Stuck in the Filter – May’s Angry Misses

As the school year wraps up and I enter the odd throwback of what those in academia often refer to as summer “break,” you would assume that I’d have a ton more time to sift through the disgusting Filter at AMG HQ. But no. Because the world is a fuck, as are all of the people in it except for me and maybe Dr. A.N. Grier, I’m elbow deep in a moldy, claustrophobic trap named boredom. Not working for two months straight is driving me stir crazy and making it impossible to focus on new music. Don’t take that to mean I’m just sitting around doing nothing around here, though! This hard-working and thick-skinned-ish sponge has been driving the riff-raff hard to capture and polish those shit-stained nuggets of metallic goodness you fucknuts out there expect…

…and you damn well better like them, or it’s the wood chipper for the lot of ya!

Dolphin Whisperer’s Delectable Deviants

Morgue Supplier – Inevitability

Much like last year’s Veilburner release, Morgue Supplier takes a studio-first approach to Inevitability, which means that the focus here is to create sound at any costs—get ready for a trip down one demented, unstable version of deathgrind. Primary disturbed mind Paul Gillis, who provides voice, guitars, and programmed drums, takes all liberties to distort, twist, and shatter any noise he chooses to lay down. The programmed drums serve a function both as a grounding element on industrial marches (“Absurd Infinity”) and the focal point of a growing chaos (“My Path to Hell”), a divide of aesthetic which is also separated by a mid-album, dark string interlude. Gillis’ partner in crime, bassist Stephen Reichelt, in turn, switches between laying down fat grooves (“Closing In”) and providing background sound swells and slaps against caustic guitar lines (“Existence Collapsed”). Every aspect of Inevitability is cold, precise, and threatening to crack—in fact, it almost does in the 5/4 stupor of the final track proper “Thoughts of Only Darkness.” Morgue Supplier teeters on the edge of collapse constantly, but this wild ride of riffs, pulses, and poundings saves itself from the grave by, despite all its inhuman elements, remaining grounded in grime.

Spiter – Bathe the Babe in Bat’s Blood

Tired of second-wave tremolo nonsense being shoveled out by the devil’s dozen from lo-fi basements around the world? Look no further than Spiterߵs cracked-out debut album, Bathe the Babe in Bat’s Blood which infuses the potential humdrum sound of lesser black metal with loud and proud punk (and vampires). Featuring members of the equally raucous bands Devil Master and Shitfucker, Spiter wastes no time ripping through 10 tracks of anthems to the undead. First, it’s important to note that if you’ve been missing bass in your life, this album delivers thick-stringed throbs aplenty. Second, if you need your ass torn by the best 4-piece drum performance I’ve heard in a long while, prepare your perineum for a popping snare assault. From the surf-punk “whooooas” of “Foreshadow” to the shrieky, Maiden-esque saunter of “Full Satanic Power,” Spiter runs the gamut of old-school sounds with performances so wild that they’re a borderline disaster. “Transylvanian Night” embodies this spirit of riff first, polish never songcraft that takes us on a tear down the highway without a look back or forward. Every time I think I’m about to get tired of the simple NWoBHM-inspired hooks or “does he only have a snare” drum patterns, a frighteningly fierce bassline or hell-raising scream pulls me right back in. This Spiter has me caught in their web.

Dear Hollow’s Loathsome Lottery

Aara – Triade II: Hemera

Although Swiss collective Aara never strays far from the second-wave left-hand path, it boasts enough atmosphere, rawness, and groove to keep attention glued. To boot, thanks to the act’s foundation upon the 1820 Gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin, Aara benefits from a fantastic use of world-building. Carried from movement to movement by the pummeling percussion of veteran drummer Jöschu Käser, the second chapter Hemera (named after Greek goddess of the day after first chapter Eos, goddess of the dawn) finds the fog-shrouded cities and the polluted rivers alight with energy and pulse-pounding fury. Chasing enlightenment and evading death through fluid songwriting and grim punishment, Triade II is as good a place as any to start for wanderers and longtime adventurers alike.

