zaterdag 18 januari 2014

Death Metal in 2013: A Year in Review

Carcass - Surgical Steel

This was the release everyone was waiting for; the comeback album of the immense popular deathgrind band Carcass from the UK. In the eyes of many diehard Carcass fans they seemed to have gone off-course just a little bit too much with their last album 'Swansong', but the fans can be re-assured once again, because these guys are back on track again. They are still not necessarily following the pure deathgrind approach, but the vibe of  'Surgical Steel' does seem to give us this nostalgic throwback to a time somewhere in between 'Heartwork' and 'Necroticism'. Very recommended!

Autopsy - The Headless Ritual

Oh man, Autopsy is sure doing again what they are so good at! Creating filthy sounding death metal that is not afraid to surprise the listener by completely switching the pace to a more moody and doomy vibe at certain moments. Very interesting to combine such death metal nastyness with slowpaced atmospheric moments. Only Autopsy can successfully pull this off without having any longstanding fans eyeballing them.

Exhumed - Necrocracy

'All Hail Carcass!' is basicly what you keep thinking the whole time when listening through this. Not that it's bad, because it definitely isn't. Even though these guys are obviously influenced by British deathgrind pioneers 'Carcass', it is obviously these guys don't give a single fuck. Seriously.They don't even care they created the most modern sounding Exhumed record they're recorded so far. Personally I enjoyed this one more than their comeback album 'All Guts, No Glory'. Yes it's a little bit more modern sounding than we'd expect from them, but I approve it. This stuff is eargrindingly awesome! They're still giving us fast and groovy deathgrind and I ain't complaining!

Demonical - Darkness Unbound

Finally some more of that sweet 'Dismember'-ish goodness we having been longing for ever since Dismember, one of the masters of old school swedish death metal, have retired from the scene since 2010. It still saddens me that Dismember is no more, but I always have these guys to hang on to when I need some Swedish old school brutality to headbang myself into a coma! Crusty chainsaw guitar tones and memorable haunting melodies, these guys know what they're doing! 

Blood Red Throne - Blood Red Throne

One of my favourite Norwegian death metal bands (and there aren't that many of those around, but I'll come back to this later in another review, hehe) are back again with another face-smashing album to prove to the world once again that Norwegians are not only good at dazzling us with grimfrosted black metal tunes (and burning down wooden churches, lol), they can make some pretty wicked death metal too! Blood Red Throne is the best living Norwegian proof! It's their second album with the new vocalist and they're here show us that Blood Red Throne is still the mightiest crushing death metal band of Norway. If you get through this album without even nodding your head once, than you're here for the wrong type of Norwegian metal! Oh yeah, feel that groove and start bashing some heads in that moshpit!

Hail Of Bullets - III: The Rommel Chronicles

Death metal and epic WWII battles... Whaaat? Bolt Thrower you say?! No fucking way! It's the Dutch death metal tank battalion Hail Of Bullets! The band consists only out of veterans from the dutch death metal scene and I can tell you right now; these guys are here to show you what they're worth of, and they are definitely not taking any prisoners! If you're expecting some technical masterpiece, you're at the wrong place..... Aaaand you're right in the middle of an immensive warzone, so get the fuck out of that crossfire because all hell is gonna break loose from the moment you start spinning this! It's massive, it's all out war, it's old school death metal goodness, the Dutch way!

Necrophobic - Womb Of Lilithu

Necrophobic might have had it's portion drama concerning their vocalist's personal issues, but I'm gonna try and keep personal stuff and music completely separated. Having that said; Damn! This is Necrophobic reinventing themselves in 2013! Wow! This is some pretty epic blackened death metal. They actually did manage to surprise us, even after such a long run in the Swedish death metal scene. Yes, I know that drummer is like the only original bandmember by now, but this is definitely not going to stop this northern black storm of death from hitting its mark! That might probably have something to do with Fredrik Folkare's (also in Unleashed at the moment) input guitarwise. This guy knows how to create deliciously haunting riffs that sound as if the skies are about to crack open and the armies of darkness are about strike down on humanity and cause a an immense scenery of mayhem and terror! 

Revel In Flesh - Manifested darkness

'Revel In Flesh' as in 'that notorious swedish death metal song from 'Left Hand Path' ? You got that right! These German Swedish death metal wannabes are definitely NOT hiding their influences! And musicwise it's immediately noticeable too. They're proudly serving us old school death metal the Swedish way without remorse! Just like Demonical these guys are part of the European OSDM revivalism trend and trying to please the ears of fans that are eagerly waiting for anything with a bit of Dismember/old school Entombed type of feel. Recommended nostalgic throwback/retro death metal.

