Review

Phobophilic – Enveloping Absurdity Review

Phobophilic – Enveloping Absurdity Review

“After hearing the first few seconds of “Survive in Obscurity,” I knew I wanted to review Enveloping Absurdity. Infectious death metal riffs, raw energy, palpable fuzz – the song had everything I could ask for. Enveloping Absurdity is a debut, but Phobophilic has an EP and a split with Sedimentum under its belt, getting picked up by Prosthetic in the process. These Fargo natives play death metal that is as gruesome as Fargo but much less distinctive, preferring to dwell in the darker corners of old-school death metal.” Death from the cold.

Autopsy – Morbidity Triumphant Review

Autopsy – Morbidity Triumphant Review

“When one of the founding fathers of death metal wanders out of the cemetery with a new album, the dead heads of the world take notice. Autopsy is right there with Massacre and Death as a progenitor of this gruesome genre, and on 9th full-length, Morbidity Triumphant they remind you that this is their grave and you just play tourist within its rancid confines. And this new splatter scrapbook finds Autopsy shockingly vibrant, agitated and more rabid than on 2015s Skull Grinder.” Mess with bull, get the gore.

Battlesword – Towards the Unknown Review

Battlesword – Towards the Unknown Review

“German stalwarts Battlesword have been out there, waging metal war, since 1999. Despite that lengthy tour of service, new platter Towards the Unknown will be only the band’s fourth full-length, with a yawning 13-year gap between their debut, Falling in Triumph, and the sophomore effort, Banners of Destruction. Battlesword‘s last outing, And Death Cometh Upon Us, was released in the twentieth year of the band’s existence and continued to beat a path through the well-trodden , blood-soaked fields of melodic death metal. With more than a little Amon Amarth in the sound.” Unknown blades ov wrath.

Slugcrust – Ecocide Review

Slugcrust – Ecocide Review

Ecocide, the debut from Slugcrust, was a difficult album to write about. The brevity, genre and unrelenting frenzy made for a somewhat complicated but altogether illuminating reviewing effort. Not only was I called to deliver a verdict on the quality of the album, but I found myself asking some very basic questions about the nature of reviewing itself: should I base my conclusions on my personal views without taking into account the context of the style of metal in question? Or should I instead grade on a curve, remembering that one of the album’s shortcomings is perhaps also one of the genre’s founding principles? All these questions and more went through my head as I spun Slugcrust‘s Ecocide,” Surviving the critical grind.

KEN mode – NULL Review

KEN mode – NULL Review

“No, this album has nothing to do with our favorite sponge friend. Yes, this album has everything to do with FOUR angry Canadians now that KEN mode has promoted Kathryn Kerr, a one-woman wrecking ball of saxophone, synth, and piano prowess, previously guest-credited on 2018’s Loved. Did you think that KEN mode would go full saxcore after that experimental sludgeball? Well, I bet your 2022 bingo card is all kinds of fucked up at this point, so let’s make this one easy: KEN mode—or more accurately, primary bleeding heart Jesse Matthewson—hated the past couple years and it shows.” No dream house for you!

Crone – Gotta Light? Review

Crone – Gotta Light? Review

“When I highly rated Crone‘s sophomore record Godspeed, I was pleased at the acclaim it received. When word reached me of the follow-up approaching, I was double pleased to find a multitude of my fellow authors remembering its predecessor fondly still. So when I say I did not expect many to be clamoring for Gotta Light?, I realize I might be selling its popularity short. Let’s see whether Crone will touch as many hearts as it has before.” Croneyism.

Abhor – Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi) Review

Abhor – Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi) Review

“Cometh the day, cometh the dissemination of yet more black metal. I am reliably informed by the album’s one sheet that Abhor and their new release entitled Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi) is “anticipated.” Quite by whom is unclear, considering that these Italians have toiled in obscurity for 8 albums across 27 years without generating much in the way of “buzz.” It also seems unnecessary to include biographical information about the band when confronted with such a title. I couldn’t resist the allure of Sex Sex Sex irrespective of the band producing it, such is my delight at the premise of satanic copulation.” Sexy beasts.

Wyrms – Sarkhral Lumænor – La Lueur Contre les Fléaux Review

Wyrms – Sarkhral Lumænor – La Lueur Contre les Fléaux Review

“Let’s get one thing straight with these guys: avant-garde, avant-schmard. Unlike many French compatriots, wacky innovation is not the name of the game here. Wyrms stick rigidly to the melodic template which has been honed to a fine sheen since Dissection and Sacramentum first did their thing. Sarkhral Lumænor is about as modern as a jousting contest, and as subtle and flexible as chain-mail armor.” The wyrm you know.

Gutvoid – Durance of Lightless Horizons Review

Gutvoid – Durance of Lightless Horizons Review

“A young act’s debut full-length can be exciting on many levels. You are there at the birth of something, the leaping off point for a career of unknown fortunes. Sometimes you can smell greatness even on the earliest works, and other times humble beginnings offer no hint of the great things to come. The promo material for Toronto’s Gutvoid aren’t shy about promising big things for this upstart death metal outfit. Words like “titanic” and “stellar” are dropped and much hype is created for Durance of Lightless Horizons. And there is some truth in the PR puffery (for once).” Durance of elevated expectations.

Live Burial – Curse of the Forlorn Review

Live Burial – Curse of the Forlorn Review

“It’s not often that I get accused of underrating an album, but when I covered Live Burial’s 2020 release Unending Futility, a handful of citizens with torches and pitchforks came after me. Even our own El Cuervo said, ‘All the shit you give a 4.0, and you 3.5 this? This record is incredible.’ Now, it’s easy to see why people were up in arms, because Live Burial is an insanely talented bunch of musicians. Their brand of old-school death metal is heavily influenced by the almighty Death, and their technical ability is not far below Chuck Schuldiner and his cast of virtuosos. But while I found Unending Futility to be incredibly well made—the production was almost as impressive as the performances—there was some intangible part of the songwriting that held me back from being more enthusiastic about the record overall.” Death and unsatisfied readers.