Terminal Nation, Holocene Extinction review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

Arkansas metal leaders Terminal Nation raise their voices to proclaim the next mass extinction is already underway.

A fairly recent entry into the heavy music arena, Terminal Nation has been releasing music since 2015. Their two EPs – Terminal Nation (2015) and Absolute Control (2017) – along with last year’s Neckbeard Deathcamp split One Party System laid the groundwork for Holocene Extinction and its thirteen slices of grievance.

The heaviness of the music does not rely on sudden bursts or blast beats for the most part. It is more on the traditional side, and even doom-edged now and then (“Expired Utopia”). The opener, “Cognitive Dissonance,” is a window into the album both thematically and musically. The guitars and drums are heavy thumps with a faster pace in the middle and the a less optimistic beginning and end. After declaring that what you see is not what you get (the title of the first song), the band drives straight into “Arsenic Earth.” It is about what it sounds like it would be about. The title track is next, and the droning inevitability of the vocals (“you cannot save the world”) and the rhythm is exactly how I imagine a mass extinction to occur – consistent misery over a long period of time. And we’re only three in – they’re just getting going.

The songs are mostly short, and the set has a punk feel to it and sometimes a punk sound. Political and firmly anti-establishment, just read through the song titles (links below) to gather up the messages. What I hear are statements about how hard it is in the world right now just to exist, and that it doesn’t have to be this way – it is being made to be this way. If you want to know what the band meant by these songs, there is a great Brooklyn Vegan article where they go track by track and tell you what was on their mind when putting it all together, and you should check that out. The music is a little smoother on this new album than the earlier EPs but it is every bit as heavy – the vocals sound great and the guitars are a spiked mace swinging at your head. The combination of the contemporaneous narrative intrigue and the metal/punk attitude sets this album apart from the others in the crowd.

Out now on 20 Buck Spin and buyable at Bandcamp, Holocene Extinction is 36 minutes of reality checks laid bare and wrought in metal. Recommended.

Band photo by Kurt Lunsford.

Links.

https://terminalnationhc.bandcamp.com

http://www.20buckspin.com

Brooklyn Vegan article, https://www.brooklynvegan.com/terminal-nation-discuss-every-track-on-their-killer-new-album-which-is-streaming/

Terminal Nation, Holocene Extinction review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

Faceless Burial, Speciation review (Dark Descent Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records 2020)

With Speciation, Faceless Burial reconciles the storied past with the calamitous contemporaneous world to show that, while the level of suffering is bad now, it is not new.

The three ambassadors who make up this band from Australia round out their first lustrum with a stabbing assault of inescapable musical kismet. If you had been looking and listening you would have known it was coming because the earlier work, Grotesque Miscreation (2017) and Multiversal Abattoir (2018) both, shook the elements and rattled the environment in a new creative space that maintained a distinct and obvious homage.

The average song length has ticked up a bit with Speciation, clocking in at around six minutes, and that is all for the better. The writing on the new album demonstrates increased depth of process compared to the earlier work. While the songs here certainly maintain the aggression and crack heard before, the arc of the expression is clearer and stronger over the length of each piece.

This set opens with a blast of energy and does not have an intro bit like the earlier albums did. “Worship” is a battering ram at the front with all elements aligning in a show of force. The melody and thread of the song appears just before the one minute mark, and the drama unfolds from there – a story shown in music and told in narrative. There is a driving force, there are external smashes that periodically disrupt the flow, and a then there is a recurring current (or two) in guitars and percussion that weaves in and out. This basic structure plays well in the rest of the album, and it is a stylistic element practically unique to Faceless Burial. You can certainly recognize them by it. There are six entries and my mind processed them in order, in pairs. The titled track does stand out (to me) because of its doom elements and clever riffs arrangements, plus the lead work in the fourth minute is inspired. This album is one to keep in regular rotation. Recommended.

Out this Friday, August 7, you can get one track now on Spotify to tide you over (the earlier albums are there, too). All of the physical versions can be discovered through the links below.

