Stuck in the Filter – February’s Angry Misses

The year trundles on, and the world only gets angrier. As above, so below, and we below are very, very angry. So angry, in fact, that we decided to makeshift some spiked Louisville Sluggers and demolish our filtration system entirely. Fuck the system!

And wouldn’t you know it? There was a ton of shiny nuggets strewn amongst the rubble that once was our only means of cleaning the “air” we breathe down here. Ah well, who needs it!1

TheKenWord’s Toxic Temptations

Devoured Elysium – Void Grave

I love good slam. But what even is “good” slam? Well, obviously, slams are a requirement, but they gotta be beefier than a roided-up bull. Good slam also must have the filthiest, most disgusting voKILLS known to man. And let’s not forget the…. wait, piano? Strings? I didn’t think that was part of the deal! Turkey’s Devoured Elysium apparently doesn’t give a shit about deals or agreements and infused their murky, mountainous and misanthropic Void Grave with just the lightest touch of orchestra and piano embellishment to dramatize their absolutely unfuckwithable take on brutal slam. You don’t believe me? Go ahead, sample “Deux Ex Machina,” “Mastermind,” “Chrono-Shift” or “Slam Panzer.” If you survive, I’ll eat my square pants!

Dear Hollow’s Suffocating Selections

Meslamtaea – Weemoedsklanken

One of the coolest covers to grace the year and a kitchen sink of influences, Meslamtaea was surrounded by hype. A project of Floris Velthuis of Asgrauw fame, their third full-length lives up to its name, translated as “melancholy sounds.” You might interpret this as an overload of atmosphere or post-black, but Meslamtaea doesn’t forsake its bite for its bark. Shredding and stinging tremolo lead the charge, as fellow Asgrauw member Kaos providing unholy shrieks, while somber synths and jazzy plucking fall like rain across this barren landscape. From the White Ward-esque “Moegestreden,” the Dissection-esque “Grauwe muren,” to the Ved Buens Ende-isms of “Verstoten,” it’s an album rife with inconsistencies, mostly good but some jarring. But all point to the dreary and burned-out cities of the future, when men stop trying – when, in the words of Blake Butler, “there is no one remaining who can see.”

Inerth – Void

You got some Warcrab? You got some Pantera? Toss in some Demon Hunter and you’ve got yourself Inerth, a Spanish quintet with their debut Void. Featuring sludgy death metal with a penchant for groove and an industrial edge, it creates social commentary the way its former grindy incarnation Looking For An Answer began. Recalling last year’s LLNN in absolutely bludgeoning riffs that settle first and foremost, tracks like “Resilience In” and “Brave New Cold War” kick your teeth in with extreme prejudice. An unforgiving riff-fest with a nice spotlight shone on bass, Void features some truly disconcerting attacks alongside, such as the desolate soundscapes of “Paranoiac Critical Solitude” or “Visions of Truth,” which balance heavy riffs with apathetic clean vocals and sprawling synths to a nearly post-metal degree, while “Dismantle the Illusion” and “Nadir” are masterclasses in slow burn. Feeling a tad long and needing some trimming, look out for these Spanish curb-stompers in their next release.

Carcharodon’s Caustic Catches

Svrm – Червів майбутня здобич

Ok, yes, sure, this is an EP. But given the state of the fucking world right now, I don’t care for your opprobrium. What I do care about, and what you should too, is that Ukrainian one-man outfit Svrm has put out a killer slab of harsh yet melodic depressive black metal and, frankly, he could probably do with your support. Murky, muddy and devastating, Червів майбутня здобич, is 17 minutes of miserable, eerie desolation that captures something of the current zeitgeist. Mixing strummed acoustic passages, buzzing tremolos and thunderously raw melodic black metal alongside agonized rasping vocals, Svrm carries the listener into a black pit of despair. In this space, the very occasional glimpses of light and levity fade as quickly as they appear. Mixing something of the eerie, otherworldly soundscapes of Koldovstvo with the harrowing harshness of Fluisteraars, Червів майбутня здобич is a very worthy investment of your time, and money. Based out of Kharkiv, I have no idea whether we will ever hear more from Svrm but I certainly hope so. Fuck this war and fuck Putin.

Kurokuma – Born of Obsidian

Kurokuma is something of an oddity. Hailing from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK, Kurokuma has opted to theme its debut full-length around Mesoamerican myth and the blood-drenched history that accompanies it. Walking a line that straddles doom, sludge and stoner, Born of Obsidian is packed with meaty riffs, huge grooving bass lines and hooks for days. The bellowed post-hardcore-esque vocals aren’t necessarily the strongest feature of this record but the sheer array of influences and jaunty don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that pervades Born of Obsidian are hard to resist. From the mellow percussion and melodic flourishes that open “Jaguar” to the staccato chug of “Sacrifice to Huitzilopchtli” and the squealing, distorted riffs that dominate the middle sections of “Under the Fifth Sun,” Kurokuma are by degrees savage, hulking, technical, restrained … For a debut, this excites me. There is no doubt Kurokuma have huge potential and while that may, for now, be in very rough and unfinished form, I can’t wait to see where these guys go next.


Steel Druhm’s Virulent Victories

Smith & Swanson – Smith & Swanson 

Shamefully overlooked upon a release was a nifty little collaboration between Phil Swanson of Briton Rites, Sumerlands, and Seamount and Tim Schmidt,2 who also logged time in Seamount as well as Thronehammer. Playing the same kind of old school, stripped-down doom heard on Seamount’s output, the duo riff and rumble through the history of burly American doom (biker and otherwise). Punchy tunes like opener “No Colors” and the uber riffy “Like Glass” showcase a tandem who live and breathe true doom and know where all the best bodies are buried. References to PentagramThe Obsessed, and Trouble are inevitable and welcome, and the macho muscularity of cuts like “Refuse,” “Bastard,” and “Song for Harry” hit hard with a plethora of heavy, crunchy riffs, as Swanson’s love or hate vocals mostly trend toward the love side of the spectrum. Rounding things out, the gritty, street-level sound makes the material feel all the more urgent and dangerous. If you appreciate classic doom rock played with passion and attitude by those who truly love it, get this little darkhorse in your ears post-haste. Quality doom is the gift to give friends of Hell.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. You best rebuild that air thingee by the end of March or you’re getting cold filtered. – Steel
  2. I know, why isn’t it Schmidt & Swanson? I have no idea. – Steel
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