Cannibal Corpse, Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade 2021)

Death Metal icons Cannibal Corpse release their fifteenth studio album, expanding their canon and deepening their legacy.

The first album I heard from the band was their second one, Butchered At Birth (1991). Sure, I was drawn in by the cover art – the butcher on the right staring you straight in the eye is a compelling image – and I was glad I got the record after listening to it a few times. This was some of the earliest Death Metal that I had listened to, being usually drawn more toward thrash at the time. It made an impression. The music in recent years is quite a bit different, but there is no mistaking the importance of Cannibal Corpse to Death Metal and to heavy music in general. The band is now George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (vocals), Erik Rutan (guitar), Rob Barrett (guitar), Alex Webster (bass), and Paul Mazurkiewicz (drums).

There are eleven roaring tracks on the new album. “Murderous Rampage” is the opener and it sets a high bar with its blistering velocity and skull-smashing riffs. Fisher sounds as ferocious as ever and the guitars give a little nostalgic twist here and there. “Necrogenic Resurrection” ratchets up the angst and offers destabilizing tempo shift before a lead break that is delivered at top speed. “Inhumane Harvest” starts with a whirl and by now I know I am getting exactly what I was hoping for with the new album.

The music is heavy and coarse Death Metal all the way through with a surprisingly deep maneuvering of perspective and noticeable tone shifts. “Ritual Annihilation” stands apart for me, if I had to pick a single track, because it delivers my ideal of the music I think of when the name Cannibal Corpse comes up. The entire set is rock solid and will enter the list of the band’s releases in a high slot. Recommended.

Violence Unimagined is out now. There are many variants and enticing merch. Hit any link below and you’ll get there.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards, 2019 at Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont.

Links.

Website, http://cannibalcorpse.net/

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

Metal Blade, https://metalblade.com/cannibalcorpse/

Cannibal Corpse, Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade 2021)

Nervous Decay, Nervous Decay (Great Dane Records 2021)

French Old School Death Metal specialists unleash their first full-length album.

Nervous Decay released a demo in 2019 and single in 2020. The new album includes the songs from those issues newly recorded with a couple of debut tracks. The style is straight-up pummeling Death Metal with a significant nostalgic nod to the past and a critical eye to innovation. The band is Guillaume Pavaillon (vocals and bass), Gregoire Bonin (guitar), Guilhem Lesage (drums), and Nathan Thebault (guitar).

The opener is “Cerberus’ Brace” and it hits the mark with blazing guitar blasts and speedy riffs. The vocals have a delightfully feral quality to them, and the rhythm section makes prominent appearances. “Daily Poison” follows and pushes the metal just as far, taking turns and explorations in technical directions and inserting ear-catching hooks. All seven songs in the set are ones you’ll want to hear again and again.

I especially like “Shield of Delusion” which has an eerie, doom-laden approach. “Lobotomy” is another song that I keep hearing in my head as it positively roars at the front and back while also including a sort of dream sequence within. This album hits hard in all the right places. Recommended.

Nervous Decay is out now. In the US, Bandcamp is a good place to gather up the goods.

Photo from the band’s Facebook page.

Links.

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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Nervous.Decay.Band

Label, https://www.greatdanerecs.com/eshop/web/?lang=en_US

Nervous Decay, Nervous Decay (Great Dane Records 2021)

Ulthima, Symphony of the Night (Inverse Records 2021)

The first full-length album from Ulthima was ten years in the making and now everyone can hear it.

The band was started in Mexico in 2010 by founders Antonio Valdés (bass) and Ricardo Escobar (guitar). They moved to Finland, the story goes, to pursue music in the environment where so many bands and musicians they admired were from. That is quite a commitment strategy. The originators are joined by Ville Nummisalo (drums), Jon Welti (guitars), Niko Sutinen (keys), and Tuomas Antila (vocals) for the new album.

The music is symphonic metal, really. This arena can contain a large variety of styles ranging from the epic to the operatic. Ulthima makes use of Death Metal ideas and sensibilities and employs keys to create a symphonic surrounding. This has the effect of making the music turn toward the prog side and the technical precision is there as well. Melodic Death Metal is the closest label if we need one for this music, I would say.

The album has nine tracks that have their origins throughout the ten year time span of the band. Listening to them, it is not at all obvious which ones are older and which ones newer as they all have a polished and compositionally mature sound. All the songs are up-tempo and theatrical in a very high-energy sense. I particularly liked “Eternity” and the title track for their creativeness and ingenuity as well as the sharp execution of the score by the band. If you are in a symphonic metal mood, this one is a winner. Recommended.

