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Five For Friday: October 23, 2020

October really is the best month, isn’t it? It’s a time of bright colors, horror movies, and excellent weather. A perfect setting for atmospheric black metal, mournful doom metal, and blood-soaked death metal.

Guess what, readers? This week’s roundup of new releases has all of that and more!

Enjoy…

Ceremonial Bloodbath – The Tides of Blood

A bloodbath of grim, nightmarish, and noisy riffs. This Canadian quartet comes armed with the dark, eerie legacy of Onward to Golgotha and its various outgrowths to make for satisfyingly horrid listening experience. Perfect music for scaring children who went with a “cute” costume for Halloween (lame!).

The Tides of Blood by Ceremonial Bloodbath

Iskandr – Gelderse Poort

It’s been a great year for Eisenwald, with stellar releases from Turia, Fluisteraars, Uada, Velnias, and now Iskandr to take us into the 2020s final dying months. The Gelderse Poort EP comes as the project’s fourth release, and arrives courtesy of O from the aforementioned Turia. Spooky, introspective, thought-provoking black metal and folk.

Gelderse Poort by ISKANDR

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede

One of the many unsung heroes of Swedish black metal, a subject we’ve touched on before, returns with their first album since reuniting in 2016. The band is as icy, cold, ripping and melodic as ever. Heaviness with elegance and hooks. Hard to argue against that.

Stream: Apple Music

Hinsides Vrede by MÖRK GRYNING

Pallbearer – Forgotten Days

Here’s what our loyal bird-brained expert, Waldo, had to squak about Forgotten Days:

On their fourth record, American doomsters Pallbearer hit us with their most “metal” effort in years, Forgotten Days. This is doom, no doubt, but to succinctly pigeonhole this is a little tough. The best way to describe this record is “vintage doom”, and although it has a more retro feel, it is most definitely Pallbearer.

Stream: Apple Music

Forgotten Days by Pallbearer

Undeath – Lesions of a Different Kind

From our premiere of “Acidic Twilight Visions”:

It’s pure death metal worship, pulling inspiration from genre forefathers like Incantation, Cannibal Corpse and Demlich, plus newer bands like Tomb Mold. It’s a pretty simple formula, but an effective one: instead of reinventing the wheel, Undeath beat the listener over the head with the old one.

Stream: Apple Music

Lesions Of A Different Kind by Undeath

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EP Premiere: Holy Death – Deus Mortis

Since forming in 2019 the Las Vegas-based death-doom trio Holy Death have been on a seemingly non-stop rampage, releasing one monumental EP after the next as if dire circumstances demanded it. In a sense, they do. Because, as it turns out, Holy Death’s guitarist/vocalist Torie John has touched the other side. 

“The band was formed after I had a near death experience in 2019,” explains Holy Death’s frontman. “Within a month or so of being discharged from the hospital our first demo was recorded and released.” 

From personal experience, let me tell you that nothing will make you seize the day (and the night and every minute in-between) like a near death experience. Meanwhile Holy Death’s brand of monolithic, heavy-hitting death-doom gets more potent with each new release. Today we’re psyched to present our readers with an exclusive early stream of Holy Death’s third EP of 2020, Deus Mortis. Meaning ‘God of Death,’ Deus Mortis hits like a giant’s skull used for a wrecking ball—five times over, including their knuckle-dragging overhaul of Entombed’s divisive “Wolverine Blues.”

Torie continues to explain, “Over the past year the band has been shaping its sound. On this EP things have really come together sonically. We have our own blend of death and doom—drawing inspiration from bands such as Bolt Thrower, Electric Wizard, Entombed and Sleep. Overall, we wanted to write heavy, crushing, groove-driven songs. The title track of the album Deus Mortis was inspired lyrically by a Hindu mantra for the God of Death, Yama. All the songs on the EP share a common lyrical theme of spiritual and metaphysical freedom. After my brush with death last year I really began to dig deep and explore those spiritual connections I had taken for granted—ensuring I would be true to myself like any day could be my last.”

Deus Mortis
Deus Mortis by Holy Death

Support Holy Death directly at their Bandcamp.

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Five For Friday: October 16, 2020

Happy Friday, readers!

We’ve arrived at mid-October, and a bunch of fresh new releases have arrived from the harvest. Below you’ll see the latest from death metal stalwarts Benediction, the raw black metal swansong of Ritual Suicide, the newest emanation from Decibel favorites Spirit Adrift, and more!

Enjoy:

Benediction – Scriptures

From our review of Scriptures:

It’s as simple as it is effective. Ingram towers over songs like “Iterations of I,” “The Crooked Man,” “We Are Legion” and early single “Rabid Carnality.” And Rew and Brookes are riffing (and soloing!) like they’re the British equivalent of heyday Rick Hunolt and Gary Holt. Indeed, there’s a fresh stab of kinetic energy in Benediction’s eighth full-length.

