Unscored reviews that tend to be either short reviews of LPs or long reviews of EPs.
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.
I am spending December catching up on 2019 releases I’ve missed, or as every metal reviewer has said at some point – I’ve been sleeping on. Also I’m on meds that makes a full review a bit much for the first couple of weeks so this is a good way to give my thoughts without having to be methodical and academic about it. Expect this format a lot.
En Route Vers Le Grand Vide is a really tight post metal EP from Qeubec, Canada. As I often do with releases that complex me in some way, I’ve gotten some insight from the bands drummer Dieter who shed some light on the meanings starting with their name, “À l’Ombre d’Héméra means in the shadow of, so it literally means in the shadow of daylight.” says the drummer, “We think it fits well with the music because we try to play with contrasts, hard and heavy, but also fragile and breakable.”
Xeno Ooze are a unique new force in the grind underground. They formed in 2018 – making this their very first LP, but you couldn’t guess that just from listening. I love the level of vocal commitment on this album, it’s a hardcore style that sounds super throaty. It plays well the trebelled out mix of lofi grind and sludge riffage. It’s also a lot of fun, something important for any grindcore album no matter how bad ass the covers get.
Coffins got me with the album art and even if the riffs are sometimes boring, I’m generally on board for what’s going on here. A strange crossing of speed thrash death and doom. Beyond the Circular Demise has a level of variety in music that I’ve come to expect from Japanese metal.
The vocals are a lot of fun, they’re brutal death vocals with a doom tint but sometimes it heads towards hardcore sludge and beatdown territory. There’s a wide variety of growling that never sounds out of place, if it were less present then we’d be left with something a bit barer. Like I said, the riffs can be a bit boring, I don’t think they got the doom metal aspect of it down pat as well as they do the thrashier parts.
Earth Eater are a pretty eclectic deathcore group, they tackle several styles, but it all comes together very well. That is probably pulled off due to the overall talent of all the members here, everyone is obviously extremely proficient with their instruments. There are parts of this that sound like slamming deathcore, and technical deathcore, and even metalcore, the track “Longclaw” even brought in some classical instrumentation. It’s produced very well, it sounds immaculate.
Brisbane has been coming out with some pretty awesome metal lately and Eternal Rest are no exception to this. Their third album The Picture Of Hatred has a lot to boast about for a band from such a humble part of the world (arse end of Australia, I’m here too so I can admit it) such as having this release on the American label Gore House Productions, album art from french artist Remy Cooper and being mixed by the iconic Dan Swano (what?!). With this in mind you might be imagining something quite fancy or even melodic… Yeah nah, this album is filthy, often finding itself on the grind side of death. There’s a sense of nihilism and discomfort, so naturally I enjoy it.
Well that was unsettling. Ploughshare play a fucked kind of black/death/sludge metal that will make you feel physically unsafe even in the comfort of your own home. Tellurian Insurgency is their brand new EP through Aussie label Brilliant Emperor and it releases on the 29th of November. Not an album for the easily scared, if this is you, then turn your radio back on and continue listening to Kyle and Jackie-O, you clicked the wrong social media link. Happens to the best of us.
I don’t know what it is about violins in metal that I love so much, but It’s amazing. Here we have a violin lead folk metal band called The Night Watch. This is their third LP, and it’s set for release this Friday, you don’t wanna miss it!
There’s been some solid instrumental albums released in 2019 and that’s going to continue right to the end of the year with the third album from American doomers Canyon Of The Skull titled Sins Of The Past. It contains a compelling and long two tracks, the first track titled “The Ghost Dance” (Basically half of the album) is streaming on bandcamp right now. It should speak to the hearts of Bongripper fans and anyone living that doom life. Who needs vocals? There’s nothing you can’t articulate with guitar and bass, especially when wielded so proficiently. Members of Canyon Of The Skull have also played in Powermad, 1349, Broken Hope and The Atlas Moth.
Munt sit in an extremely niche style of extreme metal, I niche I enjoy quite a lot. That is blackened deathgrind. The most easily recognizable example of this genre is probably Full Of Hell. It combines the raw intensity and speed of grind with the overbearing evil murky atmosphere of black metal.
The vocals here sound fucking ungodly dude. It’s these evil high pitched black metal screams that are just as sporadic and intense as the blasting drums. In true grind fashion this is ruthlessly heavy, not once does it let up. Definitely good stuff.
Blackwater Burial have released a solid tech death record with crazy good musicianship. The guitar and bass work here is incredibly technical, but it never feels unnecessary or wanky, everything fits incredibly well. It’s mixed nicely so all the individual layers stand out nicely. The vocals are these low growls with a nice bit of clarity to them. They are brutal and very well performed, but i can make out a lot of the lyrics which is always appreciated.
Is it metal? Is it hardcore? Well the album art sure as shit is metal, the music on the other hand is a purer form of hardcore than anything I’ve heard in a while. It’s not depressive or frenetic or “post” in anyway, it’s just straight up fucking hardcore. Get in that pit.
To end the week we have the new project from blackened death unit Vale Of Pnath. Despite how good this is I don’t have loads say about it, It’s an amazing death metal EP with a pitch black atmosphere. The vocals are this high screech and the guitars cross the heaviness of death metal with the trademark iciness of black metal guitar leads. There are a lot of dark themes explored in the lyrics, which are actually pretty easy to decipher as the vocals are very clear, which is always a plus. Cool ass cover art too, props to these guys.
So to end off the week, we have a band I never really saw myself talking about. Yeah, Vulvodynia just put out a really fucking good record. They’re one of the biggest, if not THE biggest name in slamming deathcore. They are super genuine guys, but for some reason the tunes never connected for me, but that has definitely changed with this new album.
We kick the week off with the long awaited sophomore effort from Guttural Slug and it is in no way a sophomore slump, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s better than their debut, by a pretty big margin too. It has far better production, like seriously this album sounds massive. The riffs are crushingly heavy, and that awesome mix makes them sound larger than life. They also drop those stupid ass cricket vocals in exchange for these brutal gutturals and piercing screams. This is quality slam right here. Amazing album cover too. Big props to these guys.
Despite weed being illegal here (QLD), we sure know how to do some solid stoner rock and stoner doom, here and across the the rest of the country. Obviously South Australia is a bit ahead of the curb but those cunts have a bit more of a relax than we do, what I can I say. The Brisbane strain is a bit angrier and a bit grungier.
Swarn make some filthy raw blackened death metal. It’s got fuzzed out, loud, heavy riffs with a strong throttling low end. The vocalist employs these very evil sounding guttural growls that blend black metal and death metal vocal styling perfectly.
The drums are very well produced and performed, the snare sounds tight as hell. All of this is topped off with a dark dingy tone and atmosphere. They also take a death metal approach to song structure with fast furious songs and the album clocking in at just under 30 minutes.
Cable used to be a hardcore band but they transitioned into an atmosphere fueled form of sludge in recent years. The hardcore influence can still be heard quite strongly. It reminds me a lot of Rollins Band and The Jesus Lizard in terms of writing and vocal delivery, as well as spoken word avant garde bands like Endnote or Oxbow but with softer stoner corners. It’s really fuzzy and more catchy than the tag “atmospheric” normally brings to mind.