Links.

https://www.facebook.com/facelessburial/

https://facelessburial.bandcamp.com/

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/

http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

https://www.mesacounojo.com/

https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/

Faceless Burial, Speciation review (Dark Descent Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records 2020)

Brotthogg, The Die Is Cast review (2020)

With an EP in 2017, The Last Traveler, and a succinct full-length album in 2019, Echoes of the Past, Brotthogg was poised to make a leap forward with their new release, The Die Is Cast.

Brotthogg is from Norway. The musicians are Kristian Larsen Moen, who is credited with playing all the instruments as well as writing the music and lyrics (clearly the creative force behind the production), Jonas Moen and Craig Furunes who both contribute vocals, and Stephen Carlson handling all guitar solos. It is an unusual arrangement compared to other bands, but you cannot argue with the outcome. The music is basically a melodic death metal casting with a strong vein of thrash running through it.

Are you wondering what the name of the band means? According to the band (via the press release), “The name Brotthogg is derived from an old forgotten Norwegian word in dialect meaning ‘The one who has to take care of the job, the unpleasant one.’” Interesting. The music does not have any sense of hesitance or slog to it, and is in fact powerful and robust. You often feel heroic elements in the narrative impulse of the songs, but the most memorable parts of the delivered music are the rapid staccato rhythms, the drumming, and the confident vocals. The sweltering impertinence of the speed and unbalancing progressions of songs like “Resurrection” complement well more straight-forward death/thrash enterprises like “Behind the Gateways” – but even in the more familiar framings, there is always some twist, epic or subtle, that marks the music as plainly Brotthogg. The resilience of the climbing scales and the technical risks of the lead breaks add even more depth the set. I am definitely on board. Recommended.

You can listen to two tracks now on Bandcamp, and the full album drops August 1. Bandcamp also has the back-catalogue (as does Spotify) if you find you like what you hear.

Links.

https://www.facebook.com/Brotthogg/

https://brotthogg.bandcamp.com/

Brotthogg, The Die Is Cast review (2020)

Resin Tomb, Resin Tomb review (Brilliant Emperor Records 2020)

Loud, fast, and terrifying, the debut effort from Resin Tomb marks the earth with blood and bile.

Resin Tomb is an Australian Death/Grind Metal trio. You might think you have an idea of what you are going to hear just from that one-line description, but you have to put it in your ears to really know. That fact is truer with this band than most. They describe their own music as dissonant, and there are no clean vocals (of course). The music might seem at first simply to be howls of rage, but there is more going on than that. Let’s take a quick shuffle through the five songs on the EP.

“Abrogate” is about two minutes of emotional musical projectile spewing, and that’s how the set opens. In “Penance,” the confession is the penance – at least that’s what seems to be going on. The song has a very dungeon feel to it. Imagine a dreary cave-like space with a mad person running around screaming and clearly trying to get something across to you, but you don’t really understand. “Surfacing” has a structural awareness. It sets a scene and you are poised to see it play out. It turns out to be a scene of violence, and toward the end there is a commentary that functions as an explanation but definitely not an apology. “Prostrated” has a straightforward, open kind of construction. Face-up, not face-down. It is the shortest song and leads into the epic-scale “Bestial,” the anchor to the exposition/exhibition. In your face up front, plodding and Germanic in the middle, the song is fierce and spiritually crippling. The experience of listening to this music pins you down in a rare crescendo of realization. Recommended.

Resin Tomb is out July 31 from Brilliant Emperor Records. You can get two tracks digitally from Bandcamp right now, and the rest on Friday. It will shake your teeth loose.

Links.

https://www.facebook.com/resintombdeath

https://brilliantemperor.bigcartel.com

https://www.facebook.com/BrilliantEmperorRecords

https://resintomb.bandcamp.com/releases

Resin Tomb, Resin Tomb review (Brilliant Emperor Records 2020)

Bedsore, Hypnagogic Hallucinations review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

The debut album from Bedsore, Hypnagogic Hallucinations, will warp your ideas about reality and Death Metal predispositions.