Symphony of the Night makes its full appearance on Friday, March 19th from Inverse Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the easy way to get the CD or download.

Links.

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

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

Label, https://www.facebook.com/inverserecords

Ulthima, Symphony of the Night (Inverse Records 2021)

Sleepless, Blood Libel (Necromantic Press Records 2021)

The inaugural EP from newly molded metal band Sleepless has something for every stripe of heavy metal fan.

Eric Dorsett and Eric Detablan are two musicians who were original members of the thrash band Dead Conspiracy which formed in the late 1980s and then reformed a few years back. They have come together now with Kevin Hahn to create Sleepless, a metal amalgam of classic takes on heavy music.

There are four tracks on the album and the whole business in done in a little over a quarter of an hour. The vocals have that soaring, epic metal quality – very theatrical. The guitar work is crisp with catchy riffs and good lead wielding. The arrangement of the order of the tracks is interesting: longest to shortest in a straight line. It creates a sense of urgency as you work your way through with an increasing rapidity.

“The Man Who Could Not Sleep” is a tour through metal attributes with sidetracks to lands unknown. There is a lot going on in the song, and all of it is good in each of the separate ways. It is a nudge off balance with its sharp corners and its subterfuge, a sort of environmental enrichment, you might say.

“Host Desecration” is more straight forward in its approach, as is “Deluded Hordes,” the latter being my favorite song on the EP for its whirling lead guitar and the combination of thrashy elements with a grinding lowdown-ness. The closer is the title track, and it was released as a single late last year.

Blood Libel is out this Friday, March 12th. Right now the single is active at the Bandcamp link. The entire EP should pop up on release day. It is a snappy quadratic and a good way to shake up your smoke break. Recommended.

Links.

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

Sleepless, Blood Libel (Necromantic Press Records 2021)

Varmia, bal Lada (M-Theory Audio 2021)

Black Metal comes face to face with Folk traditions in Varmia’s new album, bal Lada.

Pagan Metal might actually be better label than Black Metal for Poland’s Varmia. The use of traditional instruments gives a Folk Metal influence and intonation, but it is more than that – the compositions themselves are affected by the traditional music. The new one is the third full-length album from the band since 2017, and the musicians are Lasota (guitar and vocals), Alle (bass), Svarrge (drums), and Piotr (percussion and traditional instruments).

The sounds of birds and nature are interrupted first by pounding percussion then by a heavy guitar riff in the opening track, “Woanie.” Traditional folk choral voices give way to a gravely metal lead right at the end of the intro device, and the first landscape begins to be revealed with the next track.

The music both combines and vacillates between passages that are consistent with what you might hear from other heavy bands and pagan ritual music, but there is always something different going on in every song – sometimes it is a turn of phrase and sometimes it is a goat horn. The music is undeniably heavy and weighty (not the same thing at all), and the integration of pagan ideals with Black and Death Metal tropes and trials is fascinating.

The traditional elements sometimes come through in a particularly focused way, as with “Upperan.” Even so, the metal never melts away. I get deeper feelings of the darker side of nature in this song particularly. “O” is another excellent example of this, and even more so as I think about it – I have never heard anything like this music. The album captivated me from start to finish. Recommended.

Bal Lada drops this Friday, March 12th and can be accessed at Bandcamp. More information can be had at the M-Theory Audio website (link below).

Links.

Bandcamp, https://varmiaband.bandcamp.com/album/bal-lada

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

Label, https://www.m-theoryaudio.com/

Varmia, bal Lada (M-Theory Audio 2021)

Necropanther, In Depths We Sleep (2021)

The EP series continues with a four-track release written by Paul Anop alone and performed by the entire band.

Necropanther has embarked on the unique project of giving every member of the band a go at writing a set of songs and releasing them as stand-alone EPs between full-length albums. It is an interesting idea and so far it is coming off much better than those solo Kiss albums. In Depths We Sleep is guitarist and vocalist Paul Anop’s idea. The other musicians in the band are Joe Johnson (guitar), Marcus Corich (bass), and Haakon Sjogren (drums).

The story the music tells is explained on the Bandcamp page. Here is a bit of it to draw you in. “Our story is set in mid-1800s off the coast of England. Seth Davey is an entertainer and musician. He struggles to make ends meet so he joins a whaling crew for extra money. …[T]hey can’t find any whales. The crew, fed up, mutinies and kills the captain. Trying to get back to port they run into a terrible storm. … The ship sinks and they all die. But Seth Davey’s song lives on.” So keep that in mind while you listen.

