Relapse Records

Outer Heaven – Realms of Eternal Decay Review

Outer Heaven – Realms of Eternal Decay Review

Outer Heaven is a Pennsylvania death metal quintet who sound like every loogie you’ve ever hocked up coming to life and bursting out of your toilet while you’re taking a shit. After being floored by their “Into Hellfire” single earlier this year, I’m pleased to admit their Realms of Eternal Decay debut more than lives up to the strange and wonderful world of Metal Gear – even if the connection is in name only.” Solid.

Author & Punisher – Beastland review

Author & Punisher – Beastland review

“The appeal of Shone’s work, to me, has never been in its horizontal structure but in its exploration of novel pathways to create sound and the ways that Shone pieces novel noises together to act as riffs and melodies that produce memorable—dare I say catchy—music. How he produces a sound that’s so thoroughly chained to the physicality of its own creation. How he uses actual weight, in the form of a prison-like array of custom-fabricated instruments, to produce what, when we experience it, we call ‘heavy.'” Building the machine.

Windhand – Eternal Return Review

Windhand – Eternal Return Review

“The Virginia metal scene is quite impressive these days, launching a number of interesting acts into the metal consciousness. One of the bigger tickets is the monolithic stoner doom harnessed by Windhand. Led by the sultry vocals of Dorthia Cottrell, the band crafts monstrously oppressive odes to distortion and weight, taking plenty of inspiration from Saint Vitus and Electric Wizard.” Eternal wind.

Pig Destroyer – Head Cage Review

Pig Destroyer – Head Cage Review

“I know what you’re thinking, Grier reviewing a grindcore band? Bullshit, right?! It’s a little-known fact that I actually enjoy the genre. I rarely review it—or should I say, never review it. I may not be Kronos, our tech and grind enthusiast, but there’s something about the shove-it-down-your-throat chaos of the style that gets me. So, here I stand, having emerged from the grindcore woodwork, to review the newest outing from everyone’s favorite grindcore giant, Pig Destroyer.” Pork is brutal.

Obscura – Diluvium Review

Obscura – Diluvium Review

Obscura‘s 2009 release, Cosmogensis, dropped right when I was getting back into metal in a big way. I, like most people who heard it at the time, hailed it as the spiritual successor to Necrophagist and crowned the band the Kings o’ Noodly Death Metal. They have, in my estimation, never lived up to these expectations. Both Omnivium and Arkóasis fell flat, and both suffered from similar weaknesses; ballooning song and album-lengths, often at the cost of compositional focus and coherence.” If that’s not a cliff-hanger that makes you need to click, nothing is!

YOB – Our Raw Heart Review

YOB – Our Raw Heart Review

YOB, Oregon’s modern purveyors of epic, cathartic doom, have crafted a unique and powerful body of work across a long career, solidifying their status as one of the genre’s great artistic forces. Long form doom songs with gradual builds and subtle shifts is generally not my cup of tea when seeking my doom fix, but there’s something profoundly special and intriguing about YOB‘s crushingly intense yet beautiful music.” Yob’s yer uncle.

Gruesome – Twisted Prayers Review

Gruesome – Twisted Prayers Review

“From Dio holograms to reunion albums to retro-fucking-everything, the last decade or so has been all about pandering to nostalgia, and Gruesome are a prime example. A few years ago, the ‘Death to All’ tours were begun to bring live renditions of the late Chuck Schuldiner’s music to a generation that never got to experience it the first time around. Following this time spent touring with former Death members, Exhumed’s Matt Harvey and Malevolent Creation’s Gus Rios took things a step further, forming Gruesome with the intent of creating new music in the vein of classic Death.” I am become Death.

Skinless – Savagery Review

Skinless – Savagery Review

“I love to work out. I’m not freakishly huge and the amount of weight I can master is probably better measured in how much I can’t lift, but love it I do. As a result, there can be no denying that, for better or worse, the gym has become a criteria that I use to quantify music. It’s no surprise then that the riff, a thing I love more than most people, plays a pivotal part in any dalliance with The Iron. What better band to accompany me to that hall of meat and metal than New York’s Skinless, combining flesh and death in more than just name.” Bench stats, yo.

Ilsa – Corpse Fortress Review

Ilsa – Corpse Fortress Review

“If pressed, I would have a hard time describing what “heavy” means in terms of music. I can contrast it with what it is not, but that only gets us a partial answer; essence cannot be defined by privations. In this young year, Washington’s Ilsa have me wondering now about what that definition contains and excludes more than any other band. Their fifth full-length Corpse Fortress sports a great title and the laudable accolade of being released by Relapse Records. The cover and the title hint at Ilsa releasing some truly heavy stuff, as did the appealing death-doom tag attached to it. Yet still I wonder: is this heavy?” Heavy is as heavy does.

Genocide Pact – Order of Torment Review

Genocide Pact – Order of Torment Review

“Though riffs are the backbone of many metal genres, there’s a few types where you can get away with their absence. Atmospheric metal, like drone and anything with the post- prefix barely graze the subject matter, and many progressive bands prefer ambling about with bridges and solos to memorable hooks. These genres are favorites among musicians lacking that innate ability to construct tasty nuggets of melody that can carry the songs. Death metal, especially the old school kind, doesn’t have this luxury (extreme atonal examples aside).” Death does not smile on the riffless.