Pink Mass – Necrosexual

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Label: Self-released

It’s easy to forget just how challenging early extreme metal was back in the 80’s. The sounds of bands like Hellhammer, Sodom, or Repulsion might be taken for granted now, but when they first emerged, they were truly shocking. It’s rare now to come across something that not only captures the sense of musical extremity of those bands, but also the unorthodoxy; the way they did not care for genres or convention, but set out to create something original of their own. New Jersey band Pink Mass manage it though on their new record Necrosexual, a startlingly fearless mixture of early black metal, death, grind, and crust that does not care for genre norms or making the listener comfortable, and is all the better and more dangerous for it. And that’s to say nothing of the way they challenge the non-musical norms of extreme metal. Previous album Slvt Kvlt was good, but this is fantastic.

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Coraxo – Sol

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Label: Snow Wave Records

Though it’s not what might necessarily be termed a big release, Sol, the second album from sci-fi inspired band Coraxo has still been one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. Their previous album, Neptune, was the kind of record that showed a lot of promise, mixing prog and electronic sounds with melodic death in a way that was full of ambition, but didn’t quite reach the heights the band were so clearly striving for. The feeling was always that their next record would be a big improvement, and now I’ve been able to spend some quality time with it, it’s safe to say that Sol is a considerable improvement, but has a few moments that hold it back from greatness, though it is still a hugely enjoyable listen with lots to recommend about it.

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Petrification – Summon Horrendous Destruction

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Label: Sentient Ruin Productions 

It can be nice when a record lives up to your expectations. With a band name like Petrification, and a title like Summon Horrendous Destruction, and artwork like that, you’d no doubt be hoping for this 7″ to contain some dirty, old-school death metal. And you’d be exactly right. Summon Horrendous Destruction was originally released (and quickly sold out) on cassette earlier in the year, but is now being released on vinyl by Sentient Ruin, giving this slice of fetid metal another chance to inflict its pestilence upon the world. It’s a good thing, too, as this is no-nonsense death metal done right, sounding like it was dragged out of some moldy cavern, and as crushing as any other purveyor of old-school death you would care to name.

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Cadaver Soiree – Demo 1

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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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Khazaddum – Plagues Upon Arda

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Label: Self-released

I’m sure that there will be those who balk at Plagues Upon Arda, simply because of its lyrical content. Khazaddum are hardly the first band to take inspiration from The Lord Of The Rings, but most bands who do so handle the matter in ways that is, frankly, cheesy and immature. This album avoids any such pitfalls though, comprised as it is of relentless, pummeling death metal that takes inspiration from the likes of Behemoth and Nile. Far from being a novelty record, Plagues Upon Arda is an album of real strength and talent that would surely stand out even without its atypical lyrical themes.

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Carnivorous Forest – Frozen Rivers

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Label: Blackened Death Records 

Some things are worth waiting for. After a collection of demos, splits, and EP releases, the full-length from neofolk/death metal act Carnivorous Forest is finally here, and it does not disappoint. Frozen Rivers is a powerful, atmospheric record, varied in scope and tone, yet with a consistent character that ties everything together. Listeners who have enjoyed previous Carnivorous Forest releases will not be disappointed. Sole member Amarok is in fine form throughout, and of all the different releases he has put out over the past few years in many guises on Blackened Death Records, this is undoubtedly one of the best.

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Shiteater / Clit Eastwood – Shit Clit Split

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Label: Blackened Death Records

You’ll probably be unsurprised to learn that Shit Clit Split isn’t the most sophisticated of listens. Featuring one-man act Shiteater from the UK, who play old-school, disgusting death metal, and US grind/crust/powerviolence band Clit Eastwood, this is a split for those who don’t take their lyrics too seriously, but still want to hear killer riffs. The contrasting styles of the two bands play off well against each other, and there’s a lot of energy and fun to be found here, but its inherently OTT lyrical nature is both its greatest strength and biggest weakness.

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