Stream: Apple Music

Cursed Blood – Taker of Life

Dirty, dark death metal from Greece. The band, which includes members of Dead Congregation and Satan’s Wrath, takes a decidedly punky approach, chopping up the brutality into infectious hooks and punches.

Taker Of Life by Cursed Blood

False Gods – No Symmetry … Only Dissolution

From our album premiere earlier this week:

“We have poured every emotion we have into making this record,” says Greg March, one of False Gods guitarists. “Every ounce of love, hate, pain, misanthropy, existential dread and self-loathing that we have in our hearts we were able to channel through us  and put it all on wax.

No Symmetry…Only Disillusion by FALSE GODS

Ritual Suicide – Nocturnal Haematolagnia

From our album premiere earlier this week:

Loud, unbridled, drenched-in-blood raw, yet predatorily methodical with their releases. Even when they ran rampant through the underground, ensanguined and unbound, Ritual Suicide always attacked with intent.

Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity

Big fan of Spirit Adrift? Well, hey, their on the cover of Decibel‘s November issue. So make sure you pick that up if you haven’t already. Enlightened in Eternity is another addition to their strong body of doomy heavy metal, a cavalry charge of riffs and glory!

Stream: Apple Music
Enlightened In Eternity by Spirit Adrift

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Five For Friday: October 2, 2020

When it comes to new releases from prominent and exciting bands, it’s going to be hard for 2020 to beat this week. Enslaved fans, ready the longboats! Gorephilia fans, get read to OUGH! Lamp of Murmuur fans, descend from the castle lair. Anaal Nathrakh fans … brace for impact?

In a year packed with enough history to cover the next century, it’s good to have a strong soundtrack to go along with it.

And don’t forget, today is Bandcamp Friday, in which Bandcamp waives its revenue share to help you get even more money into the hands of the artists you depend on for the jams. So if you wanted a great day to kick them out, today’s the day.

Sidenote: If you want even more great tunes to rage to, and you want to support a great cause, check out this compilation benefiting the Soroka family. The compilation features tracks from Äkth Gánahëth, Esoteric, Këkht Aräkh, Krieg, Lamp of Murmuur, Mare Cognitum, Panopticon, Woe more (as if that wasn’t enough).

Anaal Nathrakh- Endarkenment

If you know, you know. But if you don’t, you’re in for a real treat if you like skull-splitting brutality mixed with melodic grandeur. Anaal Nathrakh brilliantly mixes black metal and grindcore into a pulverizing sound all their own, along with almost operatic clean vocals that give the choruses an extra hook that’s often missing from other acts.

Stream: Apple Music

Endarkenment by Anaal Nathrakh

Enslaved- Utgard

Enslaved is Viking metal in the best sense of the term. They’re a band that formed a unique and exciting form of black metal back in the early 90s, and since then have taking their dragon boat into far away lands of progressive metal. Utgard is yet another conquest for the band, showcasing all of the atmosphere of the early years with the innovative spirit they’ve embodied since 2001’s Monumension.

Stream: Apple Music

Utgard by Enslaved

Gorephilia- In the Eye of Nothing

If you know anything about Dark Descent, you know what you’re getting yourself into with the latest from Finland’s Gorephilia: straightforward, dark, crushing death metal. If that’s all you’re looking for, and you want it done by some of the best in the scene, this is your ticket to the bloody underworld.

In the Eye of Nothing by Gorephilia

Lamp of Murmuur- Heir of Ecliptical Romanticism

One of this year’s most anticipated releases from one of the most buzzed-about bands in the new wave of raw black metal. Lamp of Murmuur blends everything you could want from melancholic riffing, to scorching vocals and eerie synths, and wraps it into a grim package of gloom. Even more exciting is when Mr. Lamp lets his deathrock and goth influences shine through, like on the supremely dance-able title track.

Heir of Ecliptical Romanticism by Lamp of Murmuur

Sarcoptes- Plague Hymns EP

A fitting title for a release in 2020 you might say. Sacramento’s Sarcoptes blends thrashing, ripping black metal with shades of blue-cover black metal of Dissection, Sacramentum and the rest of the gang. The EP only gives you two tracks, but you could always just hit replay. Hopefully we get another full-length soon.

Plague Hymns (Black/Thrash Metal) by SARCOPTES (US)

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Five For Friday: September 25, 2020

Hello, Decibel readers. Listeners of the metal of death and its environs.

This week brings something for almost everybody. Plenty of pure death metal, the latest from black metal’s (morning)star children in Uada, and some stuff for the power and trad-metal folks as well.

Enjoy:

Blazon Rite – Dulce Bellum Inexpertis E.P.

