Cadaver Soiree – Demo 1

Cadaver Soiree - Demo 1 - cover

Label: Self-released

If you’re anything like me, then as much as you might be able to appreciate modern, technical, slickly produced death metal, it’ll never win your heart in the same way that the dirty, heavy, gruesome likes of Autopsy have. Full of memorable riffs and a delightfully crushing old-school feel, the demo from Cadaver Soiree is sure to appeal to fans of early death metal; it might not stray far from the traditional template set down in the 80’s, but it does it so very well, and with such passion, that it’s hard to hold this against the demo or band.

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Shepherd / Death By Fungi – Split

Art - Full Booklet

Label: Inspirus Records

Though there are still those who will dismiss the genre as being conservative and regressive (musically, at least), hardcore is a broad church, with a great variety of sounds and styles to be found. Indian bands Shepherd and Death By Fungi are excellent examples of this, not just because their sounds avoid typical hardcore cliches and take in a wide range of influences, but also because both bands are, quite simply, really good. This split showcases the two delightfully heavy bands, and is a highly recommended half hour of bruising yet intelligent hardcore.

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Yards – Excitation Thresholds

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Label: Truthseeker Music

Excitation Thresholds is not an easy listen. The debut album from London band Yards is an unsettling, anxious slice of modern hardcore, conjuring that same sense of restless doubt as Converge did with You Fail Me. This is not an album that is concerned with making the listener comfortable, or even on providing an inherently enjoyable time, but instead on providing a sonic journey of hurt and pain. Yet as difficult a listen it can be, Excitation Thresholds has a certain charm to it, and an almost primal sense of catharsis offered within its ten tracks.

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Abandoned By Light – Melancholia

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Label: Self-released

DSBM is a considerably broad church now, to the extent that, as a descriptive on its own, it’s almost meaningless. Encompassing everything from the most melodic moments of introspection, to drawn-out odes of nihilism, the genre has grown considerably, especially in the last ten years. Solo act Abandoned By Light‘s fifth album, Melancholia, situates itself firmly in the darkest end of the sub-genre, with guitars that move between jarring dissonance and frostbitten melodies competing with hate-filled vocals and merciless drums. Much like the artwork, the only shades to be found here are different hues of black, and that is both the strength and weakness of Melancholia.

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Couch Slut – Contempt

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Label: Gilead Media

Unsurprisingly considering the band name, Contempt is not always an easy listen. The second album from Couch Slut carries on where previous record My Life As A Woman left off, offering noisy, pain-filled rock that is as anxiety-inducing as it is catchy. It is a record that is filled with elements that, on paper, sound as if they should pull against one another, resulting in an unfocused mess; but on record, they come together to demonstrate a band that understands how cutting and important a little melody can be when searching for musical catharsis.

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Hellgoat – Blasphemy From Serpent Tongues

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Label: Boris Records

It says something about the nature of underground black metal that Blasphemy From Serpent Tongues sounds as if it could have been released at any point between last month and twenty-five years ago. Originally released on CD in 2005, the debut full-length from Hellgoat is now being re-released on vinyl by Boris Records. It’s easy to hear why they’ve chosen to reissue it; aside from timing with a run of US shows, the album is a darkly powerful piece of raw black metal from a time before such a style was as fashionable or over-populated as it is now. It may not be all that original, but when the music is full of such force and Satanic fervor, it’s hard to argue against it.

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Necrolytic Goat Converter – Isolated Evolution

Isolated Evolution Cover

Label: Self-released

Just over a year ago, the demo/album from one-man band Necrolytic Goat Converter impressed me greatly, with its blend of DSBM that was as self-mocking as it was serious. So, hopes were high for new album Isolated Evolution. It’s a slightly different beast when compared with that initial record, but the core of therapeutic DSBM is still there. What’s changed is that there’s a greater sense of song-craft, with these songs having strong melodies and an almost accessible character. But even so, there’s still a lot of darkness and searching for catharsis at play, with the self-mockery toned back for something that feels incredibly honest and personal.

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