Astral Tomb, Soulgazer (Blood Harvest 2022)

The first full-length album from Astral Tomb hits the streets this week, Soulgazer.

Formed in Denver, Colorado just a couple of years ago, Astral Tomb have released a demo, a split, and an EP leading up to their current full-length record, Soulgazer. Their music is a celestial (meaning astronomical) brand of death metal, taken to a higher level on the new album. Of course, you might have guessed that from the name of the band. The musicians are Adrian McClair (guitar), Michael Schrock (guitar and vocals), and Zach Johnson (drums).

The album starts big with the thirteen-minute supernova that is “Transcendental Visions.” Given this much room to work, you have to expect some exploration. The band has said that the album “is a narrative of inner awakening. It is the product of over a year of arduous personal journeys, and collective experience.” This one track, which accounts for about one third the music in the entire set, covers the described ground with trippy aplomb. The death metal is heavy and solid, making the well-oiled alternations and additions ideally infectious. There is certainly an otherworldly feeling in this music, but it turns out to be only a prelude to the weirdness that is the very next track, “Be Here Now…” The warbling confusion is a headbender, and then some. I am not sure what to make of it.

“Inertia” brings us back to more earthly death metal of the ravaging, granite crunching variety. Now again, extraterrestrial (or possibly intraterrestrial) weapons are deployed and tip you ass-over-teakettle into a weirdness heretofore only imagined. Listening, my knuckles going white, I began to wonder if escape velocity could be achieved within the limits of my own experience. And then, unbeknownst to me initially, a groovy cool-down ensued that made me wonder what I was so upset about.

“Traversing The Wandering Star” begins darkly, cold as deep space. The destination, however, is the splintering, molten pits of hell. The final track is “Ascending A Pillar Of Light” and it offers no respite – it is as big and wicked and strange as the rest. I don’t know what I expected from this album, but I heard something I could never have anticipated. This one is wild. Hearing it left me with elevated medical readings. Recommended.

Soulgazer drops on Friday, March 25th through Blood Harvest Records in digital, CD, vinyl, and cassette – the vinyl coming a little later because of the continuing pressing issues.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/soulgazer

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063825054335

Blood Harvest, https://shop.bloodharvest.se/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Astral Tomb, Soulgazer (Blood Harvest 2022)

Insineratehymn, Disembodied (Blood Harvest 2022)

Los Angeles death metal band Insineratehymn put forth their second long-player, Disembodied.

The history of the early days of Insineratehymn is a bit murky. In the past few years, they have put together two albums. The first was 2018’s A Moment In A Vision, which was quite well received. The new album shows some refinements in composition and execution without extinguishing the original dark spark. The Metal Archives reports the band members to be Miguel Martinez (bass), Abraham Garcia (drums), Demitree Rivera (guitar), Frank Montero (guitar, vocals), and Nico Poblete (bass).

The opening track of Disembodied, “Perpetual Anguish,” has beautiful instrumentation and very creepy voices and vocals. It puts you in the right mood. “Visceral Ignominy” throws the first lump of meat on the floor with pummeling rhythm and slicing guitar. The singing is a cross between is deep growl and a foul croak. The music seems to be designed to press the breath right out of you. The lead guitar work emanates from the pitch-black netherworld, promoting an unseen, surely sinister, agenda.

This is fundamental death metal, pumping in a 90s vein and traipsing the unhallowed earth with unfettered disregard for order. “Proliferation Of The Deceased” has an exceptional doom vibe while following along the defined agenda of set-up, excursion, and delivery. In a similar stance of divergence and coordination, “Immolated Ascension” marches off in the direction of chaos in order to hold a black mirror up to new delights. My favorite song is “Bitter Loss” as it maintains the essential facets of the declared musical paradigm and excels in the individual pieces, especially the vocals. This album is a dark delight. Recommended.

Disembodied is out now. Blood Harvest Records and Rotted Life conspire to bring CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats to life for the choosing. Investigate the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/disembodied

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

Blood Harvest Records, http://www.bloodharvest.se/

Insineratehymn, Disembodied (Blood Harvest 2022)

Ruin, Plague Transmissions: Vol. 2 review (Blood Harvest/Horror Pain Gore Death Productions 2020)

The second compilation of recent Ruin music has hit the streets: Plague Transmissions: Vol. 2.

There are a lot of bands who have used the name Ruin over the years. You probably know which one we are talking about here, but just to be sure we are all on the same page, I looked up some information on Ruin at Encyclopaedia Metllaum (https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ruin/3540401007). This Ruin is the Death Metal band from California (not Massachusetts or Maine or Florida or New York or …) that was formed in 1990 and made a short but prominent fireburst at the time, breaking apart the next year. Founding member Mihail Jason Satan gathered up forces in 2015 to rustle the fire back to life. Since then, the band has been releasing a ton of EPs and splits, and a couple of full-length albums, including Drown In Blood (2017) and Human Annihilation (2018).

Volume 2 of Plague Transmissions collects material from Into Endless Chasms (2018), Infested Death (2020), Death Tomb (2019), and the Ruin / Anthropic (2018) split (according to the Metal Archives). This is the way to go if you missed out on any of these earlier releases or you just want to grab them all at once.

What does the music sound like? Savage, brutal Death Metal. There is a no nonsense approach to song writing here that yields growling aggressive vocals, fierce guitars, and pummeling percussion. Ruin exhibits a high level of production quality and inserts narrative samples and juxtaposed musical elements to enhance and deepen the impact of the pieces. The songs display a greater variety than you sometimes hear in such hard music, but they never compromise their edge. From the fade in of the first track, “Into Endless Chasms,” and the somber chants therein to the final screeches and growls of the last song, “Eternal Curse of Rotten Beings,” there is no filler, no place holder, no pointlessness – this compilation is rock solid and comes highly recommended. If you are a fan you know you want it, and if you have never heard of Ruin this is a good place to get acquainted.

You can imbibe in the digital from Bandcamp now, with CDs shipping out soon.

Links.

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/plague-transmissions-vol-2

https://thedeathmetalcult.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BloodHarvestRecords/

Ruin, Plague Transmissions: Vol. 2 review (Blood Harvest/Horror Pain Gore Death Productions 2020)