Here’s the perfect storm of pre-release bait for me – it’s an Australian tech death release featuring the artwork of Mariousz Lewandowski (I know how we all feel but this one’s really good). Xenobitoic are a tech deathcore band from Australia’s new metal mecca, Perth. Take a look at my Top 25 Australian Metal Releases article and drink every time I wrote Perth, then just drink recreationally. Mordrake releases on the 21st of February and features a couple of guests vocals that really make their tracks for me. Expect more of a scifi prog approach than a bunch of breakdowns – we’re telling a story here with an album of a higher brow.
Zyklus is an outstanding black metal record that not a lot of people have heard over here and I’m honestly surprised. The quality and creative direction are both high end and it’s presented eloquently. Wandar are a German band who have been around since 2006 putting out music independently. I received the cassette from indie tape bistro Repose Records earlier this year and it has since become one of my favorite tapes. It’s also out on Vinyl, very recently actually. I’d recommend this to any black metal fan, especially those I see on social media growing weary of post-black releases this year. Wandar encompass most forms of black metal and won’t bore you about it.
Is this Treebeards band? The vocals deadset sound like they’re coming for a colossal fucking tree. I shit you not. OAK are a death doom duo from Portugal and this is Lone, their debut LP featuring the artwork of Paolo Gerardi. There’s a strong presence with OAK that I think has carried over from their experience writing black metal songs in the band Gaerea. While it is certainly death doom, it is sometimes coated in black influence – particularly the song structure and vocal execution. Lone will be a memorable late year release many doom heads will take with them into 2020.
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.
This year has been incredible and if you’ve been reading for a bit now then you’ve seen me become increasingly excited about metal over the course of 2019. I was starting to think it may slump then I started getting some really good submissions from very talented bands putting out music towards the end of the year. Death Metal, black metal and hardcore have been insane this year and so has sludge but until today I didn’t realise I was missing something that I fondly remember having last year – A solid and true to form post hardcore album in the visage of bands like Boss-De-Nage or Birds In Row. Toluca offers an experience equally eloquent and abrasive from the lands of Russia with their new album Soras. Out November 29th via Tokyo Jupiter Records.
I had an epiphany during the opening track, “Archaic Vision Of Despair”, that death doom is supposed to be a combination of death metal into doom metal but in reality it’s mostly death growls over doom instrumentals. Well in this case the instrumentation brings a strong sense of death riffery but with a sludgy twist. It feels old school, it reminds me of some solid shit out of the late 90s and early 00s of death doomdom. Like all good music, this sounds like descending into the mouth of madness. Well, madness is a mixed bag.