage proportions. Taking influence from titans Defeated Sanity and Putridity and melding them into their own violent affront, these sick guttural demons are sure to turn some heads with the crushing Beyond The Marrow Gates. Michigan based madman James Shuster (Delusional Parasitosis, Scatorgy, Iniquitous Deeds) delivers his signature inhuman guttural vocals while UK’s Tom Allot (also from Scatorgy) handles guitar duties. Bass is expertly handled by Chris Stratton (Iniquitous Deeds) and finally the session drums by Russian grinder Roman Tyutin (ByoNoiseGenerator, Lethality) rule pretty hard. I’m definitely feeling the trashy drum sound. The tom rolls crack me up! It doesn’t get more real than this, ladies and gents! Pure unadulterated brutality via the increasingly impressive Reality Fade records. Preorder it now!
Grab it here
Innumerable Forms – Punishment In Flesh
Boston’s Justin DeTore (Sumerlands, Magic Circle, Mind Eraser) is back as the immeasurably heavy tribute to old school Finnish death metal Innumerable Forms. This time instead of playing everything ehimself, he’s brought in myriad of sick players to back him up including Chris Ulsh of Power Trip and Mammoth Grinder, Jensen Ward from Iron Lung, and Connor Donnegan of Genocide Pact. I am very excited to finally receive a full length beating from this outstanding outfit of crawling, cavernous death metal in the vein of Abhorrence, demo-era Amorphis and early Belial. I can only hope that this album will lead to more live appearances and visibility for this great project. Slow and low, sickly and suffocating, Innumerable Forms will fuck you up just right.
Grab it here
The Konsortium – Rogaland
I haven’t been in much of a black metal mood lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by my album choices for the column over the last long while. It really takes something special to get my black metal boner blood pumping these days and this new release by Norwegian madmen The Konsortium does just that. It’s technical as hell and highly energetic stuff that rewards the listener further with repeated listens. The attention to detail here is pretty remarkable. Rogaland is powerful, memorable, and well thought out stuff that only the storied black metal legacy of the Norwegians could muster. There is a vicious thrash metal edge to a lot of the material here… a touch of Aura Noir’s black thrashing grit. Precise, technical, progressive black metal magic of the highest order. Slight folky touches and eerie clean vocals in the vein of Code or Akercocke are expertly wielded to powerful effect. Overall, this is a highly addictive album and deserves major acclaim.
FFO: Voices, Code, Akercocke, Ascension, Katharsis, Dodsengel
Grab it here
Lago – Sea Of Duress
Lago hail from Arizona and are one of the better Unique Leader signings in quite some time. They play a super solid brand of blackened death metal from the Incantation school of thought with touches of Morbid Angel’s sideways slime that I find to be quite irresistible. It’s very thoughtful and dynamic music that never sacrifices darkness or intensity for the sake of art. My favorite part, of course, is the abuse of pinch harmonics. These guys utilize them in such a way that would godfathers Immolation proud. I also find the vocals to be excellent; a deep, indecipherable dry bellow that will rattle your feeble mortal bones. Every aspect of Sea Of Duress screams of professionalism. If there were a God, Lago would be the biggest band in death metal right now. Overall, this is a stunning and absolutely evil album deserving of praise that has absolutely reserved a high spot on my year-end list already. Get this yesterday!
Mortuous – Through Wilderness
Purveyors of grisly grinding death metal Mortuous come screaming out of the Bay Area of California, hell bent on spreading their foul brand of musical malpractice worldwide with their raucous and rotten debut, Through Wilderness. It’s dark, stanky and authentic death of the classic Incantation variety although with a slight grinding edge, chock full of headbangable riffage and macabre atmosphere. Mortuous operate at a few different speeds ranging from wildly blasting to a slow funereal crawl that sites bands like My Dying Bride or early Paradise Lost. The fast moments get pretty grindcore, having the out of control feel of an about to wreck train. In this way, fellow Bay Area bruisers Extremity could be considered a peer. The slow parts are equally wicked, sometimes effectively channeling the same dismal vibes as the first Fleshcrawl album in all its oppressive glory. Some familiar faces here in ranks of Mortuous… scene veteran Chad Gailey of Necrot fame mans the kit, while ex-Exhumed sicko Mike Beams handles guitar and vocals. I swore I heard a guest vocal from Chris Reifert of Autopsy, which would make sense due to their location in the bay. I’m really enjoying the fuck out of this album, it’s an instant classic. This is a joint release from the killer Tank Crimes and Chad Gailey’s own new label, Carbonized. Grab this now and help out two great labels in one fell swoop.
Grab it here
Nosferatruxe – –
No, I didn’t forget to put the album name. It’s literally "-". Minus? I dunno. Either way, this has to be one of the most extreme brutal death albums I have ever posted here. You will probably hate it! It will only appeal to the most hardcore, most depraved sickos out there who comb the world searching for the most unhinged brutal death metal available. It sounds like it was made in a fucked up shed in the middle of nowhere by actual woman-skinning murderers. When I first pressed play, I thought I was hearing a lo-fi intro that was going to eventually give way to a much bigger production. Nope. This seriously sounds like it was recorded over the phone or to a lone computer mic. I actually like that about it. Like Mexican Disgorge’s horrifying splatter-fest Forensick, Nosferatruxe will grind your sanity down into nothingness. It’s not something I could listen to every day but sometimes I just get in a mood where nothing but the most extreme filth out there will do. Putrid!
