Catching up on the year. Not be confused with the popular December format of “You might have missed”, these are mostly releases only I have missed, I being Carcassbomb.
Fleshworld – The Essence Has Changed… (October)
With post black metal you never know which way it’s going to go, whether you’re going to get an atmospheric almost ambient deal or raw black metal funnelled through post hardcore writing philosophies. The latter being my muddy paddock for me to roll around in until the cows come home and the style of this album from Fleshworld titled, The Essence Has Changed, but the Details Remain. I’ve said it before but I love me some long titles. There’s some great progressions here that remind me of post metal staples like Isis though more playful, having less of an attention span. This is the perfect soundscape for a good bassist – the bass tone and flow flourish in this kind of mixing. Most of the tracking feels further back to where the bass would usually be in a song, which is to say largely unheard so I appreciate this take. It might bore some people but this soundtrack is the perfect company to studying and other methodical daily activities. It’s not obnoxious or in your face, it’s like art: you either contemplate it or you don’t, on your own terms.
FFO: Toluca, White Ward, L’homme Absurde.
Mithridatic – Tetanos Mystique (September)
A black/death album from France that opens very much like a hardcore album would, and that makes sense considering their general lyrical themes of depression and oppression. Hardly the first band from France with such a message this year but certainly the first of it’s kind to hit my phones, being a metal band of similar darkness and grime to Akercocke. I’d actually say I prefer this over the majority of Akercocke albums, I’ve described them previously as “British Opeth”. The biggest part of this record is the lead guitar and bass, both of which carry the album in glorious fashion while the vocals are generally serviceable until moments of ascension that hype the fuck out. They’re a bit cleaner than most death vocals, being closer to thrash vocals but the hardcore musk works wonders to anchor the rhythm in something stompy rather than wanky.
FFO: Akercocke, The Berzerker, Gorguts.
Lowcaster – Flames Arise (October)
I went into this one being a real dubious Debby because on a general rule I do not like traditional doom metal. Particularly not the trending versions of it in 2019 that are as identical to each other as monkeys in a bloody barrel. And that’s not even an Australian saying, I’m just insane. This one caught me up in it’s emotional guitar driven opening and the vocals that came to back it up didn’t overpower the instruments like in every other album I’ve heard where the band shoves the vocalist into the spotlight like “Please become a talking head or some kind of local celebrity, we need momentum”. This feels more organic and nerdy, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be at its core, a music version of D&D. The album cover reflects this nicely which is the only reason I am listening to it – judging books by their covers may not work but picking albums that way has worked very nicely for me so far. I dare say I’m a fan of Flames Arise, as an emotional git, fan of fantasy and a guitarist.
FFO: Swallow The Sun, Smoulder, Candlemass.
Gatecreeper – Deserted (October)
One of this year’s biggest hits as far as my feeds are seeing. I really enjoy the speedy combination between death metal and heavy metal and I’m sure that coupling will become even more present in 2020. The guitars sound vintage in their tone and soar as high as a whammy can take it, which is pretty damn far. It’s also clear to me that this guitarist just loves to trill any chance there is. The tune can easily become doomy as well, now I understand the hype a bit better and why everyone on Twitter was changing their name to the same variation of Kate, Jake or Grace-creeper. The only other release I saw that happening with was Blood Incantation which funnily enough did not work as well. The mixing is perfect, you could pump almost any garbage through it and it’s going to come out nicely, so with the added ability of capable musicians you have a firm release. I just don’t have much to say about it, it’s a reliable record and that’s why it did so well on physical media. You generally want a product you can trust and Deserted by Gatecreeper is exactly that. The cover art is interesting, though perhaps a little too busy for my brain to process in one go.
FFO: Bolt Thrower, Entombed, Obituary.