Stuck in the Filter – October’s Angry Misses

A bit of business before we get dirty. This, October’s Filter, will be the final Filter published in 2022. It will be this way because the staff and editors are on triple-time putting together TYMHM posts, List articles, and Roundup compilations for your sorry behinds. As such, we hardly ever get any extra listening time for things that aren’t official promos or year-end list candidates. That being said, we’ll rev back up in January with a dual-month Filter that will cover November and December entries from those who cheat time during the next two months. And so begins a new, but familiar, AMG tradition of not publishing things on time for two months as expected. If you don’t like it, thou shalt not have even this blog.

Back to matters at hand. It’s starting to get cold, which means there are a lot of frozen dead animals in this godforsaken Filter, which causes extreme blockages and grime buildups. As a result, we were able to recover thick chunks of gory goodness for the masses to fight over. Just don’t lose any severed parts in the shafts—we just fucking cleaned them out!

Oh hey, also we got a facelift.

Thus Spoke’s Toothy Traps

Vessel of Iniquity // The Path Unseen [October 7th, 2022 – Self Released]

Vessel of Iniquity are an acquired taste. If you share that taste, however, then you get to enjoy the fruits of one of the extreme metal underground’s most prolific acts. A nightmarish blend of black metal, noise, industrial, and grind, The Path Unseen is Vessel of Iniquity’s fourth full-length and umpteenth release counting EPs, demos, and splits. This is essentially an audial anxiety attack. Opener “Blood Magic” wastes absolutely zero time before plunging head-first into an impenetrable wall of dense riffs, distorted incomprehensible shrieks, and layers of shifting feedback. This approach is the name of the game for the record’s mercifully short thirty-minute runtime. But this is no monotonous background noise. “Abyss of Unknowing” and the title track each showcase buried melodies that if anything, increase the music’s dreadful malevolence. And “A Door Once Opened” features some truly terrifying descending riff patterns. The vocals being lodged deep in the mix, rising only ever so slightly, turns them into simply one instrument among the rest. In this way, their warped, noisy howls become another tool for creating fear and tension. If any of this sounds exciting, then I would thoroughly recommend listening.

Stormruler // Sacred Rites & Black Magick [October 14th, 2022 – Napalm Records]

I love melodic black metal. Yet somehow Stormruler was unknown to me until now. This is their second full-length in as many years. And “length” is truly the operative word, because this clocks in at a whopping hour and fourteen minutes. It might be a bit too long, and perhaps some of those synth and twinkling guitar interludes could be lost, but there’s otherwise nothing I’d really want to excise. Much like the music of similarly-named Stormkeep, this is epic, fantastical black metal. Soaring melodies, and energetic tremolo riffing carry tracks through variously blistering, grand, and folky rhythms. There’s sometimes a bounciness that recalls Vorga’s most recent outing, and often an iciness that’s reminiscent of Dissection. The title track, and in fact pretty much every track proper, are total bangers full of blasphemous energy. Yeah, maybe it’s not hugely inventive, but it is quite a lot of fun. Take it for a ride and see for yourself.

Dolphin Whisperer’s Wet Willies

Ketha // Wendigo [October 22nd, 2022 – Moans Music]

Ketha has quite the AMG relationship. Seemingly popping into the esteemed antennae of our resident lover of things insectoid and inaccessible—Kronos that is—Ketha cemented both a review of pure bliss and wonder followed by a review of disappointment. Well, it has been some time since then and we’ve missed a few of their outings, but in a trudge through all things proggy and groovy I couldn’t help but notice the butt-naked dude on the cover—what could go wrong between prog and naked men, really? In this case, nothing, though until I got my lovely physical edition, I was convinced there were no actual words throughout this whole piece. On major grooves stuffed with glitchy and buzzing synth lines like “Kanati” or “Maneto,” you can hear mouth sounds, but parsing out the shape is futile as they exist simply as another wobbling texture. Though this record could never be ‘normal,’ “Coyote” feigns a faithful Faith No More blaring and riff-led intro before worming its way back into a fuzzed-out, bottom-heavy mass of thumping kicks against sirens. Weird sounds define the hooks cast on “Waterbabies” and “Wetsthebed,” but even with hooks these songs flow freely between blown-out, jazz-infused summonings and ritualistic stoner-paced explorations. The crushed master throughout Wendigo even functions well as a wall against which each rhythm pulse can clash and clang. I don’t fully understand the Ketha’s goal here, but nonetheless, I can’t stop going back to this densely layered, relentless experimental, and hopelessly groovy collected chaos.

