ALBUM REVIEW: Inhuman Condition – Rat God


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


Inhuman Condition Unveil “Rat God” Album Artwork by Artist Dan Goldsworthy


 

Floridian Death Metal supergroup Inhuman Condition has unleashed their killer new artwork for their upcoming new album, Rat God, due out later in 2021 via Blood Blast distribution for digital and Black Serpent Records on vinyl. Working with legendary metal covers artist Dan Goldsworthy (Accept, Cradle Of Filth, Xentrix, Alestorm) the artwork matches the promise of this sick new music to come. Check out the album covers here.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Memoriam – To The End


 

Would you like to know what’s one of my favorite aspects of metal? It’s that it’s too goddam stubborn to ever go away. As long as there is breath in a metalhead’s lungs they’re going to find ways to tune lower or crank in even more blast beats into a song. As To The End (Reaper Entertainment) roared from my car’s stereo is when I realized that Memoriam is Karl Willets’ latest musical endeavor despite already having a hall of fame run with Bolt Thrower. Bless that man.

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Judas Priest, Helloween, Kreator, Arch Enemy To Headline Knotfest Columbia


Knotfest has now branched out to Bogota, Columbia for their next announced edition, Knotfest Columbia. Judas Priest Helloween, Kreator, Arch Enemy and more have been announced for the festival. The festival launched by Slipknot, on October 26 at Hipódromo De Los Andes in Bogotá. Watch the trailer for it now. Continue reading


The Grotesquery – The Lupine Anathema


It’s always a musical cause for concern whenever an Extreme Metal band feels the need to sensationalize their genre (or subgenre for that matter). The Grotesquery referring to their sound as “Occult Death Metal” gave me plenty of uncertain pause heading into The Lupine Anathema (Xtreem Music). Continue reading


Terror Universal – Make Them Bleed


Before you listen to Terror Universal’s Make Them Bleed (Minus Head) make sure to take a good look at the album for a minute or two. Approach this experiment as a Heavy Metal Rorschach test. What do you see? How does it make you feel? I see four blokes that look like they walked off the set of Max Landis’ latest “masterwork” Bright. Then I hopped on the Wayback Machine and was transported to the wild west that was the nu-metal years. Continue reading


Albert Mudrian – Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore (Reissue)


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Released twelve years ago, Albert Mudrian’s anthology of Death Metal has stood the test of time; an engaging read taking you on a loose zig-zag through the birth and, um, death of Death Metal. Unveiled through the eyes of its’ progenitors, there is method to the tale that begins in England, moves to Tampa, takes in Entombed and Scandinavia and reserves a special mention for the oft overlooked Dutch input of Gorefest and Pestilence.

Undertaking a task as complicated as trying to find the true source of the Nile (Karl Sanders – badoom tish!), Mudrian begins his tale by trying to uncover the birth of what became known as Death Metal, settling on Napalm Death and their 1985 era hybrid (Siege meets Discharge meets Celtic Frost) of hardcore punk, thrash and a desire to be harder, faster, sicker than everyone else. The book then focuses on the influence of their Scum release (Earache) on other vital artists, like Morbid Angel (via Pete Sandoval, then in Terrorizer) and the incestuous, small nature of the scene where, due to tape trading and pen palling, most of Death Metal’s predominant protagonists all knew and inspired each other.

As the tales unfurl, you find yourself swept up and wanting to revisiting all the classic albums that are mentioned – Possessed ‘s Seven Churches (Combat), Pestilence Consvming Impvlse (Roadrunner), Massacre From Beyond (the story of Massacre’s signing to Earache being another fun aside revealed in the book) and Master Master (Displeased) forming part of my own soundtrack while reading.