Deeds Of Flesh - Portals To Canaan

One of the few technical brutal death metal albums in this 'year in review' list. With reason ofcourse.
In a scene that seems to be overshadowed a lot with a lot of modern shady ultra-tech death metal bands, these Americans still know how pulverize us with some professional blastfilled hypertech. They are veterans at what they do and they are definitely not going to reinvent themselves, and they obviously don't need it! Just listen to this and be amazed at how these guys can still deliver some massive brutal technical death metal goodness!

Deicide - In The Minds Of Evil

Deicide punches the haters in the face with another marvellous Satanic rant. Deicide proves again that they don't need the Hoffman brothers to keep kicking ass. Jason Suecof did good as a producer because he somehow managed to convince the Deicide guys to compose some really fucking groovy and catchy  riffs. Ofcourse they're more of a modernized version of the 90s Deicide, but this stuff catches on pretty quickly all thanks to the more thrashy sounding rhythms that are in fact giving a little wink to some of the riffs on their first 3 albums. Please continue this trend of quality Deicide albums just a little bit longer! And a big message to their current record label; don't fuck these guys over, we don't want them to get out of your contract by releasing another filler album like 'til death do us part'! Never again, aaargghh !

Hypocrisy - End Of Disclosure

Hypocrisy are playing it safe here by actually continuing where they left off with their 'The Arrival' album. Lyrics about 'aliens scrutinizing humans', punchy extreme melodic death songs with awkwardly elevating synths being played in the background. Yups that's 'The Arrival' alright. Personally I don't think this is one of those Hypocrisy albums that will ever stand out very much, but if you were a big fan of 'The Arrival' than you are going to enjoy every minute of this! 

Master - The Witchhunt

Master is one of those veteran death metal acts that is just UNSTOPPABLE. Speckman, the master himself, is still not willing to throw the towel in the ring, even after being like 30 years in the scene! Not many people can match up with that, and the music shows it! Listen kids, learn from a real professional how to create some merciless, faceripping old school death-thrash!

Disfigurement - Soul Rot

Debute Ep of this brand new old school death metal revivalism band. 'Another one of those?' you say? Well yes, nothing out of the ordinary, but the fans of this new wave of old school death metal moment definitely need to get their hand on this as soon as possible. This is pretty good and well produced death metal with some pretty sick grooves and some nice shredding solo's. I definitely can't get tired of of some well done old school death metal... Can you?

Facebreaker - Dedicated To The Flesh

For some people it's hard to swallow that one of the vocalists of Scar Symmetry fronts this more straightforward death metal band, but the truth is; this vocalist has been in the scene for a while (and think of his work with Edge Of Sanity), and he's just doing what he's really good at, breaking faces, the Swedish way!

Kataklysm - Waiting For The End To Come

Another typical Kataklysm album. Is that bad? No, not really. As long as they're good at what they do, let them do their thing I'd say. Very modern sounding death metal with a lot of groove, brutal as fuck vocals and incredibly epic melodies the Hypocrisy-way!

Jungle Rot - Terror Regime

Fuck yeah, this American death metal platoon has just vomited out another sick and twisted thrashy death metal album to annoy the hell out of your neighbour's ears! Again, with this band you always know you're never gonna get any of that hypertech death stuff! They assault your ears with simplistic caveman death metal mosh anthems to instantly start a war to! If your neighbours don't get any real jungle rot after blasting this record on full volume, then it means your neighbours are already dead! Make way! Jungle Rot are about to carpet bomb you at full power!

War Master - Blood Dawn

Another band of which the name immediately gets related to another veteran death metal band, This time it's hinting towards Bolt Thrower. Even though they don't sound exactly the same, the message is still the same. Creating a bombastic assault of simplified death metal to serve as the soundtrack for your next conquest of Europe! 

Immolation - Kingdom Of Conspiracy

Immolation has give us another brutal as fuck New York death metal masterpiece in 2013, and they still are still able to deliver the goods. They might not be the exact same copy of the Immolation from the 90s but they know how to get those heads spinning even today! Immolation is one of those type of bands that whenever they release something, you just know you're not going to get disappointed. They can never really do anything wrong, and this albums proves that once again. Obligatory buy! Get it now!

Suffocation - Pinnacle Of Bedlam

Pinnacle Of bedlam marks the first full length appearance of Dave Culross since Suffocation's EP 'Despise The Sun'. And holy shit, what a major change in drumming style! It is immediately noticeable that Culross brings a totally different element to this band. Many die hard fans might pull weird faces when listening through 'Pinnacle Of Bedlam' but to me this is a very positive surprise. The pace is more upbeat than we're used from Suffocation and I personally think it's a very interesting way to completely stir things up for the good by using a different formula. It's still Suffocation, but more of a reinvented Suffocation that still makes us want 'hand along' (is that a word?! Lol!) with Frank Mullen!

