Stuck in the Filter – August’s Angry Misses

August has been a bastard of a month for me. Not that that’s entirely a bad thing. It’s just been one of those months where nine thousand major events occurred all in the span of a couple of weeks. How I’ve managed to make it through everything only moderately scathed is a blessing that I do not take for granted. I won’t go into greater detail than that here, but suffice it to say that I’m not the same person at the time of this writing that I was at the beginning of the month—but don’t worry, I’m confident it’s for the better.

It bears mentioning that in light of how much I had going on this month, my ability to properly cover the better offerings in the metalverse took a hefty punch to the dick. But just because I missed the opportunity to wax poetic over a bunch of cool stuff doesn’t mean I forgot about them. This segment is my chance to at least touch upon them briefly for your edification, with the help of my fellow colleagues!

Without further ado, the shit we found in August’s filter:

Woman Is the Earth – Dust of Forever

South Dakota isn’t exactly the first place I would pin down as a hotbed for extreme metal. That doesn’t stop progressive post-ish black metal troupe Woman Is the Earth from dropping a scalding block of fierce beauty on an unsuspecting public midway through August. Atmospheric and aggressive at once, this record showcases deft songwriting pinned against memorable riffs (“Crystal Tomb” is a fine example), creating for its audience a hook-laden experience without sacrificing intelligence or flair. Put another way, Dust of Forever is a rock-solid example of a record that succeeds entirely because it is balanced and consistent, confidently perched atop an elevated standard of quality. You’d be remiss to dismiss it.

Utter Scorn – Paroxysmal Endemia

Slam consistently prioritizes brainless fun over all things, but it’s rare when something slammy and brutal is this fun. Rarity makes an unexpected appearance this month, though, with a thicccccc chunk of catchy, burly, and dare I say melodic slam called Paroxysmal Endemia—courtesy of California’s one man band Utter Scorn. “Vivisectionist,” “Virulent Swarm,” “Discriminada,” “Cult of Scorn,” “Into the Arachnoid Pit,” and the perfectly named “Gutter Skulker” all inundate my head with addicting riffs and righteous leads, even pulling out a ripping solo here and again just in case you weren’t excited enough already. Basically, this is a slam record for those that wish slam to be more musical, which could very well mean that I am the only one who waited eagerly for something like this. Trust me, though, when I say that you want it too. You just don’t know it yet.


Ushangvagush – Mntu

One of life’s small pleasures is finding a word that is really satisfying to say. Ushangvagush is just such a word. Go on, try it out now. Another of life’s small pleasures is unexpectedly stumbling across a really cool metal record and then finding it’s also NYP on Bandcamp. Mntu is just such a record. A one-person project coming out of Boston, Ushangvagush’s full-length debut is a savage and emotive chunk of raw black metal, that blends an almost stoner-doom groove with buried melodies and occasional acoustic folk passages to great effect. Channeling an organic fury, there is a wild passion to Mntu that makes for a compelling and harrowing listen. Fuzzy guitars, pummeling drums and snarling, rasped vocals – including those laid onto the folk strings and tribal percussion of “IV” – give a real sense of loss and heartache. Half the songs are titled (and, I assume, sung) in Miꞌkmaq, a First Nations language from the woodland regions of the northeast of what is now the US and Canada, suggesting perhaps a yearning for things lost. Although that is pure speculation on my part, whatever the subject matter, Ushangvagush’s brooding anger (“Npuaqan Ms’t Wen Sama’i’j”), tortured distortion (“Melgwisgat”) and frenzied fury (“Gjiapigj”) paint picture that stuck for me.

Dear Hollow

Vessel of Iniquity – The Doorway

Maybe it’s noise. Maybe it’s music. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Vessel of Iniquity has always made a name for itself by fusing industrial noise and a breakneck interpretation of the blackened arts. While Void of Infinite Horror offered obscene violence cloaked in a supernatural haze, The Doorway offers a distinct destination along the road of obscurity. Balancing scathing black metal shenanigans with occult destination, expect a journey with passages both placid and relentless, but always thickly shrouded in piercing darkness. As it never graces the depths of punishment of its forebears, tracks like “A Glimpse of the Pattern,” “Dying,” and “Self Not Self” are intriguingly evasive, touching on moments of grounded clarity before again drifting into obscurity. The Doorway’s behemoths “By Allusion Called” and “Ascension” offer hypnotizing doses of haunting and surreal black metal soundscapes saturated with industrial effects and balanced by blackened death intensity. Ultimately, sole member S.P. White proves with The Doorway that Vessel of Iniquity’s breed of insanity consistently showcases the “trve kvlt” aesthetic cranked to an eleven,1 but this time with a more refined purpose.

