Written by Carcassbomb
Welcome to death metal week on Noob Heavy where I do a special 5 review microdose with some additional stats to recap on all the death metal we’ve heard so far in 2020. Check all that out below the feature, it includes some brand new full death metal reviews. Also I’ll be giving away two copies of Harvesting Our Decay by Third Chamber on cassette, one via Twitter and the other IG so keep your peep peeled.
Plague – Portraits Of Mind (Feb 2020)
Despite the gorey aesthetic, there’s actually a lot of complexity and melody present on Portraits Of Mind. It’s a very expressive form of death metal with epic guitar solos and patient void stricken vocals. The mixing and overall quality is high, nothing feels out of place. I’m done classifying albums by varities of old school, that’s just the basic state of the genre so it’s all just death metal if it comes out now, a bit of the old, a bit of the new and hopefully whatever you made is more unique than the other guys’ album. Plague swoop in with great presentation and execute high performing earnest death. I feel like the guitarist is really close to quitting and joining a thrash metal band, there’s a lot of solos and the tone doesn’t sound like a typical death metal tone. There’s big Vader vibes as a result. The finger tapping during “Deranged Madness” is just fantastic, a great mid way change of pace.
I enjoy the general flair for the dramatic in the song writing and there’s often long cosmic discourse not unlike The Chasm – great flow. The cover art is a piece by metal art legend Paolo Girardi. It encapsulates a lot of horror with a visage that is so ugly that is appears as gore but it isn’t really a gore cover. Pretty cool.
Svenghali – Nightmares Of Our Own Design (March 2020)
This one comes out on the 6th and I can definitely recommend it. A very fine progressive death metal EP with some Hellraiser ass album art. It has the prog sensibility of guitars and vocals flowing and soaring together building up to epic moments. There’s both clean and death vocals that remind me of early 00s stuff like Edge Of Sanity or Orphaned Land. It’s clean and crafty. The approach is very instrumental, at first I wasn’t even sure vocals would kick in but they did and brought a lot of punch with them. It’s technical but not chaotic, there’s a lot of order to this sound and album construction that communicate smoothly through the various changes and diversions. There are a lot of longer clean passages in the music that puts it on the softer side of death metal than most of what I cover but it’s done with talent and maturity.
The artwork is by Will Shanklin. As I said, it reminds me of Hellraiser, which with the album title I suppose makes a lot of sense. It’s an eye catching piece that brings a lot to the albums presentation.
Wombbath – Choirs of the Fallen (March 2020)
Another beefy death metal release coming up this friday on the 6th. It’s an old band I’m not familiar with but this sounds like a great death metal band getting in touch with it’s grittier roots. This album is very straightforward and heavy for the most part with a grindy mix. It has a handful of surprises scattered across this full length album, with some unexpected melody building and long form song writing. There’s often a vintage rock tone to the lead guitar during solos and certain licks. It brings a good amount of energy to the record. The peaks on the tracks are effortlessly epic with some really big moments and pay offs. The album feels balanced from beginning to end and tells its story with all the ups and downs that swell within them.
This one grew on me over time, I wasn’t so sure at first but the more I listen the more the sound develops. It also has some great album art, I’d keep this one in mind for the end of the year. It’s definitely essential listening for those keeping up with death metal.
MÆRE – I (Jan 2020)
Intense twisting death metal that uses a lot of dissonance and cosmic lofi doom elements to great effect. It’s very atmospheric and chaotic at the same time which is a difficult thing to balance this eloquently. This is a debut album with room for improvement but it’s a great first step into the world as a band, already ahead of many. Vocally it’s very low, being more of a blackened sludge hardcore vibe that allows for a lot of space to be occupied by it’s every reaching darkness.
This is the slowest death metal album I’ve heard in a while but it is still very much heavy, just more in a row up shit creek kind of eerie way.
AD Vitam Infernal – Infernal Comedy (Jan 2020)
Debut album from a french death metal band who write songs about hell. Who would have thought. We’re going further down the lofi path with this one being on the muddier side of mixing and production – suiting of this journey through hell. More specifically drawing from the Dante’s Inferno realm of lore. The general atmosphere of the album is very raw with the vocals often suffering due to being left at the back of the mix for a lot of the album. The thesis of the sound and song writing is solid, I think more experience and more gear will help them develop their sound with further releases.
Infernal Comedy is drenched in despair. There’s a gurgled sludge element to the bass and lower vocals. It’s an interesting one well worth taking a listen to. The art has been done by Jeromé, the guitar player for the band and it’s done well. It’s always good when you get source in house art talent – valuable band member.
I haven’t listened to as much death metal as I want to, I have a feeling the black metal one will be a lot bigger but I liked nearly everything I’ve heard so far. Below this shit is four great death metal albums to check out. If you want to write about new death metal albums I’m more than happy to take on new writers.
Highest scoring: Sutrah – Aletheia (10/10)
Lowest scoring: Isle of the Cross – Excelsis (6/10 – Generously)
Best Artwork: Defiled – Infinite Regress
Best Concept: Colosso – Apocalypse
Upcoming album I’m excited to hear: Crypt Crawler – Blood Sustenance EP March 13th
Leading Label: The Artisan Era (Sutrah, Symbolik)
Sutrah – Aletheia (10/10)
“This isn’t a review, it’s a love letter”
Atavisma/Void Rot – Split (9/10)
“Filthy, just filthy. These two bands need to wash their mouths out with soap. This is stupidly heavily in a really despondent and grimy way.”
Defiled – Infinite Regress (9/10)
“Every facet of Infinite Regress is sturdy. I highly recommend it to any death metal fan”
Colosso – Apocalypse (9/10)
“It’s projects like Colosso that understand how stale the metal scene can be and want to bring something new to the table.”
Bodysnatcher – This Heavy Void (8.6/10)
“This album is the darkest thing they’ve ever made” – Zax
“They conjure up a mixture of forward thinking multifaceted technical death metal and belligerent slamming deathcore. It’s played and produced extremely well” – Zax
Xenobiotic – Mordrake (7.8/10)
“Each track is clearly making use of the Unique Leader Records studio. Is the potential always fulfilled? Not always, but on the single tracks it sure as hell is.”
Child Of Waste – Hunger Made Man (7.5/10)
“This is a pretty eclectic blend of deathcore stylings, from slamming deathcore bangers, too haunting symphonic deathcore tracks, it has got it all.” – Zax
Blood And Brutality (7.3/10)
“This is a throw down of a record that can be brutal without sounding overtly barbaric or belligerent in delivery.” – Zax
Isle of the Cross – Excelsis (6/10)
“I think it’s palatable enough and if it were cut down a bit could have been a lot better. The opening and closing tracks are the most well rounded versions of their overall idea.”
Trauma – Ominous Black March 6th (6.5/10)
“It gets better towards the end of the album as it embraces it’s melo death essence more, leaning into the softer side of things more which I think is their true wheelhouse. The frontside attempt at brutality didn’t really do much for me.”
Viscera – Obsidian March 6th (8/10)
“The smashing core elements mixed with the technicality and speed of tech death and the cleaner textures of metalcore is very pleasing.” – Zax
Live Burial – Unending Futility April 3rd (8.7/10)
“One of my favorite things about the old guard of death metal is how active the bassist is and how prominent in the mix they are, this album carries this ideal on strongly.”
Symbolik – Emergence April 10th (9.3/10)
“The dual vocals are another highlight for me, I’ve always enjoyed this stylistic choice but when you have an album this fast it’s even better.”
Thanks for reading, looking forward to doing the other main genres in coming weeks. If you have suggestions of what to review in the future or want to discuss one of the albums, I’m on all the socials!