Secret Shame // Autonomy [October 28th, 2022 – Self Released]

I have a dirty secret… I enjoy punky shoegaze. Actually, if any of you have been reading the things I say and filter, this probably isn’t much of a surprise. Anyway, Secret Shame fills a not-so-guilty pleasure hole I keep reserved for these emotional, glossy, bouncy packages of post-punk-infested dissociations. Much in the same way that modern acts like Slow Crush lift the haze of traditional shoegaze with driving rhythms an earth-connected tone, guitarist Aster controls a nimble switch between crystalline twang and chorded tumble that plays beautifully against Lena’s soulful vocals (“Glass Palace,” “Color Drain”). Other tracks like “Saccharine Dream” and “Hide” match the gothy, bass-led mope of classic The Cure, with Lena’s supremely full serenade imbuing a character all their own. And when they hit full punk throb with “Persephone” and “January,” they go full The Cranberries with more yodel-restraint. In any form they take, Secret Shame remains tastefully vulnerable and tonally delicious. I’m a sadboi at heart, and the sadperson explorations on Autonomy speak directly to that, especially as the darker skies and colder nights of autumn shift to winter. This might be a little soft for the lot of you that want to froth and slam and rage, but I encourage you to explore your boundaries in a safe way with Autonomy—or don’t, it’s your choice after all. There’s just no way I’m keeping Secret Shame a secret any longer.1

Wretched Inferno // Cacophony of Filth [October 28th, 2022 – Frozen Screams Imprint]

This shit is nasty, which I understand is what you would fully expect of an album called Cacophony of Filth. However, in the world of goregrind/slam/deathcore/brutal death metal, bands living up to the promises of their carefully chosen and iteratively grotesque names does not always happen. It’s clear though from the first thick bass notes of “Fornication of a Rotting Cadaver” that Wretched Inferno has a different mission than other thesaurus-scraping, goal-lessly offensive acts. Actually, maybe they don’t but they achieve a level of putrid groove that’s years beyond an act with the average age of 18 typically has. Rippers like “Severed Arterial Wall” and “Acid Chugger” waste no time assaulting the ears with terrifying levels of trash can snare and riff-induced body-bobs. They play around with tropes from meat-headed nu metal with the open wah chug to dramatic ride countdown of “Urethral Disembowelment” and vibing intro to “Mauled by a Bear” before they proceed to rip it all to shreds with glottal crimes. In truth, much of Wretched Infernoߵs success comes from drummer Will Robinson’s stumbling snare magic, which I almost wrote off as a fluke until every song twisted and turned at the whim of his heavy and calculated hand. These kids are already tearing up local clubs, and I can’t wait to catch them at a venue near me sometime soon should they embark on a longer excursion. Either way, young acts like Wretched Inferno and Knoll give me hope that as the old guards age out of relevancy, there’s a mighty new wave building that has yet to crest.

Saunders’ Slimy Slabs

Sickrecy // Salvation through Tyranny [October 28th, 2022 – Self Released]

Continuing a stellar year for grind, Sweden’s Sickrecy arrive with their destructive debut LP, Salvation Through Tyranny, building from the solid groundwork laid on 2021’s impressive First World Anxiety EP. Featuring scene veterans from Birdflesh, General Surgery, World of Ruins and Damned to Downfall, the rage-fueled foes play vicious, battle-hardened old school grind, with a sleek modern edge. Salvation Through Tyranny is rife with explosively catchy grind riffs, relentless percussive battery, and gritty extreme vocal eruptions. Although they don’t break any new ground, Sickrecy’s quality writing skills, tight musical chops, and exhilaratingly potent delivery lends a freshness to a well-worn formula. This is reflected throughout the concisely brutal workouts on such killer cuts as, “Progress but Why?,” “The Missing Peace,” “Viewing the Absurd” and “Leading the Blind.” The whole affair delivers high quality, no-frills beefy goodness, forming a handy companion album to Kill Division’s gnarly old school grind experience on their recent and coincidentally titled, Peace Through Tyranny release.