Abrupt Decay – I Was Never Here

It’s always the stark covers that grace the most unforgiving music. I Was Never Here sees newcomer Alberta natives Abrupt Decay fusing merciless metallic hardcore with grind, sludge, and mathcore. Taking cues from acts like End, Great American Ghost, and Gideon, its DIY tones of unforgiving fury make for a tantalizingly dark and head-banging ride that nearly flies off the handle at every turn. Featuring an industrial noise fusion reminiscent of Merzbow and Full of Hell’s collaboration (i.e. featuring British Columbia noise artist THRTDSPLY in “Dyspnea”), a frantic fry vocal and a punishing bellow, and a stringed attack that scathes and crushes in equal measure, there are few debuts that balance bleakness and intensity to this degree. From the brimming energy of “Frail” to the punishing D-beats of “Taut Rope” to the pulsing blasts of “The Common Man,” I Was Never Here feels like the work of veterans: a wasteland devoid of movement and a cracked and bleeding heart pulsing in its cold chest.

Serling – Next Stop, Willoughby

Your next stop: Serling. Embarrassingly on-the-nose Rod Serling-esque intro aside, Next Stop, Willoughby is a fantastic sonic rendition of the iconic 1960’s series The Twilight Zone, each track named after and inspired by different episodes. While unashamedly cacophonous mathcore a la The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza in its desperate fry vocals, shifty rhythms, and bass-heavy Josh Travis-esque guitar tone, Maine duo Serling’s deathcore and beatdown elements elevate this to a level like that of Dysphoria or Ion Dissonance. Emphasized by guest spots courtesy of Bone Cutter, D.B. Cooper, The Sound That Ends Creation, and Oceano, crushing djunz, jagged tempo shifts, and devastating growls slam into the ears. Dissonant pick sweeps and wonky effects grace their debut with a distinctly psychedelic flare, but a menacing patience in tracks like “Living Doll” and “The Silence” take on a darkness unlike any of its ilk in recent memory. Serling’s Next Stop, Willoughby, in all its unabashed excess and youth, is a brutal, unforgiving, and extradimensional journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are indeed that of imagination.

Maddog’s Moronic Miss

Inanna – Void of Unending Depths

Chile’s Inanna is back after a decade, crash-landing in Roswell with a mixture of thrash-laced death metal and otherworldly guitar melodies. While spacey death metal isn’t a new idea, Void of Unending Depths pulls it off through thoughtful composition and infectious enthusiasm. The top-shelf riffs grabbed me with a frantic intensity that only death-thrash could muster; think Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness or Pestilence’s Consuming Impulse (“Among Subaqueous Spectres,” “Underdimensional”). Inanna supplements these riffs with cosmic solos and leads, haunting bass lines, and proggy nonstandard rhythms, crafting a mesmerizing album. Despite its diverse ideas, Void holds together by using subtle motifs and supple transitions as glue, like the unnerving opening melody of “Evolutionary Inversion.” There’s a lot to unpack here – nearly an hour, to be precise. The biggest source of bloat is the meandering psychedelia on the colossal “Cabo de Hornos” and “Underdimensional.” But even the simpler death metal sections tend to drag, making it difficult to recall specific parts of the record. Still, for fans of bands like Blood Incantation, there’s a lot to love in Inanna’s amalgamation, even if it’s not all immediately visible without a telescope. Come for the riffs, stay for the SPACE!

Steel’s Guilty Remnant

Evil – Book of Evil

Denmark’s simply titled Evil date all the way back to the early 80s, when countrymen Mercyful Fate were just cresting the waves to metal infamy. Alas, success was not in the cards for Evil and they soon disbanded. 2015 saw a reunion with fresh blood for their Shoot the Messenger debut, and now 7 years later we get Book of Evil. Now with newly recruited frontman Martin Steene (Iron Fire, ex-Force of Evil) on board, the Evil ones do their damndest to drag the listener back to the 80s with a very dated but endearing sound loaded with period-appropriate tricks and tropes. There’s many a rousing gallop and heroic refrain as the material wanders between classic metal and a sort of early days Euro-power. Nods to Mercyful Fate and Danish thrash legends Artillery dot the landscape and entertaining cuts like “Divine Conspiracy” and the Gamma Ray-adjacent “The Raven Throne” should bring a smile to those over 40. There’s even an oversized epic in the vainglorious title track. Plenty of rabble-rousing riffs, guitar harmonies and shreddy bells sweeten the deal, and there are more than enough hooks to keep you in tow. Steene earns his keep with a solid performance that frequently echoes Hammerfall’s Joachim Cans, and as retro metal goes, this is good fun with ample balls against the wall. The love of 80s metal rings loud and proud, and that makes Steel happy. Check this book out and get Evil!

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