Avant-garde Death Metal

Portal – Avow Review

Portal – Avow Review

“Before Ion, we thought we had Portal figured out. The kings of murk would release another album of slogging dissonance, just like Swarth or Vexovoid. However, taking the path of least resistance or going with ol’ reliable has never been the esoteric Australian collective’s way, and we were greeted with Ion, a big obscure middle finger to the masses in their abruptly clearest and most pristine listen. In spite of the almost complete abandonment of murk, Ion adhered to their signature impenetrability, creating one of the most challenging listens in recent memory and showcasing that they weren’t just some disso-death one-trick pony. Avow reminds us that Portal is still king.” There will be cake.

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

“There are a number of cool things about Hagbulbia, but on my first listen, I figured the coolest was that Portal won’t ever have to make it again. By my fifth, I was convinced that they should. After two decades muddling death metal and noise, the release of thirty-eight minutes heavily skewed towards the latter is not just obvious; it’s almost required. As such, Hagbulbia is a burning distillation of Portal’s less musical humors, but the band have chosen a canny strategy for its release. As an unannounced companion to the more traditional Avow, it can be at worst a novelty rather than nuisance for fans, who may be far more receptive to the cocktail than a shot.” There may be cake.

Acausal Intrusion – Nulitas Review

Acausal Intrusion – Nulitas Review

“If I’m being truly honest, I have a difficult time with death metal. It feels unfair, as these acts rear their guttural heads on my AOTY’s yearly, but they’re often adjacent strains: black/death, dissonant tech-death, Lovecraftian, or other pretentiously experimental concoctions. But old school and Swedeath? Gimme somethin’ else, because I overthink the hell out of it: at the risk of sounding like my parents, it all sounds the same to me. However, a new weird death metal release from the label behind groups like Prometheus and ThecodontionAcausal Intrusion, sign me the fuck up.” Ruptured Nulitas.

Aseitas – False Peace Review

Aseitas – False Peace Review

Aseitas are the Northwest’s death metal answer to the Northeast’s black metal alchemists in Genevieve, twisting the most experimental threads of metal into sleeker, stronger songs. The Portland quintet’s eclectic experiments began with 2018’s Aseitas, a record that seemed woven from every strand of extreme metal’s experiments in the decade before it.” No brutality, no peace.

Thoren – Gwarth II Review

Thoren – Gwarth II Review

“There’s a menagerie of experimental groups about the borders of the black and death metal scenes, tracing out their own paths without much regard for popular approval or commercial success. On occasion, these groups will sweep into the mainstream, but for the most part, their influence is more subtle, appearing in an adulterated form in the riskier songs of established artists. If your poison is black metal you can choose between the flavors of Krallice (ever bolstered by their lineup’s star power), Jute Gyte, Genevieve, and many others. If your neck is a bit larger in diameter, you might want to choke down Baring Teeth, Coma Cluster Void, or this week’s subject, Thoren.” Buffet of bitters.

Mylingar – Döda Själar Review

Mylingar – Döda Själar Review

“Simply saying these Swedes sound insane would be completely underselling the bands bestial brand of barbaric blackened brutality. Döda Själar is death metal of the blackest, filthiest variety, the kind you turn to when Incantation or Convulsing just can’t quite hit that horrid spot.” Overkilled.

Altarage – The Approaching Roar Review

Altarage – The Approaching Roar Review

“In their first two albums, Altarage began a career—and a successful one at that—by walking just a few steps behind Portal. Sure, Portal’s most avant-garde ideas never made it into Nihl or Endinghent, but the Australians’ influence on Altarage has always been as clear as either band’s music was murky.” Now THIS is Portal racing!

Geryon – The Wound and the Bow Review

Geryon – The Wound and the Bow Review

By now, you’ll have learned about/salivated over the prospect of Gorguts‘ new EP, Pleiades’ Dust, which looms on my horizon like a shining oasis of pretense. If you’re unlucky enough not to have the privileges of an AMG staffer and still have to wait to listen to it, then boy do I have good news for you. The Obscuran prog death trend is still picking up steam and kicking up dust, now most pertinently in the form of New York two-piece Geryon. The side project of Krallice‘s Nicholas McMaster and Lev Weinstein, Geryon are a band I’ve overlooked, but The Wound and the Bow struck me immediately.

Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est [Things You Might have Missed 2015]

Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est [Things You Might have Missed 2015]

“Earlier this year, Grymm called Imperial Triumphant’s incredible sophomore effort Abyssal Gods “the best French black metal album in recent history” and lauded the half-Pyrrhon band as the new bringers of discomfort and disgust, mixing Obscura-influenced death metal with atmospheric black metal and the occasional ukulele. They’re not alone.” Using sickness as salvation.