Stuck in the Filter – October’s Angry Misses

It’s been a minute and change since I felt anything was good enough to include in the Filter, but October is always a stuffed month for metal. It’s no surprise, then, that I had to narrow down my choices to the things I thought deserved the most mention. With a couple of my fellow spelunkers behind me, I dive deep into the recesses of this filth-caked compartment. There’s so much shit lining the walls and the smell is raunchy in the worst possible way. I barely made it out of here alive, but it was worth it. Gaze upon the hidden gems we found, and rejoice!

TheKenWord’s Illustrious Curiosities

Caprae Idolum – Samhain Ceremonies

It’s not often that a band pops up last minute with something that features our writers. But this month, we have Caprae Idolum’s new slab of depressive-suicidal black metal, masterminded by one of our less poseur-ish Discord members, guesting several other Discordians, GardensTale, and yours truly! While this might make it seems like I’m just shilling a thing cuz I’m involved in a teensy way, what I’m really excited about is that Samhain Ceremonies is legitimately good black metal. The subject matter is dire in nature, but songs like “Black Magic Bordello” and “Ceremony on Samhain” and “Urban Tomb” pack a big punch and offer a ton of fun to boot. Mixing Gershwin-esque piano (“Urban Tomb”), classic heavy metal leads (“Ceremony on Samhain”) and even a trombone for dissonance (“Attempted Genocide”) there’s a lot to unpack in these tight thirty-three minutes. Luckily, it’s a joy to explore and easily worth your time.

Slow Crush – Hush

October is a huge month for extreme metal. What often gets swept under the rug—the softer offerings which aren’t heavy enough to battle the tide of seasonal blues nor sad enough to allow those same blues to overflow in cathartic release—must scrape tooth and nail to make waves. Slow Crush accomplished just that with their newest offering, Hush. Combining shoegaze, grunge, a touch of blackened char, and a dreampop polish, this album floats through thick storm clouds thundering with the beat of a bleeding heart. “Swoon” plays true to its name, enchanting me in its ominous charm and nineties dream-grunge sound. Then it pummels me back to earth with the atmospheric and depressive “Gloom,” shredding my heartstrings apart in three minutes flat. “Réve” is shoegazing elegance, waltzing to-and-fro with a gentle hand that breathes new life into the midway point, providing ample energy for a deeply emotional second half. From front to back, Slow Crush effortlessly create ethereal environments that are irresistibly immersive, unsettling, and genuine all at once. Hush, simply put, is a beautiful album, and a true example of how effective Slow Crush’s oddly perfect mash of genres truly is.

Dear Hollow’s Tasteful Suggestions

Primeval Well – Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits

In the words of the black metal/bluegrass gods, all roads lead back to Kentucky. Now Tennessee has something to say about it, as Nashville natives Primeval Well offer their sophomore effort Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits. It’s easy to compare to Panopticon’s controversial 2012 dichotomy of furious black metal and moody bluegrass mining songs, but these mountain spirits have a different take. While banjo, mandolin, and acoustic guitar make appearances, they maintain a more streamlined appearance amid the blackened riffs and pummeling drums, while the haze of staticky vocals, psychedelic ambiance, and unsettling dissonance cloak this dark wood in thick fog. Songs like “She Flies Undead” and “Where All Things Are Forgotten” offer accessibility through twisted clean gospel melodies over train beats and banjo, where “Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road” and the title track are feverish in a violent collision of psychedelia and folky black metal. Panopticon’s offering was a predictable foray into history, Primeval Well is the wendigo stalking you through the thick wood of the Smoky Mountains.

Light of the Morning Star – Charnel Noir

I’ve longed for another album from Cursed Moon. The fusion of 80’s deathrock/post-punk and black metal is super unique in its beautifully witchy and unnervingly cultic atmosphere, but it’s done differently depending on the artist. While the aforesaid utilized mellow post-punk apathy with blackened shrieks, Light of the Morning Star uses ominous baritone alongside plodding drums and icy black metal tones to create a bit of a blackened Fields of the Nephilim meets Amesoeurs. Doom tempos and heavy riffs meet spooky synth trills and frosty ambiance in highlights like “There Are Many Shadows” and “Spectres,” while “Lid of a Casket” and “Fangs in the Tree of Life” offer tasteful explosions of dark tremolo. While tricks vary and gears shift, the patient songwriting and passages of horroresque ambiance make Charnel Noir a surprisingly dynamic affair that never compromises its colossal riffs and spooky atmosphere. A black cat in a dark room with spooky sounds.