Pestilence - Obsideo

The last album of these Dutch old school death metal pioneers made many Pestilence fans pull weird faces when listening to Doctrine. And it seems that the band got the message, because they are back on track with this album. While still not being able to compete with their extraordinary 90s death metal albums, it is still good to see these guys pull off a quality (and little bit more straightforward) old school death metal release that still does not shy away from injecting some progressive influences into their music.

Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death

Tribulation is a fairly new death metal band that have already gained a lot of fans with their debute full length 'The Horror'. But what are they up to next? A logical follow-up to that album, you'd say? Well you got that wrong big time. Although the general style is style kinda the same, they did however decide to reinvent themselves on this album. There's more attention for atmospheric soundscapes to everyone's surprise strangely enough. There are some fans that didn't go along with the sublime style shift, but those that did hang on are in for an interesting ride into the unknown. The band 'Nader Sadek' comes to mind when listening to the more post-death metal-ish (almost avant-garde) stretched out parts. Not catchy enough for fans that like their death metal more straightforward, but I found this a pretty tasty exotic meal nonetheless.

Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

Aha! Part 2 of the Norwegian death metal league of 2013! The biggest contrast between 'Obliteration' and 'Blood Red throne' is ofcourse that Blood Red Throne is way more modern and brutal sounding (think of Cannibal Corpse meets Grave) than 'Obliteration, who are in fact going for the old school approach by carrying on the torch of more rotten, dirty and fuzzy sounding death metal like Autopsy and Entombed. Just like Autopsy these guys are definitely not afraid to change the tempo drasticly once in a while by exploring more gloomy mood changing territories. This album is regarded as one of the better death metal releases and therefor Norway can be proud they have not one, but two death metal bands to carry the Norwegian death metal flag for once. Well deserved!

Bodyfarm - The Coming Scourge

Fuck yes, this is Holland's newest death metal sensation. Surprisingly well done old school death metal for such young guys. Textbook death metal at it's finest, but it's well produced en very catchy. The biggest surprise is that it sounds so diverse. The songs are not hard to to tell apart and therefor extremely memorable, also due to the vocals variating throughout the record, something you don't come across alot (well there's that Necronaut project, but that one was extremely variating due to have different singers). But anyways, the thing I like the most is that the vocalist's voice is very understandable which almost give this a bit of a punky d-beat vibe. The album seems to be well received on many websites and blogs. Good for them. I think it's well deserved. Defintely a band that will need to step it up big time if they want their next album to compete with this, because this one is awesome! VERY recommended. These Dutchies can be proud of themselves.

Paganizer - World Lobotomy

Yes, ofcourse another new wave of old school death metal band! This time the Swedes from Paganizer show us how us their own Swedish take on, yeah you're never gonna guess it, Swedish death metal! Again you are warned, if this stuff is way too untechnical for your taste, then get out of here and blast some Obscura or Beyond Creation or something... If you enjoy the type of death metal revivalism, then you won't be disappointed when checking this out ;).

Six Feet Under - Unborn

Six Feet Under already did it with 'Undead', and they're doing it again with 'Unborn'. Worldwide they are actually surprising their own fanbase by give some really good death metal again, and it has been ages, seriously, I am not kidding! They are no more that snoozefest of deathgroove band they used to be. They're actually very impressive now thanks to another new line-up change. It was for the best, they needed it and this album turned out great! Good that they're back on track again since their last album, because the world can finally enjoy SFU for once. Definitely worth checking out now, before they turn into  snoozefest again, it's now or never!

Vastum - Patricidal Lust

A mezmerizing assault of rotten death metal is what you can expect here; just like what the album cover is visualizing, just not as colourful and psychedelic (wtf is up with that giant bat?!). They're kinda like Autopsy, only way more cavernous and ugly sounding. It has its moments, but you have to take it for what it is, production-wise I mean. Possibly the most filthiest sounding release I've heard in a while!

Smothered - The Inevitable End

Smothered releases their debut album, and it hits it right in the spot! Quality osdm revivalism. Check These guys out now, because they've just arrived on the scene and they are already creating a massive massacre! Recommended debute!

Cerekloth - In The Midst Of Life We Are In Death

I have no idea what 'Cerekloth' even means, but I do know that I like this album very much. It's very massive rhythmic death metal with a little bit of an oriental vibe going on. Somehow I slightly get reminded of Bloodbath, and hell, even Opeth comes to mind. I think it's the vocals that somehow recall Akerfeldt's gutturals. And maybe that little eastern element has something to with that aswell. Weird... Anyways, I think a lot of people might want to check this one out. Good stuff.

 Murder Made God - Irreverence

Murder Made God is a new modern sounding technical death metal band from Greece with ex-members of the more slammy sounding Human Rejection. Personally I think it was for the good that they went for a more technical approach. This release somehow reminded me lightly of a weird hybrid mix of Hour Of Penance and Psycroptic. It's lite-tech death with some nice groovy rhythms. Perfect for doing morning excercises. Very fast and upbeat, yet not too brain-twistingly technical.