The first song emerges from the watery depths accompanied by cetacean voices, “The Descent.” Hang on, descent, so it is going down, not up. Still watery. The human vocals are low, growling, and demonic. On “Benthic Storms” the vocals go full-on Black Metal and the guitars take a turn for the groove and riff while the percussion is all about blasts. “Abyssal Plains,” is back out to sea but this time it sounds like wind to me. This is an instrumental track and establishes a slow burn with quietude at the splash then a gently rising sound that grows turbulent and menacing before receding into the distance.

“Cheers To Seth Davey” is the longest song and it wraps things up nicely. Whalesong (or the like) introduces the environment that faces a lambaste of wretched necrotizing villainy. For all its darkness and melancholy, the track is melodic and possibly even hopeful amidst the all-encompassing death.

In Depths We Sleep is out this Friday in both downloadables and physicals. It is something different and it is an attention-grabber. Recommended.

Band photo by David Novin.

Links.

Website, http://www.necropanther.com

Bandcamp, http://necropanther.bandcamp.com

Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/Necropanther

Necropanther, In Depths We Sleep (2021)

Mausoleum ~ Anatomia, Split (HPGD Productions 2021)

Two titanic bands have joined together to crack the earth with a double punch of death and doom.

Mausoleum is a Pennsylvania Death Metal band that has been rounding the sun since 2001. Anatomia started in the following year with an eastern locus, pushing more in the Doom direction. Late last year they put together a limited split on vinyl and cassette, and now it is getting wider circulation with a CD version and a digital presentation through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.

Side A is four tracks from Mausoleum titled Nyctophilia. This is their first release since 2017’s Cadaveric Displays from the Funeral. “Shadows On the Grave” begins with a driving flurry and a ravaging vocal all right in line with the theme established by the title. “Voices from Beyond” balances chaos with the need to understand and asks the tough questions. There is a great dueling lead guitar segment in there as well. “Shrieks of Fright” winds up from a plod to a rager that kicks you in the throat and then shows you the edge of the end of the world. “The Dark Abysmal” is the final nail and it is set to with a merciless hammer of conquest.

Anatomia has the B Side, putting down three strong tracks. “Mangled Flesh” is the introduction and it opens with a charging assault then rides waves of variegated speed, taking a moment for even a Funeral Doom reflection. “Rotting Innards” starts with stings then rolls out the grinding wheel to turn your bones to dust. The overall feeling is absolutely hopelessness. “In The Crypt” offers spirituality with a ghostly preponderance and a disturbingly quiet approach to disarticulation across eons. Like no other track on the album, this one makes/allows you to confront yourself.

Both bands foster themes of horror in their music and they are the perfect match, making this split a fortuitous culmination. Each has death and doom approaches that interact and crossover in separate and unique ways. Putting them together creates a bigger whole. Highly recommended.

The CD and digital download from HPGD will be available on Friday, March 12th. You can also pick up a t-shirt with the great cover art.

Links.

HPGD Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/split-album-2

Label, http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Anatomia Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ANATOMIA-166448756742258/

Mausoleum Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thezombiecult

Anatomia Bandcamp, https://anatomia.bandcamp.com/

Mausoleum Bandcamp, https://thezombiecult.bandcamp.com/

Mausoleum ~ Anatomia, Split (HPGD Productions 2021)

Wolfheart, Skull Soldiers (Napalm Records 2021)

Finland’s Wolfheart adds more Death Metal to the universe with two new songs and a couple of rarities on their EP Skull Soldiers.

The band has a long history of powerful metal creation and performance. Since 2013 they have released five full-length albums, the most recent being Wolves of Karelia (2020). Given this history, you have to expect and new long-player before very long, and this four track vehicle is just the thing to hold fans over until the bigger one arrives. The lineup for Skull Soldiers is Tuomas Saukkonen (vocals and guitar), Lauri Silvonen (bass and vocals), Joonas Kauppinen (drums), and Vagelis Karzis (guitar).

There are two new songs on the EP. “Skull Soldiers” has a driving, threatening beat and an eerie surrounding shroud, keeping its distance from the frantic activity while maintaining a menacing posture. The lead guitar foments an elegant and clinical execution. “Hereditary” continues the ideas established in the opener, turning them a bit more buoyant. The speed is cranked up and the lead break on this song is blistering mayhem.

