Deceived by whispers of comfort from the dread pages, Richard Benton tarried too long among the blasphemous text of the Book Of Dead Names – and four eldritch nightmares followed him back.
Like all movements that promise to reinvent a genre, dissonant / experimental Death Metal collapsed into a messy trend of imitators focussing on the most obvious aspects of their influences’ sound and missing the nuance. Fortunately, it passed the test of leaving behind enough building blocks for worthwhile successors to construct something interesting – and New York four-piece Aeviterne are one of the most interesting in a while.
Even though Immolation have been around from the dawn of death metal, the New York four-piece have never enjoyed the same level of prominence as many of their peers. Debut album Dawn of Possession (R/C Records) is still widely regarded as one of the finest examples of the genre but the 1991 release also remains a millstone around the band’s neck, the general consensus being that, no matter how hard they try, their illustrious debut will never be bettered.
Mickey Mouse. Universal Studios. The Everglades. It’s a safe bet that among the first things that come to mind when everyday folk think about Florida, Death Metal wouldn’t even be as high on the list as some of those often unbelievable “Florida Man…” headlines. However, to a certain breed of humans, that particular southeastern state has been a location of serious interest since Death released their debut album back in 1987.
There is a powerful being that has arrived with one goal in mind: wreak havoc over everyone and everything until existence itself is all but wiped out. But it’s not a pandemic, it’s Praenuntius. The South-African six-piece Vulvodynia is responsible for this entity, and they’ve told its story via Praenuntius Infiniti (Unique Leader Records) in the form of crushing Deathcore and downright nightmarish lyrics.
Recorded towards the end of 2020, Paint The Sky With Blood (Napalm Records) was meant to signal the beginning of a new era in the career of Bodom After Midnight frontman Alexi Laiho. His first release since leaving the groundbreaking Finnish melodic death metal act Children of Bodom the previous year should have been the beginning of an exciting new journey. Instead, his tragic death in late December means it ultimately becomes an epitaph.
Death Metal is in rude health. It is a status that has been brewing and broiling over the last ten years, with pushes and spurts in pocketed sub-sub genres, until now the whole scene, and its multitude of variants and mutations and off-shoots, feels like it is not just doing alright, but burgeoning with a lush virility unseen since it’s fomentation some thirty years ago.
Not content with being hailed as one of the leaders of a New Wave of Death Metal bruisers (NWODMb anyone?) taking inspiration from the founding fathers of three decades past along with Blood Incantation and Tomb Mold – a pack that looks likely to be joined by impressive newcomers Frozen Soul and their glacial Bolt Throwerisms – Arizonian quintet Gatecreeper have taken it upon themselves to mix things up and show some gnarly dexterity in style and idea, and try and shake things up a little in response to the current COVID landscape and restrictions.
Kataklysm has proudly been waving the banners of Melodic Death and Death Metal for nearly thirty years. Originally hailing from Canada, this now multinational act has consistently delivered strikingly aggressive music for decades and it has solidified their spot at the Heavy Metal table. It’s only been two years since they released their last record, Meditations (Nuclear Blast). Yet this new full-length, Unconquered (Nuclear Blast) demonstrates how this quartet has a wealth of heaviness still to share.
Napalm Death choosing to drop Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (Century Media) is the definition of perfect timing. For those not keeping score at home, the current leader of the free world is an ass-clown who smears his face daily with greasy self-tanner and fancies white supremacists and McDonald’s food. Oh, and there’s a bit of a global pandemic that has paused the world and crippled economies.