Blood Mortized - The Demon, The Angel, The Disease

Another new wave of old school death metal release with the occasional wink towards bands like Entombed and Dismember. Nothing out of the ordinary, but tasty and temporarily stomach-filling fastfood for fans of the genre nonetheless.

Wormed - Exodromos

Possibly the most brutal and overwhelming brutal death release of 2013. Them Spanish dudes know how to terrorize our ears, you gotta give em that! I can tell you, this is some pretty heavy shit!

Defeated Sanity - Passages Into Deformity

Germany's infamous ultra brutal death metal titans are delivering the goods once again with tis portion of relentless sounding death metal. Definitely the perfect soundtrack to your most twisted and sickest nightmares!

Syn:drom - Iconoclasm

Syn:Drom have always managed to slip under the radar with their previous releases, and this time is no different. Why? The reason is unclear, they're perfectly capable of giving us a fine dosage of modern death metal however. More people need to check this, seriously....

Broken Hope - Omen Of Disease

The big comeback album of the mighty Broken Hope is finally upon us, but what's the verdict?! I'll tell you; the band performs pretty decent instrument-wise, but the general conclusion seems to be the same all over the net. DEM VOCALS!!! Seriously! Wtf. This could have been some really outstanding piece of extreme music but Broken Hope seemed to have made the awkward collective decision to have such over the top guttural vocals that it takes a lot of time to get used to this album. Even for the diehard fans this was a step too far. Hopefully they switch things around on their next effort...

Entrails - Raging Death

"Entrails? That's that band that's heavily trying to become Entombed, right !?" is something you hear a lot when come across any discussion about this band. Well, they were actually asking for it. Just look at the last album cover, take a look at the logo, check out that buzzsaw guitar tone! Even I would almost confuse them with the real deal. But you know, who fucking cares, be glad there are bands that still are respecting and paying tribute to the veterans of the genre. Listen and enjoy.

Man Must Die - Peace Was Never An Option

These young Scottish eargrinders sure took their time with this release, and it's definitely worth it! Fast modern death metal that occasionally likes to mix up some softcore technical licks with some occasional light-melodic death parts. Result; a tasty soup of modernized death metal. 'Man Must Die' is also one of those bands that somehow never really appeared on the radar clearly, but I don't think these Scotts care for even a second. Anyways, the perfect soundtrack for devouring a bowl of grandma's favourite dish of haggis! And a surprise Brazilian desert is included; mr Max Cavalera himself even did some guest vocals on this record, one more reason to check this out...

Panzerchrist - The 7th Offensive

Panzerchrist from Denmark has returned to the battlefront, and you know what that means! Devilish blackened death metal machine gun salvo's and guttural sounding vocals. Bo Summer is long out already, but his place has been taken by another incredible throat from hell! This album is definitely a little bit better composed than the previous one due to the more interesting lead guitar work. Also the songs seem to catch on way faster. A fun and memorable blackened death metal album. Panzerchrist battalion..... Launch attack!!!

Avulsed - Ritual Zombi

Avulsed is one of those handful of extreme bands that seems to have succesfully made the switch from a generic brutal death metal to a more refined death metal band with some OSDM touches. The cover shows that clearly. A nice little transformation for their own good. I like them more this way. Recommended Spanish death metal release.

Ulcerate - Vermis

Just like Gorguts these guys are one of those bands that are hard to put into a certain category. Technical death metal with a spoonful of avant-garde. Vermis is one of those releases that needs some time to captivate your mind. And when that does happen, I can assure you, you'll have a moment of clarity like none before! Definitely not for the weak minded, because your brains will probably not be able to take this 'beyond-technicality' for even the length of one song! Come back later, when your mind is completely ready to be blown away!

Krypts - Unending Degradation

These Finnish dudes likes their death metal cavernous... Very very cavernous and slow. This release will heavily remind you of other bands that like exploring the doom-death side of metal, namely; 'Incantation' and 'Asphyx'. But fear not, they are not limiting self to that specific style here, you can also expect some more straightforward upbeat riffs here in the vain of 'Bolt Thrower' and 'Benediction'. Could be a little bit more surprising, but it's pretty decent. Certainly enough Incantation fans out there that are gonna want to check this out...

Gorguts - Colored Sands

If you want some mezmerizing and dissonant sounding death metal, you're at the right place with Gorguts. They never were a band easily to compare /place next to other more straightforward death metal bands, and they aren't planning to do that anytime soon.... Maybe that's the the joker card they have up their sleeves. It doesn't really help if I try explaining what you're gonna get with this release, but I'm pretty sure you will need a couple of nights of sleep to get over this release. They're like the David Lynch of death metal, I kid you not. One of the most interesting and bizarre extreme releases of the year!