The re-issue picks things up as the roots of recovery were just sprouting through the top soil at the tail end of the 90’s, highlighting the rise of a new DM general in Nile. After touching on the diversification of Death Metal of this millennium, including the mind-sucking brilliance of Portal and their focus on eldritch, dark atmospheres, Mudrian covers the popularity of technical Death Metal (a section that introduced me to Necrophagist and Obscura as you can’t help but be enthused to check all the recommends as you go) over the last decade. The tome now concludes by covering the return to the scene of the apex predators with Carcass, At The Gates, Death (DTA) and others reforming to reap the benefits of their respective legacies and the rewards of the now lucrative and high profile festival market, and to satisfy an urge that, in the case of Bill Steer, they didn’t even know they had. If you read the original, the added content is an agreeable appendix.

Peppered with short anecdotes, but above all an informative and enjoyable potted history of Death Metal, all imparted with the enthusiastic love that a doting parent has for a child, Choosing Death is an affectionate, if whistlestop, walk through of the story of Death Metal to date. In the authors’ own words, he is “Just a fan. Just like you.” He just happens to be a damn good writer who has written The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore. And updated it.

Buy the book here:

 

8.5/10

STEVE TOVEY


Maryland Deathfest 13 Part I: Various Venues, Baltimore Maryland


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For the 13th year, the inner harbor area of Baltimore is turned into what is known as Maryland Deathfest. This year being my first time, I went all out and made sure I was present for all 5 days/nights. After the hours upon hours of partying and headbanging, I had found an annual tradition that I almost feel obligated to return to year by year. Of course maybe not for everyday of the festival, but the experience alone is worth it.

Upon arriving in Baltimore Wednesday afternoon with a few friends, it did not take long to find all of the metal heads. Black t-shirts, denim vests, leather boots, jean shorts, and long-hair filled the streets and hotels. After unpacking in our rooms and wandering the streets, the Ottobar became filled with excited fans, ready to hear some great death metal from bands like Funerus, Drawn and Quartered, Massacre, and Incantation. The Ottobar had a bar tender just selling beers out of basins outside of the regular full bar. This served to be quiet convenient in between sets to go outside for fresh air then on the way back in, refill for the next band. Incantation certainly stole the night for me as I was able to see them for the first time a month earlier at New England Metal And Hardcore Festival, but on a very short set. Headlining at the Ottobar, this offered me another look at these death metal pioneers and I certainly enjoyed them more the second time around.

Devourment, by Hillarie Jason Photography Origin, by Hillarie Jason Photography

Avoiding the first night parties, my pals and I woke up early and found a local diner for breakfast to consume as many carbs and cups of coffee as we could in preparation for the day ahead. The plan today was to watch some death metal over at The Baltimore Soundstage and then make our way over to Rams Head Live for late night doom. The Soundstage is a small, dim lit venue which I found to be perfect as this venue typically held the hardcore/grindcore bands for the festival. Merch tables and bars lined the outer walls which I am sure made a killing throughout the weekend. The lineup consisted of Mortal Decay, Origin, Internal Bleeding, Skinless, Devourment, and of course, Mobb Deep. One of my favorite moments from the Soundstage on this day was Jason Keyser of Origin/ex-Skinless jumped on stage with Skinless to perform one of the Keyser-era songs off of Trample the Weak, Hurtle the Dead. After a quick bite to eat in between Soundstage and Rams Head Live, I made my way into the back entrance of the venue. This venue was hidden away inside the building and actually had three floors with fans hanging over railings to get a view of the small stage up front. Just as I found a spot in the back on the railing of the second floor, the mighty Conan took to the stage and brought forth one of the heaviest guitar tones I have ever heard live. After getting through a trance inducing set from Ufomammut and a thunderous jam from YOB, it was time to head back to the hotel for some re-cooperation. The next day, we would get to venture to the Edison Lot.

