Death

Vomit Ritual – Callous Review

Vomit Ritual – Callous Review

“When I first read the name Vomit Ritual, three thoughts occurred to me. The first was that our tenured professor in all things vomit, Doktor Mark Z, should probably be reviewing this. The second was that Vomit Ritual is a rather funny band name in metal’s typical macabre and absurd sense of humor. What type of ritual involves vomit? Is the vomit procured beforehand, or do the participants need to vomit during the ritual? Who knows? Who cares? The third was reading Vomit Ritual in the phrasing of Death’s “Zombie Ritual,” which is rather amusing. Try it at home, the review will be here when you get back.” Ralph roundtables.

Stress Angel – Bursting Church Review

Stress Angel – Bursting Church Review

“Brooklyn is many things, with a strange hodge-podge of peoples and cultures, but it isn’t what one normally thinks of as a hotbed of throwback mega-retro death metal. The duo behind Stress Angel are out to change that with their gritty, scuzzy debut platter, Bursting Church. Featuring a member of Natur and a mysterious co-conspirator, Stress Angel deliver a heaving, hacking old school death sound that’s like vintage Autopsy slammed into Toxic Holocaust with crustcore stuffed in all the gaps like maggot-ridden grout.” Burst a move.

Inhuman Condition – Rat°God Review

Inhuman Condition – Rat°God Review

“As an elderly gent who was already big into heavy metal long before genres like death and black arose and split off to maraud and pillage, I remember the early days of death fondly. Those seminal 80s albums by Death, Necrophagia, and Pestilence were simple, elemental and loads of unholy fun. When Massacre‘s long-delayed From Beyond debut hit the streets in 1991, it was like a capstone on that original sound, which was already mutating and evolving into nastier, more abhorrent entities. I’m still very fond of those early platters, and was especially annoyed that Massacre never managed a decent follow up to their classic release. Fast-forward 30 years and Death / Massacre alumnus Terry Butler teamed up with some well-traveled younger guns to release what is essentially a continuation of Massacre with the name Inhuman Condition.” Vermin Supreme.

Obsolete – Animate//Isolate Review

Obsolete – Animate//Isolate Review

“I’ve spent much of this year listening to Obituary and Mortician. Both are death metal, but death metal is a wide field and you can’t mistake either band’s sound for the other’s. To address this, we put bands into subgenres within a subgenre – Floridian death metal, for instance. This is nice because I don’t want to sift through a bunch of Entombed clones to find something like Monstrosity. What about when our subgenres within subgenres cease to be useful to describe a sound? Then we get stuff like slam, which is brutal death metal played a specific way –  a subgenre of a subgenre within a subgenre. If you’re thinking that Obsolete‘s debut Animate//Isolate will lead me down a sub-sub-sub-genre rabbit hole, go ahead and give yourself an executive producer credit.” Old tech.

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm Review

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm Review

“Wow. Thrash is kind of having a year, folks. There are large swaths of the metal community who feel that the fires that heated the furnace in which all great thrash was forged went out decades ago, while others feel that those flames still sputter and cough and produce a great record every now and again. Well, something about a worldwide shutdown secondary to a pandemic seems to have stoked whatever embers remained within that furnace into a raging inferno, because the first quarter of 2021 is basically littered with quality thrash releases of a variety of styles. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate to pick up Bionic Swarm, the debut record from Dutch thrashers Cryptosis, a band who’d like to throw their hat into the progressive cyber-thrash ring with Paranorm.” 4 Swarm to wengeance.

Malice Divine – Malice Divine Review

Malice Divine – Malice Divine Review

Malice Divine is the brainchild of classically-trained Toronto musician Ric Galvez. The self-titled record finds Galvez handling the entire creative process and all of the performances with the exception of the drums. Known primarily as a lead guitarist in the Toronto scene, Galvez was excited about the opportunity to indulge in a solo project. But old habits die hard, and Malice Divine glistens like a guitar fan’s wet dream. Galvez combines the melodic blackened death sounds of Necrophobic and Dissection with the emotive soloing and progressive song structures of Death and the technical majesty of Wintersun.” Malice in Meloblackland.

Paranorm – Empyrean Review

Paranorm – Empyrean Review

“This may be their debut full-length, but Uppsala’s Paranorm are no spring chickens in the thrash game. According to legend — and the band’s social media accounts — Paranorm was formed by three high school friends on a hot summer night in 2007 to the sound of Megadeth‘s Rust in Peace blasting from the stereo. After an initial run of a demo and a couple EPs, the band has been quiet for the last seven years. What could they possibly have been doing during such a long break from writing? If Empyrean is any indication, they spent the time searching for, discovering, and studying some powerful relic that confers ancient, arcane knowledge of the five magics of metal mastery, because this record is a progressive thrash metal monster.” Paranormal ratings.

Necrot – Mortal [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Necrot – Mortal [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“People are never satisfied. They are saturated with options, and with choice comes entitlement. Corpulent technicality and aimless dissonance have somehow convinced people that songwriting isn’t necessary. Fucking die. Whatever happened to the basics? But not just the basics, the fucking basics. Evolution is key, but nothing can replace those original elements that, when correctly combined, elicit such a chemical crush. Oakland’s Necrot have been descanting the insalubrious since 2012 and boast members of Mortuous, Vastum and Acephalix“. Death be simple.

Plague – Portraits of Mind [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Plague – Portraits of Mind [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“I suppose there’s a certain dark irony to the fact that death metal had one of its best years during a global pandemic. It’s a double irony that in a year fraught with so much outstanding death metal, it’s Plague‘s unsung debut Portraits of Mind that keeps drawing me back as the days (and plague) drag on.” Portraits of 2020.