Mortuous, Upon Desolation (Carbonized 2022)

The mighty Mortuous lays waste to the world once more with Upon Desolation.

Mortuous is a death metal band from San Jose, California. Now in their thirteenth year, they have released a couple of demos and splits, and their intensely memorable first full-length album, Through Wilderness (2018), an record that still gets plenty of spins here at Shardik Media Headquarters. The unearthly devastation that their marauding death and doom metal proposes is unparalleled. I made a mental note that Mortuous is a must-see band before the end of the first song of theirs I ever heard. I’m a fan. The band is Colin Tarvin (guitar, vocals), Michael Beams (guitar, vocals, piano), Clint Roach (bass), and Chad Gailey (drums).

There are eight tracks on the new album beginning with “Carve.” Relentless pounding is initiated with the first note and continues at speed. There is step back for a few bars now and then, but that does not diminish the power of the musical stance. “Nothing” comes next and it squeezes you hard enough to make your eyes water. The blast beats are monumental and the riffs are titanic. There is an eerie and beautiful middle doom section with a melancholy violin signaling no hope is to be had. “Metamorphosis” opens on a slow tempo while “Days Of Grey” is all about a quick start. Here endeth side one.

The back four are every bit as monstrous as the front half. “Defiled By Fire” continues the combination of death and doom with a sweetly murderous section that shines a dark light on the heavier movements. “Burning Still…” wags an impossible lead guitar splash and “Ash And Dismay” has a fantastic clomping set-up. The final word is “Graveyard Rain” and it washes your brain in fetid blood, leaving no doubt that Mortuous is one of the very best heavy bands out there. Highly recommended.

Upon Desolation is out on Friday, September 16th through Carbonized Records. Tankcrimes has a special limited edition vinyl edition as well. Explore through the links below.

Band photo by Chris Johnston.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mortuousdeath.bandcamp.com/album/upon-desolation

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

Carbonized Records, https://carbonizedrecords.com/

Tankcrimes, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/distributed-music/vinyl/mortuous-upon-desolation-vinyl-lp/

© Wayne Edwards

Mortuous, Upon Desolation (Carbonized 2022)

Birth, Born (Metal Blade Records 2022)

San Diego prog rock band Birth issue their debut full-length album, Born.

Birth emanated from the band Astra, the latter having released an impressive set of albums, including The Weirding (2009) and The Black Chord (2012). They play progressive rock in a style that might remind you of King Crimson at times, or the deeper moments of Yes. Jazz inlays and ethereal engagements combine with celestial pulses and expeditions featuring ever-present key work and mesmerizing guitars. The band is Conor Riley (keys, acoustic guitar, vocals), Brian Ellis (guitar, keys), Trevor Mast (bass), and Thomas DiBenedetto (drums).

There are six tracks on the new album, beginning with the title song. O man, what a way to kick things off. It is a psychedelic flashback that could be a combination of ELP and Yes with more cosmic energy infused into monumental conceptions of Earth. Illustrious keys and vibrant guitar enterprises give way to thoughtful, languid explorations. It was difficult to resist simply hitting repeat over and over on the first song. “Descending Us” comes next with a more serious-sounding set-up. The vocals transform from bard to soothsayer as the song goes along, and the guitar is a constant reminder of flux, creation and destruction.

Throughout the album, we experience this manner of journey and description at every turn. We are invited, really, to consider what is happening around us at the terrestrial level as well as the celestial one, and all spaces in between. “Cosmic Tears” is perhaps my favorite song on the album as it, for me, showcases best the way in which a paradigm can be constructed – it imagines the edges of understanding then peers within them and beyond. The writing and performance are exceptional. Highly recommended.

Born is out from Bad Omen Records and Metal Blade Records on Friday, July 15th. This is one to mark on the calendar.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://birthprog.bandcamp.com/album/born

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Birth.prog

Bad Omen Records, http://www.bad-omen-records.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

Birth, Born (Metal Blade Records 2022)

Photo Gallery: Warbringer at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Warbringer is touring with Max & Iggor Cavalera. These photos are from their appearance in Indianapolis at The Vogue. Hit the link below for the full review and photos of the other bands.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Full FFMB review, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/12/max-iggor-cavalera-warbringer-and-healing-magic-at-the-vogue-indianapolis-june-6th-2022/

Warbringer, https://warbringer.bandcamp.com/

The Vogue, https://thevogue.com/calendar/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Warbringer at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 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)

The Last Of Lucy, Moksha (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

California Death Metal band The Last Of Lucy focus on the core of their music with the new album, Moksha.

