Review: Cryptae – Vestigial

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Label: Tartarus Records / Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Extreme metal’s status as outsider music can sometimes be taken for granted. After all, we live in an age where famous celebrities will wear Morbid Angel shirts and think nothing of it; and even in the genre’s early days, Cannibal Corpse were making cameos in mainstream movies. As such, the genre’s potential to be truly transgressive can taken for granted, if it even still exists. But then a band like Cryptae come along with a record like Vestigial, and the capacity for metal to once again seem shocking and challenging is brought into sharp focus. Combining death metal, grind, and an experimental spirit, Vestigial is the sound of metal remembering how to be dangerous to complacent minds and established structures.

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Review: Grogus – Four Kings

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Label: Tridroid Records

So often, when a band aims for transcendence, what they instead achieve is simply indulgence; the repeated riffs become boring rather than hypnotic, the time signatures frustrating rather than interesting, and whatever impact the music might have had is lost in a sea of missed opportunities. So thank your deity of choice that Grogus have avoided such mistakes and, on Four Kings, create music that taps into something truly beyond. This is not so much music as self-expression as it is channeling some other realm, where emotions have sound and physical form; where every moment of doubt and anxiety has a real shape and texture that can be grasped. As this might imply, it’s something special.

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Review: Nucleus – Entity

 

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Label: Unspeakable Axe Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records 

Times have been good for death metal recently. The old-school death metal revival is going from strength to strength, and it seems you can’t go to a gig without there being at least one band creating black/death metal that would make Teitanblood and Incantation proud. But more than that, what’s been really exciting has been the rise of sci-fi death metal. A fresh appreciation for Demilich and Timeghoul has come about, and resulted in some genuine modern classics, most notably Blood Incantation’s Starspawn. Into this fertile scene step Nucleus with latest album Entity, a relatively concise – yet still expansive – journey into the unknown.

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Review: Vale – Burden of Sight

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Label: The Flenser

Considering that the band contains members of Ulthar, Abstracter, and Atrament, and that it’s being released by the mighty The Flenser label, expectations are inevitably raised for the debut album by Vale. Thankfully, Burden of Sight absolutely delivers, with its blackened crust onslaught possessing not only the rabid edge that helps characterise the genre, but also a slightly progressive aspect. Combined, it ensures that Vale are at the fore-front of this style – blackened crust has been lacking a real scene leader ever since Young And In The Way disbanded in the light of rape allegations, and in Vale, the scene may just have found one.

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Review: Suspiral – Chasm

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Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Metal, at its most extreme, becomes a genre of seemingly contradictory forces that are reliant upon one another to succeed. As volume and speed increases, bringing with it a sense of chaos, so too does the need for control. After all, a great deal of technical proficiency and practice is needed to strike the right balance between a song sounding rampaging and it simply sounding sloppy. It’s that sense of contradiction that Chasm, the new album from Spanish black/death metal band Suspiral, is forged upon. A combination of bestial carnage and ritual-esque repetition, the album is the sound of a tightly-bound beast, straining at its chains, desiring nothing more than to be let loose upon the world to unleash devastation; and yet there is an almost religious aspect to the control displayed, making Chasm a ritual in a very real sense.

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Review Blasts: May 2019

Happy International Workers’ Day! For those of you who have this day as a holiday, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. For those of us in the UK, we have the bank holiday coming. And here at TSNTW, I’m getting back into the swing of things with a series of short reviews. For this installment, we have world-ending black/death metal; speed-laced black-thrash; a furious feminist statement; a wonderful meeting of progressive technicality and black metal horror; and beautiful modern classical. Enjoy!

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