Under the Pier – An Exercise in Discontent

An exercise in apeshit, amirite. Baltimore four-piece Under the Pier offers absolutely scathing unpredictable mathcore a la early Daughters or The Number Twelve Looks Like You with a healthy dose of humor, wonky dissonance, and just enough riffs to keep it on the ground. Tracks like “Fabulous” and “Breaking Point 1 Karen 0” avoid senseless Psyopus territory in spite of spastic wankery thanks to chunky riffs, yummy solos, and tastefully manic vocals, while “Glower” and “The Song About Thorns and Roses and Shit” channel the riffs of Coalesce with their beatdown qualities. Recalling The Callous Daoboys in their utterly nonsensical aesthetic (such as the spoken word portions about breakups and nuclear warheads in “The Night the Line Was Crossed” and “Enter Lube,” respectively), it’s an exercise in barbed playfulness, leading to encore after encore. Clocking in at less than half an hour, An Exercise in Discontent punches you square in the face with a punishing low end while licking your earlobes with wormy dissonance as you lay crying in the street.

Kronos’ Meticulously Considered Requirements

Xenosis – Paralleled Existence

Xenosis are, unsurprisingly, a tech death band, but one resolutely stuck in the past. If you think that’s a diss, you’d need only listen to “Prophetic Blight” or “Amorphous Conquerors” to realize your mistake. The Connecticut quintet play tech-death for an alternative timeline where The Destroyers of All never came out, yet tech-death still absolutely rules. Xenosis mix the sci-fi themes of Obscura with the jazzy lightness of Gorod to craft melody-driven songs that are agile yet aggressive. Best of all, Paralleled Existence has a distinct sense of arc and gravity; no matter how astronomical the shredding gets, the band always pull songs back to the ground with memorable hooks or engaging human interplay. Guitarists Ken Bullard and Keith Benway frequently trade phrases over a jazzy rhythm section and operate with a rare levity. I missed the chance to give this a proper review in the rush to cover higher-profile releases, but the fall flood shouldn’t prevent you from giving Paralleled Existence a spin. It’s tight, clever, and I think an essential listen for fans of bands like Obscura, Gorod, and Æpoch.

Ferrous Beuller’s Fetid Fortunes

Putrevore – Miasmal Monstrosity

Putrevore have long been my favorite in Rogga Johansson’s seemingly endless litany of projects. Although the earliest material exists to hail the locomotive might of the late, great Rottrevore (the clue is in the name), Miasmal Monstrosity makes a bid for its own brand of barbarity. This is dense death metal whose unsavory rhythms crawl and quake in equal measure. The songwriting illuminates the existential dread of the subject matter whilst simultaneously assaulting my skeletal integrity. Any fan of disgusting death metal should derive plenty of satisfaction here, and the material’s memorability ensures the beating recurs. If you can’t recall the last time you choked on a gaggle of filthy riffs, then allow Putrevore to bring you up to date.

Burial – Inner Gateways to the Slumbering Equilibrium at the Center of Cosmos

Italy’s death metal scene has always been potent and Burial’s foray into death-doom is no exception. Inner Gateways summons a collection of churning riffs that plunder the senses with a deathly impact but never fail to resound with a be-doomed atmosphere. These nightmarish passages conjure soundscapes to suffer in but they ring with an immersive quality all the same. I found it impossible to only play through Inner Gateways once. An almost tangible tendril always reels me back in for one more sitting. This grisly combination of blasting and slow descents will capture the imagination of any like-minded connoisseurs. These loathsome environs provide an aural Burial for the soul.

Organic – Where Graves Abound

The promise of big, burly riffs will always draw my attention to a Swedeath release. We all know that the style has been flogged to death in recent years but, make no mistake, Italy’s Organic deliver. A murder of ugly rhythms and buoyant D-beatery pervade for some of the most fun I’ve had with the genre all year. The patented HM-2 tone is well and truly on display as originality is not the goal here. Rather than challenge creativity, Where Graves Abound is far more interested in concocting the kind of nasty riffs that live to stress the flesh. With a smattering of melody, lashings of brutality and immediate penmanship, Organic’s massive killing capacity could only be considered indecent and obscene. And I fucking love it.


Steel Druhm’s Pearl Before Swine

Bastarður – Satan’s Loss of Son

Aðalbjörn Tryggvason of renowned Icelandic act SÓLSTAFIR is apparently a big fan of Swedeath, grind and crust punk, and since he couldn’t channel that forbidden love into his main gig, he created Bastarður. On their Satan’s Loss of Son debut, he and friends from such diverse acts as Primordial and Morgoth let it rip with abandon, thrashing and bashing like an unholy hybrid of Napalm Death, Entombed, Slayer, and Mötörhead. Over 28 minutes you’ll be treated to a lot of interesting textures and a deceptively diverse collection of short, sharp anger blasts. While “Viral Tumor” sounds like Slayer if they were punky teenage thrashers, “Neonlight Blitzkrieg” adroitly blends rabid thrash with melancholic guitar phrasing for a weirdly sadboi blackened vibe. Both Primordial and Killing Joke influences arise and play nicely on “Black Flag Fools,” while “Rise Up” conjures happy memories of SIG:AR:TYR. That’s a lot of ground to cover in a very short time, but Bastarður kicks ass and takes names, wasting nary a second. An unexpected and entertaining dose of speedy insanity that deserved a full review but time undermined me.


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