These Philly headbangers are here to keep the original heavy metal flame burning into the 2020s like it was still the early 80s. The band’s guitar tone and attitude give the music an added 70s stadium-rock feel. The band takes a very fist-pumping, anthemic approach to their music. Let’s hope one day there will still be arenas to pack. With any luck, Blazon Rite will be headlining one.

Dulce Bellum Inexpertis E.P. by Blazon Rite

Infesticide – Envenoming Wounds

Mexico’s Infesticide make pure, filthy, ferocious death metal. If you crave extremity in the vein of Seven Churches, Abominations of Desolation-era Morbid Angel and Scream Bloody Gore-era Death, you have really good taste. Congrats! Also, you need to crank Envenoming Wounds immediately.

Stream: Apple Music

Envenoming Wounds by INFESTICIDE

Morta Skuld – Suffer for Nothing

Not sure how these dudes escaped my attention before, but they’ve been around since 1990, pumping out death metal in style similar to Morpheus Descends, Gorement, Purtenance and other masters. But somehow, I suppose their name got lost in the shuffle of time. Here’s to changing that! Go listen to 1993’s Dying Remains, and then check out the band’s new jams on Suffer for Nothing.

Stream: Apple Music

Sacred Outcry – Damned for All Time

Never mind subtlety. Throw shyness to the wind. Toss discretion to the rocks. THIS. IS. METAAAAAAAL!!! Some real fun stuff if you’re looking for something powerful and epic. If you’re all about swords, dragons, and sorcery, you’ll dig this.

Damned For All Time by Sacred Outcry

Uada – Djinn

From out of the caves and into the desert sands comes the latest from Portland’s Uada. The band’s penchant for flowing black metal has been scaled back in favor of strains of post-rock, classic heavy metal, and other influences that make for a dynamic listening experience. From someone who was never really into the band’s brand of black metal, this makes Djinn much more interesting and worth exploring. Maybe you’ll feel the same way.

Stream: Apple Music

Djinn by UADA

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Five For Friday: September 11, 2020

A somber anniversary in a somber year. There’s a lot I could say here, but I doubt you came here to read the obligatory screed about where I was, what I remember most, and where that day fits in our modern context. Perhaps another day and a different outlet would make sense for that. But that’s beyond the scope of this roundup of new releases.

With that in mind, we have a lot of big names on this list. A black metal legend. A modern metal legend. A shock-rock legend. One of the standard-bearers of the old-school death metal revival scene. Perhaps it’s a fitting set of artists for today. The realm of the known. Heavy metal comfort food, you might say.

Enjoy.

Cenotafio – Larvae Tedeum Teratos

Death-laden black metal with a thick, cavernous affect. This vile screed of demon-conjuring dirges initially came out last year, but is now getting its proper vinyl release today via Blood Harvest.

Stream: Apple Music

Larvae Tedeum Teratos by Cenotafio

Ihsahn – Pharos

After the straightforward Telemark, Ihsahn intended to go as far outside his comfort zone as possible. This is decidedly what I don’t look for from the king of cosmic creations and times, but then again, sometimes his weirdest stuff is his coolest. The song “Manhattan Skyline” with Lerous’ Einar Solberg is giving me some serious school dance vibes, along with the eeriness of a song with that title coming out today.

Stream: Apple Music

Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos

Speaking of school vibes, here’s the latest from the man who was once the most hated in the country. At this point in his career, he’s found a compelling way to mature into a similar mold as Bowie and other multifarious artists. Though if you listen to the title track without knowing better, you’d think The Killers recruited him to guest on a new track. Not that I’m complaining.

Stream: Apple Music

Mastodon – Medium Rarities

For the Mastodon-completists out there, here’s a new collection of rarities and curiosities. The album includes the rocking single “Fallen Torches,” along with contributions they’ve made to compilations for Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Game of Thrones. There’s also a cover of Metallica’s classic “Orion” instrumental, a fitting choice for a band of Mastodon’s persuasion.

Stream: Apple Music

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment of Chaos

Looking for some well-written, forceful, crushing death metal? Skeletal Remains is a reliable engine that always can (only real ones will get that). More to the point, if you REALLY like Asphyx with a dash of Steve Tucker-era Morbid Angel, The Entombment of Chaos packs all the riffs and unhinged vocals you’ll need to get through the rest of this miserable year.

Stream: Apple Music

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Split Premiere: Bog Body & Primitive Warfare

After forming in 2016, New York-based guitarless death/sludge heavies Bog Body went on to release one of, if not the heaviest demo of 2018. The following year, another duo, this time from South Carolina, calling themselves Primitive Warfare put out one of the meanest demonstrations of aural hostility heard that year. Now the two forces have combined to release a split album perfect for ringing in the end of times. 

