Mephitic Grave, Into The Atrium of Inhuman Morbidity (Carbonized Records 2021)

Doom and Death Metal come together on the debut album from Mephitic Grave.

Mephitic Grave is a heavy metal band from Hungary formerly known as Mothrot. They initially got together in 2018, and Into The Atrium of Inhuman Morbidity is their first widely distributed full-length record.

The opening track is a mini-suite, “Entering The Atrium / The Gatekeeper.” There is a long lead-in of the sound of rain and grinding noises before the dread guitar lands and the chanting growls prowl into your brain. The song has a sense of foreboding in the more doom-oriented moments and promotes feelings of threat in the faster parts. It is an excellent combination. “Chthonicon” is next and it starts off faster and also features the tempo shifts that created and fostered such trepidation in the opener. I am starting to see the path. Indeed, these gateway pieces are truthful signs of the journey that is unfolding.

Given in the grim nature of the musical sound the band has created, it is no surprise that the narrative content is also dark. The approach is described in the press release this way. “[T]he band’s visual and lyrical concepts revolve around the philosophy of cosmicism which denies the presence of a god or any such ideas of divinity and upholds that humans are insignificant in the face of an incomprehensibly large cosmos.” Makes sense. A Lovecraft idealism without too much regard for the Old Gods. Rich grounds for Death Metal themes.

The doom influences are very strong throughout the album and if I had to put the music in a category I would probably lean in that direction, even though I usually see “Death Metal” next to their name. The labels are only useful anyway to give you an idea of what to expect before you hear the music. After that you decide for yourself whether you like it or not. My personal decision is that this album is very good. Recommended.

Friday May 7th is opening day for Into The Atrium of Inhuman Morbidity. Check it out through the Carbonized Records site or Bandcamp for quick pick-ups.

Band photo by Jim Jones.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mephiticgrave.bandcamp.com/releases

Carbonized Records, https://carbonized-records.myshopify.com/

Mephitic Grave, Into The Atrium of Inhuman Morbidity (Carbonized Records 2021)

Artillery, X (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Danish thrash masters Artillery come back for another round with their tenth full-length album, X.

1982 is the place in history when the formative machinations coalesced into a recognizable construct for Artillery. The released a number of demos in the next couple of years, leading up to the first full album, Fear Of Tomorrow, in 1985. They have been rumbling and shaking the metal world ever since. After a slow period in the 1990s and aughts, Artillery has been cranking out skull-rattling thrash on the regular for the past twelve years. The current lineup is Michael Bastholm Dahl (vocals), Michael Stützer (guitar), Kræn Meier (guitar), Peter Thorslund (bass), and Josua Madsen (drums).

There are eleven tracks on X, starting with “The Devil’s Symphony” and ending with “Beggars In Black Suits.” Better bookends would be hard to find. Dahl’s theatrical, soaring vocals are juxtaposed against the relentless riffery and ripping leads in a synergy that produces amazing results.

Most songs have a short lead-in bit before setting the guitars on attack, but then it is all metal and thrash. The vocals are the feature (as in Dio, say) while the fortress is the guitars and they are also the musical weapons. Catchy hooks and riffs and technically expert light-speed leads are the hallmarks of this band. This is exactly the kind of construction that has appealed to me since the very beginning.

There is one slower piece, “The Ghost Of Me,” but the album is mainly a study in adrenaline. In every song I can find something that really stands out, like the dizzying lead in “Varg I Veum” or the very complex but somehow still memorable lead-in guitar on the very next song, “Mors Ontologica.” There are mystical moments, tongue-in-cheek passages, and lines of aggression, all told in heavy metal. This is one to save so you can hear it over and over. Recommended.

The album drops on Friday, May 7th and you can snap it up everywhere. Hit the Metal Blade Records link below to see the varieties available.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://artillerymetal.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Artillery Website, http://www.artillery.dk/home.php

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/artillery/

Artillery, X (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Trauma, Acrimony (Selfmadegod Records 2021)

Veteran Polish Death Metal titans Trauma add to their canon with Acrimony.

Since the early 1990s Trauma has been writing powerful Death Metal music. They fit in perfectly with the strong tradition of heavy metal bands in Poland and their compositions have a traditional feel to them and a polished production. The band is Arkadiusz Sinica (drums), Jarosław Misterkiewicz (guitar, bass), and Artur Chudewniak (vocals).