The Last Of Lucy has been around for about fifteen years. Centered in Southern California, the band first released two EPs, Euphoric Obsession in 2010 and Exalted Compositions in 2014. Ashvattha came out in 2017, and it was the band’s inaugural full-length record. The earliest music the band produced is reported as mathcore, and more recently it is said to have transitioned toward technical death metal. On Moksha, the sound is even more stripped down and raw, showing off the fundamental inclinations of The Last Of Lucy. The musicians are Josh De La Sol (vocals), Brandon Ian Millan (drums), Gad Gidon (guitar, bass), and Christian Mansfield (guitar).

There are ten songs on the new album, and they are generally on the short side, notably briefer than you often see in death metal music – half the tracks are less than three minutes long. The brevity does not diminish the impact of the music and might even make it more powerful.

The title track gets things started with an excess of the raging aggression of merciless technical death metal in the instantiation of attacking guitar, vocals, and rhythm. The respite in “Agni” lasts mere seconds, and the dual vocals are back with growls and hisses; the guitars stab again. Mild intros and outros become regular throughout the set, bookending sinister emanations.

This music gets all over you fast, and you just have to let it rampage because there is no real respite. “Covenant” had particular resonance with me and I played that track several times. “Parasomnia,” too – but it was the oppressive heaviness of it that appealed to me so much more than the technical acumen. Whatever aspect you might fixate on, you cannot miss the excellence of this metal. Recommended.

Moksha is out on Friday, February 18th through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://thelastoflucyband.bandcamp.com/album/moksha-technical-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

The Last Of Lucy, Moksha (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Korn, Requiem (Loma Vista 2022)

The indefatigable Korn are back with their fourteenth studio album, Requiem.

One of the most important Nu Metal bands that ever was, Korn formed in the early nineties in Bakersfield, California. For me, it was Follow The Leader (1998) that sunk the hook in to a permanent place. Since then, I have had an ear up for Korn more than any other band in this lane. The live shows are always fantastic, and the new album is a solid axe-swinger that fans are going to gobble up. The band is Jonathan Davis (vocals), James Shaffer (guitar), Brian Welch (guitar), Reginald Arvizu (bass), and Ray Luzier (drums).

The nine tracks on Requiem stomp the terra with refined authority. The melodic, lyrical passages carry the narrative along while the choruses bring us all together in collective moments of shared space. Every change in pace is an understood necessity. Each morsel is fashioned for the most prescient effect.

My favorites are “Disconnect” and the single “Start The Healing.” The latter is a savage prowler and the former has an undeniable resonance. I keep listening to these two over and over. There is something about Korn’s music that lands differently to me than similarly oriented bands. Their sound is unique while remaining in a particular sound zone, and there is an earnestness you just don’t hear in other bands. When Korn a song is about something painful, it sounds like they feel it whereas a different band attempting the same would just sound like they were complaining. The difference matters.

There are other stand-out songs as well. The heaviness of “Hopeless And Beaten” should not be overlooked. “My Confession” is an absolute cataclysm and the closer, “Worst Is On Its Way,” holds no shields against its descriptions and predictions. The album is succinct, reflective, and powerful. It is an important addition to the history of the band. Recommended.

Out now through Loma Vista, Requiem is yours for the taking. It is yet another excellent album from Korn.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards, Aftershock 2019.

Links.

Korn website, https://kornofficial.com/

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

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

Loma Vista, https://bodega.lomavistarecordings.com/collections/korn

Korn, Requiem (Loma Vista 2022)

Suicidal Tendencies, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Mike Muir brought along a couple of new musicians for the set in Danville – see if you can spot them. It is always great to hear a little metal and punk smashed together.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

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

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/suicidaltendencies

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

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazineBlue Ridge Rock Festival 2021 – (ryze-up.com)

© Wayne Edwards.

Suicidal Tendencies, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Civerous, Decrepit Flesh Relic (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

The Los Angeles blackened metal band Civerous brings forth its first full-length album, Decrepit Flesh Relic.

Beginning only a couple years ago, Civerous has released two demos and a live set, along with a split pairing them with Stygian Obsession. The steady work has paid off, culminating in one of the strongest records in the blackened death/doom arena this year. The band is Daniel Salinas (guitar), Alonso Santana (guitar), Lord Foul (vocals), Drew Horton (bass), and Matt Valencia (drums).

After the creeps-inducing intro piece “Eidolon,” there are six primary tracks on the album. Having set the mood to dark and tense, “From The Crypt To The Cavern” is a functional nightmare. The riff is a heavy clomp that batters you up front in anticipation of the following tenderizing percussion and growling vocals filled with the wisdom of eldritch blackness. “Herodacy” deepens the lines of inquiry as a well-timed lead-in to “Rot Delineated (Decrepit Flesh Relic),” a quieter and creepier rendering of similar sentiments, evolving slowly into beautifully crushing doom.