The start with, the band explains its name on Facebook by giving a definition of the word and indicating that choosing it follows in the tradition of bands like Autopsy and Carcass. More interestingly, the explanation goes on … “At the same time, ‘Bedsore’, read as ‘suffering of the bed’ also has a more veiled meaning. In this sense, the crib is the gate that ferry the human being into a universe dominated by its unconscious fears, dream-like visions, aberrant figures and grotesque manifestations, which are capable to leading the individual to total destruction, rotting the flesh and eroding the mind.” That last part gives you the best idea of where the band is coming from.

And to make sure I knew what “hypnagogic” meant, I looked it up – relating to the state immediately before falling asleep. We all know what that space is like, don’t we; that crazy half asleep / half wake world and the mad images that live there. If you combine the explanation of the name of the band with the meaning of the name of the album, you will be in the right frame of mind to experience the first full-length release from the Rome-based Death Metal band Bedsore.

The musicians are Jacopo Gianmaria Pepe (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Stefano Allegretti (vocals, guitars, organ, other keyboards), Giulio Rimoli (bass), and Davide Itri (drums). They published a demo only two years ago, so they are just getting going as a band. The new release sounds like the work of seasoned veterans with its solid musical structure and it also has the creativity and spark of fresh minds at work on new ideas.

There are seven songs. Three fairly short pieces start the set, followed by four longer compositions. The first thing you hear is an eerie keyboard spell that rises for a second into a jazzy layer before the guitars begin push through and the power gets cranked up. The opener, “The Gate,” is presented in two parts, and it is a reconnoitering of the landscape. The first long song takes its title from H. P. Lovecraft, “At The Mountains of Madness.” Apropos. This track can be seen as an embodiment of the entire set in that it has all the elements that are so important to the whole: sorrowful, mournful keyboard passages, avalanche guitar riffs, vocals that convey an entombed mental torture, and lead guitar work that lays bare the toll of the life and time. “Cauliflower Growth” is next and has a more urgent and aggressive overall tone to it (and a guest appearance by Giorgio Trombino). “Disembowelment of the Souls” begins with an epic scale and ultimately transforms into a dirge in the final moments while the closer, “Brains On The Tarmac” is a lilting hallucination at the front and ultimately ends symphonically. If you listen to the entire program in order (turn the shuffle OFF), the effect is mesmerizing. This album is definitely one of the most memorable of the year so far. Highly recommended.

Hypnagogic Hallucinations drops in July 24. You can get it in many different forms from 20 Buck Spin and through Bandcamp.

Band photo by Void Revelations.

Links.

https://bedsoredeath.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/bedsoredeath

http://www.20buckspin.com

http://www.facebook.com/20buckspin

Bedsore, Hypnagogic Hallucinations review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

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)

Inhalement, Eternally Stoned review (Horror Pain Death Gore Productions 2020)

The smoke is rising out of Boston and a barrage of metal aggression follows it with the new EP from Inhalement.

There is not a lot of widely dispersed information about Inhalement. They have a Facebook page (link below). They (most of the band, at least) performed as Toke previously and released Fifty Ton Nug in 2016. As Inhalement, they released Grotesque Inhalement last year (you can hear it on Spotify). One thing you should know is that, even though the name of the band and the title of the new CD make you think this is stoner/sludge music, it is not – this is death metal. On the riffy side of the street, sure, but it is grisly.

There are four songs on Eternally Stoned, averaging in the three minute range. “MJ Ultra” is the eye opener, with a few seconds of a misleading whisper at the start followed by a wall of charging metal sound. It plays like a conquering army overwhelming an inferior opponent, then looking back to gloat. The piercing lead break is the planted flag. “Unsmokeable” is, if anything, even more searching and urgent. “Drowning In Reclaim” starts with a deep draw and lays out a few homages to classic metal tropes. The title track closes, and it is a banger with big riffs and a dramatic wind-down. It all happens fast, but you can always light up and listen to it again. Good times. Recommended.

Out this Friday, July 17, you can pre-order the digital album and physicals at Bandcamp (the HPGD link below). You can even get a t-shirt.

Band photo snagged from Bandcamp.

Links.