Last year’s Ominous Black album was well received by fans and the songs from the new EP Acrimony were recorded at the same time. There is a beautiful stylistic connection in the album cover art to match the cabalistic connection between the previous LP and the new set. If you liked the album you are going to want this companion to go with it. One does not feel quite complete without the other.

“Internal Sacrifice” is a stylized epic metal song, with a big build and a massive payoff. “The Godless Abyss” has a more direct approach and also has a theatrical construction. “Reign of Terror” quietens down a bit, at least at the start. The solitude does not last long and the peaceful serenity is dismembered by blast beats and crushing riffs.

The final song is a cover of the Gorefest favorite “Reality When You Die.” This is the longest track and it is rager once it gets going, seeming to have a ravenous need to engulf you. These four tracks form an excellent set to take us through until the next album comes out. Recommended.

Acrimony is out now from Selfmadegod Records and is available through Bandcamp as well as the other usual outlets. Take a minute to think about rounding up some other Trauma releases while you are at it if you don’t have them yet.

Links.

Website, http://www.traumaofficial.com/

Bandcamp, https://traumadeath.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TraumaOfficialPage

Selfmadegod Records, https://selfmadegod-store.com/

Trauma, Acrimony (Selfmadegod Records 2021)

Evile, Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records 2021)

Returning with their first album in eight years, Evile lands hard and hits the ground running.

The band’s first full-length album came out in 2007, Enter The Grave. From the initial riffs of the title track you could tell you were in for some heads-down thrash. There was a new album every couple of years after that until 2013 when Skull came out. A few line-up changes have occurred over the years and the band is now Ol Drake (vocals and guitar), Ben Carter (drums), Joel Graham (bass), and Adam Smith (guitar).

There are nine big tracks on the album beginning with the blistering “Paralysed.” This is exactly what I was hoping for – high speed attack in guitars and percussion, ravaging vocals, and a maniacal lead break. Ah, thrash. “Gore” is next and it is another blasting ripper. “Incarcerated” gives a short breather at its front but it does not hold a quiet line. These front three make an excellent impression.

My favorite songs are probably the title track, which anchors the album, and “The Thing (1982).” These both hit me on a fundamental level and played directly into my earliest love of heavy music, which is straight-up thrash. In addition to the speed and technical acumen that flows freely from the songs, they both also have additional depths and turns that sink the metal in deep.

The album has a couple of surprises. There is a guest appearance by Brian Posehn who is best known as a comedian and has in recent years been getting involved in heavy music because of his lifelong love of metal. Then there is the cover of the Mortician song “Zombie Apocalypse.” That’s something different for Evile. This new set has the craft and style fans have embraced over the years. It delivers savage thrash on every level. Recommended.

Hell Unleashed is out now. In the UK hit the band’s website. For EU, Napalm Records’ site works great and Bandcamp is the best bet in the US.

Links.

Website, https://www.evilecult.com/

Bandcamp, https://evile.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/evileuk

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/evile

Evile, Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records 2021)

Plasmodium, Towers Of Silence (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The caustic ululations from down under can only mean that Plasmodium has released a new album.

Australian chaos cohorts Plasmodium ripped the lid off of reason in 2016 with their first album, Entheognosis. The menace that began with those four songs continues on Towers Of Silence, another loose approximation to coherence.

There are five tracks on the new album. The first two are short, noisy explosions. I am not sure if they are meant to terrify the listener, but they could have that effect. The pace is furious and the direction of the music is more of a flurry than a path.

“Pseudocidal” is a free-form expression that lays an ambient bed and lets the drums run wild. Vocalizations are more subdued than they were in the openers and even become discernable after a few minutes. The percussion seems to be on about something and you find that reassuring in the otherwise worrisome surroundings.

The last two songs on the album a big ones, “Translucinophobia” and “Vertexginous,” having a running time over thirty minutes between them. The former is like an extended Alexandrian campaign in an unknown land and the latter is more like a journey through an extended purgatorial menace that ends badly. This is metal music, heavy music, dark music, but there is nothing to reliably compare it to because of the general lack of core elements. The thought of what Plasmodium might create next is a churning maelstrom of bewildering possibilities.

