It takes a lot of blood, sweat, beers to make it in the music business. A lot of bands form around a good idea, some beers, mutual bands, or a few riffs, heat up, run cold and call it day. Few bands have the temerity to overcome real adversity with all the music industry shit that crushes your soul. If you know, you know. Graveslave has overcome the death of their original vocalist Don “Doombringer” Durkee in 2019, and are still here. Putting out a killer EP during the lockdown Devotion, and now a new album, this is far above what most others could muster. No matter what happens in their career, they have defied the odds for the love of music.
At The Gates is a household name to every Melodic Death Metal fan out there. Formed over thirty years ago, this group of guys invigorated the scene by gifting the people with their unruly and extreme proclamations. Along with several other eager acts from their hometown, like Dark Tranquility and In Flames, ATG bolstered what is now defined as Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal. The signature sound that they captured still storms the scene today, showing off the band’s Swedish roots with a grim and wistful flourish. They continue on to profess their dark truths on their new seventh full-length record, The Nightmare of Being (Century Media Records).
While all things toxic (waste; holocausts; um, waltzing) have long been a regular bedfellow for the lyric writers and album cover artists that inhibit the pungent worlds of Thrash and Death Metal, it also lurks in another sense; behind the scenes and pervading the environment of many bands relationships. Escaping the cryptic realms of one such biohazard of a relationship was a necessity for legendary bassist Terry Butler (Obituary, Death, Six Feet Under), guitarist Taylor Nordberg (Wombath, Ribspreader), and vocalist/drummer Jeramie Kling (Venom-Inc, Goregang, The Absence). Continue reading
Back with another album cover deemed unsuitable for public consumption, it’s nice to see death metal legends Cannibal Corpse still shocking the squeamish and easily offended. Having to replace controversial artwork with something a little more palatable had almost become a tradition at one time but the new record Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade) is the first time the band has actually been deemed worthy of censorship since 2012.
The peculiarity of Technical Death Metal is the capability of exploring itself, yet creativity begins to fade when there’s a vast repertoire of bands of this kind, which have made history on the underground’s music scene. Certain musical groups stick to follow a simple and uncomplicated path, keeping a comparable sound with many other bands that continue to perform in this genre. Let us consider the huge waves of Technical Death Metal in the eighties and in the nineties and how it reinvented itself to the present day. Bands such as Suffocation and Gorguts trace Technical Death Metal’s status as a whole, releasing records and records without losing its own legendary position, carrying bloody and filthy anthems for dozens of years. Continue reading
There was a time where Metal had an ageism problem; the perception prevalent that once heavier bands passed certain milestone birthdays or anniversaries, or wracked a certain number of albums, or miles on the road, they became jaded, watered-down parodies of themselves. The late nineties, and, to be fair, a good chunk of the first decade of this millennium, were not kind to our grizzled veterans, some of whom fed into the prophecy, with stock output outweighing those who could still hold their own.
Over thirty years ago, England’s own Carcass came to the scene and shared their glorification of grind and gore. The unhinged and manic sound they conjured found an audience and quickly gained popularity, along with their contemporaries Napalm Death and Godflesh. The surge of the extreme had its time in the sun, but after their 10 year hiatus, Carcass came back in a slightly different mood. In 2013, the group took their well-known viciousness and molded it in with more melody on their sixth full-length, Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast). They married Grindcore and Melodic Death Metal on that record which got a lot of attention and reminded everyone why these guys are such an original act. After seven years, the band is back again with their EP, Despicable (Nuclear Blast). In just four songs, Carcass takes their significant union of sounds and exemplifies them with new levels of pandemonium. Continue reading
Incantation is one of those bands that every metalhead knows about. Hailing from the East Coast, these guys have been around for over thirty years and have always made their presence known in the scene. From consistent album releases to endless touring, Incantation is an act that has dedicated everything to their craft. These veteran players continue to carry the banner for old school American Death Metal on their eleventh full-length, Sect of Vile Divinities (Relapse Records). Released last month, their grim and gruesome sounds gurgle to the top of the scuzzy cesspool of heaviness that they have created.Continue reading
After a sequence of splits, EP’s and singles, the second full-length release from Mancunian death metal mob Foetal Juice finally exposes the band’s darkest secret – that underneath all the songs about bodily fluids, blue waffles, and human waste, lurks a group of serious musicians. Continue reading
Canadian death metallers Laika are a rather underground act, but their sophomore album, Somnia (Filth Regime), is something that deserves to at least be brought to the attention of the genre’s fans. The songs sometime fall into the trap of sounding too generic, the album has some great moments.
‘Restless Mind’ is a beautiful opening featuring a piano and then blasts right into the next song, appropriately titled ‘Escalation of Terror’. Some of the songs feature great guitar parts by Ian Garraway and Alex Kling as heard in ‘Caligae A Galea’. Too often the songs sound the same but ‘Dream of Nothing’ is a refreshing break about halfway through the album. Just like ‘Restless Mind’, it is an instrumental. ‘The Immortal’ provides the band an opportunity to change the sound of the album but it unfortunately comes too late.
What the album has going for it is that the songs are full of power, energy, and metal assault; they are sure to get any pit going. Sadly, Somnia fails in that there is not enough diversity in its sound. Laika are still stuck in their comfort zone but one still hopes that they are able to overcome their fear of stepping out and come back stronger next time.
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