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)

Skaven, Flowers Of Flesh And Blood (Carbonized 2022)

The last recordings of famed Oakland crust band Skaven get a new release.

The new The Flowers of Flesh and Blood “commemorates the 25th anniversary of the final recordings of acclaimed Oakland Crust band, Skaven.” This music was originally released in two pieces, but here it is now altogether. Some remastering has been done on these tracks, setting them apart from previous releases and compilations. Skaven was Zebediah Gammack (vocals), Mike Matusio (bass), Shane O’Gallagher (bass), Geoff Evans (guitar), and Ross Vogelsong (drums).

Skaven was only around for a couple years, really, but during that time they laid down some unforgettable music and haunted Bay Area venues in an aggressive circumlocution. Their music was a long drift away from radio-friendly intimations that were more popular at the time, and the band did not seem to care at all about that. They did what they wanted to do and that was the whole story.

There are three songs included in the new collection. “Severed” and “Flowers of Flesh and Blood” were originally released together on an EP with the same title as the one at hand. “The Swarm” comes from a latter day split with Stormcrow. The music is raw and howling, with a charging rhythm section, as you might expect. For all the urgency and vigor there is a noticeable confidence in the constructions – they are not hurried or slap-dash. They have a monumental presence, which explains why, twenty five years later, fans still want to hear it.

Conjure your memories or, if you are unfamiliar with Skaven, consume the history of this significant lane of music. When you hear it you will know why it is important. Recommended.

Flowers Of Flesh And Blood is out now through Carbonized Records. Check out the options at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/flowers-of-flesh-and-blood

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

© Wayne Edwards

Skaven, Flowers Of Flesh And Blood (Carbonized 2022)

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)

Socioclast, Socioclast (Carbonized Records 2021)

The first album from California metal trio Socioclast is a ferocious declaration of intent to rattle the cages of the status quo.

The musicians that form Socioclast walk on from bands like Mortuous, Altars, and In Disgust, and they are Colin Tarvin (bass, vocals), Matt Gomes (guitar), Cris Rodriguez (drums). With a home base of San Jose and a musical ethic of grindcore, the band has an energetic pathology. It should be fairly obvious from the name they have chosen that they have a lot to say about society, mostly not complimentary. The music, then, is tuned to the outrage of their observations and constructed for maximal impact.

There are sixteen songs on the new self-titled album, all but one less than two minutes long and almost half clocking less than sixty seconds. Blast beats abound. As does the irrepressible voice of Tarvin which I had already come to admire from his previous work. Not a lot of slow songs here, but there is the occasional doom moment, as in the way “Terminal Regress” begins, for example. Mainly you can expect a blistering pace and bursts of chaos.

The whole album is great, and I do have a couple of favorites. “Eden’s Tongue,” in particular – I love the Black Metal sinews and the arching back in the middle. The co-curricular vocals in “Convention Of Ruin” gave me a similar rush. “Surrogate Will” wins the prize for making me dizziest. “Concrete and Steel” is the long track at the end, running 2:48. It has a melancholy opening refrain that stuck with me even after the churning heat of the rest of the song. It is a good capstone to the set. I am onboard. Recommended.

Socioclast is out tomorrow in many and varied forms from Carbonized Records.

Band photo by Anna Gomes.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/socioclast

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

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

Socioclast, Socioclast (Carbonized Records 2021)

Mortiferum ~ Hyperdontia, Split 7 (Carbonized Records 2020)

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts with the new Doom split by Mortiferum and Hyperdontia.

This split release was meant to be a companion EP for a tour the two bands were going to do together in 2020. We all know what happened to every tour this year. Still, the split exists and is being released now at the end of the year as a sort of prelude to the tour that will happen as soon as live music rises from its temporary grave.

One side is Mortiferum, a Washington state Death Metal band that made big waves with their album Disgorged From Psychotic Depths last year. Playing to the Doom side of the field, they contribute “Abhorrent Genesis,” a lurker drenched in cemetery fog. The beautiful distortion and foreboding riffs slowly squeeze the life out of you for a minute and a half or so until the tempo lurches forward and escape is clearly no longer possible. The low register vocals are a surrounding force and the noticeable lead guitar work is a defining characteristic of the band.

Mortiferum

Another side is Hyperdontia, whose members come from Turkey and Denmark. Their first full-length appeared in 2018, Nexus Of Teeth, and they have issued a bevy of EPs and singles as well in the past few years. The Doom lives in the ever-present background of “Punctured Soul,” encircling the Black and Death Metal centerpieces in a dark cloak. The music is aggressive and understandable; the sentiments and intentions, joinable. Whirring guitar work and determined drumming are interspersing agents in the caustic dankness of the music. It is a whetstone for your imagination.

Hyperdontia

Available now at the links below, this seven inch will definitely get you into the appropriate headspace for the holidays. Recommended.

Mortiferum band photo by Carter Murdoch.

Links.

Mortiferum, http://mortiferum.bandcamp.com

Hyperdontia Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/hyperdontia

Hyperdontia Bandcamp, http://hyperdontiaofficial.bandcamp.com

Carbonized Bandcamp, http://www.carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com

Me Saco Un Ojo, http://www.mesacounojo.com

Me Saco Un Ojo Bandcamp, http://www.mesacounojo.bandcamp.com

Mortiferum ~ Hyperdontia, Split 7 (Carbonized Records 2020)

Funeral Leech Death Meditation Review (Carbonized Records 2020)

New York City’s Funeral Leech show off their smoldering brand of death and doom in long form on Death Meditation.

The band has been around since 2015, releasing a demo/EP in 2017 called The Funereality and a single the following year, “The Void.” That first release has a number of interesting changes in the songs, and is overall a lean more toward doom than (traditional) death in style and execution. The single from 2018 is a little more up-tempo, holding steady on the coarse vocals and driving rhythm. It rolls heavy doom just past the middle then clips sparky at the end, wrapping up with a consolatory quotation. Both these releases generated interest in the growing latch of followers powerful enough to sponsor an eager anticipation for a full length album.

Funeral Leech is a four-piece: Lucas Anderson on both drums and vocals, Zack Chumley and Alex Baldwin each playing guitars, and Kevin Kalb running the bass. This set-up achieves a low heavy and fullness of sound that suits perfectly the themes these musicians explore. The opener is “Downpour,” which was also included on the 2017 EP, but this version is rerecorded and reimagined. It has a soaking dirge feel to it, an invocational quality that puts you the mood for doom. “Statues” is next, and it is faster and more aggressive, with a greater flexing of the guitars. Each song takes the listener farther and farther into the world the band is creating, and there is a true cumulative effect hearing to the entire set front to back. If I had to pick one song as a favorite on the album, it would be “Morbid Transcendence” for the tempo shifts, the density of the musical feeling that comes through, and the compositional attitude of confidence and command that allows the journey to carry on in surety to the fitting frenzied conclusion. Well done all around.

There is a scheduled show at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on May 19 according to the band’s Facebook page, but May dates are pretty iffy in the current way we find the world. Funeral Leech is a band that would be perfect for a number of festivals, so let’s hope we see their name in lineups later this year. Meanwhile, there is Death Meditation, out on April 17, 2020 from Carbonized Records on vinyl and streaming in the usual places. This is an excellent hybrid album. Recommended.

Links.

Funeral Leech:

http://www.facebook.com/Funeralleech

https://funeralleech.bandcamp.com/

Carbonized Records:

http://www.facebook.com/Carbonized-Records

http://www.carbonizedrecords.storenvy.com

Funeral Leech Death Meditation Review (Carbonized Records 2020)