I have listened to about fifty releases from Transcending Obscurity over the last many months and this one is by far the strangest. If you are up for the challenge, Towers Of Silence is out now. There is no telling what door it might open for you.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://plasmodiumdeath.bandcamp.com/album/towers-of-silence-cosmic-black-death-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Undulator/

Plasmodium, Towers Of Silence (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Gojira, Fortitude (Roadrunner Records 2021)

In their twentieth year as a metal band Gojira issues their seventh full-length studio album and it is one of the very best.

Gojira is from France and they play heavy metal. The music has groove and progressive elements to it, and you do not mistake Gojira for another band when you hear their music. Magma (2016) is the most recent album up to now, and while they have been quiet on the recording front since it came out they have been playing live and dazzling fans continuously. The band is Jean-Michel Labadie (bass), Mario Duplantier (drums), Christian Andreu (guitars), Joe Duplantier (guitar and vocals).

There are eleven tracks on the album, beginning with “Born For One Thing.” The drum lays in a march cadence while the guitar wind-up does not prepare you for the metal when it kicks in a few seconds later. The composition is heavy and complex, syncopated and variegated, groovy and mysterious – all these things at once. “Amazonia” comes up next, with its subtle slither and shimmer. Its every element is mesmerizing, like an shamanic chant. The narrative is compelling and delivered with authority.

The songs on Fortitude are big and ambitious. Some are delivered on a softer register throughout, like “Another World” and others demonstrate an incredible range from peace to aggression, as in “Hold On.” Progressive influences live in and amongst the growling metal. And then there is the title track, which is a short reflective piece that transitions into “The Chant,” a song that builds into a powerful statement before handing off the torch to “The Sphinx” with its heavy and sinister posture. This set wraps on “Grind” featuring punishing percussion, whispering vocal savagery, and stabbing, whirling guitars.

I was expecting something big from Gojira on this new album. What they have done is even more than I expected. We are all going to be reading about how this album is setting a standard others will be compared to and let me add my voice to that chorus. I am sure Fortitude will be on the 2021 Best Of list. Highly recommended.

Fortitude is out now. Hit the website link below to investigate the options.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards, Aftershock Festival 2019.

Links.

Website, https://www.gojira-music.com/?frontpage=true

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/GojiraMusic

Roadrunner Records, https://store.roadrunnerrecords.com/gojira.html

Gojira, Fortitude (Roadrunner Records 2021)

Motörhead, Louder Than Noise … Live In Berlin (Silver Lining Music 2021)

One of the best late-career concerts from Motörhead is now available for the reliving.

The storied history of Motörhead does need reiteration from me – their place in heavy metal history is foundational. I miss the band, and Lemmy, gone now these many years. One good thing about recorded music is you can always listen to it again.

Captured live in Berlin in 2012 during the Kings of the Road Tour, this full concert runs over an hour and features stalwart fan favorites as well as timelies. One surprising feature is the eight-minute “Overkill” closer when members of Anthrax join Motörhead on stage.

Every time I saw the band live it was a great show, and this is the long-running lineup I remember best with Lemmy, Phil Campbell, and Mikkey Dee. There is a companion video of the performance that is well done and comes along with the CD and in the bigger bundles. Since there will never be an opportunity to ever see the three play together again, the video is especially poignant.

Louder Than Noise … Live In Berlin is out now. There are choices to be made and they are all degrees of good. Recommended.

Links.

Website, https://imotorhead.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotorhead

Motörhead, Louder Than Noise … Live In Berlin (Silver Lining Music 2021)

Domkraft, Seeds (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

The third full-length album from Sweden’s Domkraft is an inflexion point for Doom Metal music.

I first heard (a recording of) Domkraft play live as part of the Day of Doom event put on by Magnetic Eye Records at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, November of 2019. It was a killer bill and Domkraft gave an amazing performance. Since then I have been eagerly awaiting any new music from them. The band is Martin Wegeland (bass and vocals), Anders Dahlgren (drums), and Martin Widholm (guitar). They play heavy, measured doom metal that can shake the rivets lose in a seismograph.