Mouthbreather – I’m Sorry Mr. Salesman

While Pupil Slicer leads the charge for 2021’s mathcore offerings, Massachusetts-based Mouthbreather (who I imagine takes cues from The Bled’s album of the same name) offers a twenty-four minute affair of franticness and nihilism, toeing the line between accessibility and insanity. A release repeatedly delayed following EP’s Dollmeat and Pig, I’m Sorry Mr. Salesman lives up to the hype, balancing early Converge’s blistering heaviness with Coalesce’s bone-snapping groove and Sectioned’s grind brevity. Grooves teeter on the edge of precise and unhinged in highlights like “Wasted Science” and “Cotton Shot,” while eccentric melodies and versatile vocals grace the palette. “Don’t Bring Me Back” and “Tension Underbite” shift tempos more than first-time driver to a manual transmission, while “Why Am I in a Hospital” maddens in its lurching shuddering feedback. Riffs and breakdowns keep I’m Sorry Mr. Salesman grounded in crushing metalcore while the relentless mathy nihilism sends it headfirst into the abyss. Grounding spazzy freakouts and head-bobbing crunch and tasteful brevity, Mouthbreather executes this balance with precision without sacrificing its delightfully apeshit qualities.

Dagtum – Revered Decadence

I’ve been insatiable this year about weird death metal. Just ask Kronos. I keep stealing his stuff. Not that I stole Dagtum, but it feels right up the bony one’s alley. Unapologetically apathetic towards its listeners, it balances bone-crushing riffs, scathing dissonant screeches, and a consistently bleak atmosphere to alienate its listeners. Post-metal and black metal are both pawns in Revered Decadence’s game, as it lurches and squeals and slams along for thirty-eight minutes. Sprawling sludge-inclined riffs straight out of NeurosisGiven to the Rising grace “Avarice Enshrined” and “Monolith of Grace,” blackened Mitochondrion fury spills into “Werewhale,” while squealing harmonic sweeps and abruptly shifting rhythms give “Ill Lit” and “Ocean’s Edge” a uniquely feverish feel. While Dagtum is a newcomer and needs time to hone their craft, there is a distinct wildness and adventurousness about Revered Decadence that recalls the madness of Suffering Hour; it toes the line between insanity and ugliness with jazzy and psychedelic abandon and one foot firmly planted in its atmospheric sensibilities. A fusion of the massiveness of Ulcerate, the jazzy freeform of Flourishing, the meditative but dissonant precision of Rejoice! The Light Has Come, and a uniquely bleak atmosphere all its own, these Filipinos are off to a running start in the dissodeath race.

Steel Druhm

Steel Rhino – Steel Rhino

Yes, yes, I know, Steel Druhm picked this solely because of the name. While that may be why I snagged the promo originally, it’s not why it landed here in Filter World. The brainchild of Mikael Rosengren, Steel Rhino is a no-nonsense, piss and vinegar saturated slab of hard rock and metal borrowing from Pretty Maids and the Big Book of Jørn. On their debut, you get 11 uber-catchy cuts delivered with panache and power by none other than Herbie Langhans (Firewind, Avantasia, ex-Sinbreed, ex- Seventh Avenue). Mindless but fun tunes like “Rhino Attack,” “Steel Rhino,” and “Boom Boom” are way better than they have a right to be thanks to his leathery lungs, while “Fire and Ice,” “Ghost from the Past,” and “New Tomorrow” are quality metal anthems with mucho replay value. Langhans adopts a very Jørn-ish vocal style and it works because Jørn and the writing is geared toward simple, effective hooks. None of the tracks fall short, and how many albums these days accomplish that? This isn’t thinking man’s music, it’s drinking man’s music – a breezy summer rocker with sufficient scrotal power, ideal for get-togethers with idiot friends and buckets of cold suds. Mess with the Rhino party and you get the horn.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Minus the corpsepaint.
« »