Releases

Psycroptic – Divine Council Review

Psycroptic – Divine Council Review

“Though they arrived too late to take part in the birth of tech-death in the 1990s, Tasmania’s Psycroptic made a big mark on the genre just after the turn of the century, and by now they’re something of a legacy act. Eight albums in, Psycroptic have managed to retain their core sound, wrapped around Joe Haley’s long, eclectic riffs, for more than 20 years. The band augmented that thrashy tech death with gospel choirs for their most recent record, As the Kingdom Drowns, nearly escaping the debt of expectation set by the classic The Scepter of the Ancients back in 2003. Four years later, Divine Council nods towards the Kingdom, but doesn’t rely on past successes to make its mark.” Psy-ops.

Molder – Engrossed in Decay Review

Molder – Engrossed in Decay Review

“I cannot understate the futility of attempting to introduce this record more accurately than its album art does. For the learned among us, it leaves not a single note in question. But for those of us impaired in the fields of vision or death metal knowledge, I’m compelled to at least give it a shot. Engrossed in Decay, the debut record from Joliet, Illinois’ Molder, is a triumph of slime. Coughing up spores from mycetozoic muck, Molder exhume ten tracks from very recent, very shallow burials in a graveyard that’s been filled to the brim for thirty years.” Mold strategy.

Author & Punisher – Krüller Review

Author & Punisher – Krüller Review

Author and Punisher albums seem to alternate between anthemic and ambitious. Women & Children saw Tristan Shone’s transhumanist industrial drone-doom project spinning out singles with the force of a hundred pound steel drum, an approach echoed by 2018’s belligerent Beastland. But between them, the disturbing, experimental Melk en Honing took a slower, nastier pace, savoring the acrid stench of electrocuted machine-oil that the music produces. So does Krüller, Shone’s densest work yet.” Punishment and dystopian donuts.

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

“If you aren’t familiar with Cynic… I guess just fuck you? Look at another website, loser. If you are, I can tell you right off the bat that the Seans are dearly missed. I’m not familiar with the role of Malone & Reinert in shaping the band’s ambitions, but Ascension Codes does seem like a case of Masvidal just running with it and trying to make the most Cynic-ass record he could without them.” Rise and get weird.

Norse – Ascetic Review

Norse – Ascetic Review

“A month ago in the low coast range hills, I found Hellinsia homodactylus folded beneath the lamplight – the modestly named plain plume moth. Mute white in the shape of a Beksiński cross, the insect appears impossible when still, betraying the feathery wings that gasp in the still pockets between oak leaves and wisp in the pupil of the ash-yellowed moon. Theirs is a gaunt beauty, beauty which Norse have both embodied and spurned in their last seven years of stark and intimate black metal.” Nature vs science.

Tumba de Carne – Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar Review

Tumba de Carne – Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar Review

“After maybe 300 reviews, I’d estimate I’ve locked up several kilobytes of server space recommending artists work with Colin Marston. As a result, I of course take full credit for all the bands that line up to record with him and receive a small monthly stipend from the Menegroth budget. But not every band has to take that advice, and since my kickback is limited by studio throughput, I’m in the market for another producer to praise/shake down. That’s where Argentina’s Tumba de Carne come in.” Tumba thumper.

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

“Following Kronos’ law of increasing hippietude, Rivers of Nihil have slowly softened their deathcore- and djent- influenced progressive death metal in order to embrace their more sensitive side. Their last record, Where Owls Know My Name, saw this softening succeed, the band now not too far removed from prog metal standbys Between the Buried and Me, sans the hyperactivity. Owls twined the band’s inherited heft and emotional valence into a few very strong songs and a respectable album, proof that the hippiefication process is not all bad. The Work takes it one puff further, balancing every moment of death metal intensity with one or two of chill prog.” Hip and sprawl.

Lower Automation – Lower Automation Review

Lower Automation – Lower Automation Review

“Noise-rock and mathcore haters need not listen to . The rest of you do. Lower Automation play a boisterous screamo-grind like you’d get from SeeYouSpaceCowboy boiling with hyperactive bass lines and pedal-board lust. What they excel at are antics: guitar parts that chirp at the very peak of the fretboard, stick-clicking percussion breaks, and bouts of sardonic wailing. If Daughters had gone through a severe Mr. Bungle binge when writing Canada Songs, Lower Automation would be a much less original record. But as it is, the Chicago three piece’s debut LP is one of the year’s most unpredictable and unique releases.” Full auto.

Seputus – Phantom Indigo Review

Seputus – Phantom Indigo Review

“If tasked to write a glib introduction for Seputus, one could hardly do better than “Pyrrhon with 25% less Pyrrhon.” With a lineup entirely drawn from the noise-death icon (missing only the inimitable Dylan DiLella), that’s mathematically true, and with their second record, it’s likewise stylistically accurate. With Phantom Indigo drummer/guitarist Stephen Schwegler, bassist Erik Malave, and vocalist Doug Moore give in to their experimental instincts, livening their dense deathgrind with nauseous psychedelia and stretching their compositions to the breaking point.” Colors of the Septrum.