“Hubiku” is a trip down the sinkhole into the swirling chasm of hell – once you pass the event horizon, there is no escape. “Bone Wreath” is the song that stuck deepest in my brain. The hopelessness conveyed in the opening moments is monumental, and the reckoning of that promise is unforgettable. The final movement is the epic “Spiral OF Eyes,” a tale older than time; maker of destruction. The darkness evoked is sincere and penetrating.

I appreciate especially the commitment to doom throughout the album, and the willingness to explore in directions that could not be easily predicted by the listener in advance. This recording deserves attention and should make year-end “best of” lists far and wide. Highly recommended.

Decrepit Flesh Relic is out now through Transylvanian Records. Hit the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/civerous-decrepit-flesh-relic

Transylvania Recordings, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/

Civerous, Decrepit Flesh Relic (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

Death Angel, The Bastard Tracks (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Iconic thrash band Death Angel releases a live set of rarely performed songs aptly titled The Bastard Tracks.

The Bay Area thrash scene is the stuff of legends. If you have never heard about it then I am not sure we’re going to be close friends. So many huge acts came from that place and time, including the bands on the current Bay Strikes Back tour: Testament, Exodus, and my personal favorite, Death Angel. I have a deep and abiding love for thrash and I admire these three bands (and so many more) for the music they have created. Death Angel has always been special to me, though, and so I was excited to see this album cross my path.

The songs on The Bastard Tracks were recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in the band’s hometown of San Francisco on May 22nd this year. The set list was chosen specifically to highlight songs that had rarely been played live, including some that had never been performed on stage before. That is what sets this album apart.

You don’t hear any crowd noise on this set, but the live feel is there in all its energy and vibrancy. The track list is: “Lord of Hate,” “Where They Lay,” “Why You Do This,” “Fallen,” “Absence of Light,” “The Organization,” “Execution/Don’t Save Me,” “Succubus,” “It Can’t Be This,” “Let the Pieces Fall,” “Faded Remains,” “Volcanic,” “Falling Off the Edge of the World,” “Guilty of Innocence,” and “Alive and Screaming.” There are some real jaw-droppers in there for Death Angel fans; songs we have always wanted to hear live. Finally, here is the chance. Recommended.

The Bastard Tracks is out on Friday November 26th through Nuclear Blast Records in digital, CD/Blu-ray, vinyl, and cassette. This is a great item to pick up to hold you over until the Bay Strikes Back tour starts again next Spring.

Links.

Website, https://www.deathangel.us/

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/item/groups/51000.1.html?article_group_sort_type_handle=rank&custom_keywords=death%20angel

Death Angel, The Bastard Tracks (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Imperialist, Zenith (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Sci-Fi Black Metal band Imperialist have crafted an amazing new album, Zenith.

From Monrovia, California, the band is Sergio Soto (guitar, vocals), Bryant Quinones (guitar), Joshua Alvarez (bass), and Rodney Quinones (drums). In 2015 they released an EP, Quantum Annexation, and followed that up with the well-received long-player Cipher (2018). The new album is a big next step, embracing science fiction narratives and infusing them with diabolical Black Metal. The amazing dark chemistry of the creation cannot be denied.

The album begins with extremely creepy tones and murky, ominous music on the intro piece. Talk about setting the stage. The trepidation builds leading into “The Maw,” a savage, hammering track. The howling continues with “Parallax Descends,” a confoundingly catchy track. And that is something about this music that sets it apart – it is hard driving, technical Black Metal that somehow also has enough groove in it to transport you on the surface as well as trigger your deeper menacing central dread with the harsher metal. That is so difficult to do that you almost never hear it, but here it is on Zenith.

The back half of the album delivers just as strongly as the front. “Majesty of the Void” first reminds you of the sinister mystical nature of the creature you face then tramples you with beating rhythm and weight-of-the-universe guitars. The story continues in the galactic perspective and so has an infinite space to mine ideas. “Terminal Odyssey” soars in its sounds and sights and revelations, and the final track, “Beyond the Celestial Veil,” spares no emotion or action. By the time the cooldown comes you know you have been through it – you also know you are ready to go again. Highly recommended.

Zenith will be directly overhead on Friday, November 26th through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

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

Bandcamp, https://imperialistus.bandcamp.com/album/zenith-sci-fi-black-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Imperialist, Zenith (Transcending Obscurity 2021)