FFO: Orchidectomy, Disgorge (mex), Baalsebub, Vituperate, Nefas
Grab it here
Oxygen Destroyer – Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death
Damn, I swear someone told about this band prior, quite a while ago even and now here I am kicking myself about it. Better late than never, right? Anyway, Oxygen Destroyer are a sick Godzilla themed thrash/death metal band out of Washington. Yes, I said Godzilla themed death/trash! Imagine a cross between early Vader and some brutal thrash like Morbid Saint. It’s got those Slayerized Vader riffs that sound like they were born in the flames of hell, while also having a scathing, flesh peeling type of vocal that is just as vicious. Fiery shit! Riff after riff of all killer, no filler, no frills thrashing madness of the highest degree. This got my fist pumping and my heart racing in a way I haven’t felt in a while. Fucking Oxygen Destroyer… truly exciting underground music in a sea of boring. Intensity in ten cities! Get this now!!!
FFO: Vader, Demolition Hammer, Skeletonwitch, Nocturnal Breed, Hypnosia, Dark Angel
Grab it here
Sadistik Forest – Morbid Majesties
Wow! This RULES! I had no experience whatsoever with these guys until I was tipped off by my friend Sergei. He always keeps his finger to the Finnish pulse and thankfully introduced me to this incredible and underrated old school death purveying outfit. Metal Archives says that they’ve been around since 2007… perhaps it’s their lackluster band name that has repelled any kind of fame? Who knows! What I do know is that these guys rip hard! Sadistik Forest play an energetic brand of old school flavored death metal that ranges from slow dirge to wily, blast and grind mayhem and back again. The vocals are foul. I very much enjoy their deep and gurgled nature. Some mean ass tones on this album, too! The bass and guitars form a wall that just bulldozes the listener into utter submission. Even though there is a lot of lurching slow to midpaced sections, there is still A TON of firey oomph here… it sounds like these freaks are firing on all possible cylinders and loving every second of what they are doing. Aside from the typical trudging old school Finnish death aspect there is also a weirdly melodic blackened element boiling just below the surface that really makes things interesting. It’s actually kind of hard to pin down all that Morbid Majesties is with mere words, I would do best to just let the sound clip do the talking. Buying this was a no brainer for me, and I’m sure it’ll be met with the same excitement by any of ye faithful Obituarist readers. SICK!
Grab it here
Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light
What can I say about my old pals in Skeletonwitch? The Black Dahlia Murder has had the pleasure of touring with them countless times all over the globe and I can easily say they are one of the most driven bands around and have assembled a super solid catalog of death thrashing tunes over the years. What I didn’t expect is how much this new iteration of the band would both shock and blow me away! Evolving past their more simplistic balls-out thrash roots to this longwinded eclectic and artful black metal style is a very welcome surprise. Who knew Skeletonwitch could emote like this? Not me. This record belongs largely to Scott Hedrick, who took the reins of most of the songwriting on what feels like a rebirth for the band in Devouring Radiant Light. The pulled back, somewhat relaxed pace of a lot of the material is quite a left turn from the fist pumping Overkill meets Immortal black thrashing attack we’re used to from them, but damn, this is truly great material that is both artful and dripping with purpose. Vocally, Adam Clemans has firmly taken to his new role in the band. His serpentine rasp and thoughtful patterning is wonderfully catchy here. Thematically and visually (damn do I love this stoic artwork) his touch of seriousness and true black darkness resonates quite powerfully, proving that these guys have more than survived the dreaded front man change they experienced in 2016 and have evolved for the better. Out with the deer antlered skeleton mascot dude… shit just got real! Press play now and fall in love with Skeletonwitch 2.0 just as I have. It’s gonna be a big year for these guys, I can smell it already!
Grab it here
Supreme Carnage – Morbid Ways To Die
Morbid Ways To Die, huh? You better sound like Grave if you’re going to call your album that! Luckily for us, Supreme Carnage very much does. These crushing German bruisers channel the second and third Grave albums as well as mining the likes of Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, and Gorefest for a classically informed old school result sure to have you spilling shitty beer on your disgusting yellowed battle vest in no time. If you are feeling a void left by the now defunct Hail of Bullets, this band might help ease the pain.
Grab it here
That’s all for now, mutants! Thanks for your continued readership. I urge you all to get involved in your local underground scenes. Buy physical or digital copies of albums. Buy merch. Go to shows. The underground will thank you and you will find that empty space in your heart magically filled. Also, come see me on the remaining dates of the TBDM/Whitechapel co-headlining tour along with Fleshgod Apocalypse, Aversions Crown and Shadow of Intent. There’s still a ton of great shows ahead!