Inhalement:

https://www.facebook.com/Inhalementdeathmetal/

https://inhalement.bandcamp.com/

HPGD:

http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

http://hpgd.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/horrorpaingoredeath/posts/

Inhalement, Eternally Stoned review (Horror Pain Death Gore Productions 2020)

Lantern, Dimensions review (Dark Descent 2020)

The new release from death metal purveyors Lantern is a twist on a tale and voyage into inner space.

A veteran band from Kuopio, Finland – the interior – Lantern (using their stage names) is Cruciatus on guitars and bass, Necrophilos singing, J. Poussu on percussion, and St. Belial playing guitar. Formed in 2007 after the earlier band Cacodaemon ended its existence, the death metal regulars are now into their third full-length release.

The album starts off surprisingly melodic and even a little hooky with the opening pleadings of “Strange Nebula.” It is a eerie vibe with a Savatage montage feel at first, then the vocals begin – they are coarse but decipherable and are carefully cocooned by the swirling hornets of guitars. Slightly past the middle, there is a Venomesque change followed by a crunchy riff and an ethereal guitar transition. There is a lot going on in this song and it keeps you off balance. It also keeps you listening.

There are epic moments of soaring themes juxtaposed with nasty punk bursts and generously spaced blistering guitar peels. The arc of the album is to plant a stake at the beginning, accelerate toward the center and then launch into the epic closer. “Monolithic Abyssal Dimensions” is a fourteen minute journey into darkness for the purpose of excavating the darkened terrain of schizophrenic psyche. It chips away at your brain like a madman with a rock hammer attacking an ancient cliff searching for meaning. There is a sustained insistence and at the same time an active musical ratcheting and clutch-pop shifts that make you spin. The song is unsettling in every way, and when it is over you want to listen again because Lantern has clawed its way under your skin. Recommended.

You can get Dimensions right now directly from Dark Decent Records (Shop tab) or through Bandcamp (links below).

Links.

www.facebook.com/lantern666

darkdescentrecords.com

facebook.com/DarkDescentRecords

darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com

Lantern, Dimensions review (Dark Descent 2020)

Ulthar, Providence review (20 Buck Spin, 2020)

Oakland’s own Ulthar release their second album, the Lovecraftian enterprise Providence, and by doing so demonstrate their commitment to shattering your nerves.

Ulthar is a trio peopled by Shelby Lermo, Steve Peacock, and Justin Ennis; guitar, bass, and drums. The name of the band is a reference to some of the writing of H. P. Lovecraft, and you can easily imagine this music being created along the mythical Miskatonic River in a cellar off the beaten path in the dodgy part of Arkham. The Great Old Ones would definitely approve.

The band’s first album, Cosmovore, was released in 2018 and established a viable energy and engaged aggression that was legitimate and intense. This new album is even harsher than the first one, less melodious. It is more overall along the lines of “Entropy-Atrophy” from Cosmovore than, say, “Dunwich Whore” from that same album, which had significant doom metal elements to it, especially up front and at the end. There is more chaos in Providence, more mayhem and musical violence. There is still the occasional thundering doom pause here and there, but the black and death metal characteristics are fully brilliant throughout.

“Churn” opens the album with a two minute punch in the throat. It reminds me of “Denial of Life” from Death’s Scream Bloody Gore for its ferocity, but the vocals on “Churn” are harsher. This short song is a Welcome To Providence announcement, an invitation, a menu, maybe, of what lies ahead. Let’s see, what are some highlights: “Undying Spear,” “Through Downward Dynasties,” and “Cudgel.” As you listen your way through the shattering musical landscape Ulthar has created, the message of suffering is increasingly clear. By the time you take the last two steps, “Narcissus Drowning” and “Humanoid Knot,” there is no apparatus of denial left to grasp. The music is intriguing, engaging, and punishing all at once. With two superior albums in a row, I have growing admiration for this band. Recommended.

20 Buck Spin has many formats of Providence available, and you can also get a download at Bandcamp.

Band photo by Melissa Petisa.

Links.

https://www.facebook.com/Ulthar-386850314846106/

http://ulthar666.bandcamp.com

http://www.20buckspin.com

Ulthar, Providence review (20 Buck Spin, 2020)