Conan, by Hillarie Jason Photography Ufomammut, by Hillarie Jason Photography Yob, by Hillarie Jason Photography

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WORDS BY TIM LEDIN

PHOTOS BY HILLARIE JASON PHOTOGRAPHY


King Parrot – Dead Set


King Parrot - Dead Set

King Parrot do not fuck around. A quick drum fill, a few stabbed guitar chords of an intro and we are into the full-on no fucks given, no quarter asked nor given, modern crossover thrash violence of minute and a half like opening track ‘Anthem of the Advanced Sinner’, a song with a mid-section chug that recalls the classic head-snap of ‘Raining Blood’.

Mention thrash and people think of a creatively limited genre, mention crossover and people think of retro, mention a combination of the two and we tend to think we’ve heard it before. King Parrot couldn’t give a shit what you think you’ve heard before; born with more than enough middle fingers and ‘tood in fucking truckloads, they parade and stamp jagged anthems like broken glass into your ugly face. This is no quickstep of obvious moves, ‘Need No Saviour’ could be Exodus covering Morbid Angel, before lurching into The Great Southern Trendkill (EastWest) silt and swamp stomp, while ‘Reject’ swills punk around their mouth, before spraying out venom.

Thrash and hardcore are, to this King, to coin a phrase, just the beginning.

Matthew Young spits and tantrums all over the album, like a wound-up “Blitz” Ellsworth having been given a cheeky slap while three sheets to the wind and denied the chance to exact revenge, stomping around destroying the bar while mosh anthem after fight song barrel from the speakers.

Don’t think, though, this is an uneducated rageathon. Dead Set (Housecore) is focused and scripted, Ari White and Andrew Livingstone-Squires ripping choice cuts of classic Death Metal Massacre and Schuldiner riffs and thrashing them up, with Young switching up his yelp with a kidney-punch growl in the grinding menace of ‘Home Is Where The Gutter Is’, while ‘Sick In The Head’ is Bay Area at its most feral meets Sick Of It All.

Ultimately success in this type of arena still relies on songwriting, riffs people want to hear again and an X-Factor of energy and conviction, all of which the Parrot deliver in spades. There is defined Hannemann/King influence in the spiky riffing, but King Parrot bring their own grime to leave their own indelible mark over one of the most refreshing, visceral, unhinged-yet-concentrated and memorable hits from the underground and below this year.

 

8.5/10

King Parrot on Facebook

STEVE TOVEY


Morgoth – Ungod


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Another day, another reunion. For the unaware, German quintet Morgoth created a reasonable buzz back in the early 90s with the solid if unspectacular duo of Cursed and Odium. Then they went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like releasing Feel Sorry for the Fanatic, a bizarre jaunt into experimental electronic territory which appalled fans and led to the band breaking up in 1998. However, like so many others they have returned from the grave and Ungod (all Century Media Records) is the fruit of their labours. Is it worth it?

On first impressions, the answer is a baffled “No!” as the naked Obituary rip-off of ‘House of Blood’ comes lumbering out of the speakers. New vocalist Karsten ‘Jagger’ Jäger sounds so much like John Tardy you’ll be wondering if there’s been a mistake at the pressing plant. Thankfully things improve on the catchy mid-paced ‘Voice of Slumber’ which makes good use of those morose yet subtle melodies that were just enough to give Morgoth their own identity back in the day. Further tracks such as the measured riffing and familiar satanic lyrics of ‘Snakestate’ and the more aggressive attack of ‘Descent into Hell’ are pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered; middle of the road, no-frills death metal that sounds exactly like it was recorded in Florida circa 1993.

Honestly, were you expecting anything different? It’s hardly surprising that Morgoth have retreated to their classic sound (comfort zone) after such a disastrous backfire all those years ago, and they certainly know how to pen a decent death metal tune. However, like Massacre’s comeback record last year which shamelessly traded on former glories, Morgoth seem to think that just turning up and acting like nothing’s changed will be enough. Unfortunately the world of extreme metal is a far more diverse, cut-throat entity than it was in their heyday and it’s difficult to see them standing out from the herd this time round.

6.5/10

Morgoth on Facebook

JAMES CONWAY