Dead Cross // II [October 28th, 2022 – Ipecac Recordings]

Hardcore punk/crossover thrash supergroup Dead Cross return some five years after dropping their explosive self-titled debut album. Featuring the combined talents of Justin Pearson, Dave Lombardo, Michael Crain and Mike Patton, Dead Cross inject tons of zany goodness, goofball antics, and scattershot intensity across an oddball and frantic collection of supercharged tunes. As a longtime Patton fanboy, but not necessarily one to swallow everything the madcap frontman dishes up, it’s always nice to hear him back on deck, ranting maniacally and displaying his versatile vocal antics in this aggressive, fast paced context. Perhaps a little more refined and experimental, though not sure whether it quite matches the caffeinated, unhinged efficiency of the debut, or certainly not the terrific heights of the wacky thrash extravaganza of Mr Bungle’s Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny album. Nevertheless, it’s a fun listen with much to enjoy. Patton takes lead, but the dual vocal approach with Pearson adds spark, Lombardo’s drumming is as complex and creative as ever, while the interesting guitar textures and straight up thrash riffage keeps things charged and interesting. Check out such raucously twisted tunes as ” “Heart Reformer,” “Nightclub Canary,” “Christian Missile Crisis” and “Reign of Error” to get your party cranked.

Steel Druhm’s Rotten Ruminations

Defleshed // Grind over Matter [October 28th, 2022 – Metal Blade Records]

It’s been a minute since we’ve been brutalized by Uppsala’s favorite flayers,2 Defleshed. I came on board with 1997s Under the Blade and was quite taken by their straightforward death thrashing intensity, though I thought they had a lot of nerve ripping off the name of an iconic Twisted Sister album. The material on Under the Blade reminded me enough of beloved acts like Demolition Hammer to earn my respect and I enjoyed 1999s Fast Forward a lot too. They broke up in 2005 and I didn’t expect to hear from them again. To my surprise, 2022 saw the band roar back into existence with Grind Over Matter, and despite a layoff of 17 years, this sounds like a proper sequel to Under the Blade. That’s likely because the original players are all back and seemingly very pissed off. This means you get 34 minutes of fast, furious, and razor-sharp deathrash with enough attitude to bully even the biggest gym monstrosity. Though their core sound is intact, there’s also a noticeable Carcass vibe running through the material at times. That’s not a bad thing, of course. Because their sound is basically encased in amber from the 90s, you won’t hear anything new or innovative, but you will get deluged with skin-peeling riffs and battered with percussive ear abuse. It’s a wild and hyper-aggressive reunion and it’s great to see these old rabid dogs back in fighting form.

Imprecation // In Nomine Diaboli [October 14th, 2022 – Dark Descent Records]

With only a few full-lengths to their credit, Imprecation are not a big name in death metal circles, but they’ve been toiling away in rancid obscurity since the early 90s. Third album, In Nomine Diaboli is their strongest statement to date, mining the wretched earth that birthed Incantation, Autopsy, Mortician, and cult acts like Morpheus Descends to launch offal and rotten innards at the unsuspecting listener. This is repellant, sickly stuff like they used to make in the 90s and you’ll be able to smell it from a mile away. It’s plenty old school at its core but what Imprecation do here expands outward with ichor-coated tentacles to grasp at modernity in subtle ways. Blackened elements ooze under the doors and ghastly doom segments rear a deformed head at key moments. Nods to the salad days of Floridian death are made as well. It’s hard to hear fetid cuts like “Reborn in Fire” and “Bringer of Sickness” and not feel like you’re getting a nauseating tour of the gnarled roots of death metal itself. It’s a fun ride though, with a nicely executed atmosphere of occult horror for extra shrieks and moans. Not the best death of the year, but this is surely some of the slimiest and most infectious. Hold your nose and get in here!


Show 2 footnotes

  1. Shout out to a certain marimba-loving commenter down below, you know who you are.
  2. Wait, what? They’re from Uppsala? Why do they never play shows here? – AMG
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