Master of all that is grim and ghastly, Necrosexual climbed another rung in his quest for world domination in 2018 with a new album and many shows. He shared the most gruesome albums he enjoyed this year with you, our readers/his future sacrifices.
Gorephilia proudly carried on Finland’s tradition of old school death metal with their 2017 full length, Severed Monolith. Their follow-up split with Undergang is a brief but devastating aural assault, a ruinous landscape dominated by concussive rhythms and growls, smoldering with the blackest chords of hateful aggression. Tragically, Gorephilia’s frontman, Henri Kuula, took his own life on December 3. So thank you, Henri, for delivering real, crushing death metal in your time with us, and my condolences to your friends, family and bandmates.
Under the Influence is a fittingly titled masterpiece of loud, lo-fi rock and roll, that will quickly take over the listener like a hypnotic drug. You will be a’, finger-snappin’ and stomping your feet to these jams in no time, and these guys jam hard. Hallucinatory solo sections often wail on for minutes over with the most minimal blues riffs. Yet, Ecstatic Vision manage to sound refreshing, without being another burnt out Black Sabbath copycat. I imagined this album was recorded on a tape cassette in a smoky basement with leopard print sofas and carpeted walls, as naked hippies dance in the corners for hours at a time. Surrender to the rock.
Judas FUCKING Priest is back, and they have delivered the goods once again. Easily their best album since Painkiller, and one that stands equal to their already considerable catalog of classic records.
A timeless, instant speed metal classic. This album screeches with glorious falsetto vocals and rolling double bass drums into the title track, as if it arrived smoking from a 1983 DeLorean. Hints of Stained Class-era Judas Priest, Metallica, Blessed Death, Exciter and Razor are a few of the bands Leathürbitch harken back to. The most fun part of this album is its unapologetic rock n roll attitude, one that gleans when their singer screams I’m Nasty! in the standout track ‘Nasty Reputation’. If this album doesn’t cause you to immediately pump your fist and run off with a gang of leather and stud clad street punks to dance around trash fires at night as you fight off rival gangs with chains and baseball bats, you are a poser and a wimp.
More than a decade since their last recording, Vicious Circle is back with pinpoint accuracy. This New Jersey quartet wasted no time unleashing a barrage of speedy riffs and chunky breakdowns. Unearthed Precision is a frantic showcase of ferocious fretwork. It switches gears between dazzling technical compositions and heavy grooves that are ripe for headbanging. The vocals are harsh, ranging from growls to screams, but are still intelligible. You can make out the words as you follow along with the lyrical themes of paranoia, societal contempt and religious mockery on tracks like ‘Killing Culture’and ‘Pain of Salvation’. This EP reminds me of Slayer and Suffocation, with a splash of Prong during the breakdowns.
Devil Master is a prime soundtrack for moshing in a cemetery circle pit under the full moon during the witching hour. Street punk meets black metal tremolo riffs with gruff, otherworldly vocals. The guitar harmonies borders on a tubular, surf rock tone, adding an element of camp to the spooky maelstrom.
Black, evil death metal from Germany. Ascension’s latest offering conjures up apocalyptic imagery of crazed warlocks summoning the ancient ones to plunge this world into fiery darkness. This bleak vision of demise is painted in maniacal strokes. Its bellowing vocals scream of curses, death, and destruction. This album is often set to the manic tempo of blast beats, reminiscent of the swirling tempest of anger at hand, while spindly and twangy arpeggio chords form haunting melodies that ring out in the void.
I was fortunate to witness these underground death metal powerhouses tour together this year. Sure enough, they obliterated the tiny Philadelphia dive bar that night with their fat ass, evil riffs. These young bucks released a limited split cassette for their 2018 tour that is now sold out. If you missed them on the road, you had your chance, sucker. Both these bands are classic death metal worship, with their own spin on a genre that’s been quite thoroughly treaded. Cemetery Filth conjures up the atonal shredding and blast beat filled madness of Morbid Angel and Deicide. Church of Disgust reminds me of Bolt Thrower. Bands like these are the reason 2018 sounds a lot like 1988, and I mean that in the absolute best, most brutal way possible.
Another gnarly, riff-fueled journey to the abyss, screaming and wide-eyed all the way. 2018 has been a genre-defining year for death metal. More than 20 years since bands like Death popularized this iconic brand of disgusting caveman murder music, a new breed has risen to spew forth their evolved formula of that primordial black bile. At the forefront is Tomb Mold, who shine in their ability to arrange the harshest heaps of distorted discord into grand, flowing movements that hint at the humanity behind the brutality.
A crisp, well-orchestrated overture of old school death metal at its finest. King Fowley has positioned himself as the death metal answer to King Diamond on this album. His guttural vocals wax poetic on lyrics dealing with supernatural themes and are matched with dueling guitar melodies. Each riff reveals itself and builds on the tension like another layer in the soundtrack to a mystery film. Up the tombstones, baby!
Honorable mention: Basilysk – Emergence
I’m a little biased, as this album features Necrosexual drummer Mike Churry, and some grim bass lines from yours trvly. Basilysk’s new album is due in February 2019, but was recorded and finalized this year. This album will shatter your skull and soothe your soul, so keep an eye to Ghost Cult Magazine in the future for a review of Basilysk’s upcoming death metal triumph.
Necrosexual is the most electrifying man in corpse entertainment. His album GRIM-1 was released in February 2018.