“Aeon Of Cold” is an acoustic presentation of this popular track from Shadow World. It is beautiful and melancholy, conveying deep feeling and bringing out emotions from the listener – either sadness or melancholy or nostalgia, whatever you have inside you. The vocals are smooth and clear on this track, elevating the impact.

And then there is “Reaper” from the Wolves of Karelia album, captured live during a streaming event last year. The band absolutely crushes this one. It rips and roars and leaves you ragged. These four songs are a great item for fans of the band and an nice overview for newcomers to the fold. Recommended.

Skull Soldiers is out now. The download is still available, but the limited vinyl might have left this earthly plane already. Have a look at the Bandcamp link.

Links.

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

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

Store, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/wolfheart

Wolfheart, Skull Soldiers (Napalm Records 2021)

Gorr, Kvit Som Snøen, Kald i Blikket (2021)

Norwegian metal duo Gorr strike back with their second album in as many years.

Gorr is Gjøran Sæther, known as Skuggimaðr, and Evan Barton, known as Hateful Wind. The band is in the earlier stages and is still growing into its emerging identity. The musicians have done a lot of work under different fronts and so the experience the have, even if it is relatively new, is also notably deep.

The opening track has a desert vibe to it, which works in arctic environments, too. A solitary guitar alongside a hissing vocal is all that is utilized for the first minute and a half, and then minimal percussion swings in to finish it off. The very next song opens full blast with the vocals mixed heavy into the forefront, posting very black metal. Side one wraps on the contemplative “Mørkt Føre, Mørke Bak” – distressed, forlorn, hopeless.

Rapid riffs crack open the second triplet, forging an opening for rampaging percussion. “Ditt Uendelege Raseri” has a similar opening but a different trajectory, and it is more driving and persistent. The closing song has a droning quality to it at the jump, and an overwhelming, hyper-stimulated essence along with a new raspiness to the vocal. Any intimation of relief is entirely gone by now, and it is no longer simply sadness, it is suffering.

The artists describe the album, in part, this way: “The duality in relying on nature for survival and the very clear sense of doom that follows closely is reflected through this album. Life and death, combat and construction, noble goals and meaningless losses. This is Kvit Som Snøen, Kald i Blikket.” Even without the explanation many of these ideas come through very clearly in the music. It makes sense to me. Recommended.

Kvit Som Snøen, Kald i Blikket is out now and Bandcamp is the place to pick it up in the US.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://gorr.bandcamp.com/album/kvit-som-sn-en-kald-i-blikket

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

Website, https://gorr.no/

Gorr, Kvit Som Snøen, Kald i Blikket (2021)

Golgotha, Remembering the Past – Writing the Future (Xtreem Music 2021)

Golgotha – the band from Spain – offers an extended abbreviated album to follow up on the success of the impressive Erasing The Past record from 2019.

This enterprise has had several incarnations. In the mid-1990s, they came together and released two full-length albums, a couple of EPs, and several demos. Taking a break at the end of the century, the band coalesced again for New Life in 2005, then had another hiatus. A couple years ago, resurgent energy was found again, and the musicians are creating new music. The band for Remembering the Past – Writing the Future is Amón López (vocals), Vicente Payá (guitar), Samuel Morales (guitar), Andrew Spinosa (bass), and Tomeu Crespí (drums).

“Don’t Waste Your Life” in some ways functions as the overture, presenting themes that will recur and showing the phases the guitars, vocals, and other instruments will vacillate between. “Helpless” is next, and it plows a neighboring field, establishing the low boundaries and the highs. “I Am Lost” has a forceful opening statement surrounded by sinister whispers and solemn melody. “Elemental Changes” begins softly and sweetly in the piano, strings, and voice, introducing strong, slow guitar riffs to set up the narrative vocal. The song goes toward loudness and never turns fully back.

“Lonely” is a long, dirge-like reminiscence that begins quietly and turns into savage growling in a caustic devolution. From doom to death you might say, and back again. A couple of times, in the manner of a sine wave. It is the longest piece on the album, and the anchor, but really all of the tracks have an insular oneness about them, and any of them could be the beginning or the end. I like the music for its mix of doom and death styles, and for the way beautiful, quiet melodies exist in and among the savagery. Recommended.

Remembering the Past – Writing the Future is out today, March 2nd, and you can get yours at the links below.

Links.

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

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

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

Golgotha, Remembering the Past – Writing the Future (Xtreem Music 2021)