Phrenelith

Ulthar – Providence Review

Ulthar – Providence Review

“Their debut in 2018 was received poorly by the respective probationary writer, noting that it suffered from “conflating incomprehensible fury and aimless blasting with gripping riffs and relentless aggression.” While it was slightly underrated, and this at least demonstrates that not all of the probationary writers were overrating bastards (though all the ones who made the cut are), it was far from essential and hardly suggested that there were great things to come. Enter 2020 and Providence.” New year, new gear.

Azath – Through a Warren of Shadow Review

Azath – Through a Warren of Shadow Review

“I’ve been riding a wave of very good death metal promos recently, and since it would be sheer madness to walk away from the table when you’re beating the house, I’m doubling down. How could I not grab Through a Warren of Shadow, the debut record from Azath, when it has a sweet image of a stately mountain-perched dragon on the cover?” With logic like that, what could go wrong?

Venomous Skeleton – Drowning in Circles Review

Venomous Skeleton – Drowning in Circles Review

“Having been raised in church, I found my religious experience carried over into my vast expeditions into metal’s colorful multiverse: I find myself reaching more and more for the stuff that incorporates a unique tone of reverence, a sound of standing beneath the colossal or infinite. For bands like Batushka, Ancient Moon, and Behemoth, this liturgical and hieratic atmosphere is proposed through its ritualistic songwriting and uses of common religious musical elements (Gregorian chants, choirs, etc.) contrasting with blasphemy’s twisted dagger in an aural representation of madness. Sonne Adam‘s death/doom solo LP Transformation did this for me.” Worship music.

Carnal Tomb – Abhorrent Veneration Review

Carnal Tomb – Abhorrent Veneration Review

“I’m sitting here watching the sun illuminate the leaves of the many trees in my gigantic new backyard, and I’m finally allowing myself to entertain a glimmer of hope that this all might work out. Ask Mrs. Holdeneye and she will tell you that I can become quite despondent and Eeyore-like when exposed to even mild amounts of stress, so moving twice this year has affected my baseline mood significantly. Perhaps this explains why I’ve been listening to far more death metal during the last few months than is my norm — I’ve been unconsciously trying to vent the frustration that comes from uncertainty and constant change, things I love just about as much as Ron Swanson does.”Stressball deathball.

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“As a younger man I had no concept of the “EP,” nor the “demo,” nor the “split.” When was the last time Iron Maiden had to curb their excesses by squashing ideas into half an hour? When were Judas Priest not able to afford a professional recording studio and production job? And when’s that Metallica/Megadeth split due again? Such formats are reserved for the underdogs of the metal world, those bubbling beneath the surface of popularity who write music for the sheer creative expression and who will never see monetary reward for their time and effort.” Short is sweet.

The Ridiculous Year o’ Death Metal Round-up, Part 2 [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

The Ridiculous Year o’ Death Metal Round-up, Part 2 [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“2018 has been undeniably kind to death metal. So kind that it became impossible to pay the necessary attention to every release worthy of note. So, possessed of tyrannical temperament and iron resolve, Kronos and I have enlisted the help of the staff to cover those bands that went so unjustly overlooked.” – Even MORE death metal we missed!? Wow, we’re bad at this job.

Piqaia – Artifact Review

Piqaia – Artifact Review

“Over the past few years, Copenhagen’s most gruesome residents have established one of the world’s most fetid death metal breeding grounds, with acts like PhrenelithUndergang, and Taphos garnering global attention. But with one look at the album art — say nothing of the band photo — you’ll recognize that we’re not going to hear from that ilk today. Instead, Piqia forces us to consider the lighter side of the city’s metal scene.” Pastels and prog.

Gravewards – Ruinous Ensoulment Review

Gravewards – Ruinous Ensoulment Review

“Now if there’s one thing I love more than needless pedantry, it’s death metal, and since this band knocked off the first without playing so much as a note, I’m particularly well-disposed towards Ruinous Ensoulment. But Gravewards hardly need the boost. The Greek trio’s winding riffs and gritty, old-school attitude makes Ruinous Ensoulment an engaging debut and earns them a respectable spot among this year’s bevy of solid underground death metal releases.” Death in Greece.

4 Days of Death: The Maryland Deathfest Diaries

4 Days of Death: The Maryland Deathfest Diaries

“Anyone who’s seen The Wire knows Baltimore can be a rough place, but on Memorial Day weekend every year, things get especially brutal. Hundreds of rabid metal fans from all over the world descend on ‘Charm City’ to participate in Maryland Deathfest, and the result is four days of moshing, headbanging, and partying like it’s 1989.” Death to all.

Grave Upheaval – Untitled Review

Grave Upheaval – Untitled Review

“Much like their countrymen countrypeople fellow Austral beings in Portal, the only thing Grave Upheaval cherish more than cavernous production is their own obscurity — though this could be because PortalImpetuous Ritual, and Grave Upheaval are the cast of a half-dozen or so shadowy musicians. Call them kvlt, call them private; the result is the second Grave Upheaval album once again untitled and once again filled with indecipherable moaning, squealing terrors, and suffocating doom-death.” In a cavern, no one can hear you spelunk.