Even semi-regular readers will probably be aware by now that even if I have plenty of time for music that is creative and challenging, I’m not a big fan of overt prog influences. So, when I review a record like The Obscene Rite by US duo Veilburner, that should probably be taken in to account. The album is a black/death beast that gets practically everything right when it comes to prog sounds and influences, with the music feeling creative and exciting rather than bloated and self-indulgent. Comparisons to the likes of Arcturus, Dødheimsgard, and Akercocke are all warranted and deserved, which must give some further indication of how good this album is. Even if prog-influenced metal isn’t usually your thing, there’s more than enough power and quality in The Obscene Rite to potentially win you over.
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
The problem with so much so-called extreme music today is that it doesn’t feel extreme anymore. Maybe more bands are playing it (comparatively) safe; maybe I’m just a desensitized, cynical bastard. Whatever the reason, it’s rare these days for bands to give me that same rush of excitement and sheer sense of maniacal joy at the absurd intensity of what they’re doing as I used to get during my youth. So, when I say that The Sweat Of Augury gave me that feeling, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. What Unyielding Love have unleashed here is twenty minutes of blackened powerviolence that is right at the apex of the style, threatening to tip over in to utter chaos more often than not and sounding all the better for it.
Label: A389 Recordings
If Endless Descent was to be described in a single word, it would be: RIFFS. What Junior Bruce have created here is a beast of sludgey, heavy riff-centric metal, full of untamed power that cuts right to the heart of all that is good about the fusion of stoner and sludge metal. Much like the artwork, it’s hardly pretty, but nor is it trying to be. Telling a tale of the demonic underworld consuming all of humanity, it feels a bit like the musical equivalent of a good quality action movie: there’s no need for subtlety, it’s all about the riffs/explosions, and Junior Bruce absolutely deliver.
Label: Broken Limbs Recordings
This is the kind of metal album that should come with some kind of warning label. Unflinchingly punishing and crushingly heavy, The Embodiment Of Hate sees Californian band Our Place Of Worship Is Silence unleash 27 minutes of deathmetal that truly does justice to the album title. Taking music in to territories so unrelenting and devastating that they make most other death metal bands sound depressingly safe and tame, The Embodiment Of Hate is practically mandatory listening for all those who care about death metal as an art form; or simply for those who care about keeping up with the best in the genre.
Label: Profound Lore Records
It’s not often I feel intimidated when writing about an album – in fact, it’s happened only a handful of times out of all the reviews I’ve had published. But putting down my thoughts on the new album from SubRosa, For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages, genuinely feels like a mammoth undertaking. There’s several reasons for this. To start with, it’s the follow-up to not just one of my favourite albums of the past few years, but one of my favourite albums completely. More Constant Than The Gods still astounds me to this day, so the expectations for For This We Fought… are high to begin with. Then, there’s the context of the album itself, being based as it is upon the novel We, a seminal work of dystopian fiction. But what truly makes writing about For This We Fought… such a daunting task is a problem I imagine most writers have grappled with at some point in their lives: how to adequately convey the emotions it arises, the impact it has, how god-damn good the album is. As this might imply, For This We Fought… doesn’t just meet expectations; it surpasses them, to the extent that it makes an album as near-perfect as More Constant Than The Gods seem like a warm-up for the main act.
Label: Halo Of Flies / Alerta Antifascista Records / Chaos Rural Records
It starts gently enough. Opening track “Fathom” spends plenty of time setting the scene and tone, with softly sung vocals, the sound of sea and wind, and the most sedate of tempos. It’s at once a very deceptive introduction, soon giving way to heaviness and violence, but also utterly in fitting with the broader feel of Covenant Of Teeth. What Morrow have created here is a deeply emotional, passionate mix of crust and post-metal, self-described as emocrust, full of heart and power. It’s an unorthodox mix, but the band make it sound so utterly natural and captivating that you wonder why more people aren’t making music like this.
Label: BDHW Records
I’m not sure why, but I never really got in to previous releases by UK hardcore bruisers Dead Man’s Chest before. Something about their heavy brand of hardcore never quite clicked for me before, and whilst I could enjoy and like it, it was never to the extent I thought I should have. Well, new album Violent Days absolutely changes that. Heavier than ever, and with new vocalist Martin standing front-and-centre, Violent Days is an ample demonstration of just why Dead Man’s Chest have been able to keep going for ten years, and they show no signs of slowing down or mellowing out.