There are seven tracks on Seeds: three long, three medium, and one transition piece. I usually look out for the longer songs because I like the way you can feel transformed in the drawn out expansive space so the first two tracks, “Seeds” and “Perpetrator,” running as they do about eighteen minutes together looked like the perfect launch pad. And they definitely are, both having gigantic, crushing riffs and relentless rolling rhythm. I was immediately taken back to the live recordings and the contemporaneous experience mixed together with my memories of what I had heard before, generating something bigger.

The three tracks in the middle are shorter, but they hit me just as hard, especially “Into Orbit” which I came back to a couple times after the first run through. The anchor song is “Audiodome” and it starts out at full blast, arguing that turning the power down is not an option. The arch toward the vanishing point is subtle and deliberate. There is nothing to do but hold on. When it is over, you are right where you want to be. Every time I listen to Domkraft I like them even more. Highly recommended.

Seeds is out on Friday, April 30th, and is available through finer discerning retailers.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://domkraft.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/domkraftband

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/magnetic-eye-records/domkraft-seeds.html

Domkraft, Seeds (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

Yellowtooth, The Burning Illusion (Orchestrated Misery Recordings 2021)

The Indiana metal band Yellowtooth lay down a fresh slab of heavy music to menace your listening hours.

The band has been around for more than ten years, releasing a handful of demos, an EP, and two previous albums, most recently Crushed By The Wheels Of Progress in 2015. It is good to have some new music to get the summer started. The band is Peter Clemens (bass, vocals), Henry McGinnis (guitar, vocals), and Dave Dalton (drums).

The album has eight songs and one transitional piece. The first track, “From Faith To Flames,” has a solemn beginning that quickly flips into a more threatening tone. The use of two disparate vocals is very effective and unusual. Combining this with the slow heavy rhythm and the lead guitar that has a Woody Weatherman quality to it at times is very effective and compelling. “Atrocity” is up next, a more up-tempo piece that has a flickering, stabbing urgency. There is an eerie intro segment for the next track that brings us into heavy doom territory, “Astronaut’s Journey.” A surprisingly light touch with the guitar eases the music along and stands in direct contrast to the vocal style.

The ideas and intimations established at the front of the record are carried on throughout. The trio makes the most of every instrument and puts forth new ideas combined with fundamentals to generate heavy music with a broad appeal. I will definitely be looking for Yellowtooth on festival rosters and venue flyers from now on. The band’s Bandcamp note reads in part, “We are not out to reinvent the wheel but to jam and drink.” They definitely have the jamming part down and I will trust them on the drink. Recommended.

You can get the digital version of The Burning Illusion now and the CDs start shipping on Friday, April 30th.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://yellowtooth.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Yellowtoothband

Yellowtooth, The Burning Illusion (Orchestrated Misery Recordings 2021)

Void Vator, Great Fear Rising (Ripple Music 2021)

The new set from Los Angeles metal masters Void Vator will shake the winter off you and get you reaching for the moon and stars.

Stranded came out in 2019 and I knew immediately this was a band I needed to keep track of. The music was crisp and piercing, fast and ferocious, and wrapped up in a delivery system that went straight into your bloodstream. “Put Away Wet,” “Everything Sucks,” “Monster” … one song after another a festival for your ears, and endless reservoir of adrenaline. The music is up-tempo metal fearlessly riffy and recklessly speedy on the curves.

“I Can’t Take It” is a disruptor, the perfect attention-getter. What’s this, you think, and it gets you walking that way. “I Want More” is second on the album and if anything it is a notch up on the frantic. A more urgent clip, a tenser atmosphere. The vocals are stabbing in the verses and salving in the chorus. The lead break is a blur or whirling blades. “There’s Something Wrong With Us” is Caesar crossing the Rubicon. There’s no turning back after you hear it.

“Great Fear Rising” strikes a monumental accord while “MacGyver’s Mullet” is a clipper cruising down country roads in the summertime steam. Something here for everyone – “Poltergeist” has an eerie story with a sinister feel and “Infierno” feeds into delirium like Act II of Peer Gynt. There are all manner of shades and tints on the album and for me nothing to dislike. I would call it a step up from the previous record even though I don’t have any serious criticisms about that earlier one, either. What you get here is great hard-hitting music flowing from every opening and crack.

Out now from Ripple Music, Great Fear Rising will sign you up to the Void Vator legion forever. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://voidvator.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/voidvator/

Void Vator, Great Fear Rising (Ripple Music 2021)