The Gate of Grief / Undulating Torment

The Gate of Grief / Undulating Torment by Stygian Black Hand

Out today on 12″ vinyl, The Gate of Grief / Undulating Torment is available from Stygian Black Hand. Read below to find out from the bands themselves the full context and story behind this incredibly harmful new split.

BOG BODY

This is your first recording since your demo. What made you want to make it a split with Primitive Warfare?
Duality is an important aspect in life and something we explore in our music. To approach a split as a sum of two parts was invigorating. To this end, Primitive Warfare made perfect sense. They’re comrades of ours, we’ve shared shows with them and the whole effort fits well under the banner of Stygian Black Hand; a label we’re intimately familiar with. We feel very akin to them, despite obvious differences, the intensity is shared and we knew they would react favorably to a split with a focus.

What information can you provide regarding the recording of your side? With whom did you record and where?
We recorded The Gate of Grief in the same space we recorded Through the Burial Bog. It’s a freezing cold and dark concrete room with ugly wood floors soaked in alcohol and a lone light bulb. Once again we enlisted Nolan Voss to record and mix. His finger was on the pulse and the experience was smooth. Nolan captured everything perfectly and implemented some interesting techniques to push the atmosphere that was so crucial to this release. Both sides were mastered together by Jack Control from Enormous Door who did a fantastic job unifying the whole release.

Recording is a tiring, combative, and affirming experience. We wanted to embrace the elements available to us in a studio setting and to do [bassist/vocalist] SVR’s setup as much justice as we could. So much is lost in recording and some vibrations can only be felt in person, but this recording is as close to capturing that magic as possible. We spent weeks on the mix making sure everything meshed well and enveloped the listener precisely how we envisioned.

Your sound remains gnarly, bass-only sludge-corrupted death metal. But how has Bog Body evolved or changed since your demo, in your own eyes?
With a two week tour last year and nearly three years of playing together there was an urge to try something more expansive. We didn’t let the idea of how this would be played live limit our song writing, nor did we concern ourselves with making sure it would please any particular listener. We set many goals for ourselves since we began this campaign and the list only gets longer; we have only scratched the surface of all that we would like to accomplish.

From the beginning we knew The Gate of Grief would be a longer work with a more involved structure. Instrumentation hasn’t been a limiter but rather a honing rod; allowing us to put attention on the more important aspects. Recording together for the second time also afforded us the experience of knowing what we liked and what we wanted from the recording. Hearing it on vinyl is the final affirmation that those choices and the time spent wasn’t wasted. For a release about the migration and death of ancient life, it’s only fitting we expanded our sound.

What topics does your side of the split cover in its songs? What is “The Gate of Grief?”
Blood poured out of Africa and into the Middle East over 70,000 years ago as humanity trudged across a land bridge that connected modern day Ethiopia and Yemen. The scale of such an effort, the collective sacrifice and suffering is unimaginable. To shape the future of humanity, we strove into the unknown, risking everything with the thought of a different tomorrow; at the core of this, again, is the duality of life and death. Like the body that fertilized the soil, those that traversed the strait fertilized the new lands. Death will always be a beginning and that is at the core of this release.

Did you alter your approach to these tracks in any way to compliment or crush PM’s side?
Both groups worked with the same source material and unifying theme. We knew Primitive Warfare’s side would be uncompromisingly fast and violent, and that was enough for us. We did not alter our approach to this release with them in mind. We only felt emboldened knowing there would be a competent pairing to our effort. 

PRIMITIVE WARFARE

What made the band want to release a split with Bog Body?
We were impressed by the abysmal dirge of their demo and decided to reach out as label mates. They are both extremely organized and obscenely talented songwriters. 

What information can you provide regarding the recording of your side? With whom did you record and where?
All Primitive Warfare releases have been recorded in the Iron Tomb of Pu239. All drums are recorded in one take without metronomes or triggering.

Your sound has not relented yet. It is still fast, brutal and uncompromising. But, in your own opinion, how has Primitive Warfare changed or evolved since your last effort?
We continue to push for sonant nuclear absolution, a quaking force reverting audial evolution to its most primal form. As we progress as a band, our sound regresses. 

Your side of the split is titled Undulating Torment? What is intended by this meaning? What kind of torment moves in waves?
An unrelenting darkened tide flowing into the lungs of straggled nomadic clans. This split holds a unified theme based on the Gate of Grief and the legend of a land bridge collapsing under the feet thousands of screaming throats. A sanguine torrent born of strife and stolen breath. A wave of agony bleeding onto parched soil.  

What should new listeners to your sound know before going in?
Primitive Warfare is the audial homicide of the weak, the execution of theocratic idols, the destruction of man’s arrogance, and the harbinger of the morning star. As the sky will burn and retinas will bleed, Primitive Warfare shall reign.

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