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)

Allegaeon, Damnum (Metal Blade 2022)

Melodic death metal purveyors Allegaeon release a new album, their sixth long-player, Damnum.

Allegaeon is a band from Colorado that came together under the current name in 2008. I have read their music described as “technical melodic death metal.” That sounds like a lot of ground to cover. It is, and they do it expertly. Damnum is there sixth full-length album, and I think it is their best one so far. The band is Greg Burgess (guitar), Michael Stancel (guitar), Riley McShane (vocals), Brandon Michael (bass), and Jeff Saltzman (drums).

The first song is “Bastards of the Earth.” It begins acoustically but it doesn’t stay that way very long. The metal is technically proficient, superbly so. That is the first defining characteristic of the band and of this album. The second is the vocalizations, which present in singularity and harmony, medium- and most-gruff death metal-like, and lyrically, beautifully melodic. There are other bands that do this as well, but none are as effective at it, and the others do not stretch the edges quite so much. Allegaeon is unique.

“Of Beasts and Worms” is next. It has identifiable recurring elements yet still the song is completely different from any of the others and is one of the stand-out tracks for me on the album. The end points of quiet and of raging are so far apart you can’t see one when you are standing at the other. In the louder moments the passion is undeniable and when the music goes softer there is an earnest yearning that throws an invisible cloak around you. The lead guitar parts are incredible, delivered with stunning speed and unswerving surety. It is a rager with a catchy chorus and monstrous rhythm.

There are no low points on this album. Every song is a new discovery. “Vermin” just kills it. “The Dopamine Void” is presented in two parts and is a showcase for the band’s musical ingenuity. The final song is “Only Loss,” and here the music delivers on the promise of the title – elegant, sorrowful, intense. Excellent on every front. Highly recommended.

Damnum is out this Friday, February 25th, through Metal Blade Records. More info at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://allegaeon.bandcamp.com/album/damnum

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

Metal Blade Records, https://metalblade.com/allegaeon/

Allegaeon, Damnum (Metal Blade 2022)

Cryptum, Vile Emergence (Caligari Records 2022)

Joliet, Illinois’ own Cryptum bleed black on their new EP, Vile Emergence.

Cryptum came together very recently, just in the past couple of years. Their self-title demo was a solid declaration of straight-ahead death metal. The new EP has four tracks that stretch out more and give listeners additional perspectives to consider. The band is Kyle Pooley (drums), Carlos Santini (guitar), Mike Brilmyer (vocals), Trevor Cook (guitar), and Matthew Aguilar (bass).

Each song has an attitude all its own. Together they form a quadrangle, and they also, at the same time (in denial of accepted geometric principles), demonstrate a clear progression in complexity. You hear heavy weight doom along with steamrolling death metal and dark hooks that latch onto your skeleton and leave gnawing marks.

“Torrent of Infinite Time” is a threatening piece of heavy music. The riffs are crushing, the vocals demonic. “Volitional Sacrilege” extends the wickedness into new realms with a bit more tempo and deepened darkness. These first two make you believe there is something in the shadows. A tortuous lead crack and vile growl signals the end is near.

“Dead Celestial Bodies” gets down to business with a rapid, dirty rhythm and schizophrenic whorls that come and go. “Vile Emergence” is the final assault. The tone is serious, and the licks are violent. All gears are turning at fever pitch. This one is the closer and it’s the one you’ll hit replay on more than once.

I’m sold. These four songs are an excellent portfolio for fans to peruse. If you want an exercise, listen to this one first then take a few minutes to hear the band’s earlier demo. Comparing the two, you can see the roots and what they grew into with the new EP. Recommended.

Vile Emergence comes out on digital, CD, and tape through Caligari Records on February 24th.

Links.

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

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

Caligari Records, https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/

Cryptum, Vile Emergence (Caligari Records 2022)

Immolation, Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast 2022)

New York death metal icons Immolation let loose their eleventh studio album, Acts Of God.

After a couple of early name changes, Immolation got going in 1988. Their first full-length album, Dawn Of Possession (1991), planted a death metal flag that still flies. The new album has been five years in the making and fans are ready to reap the rewards of the long wait. Acts Of God certainly fits the bill. The band is Ross Dolan (bass, vocals), Robert Vigna (guitar), Steve Shalaty (drums), and Alex Bouks (guitar).

There are fifteen tracks on the album, including a couple of transitional pieces. Dolan’s rough vocals are the first thing about Immolation that imprints on your memory when you listen. The percussion and rhythm have such an unswerving reliability that they show themselves as co-necessities up front as well. The lead and melody guitarwork sail sublime seas whenever they appear. Their music is a full-force attack from every angle.

I love “Noose Of Thorns” because it is so dreary and oppressive with a caustic grind and shimmering lead break. “Blooded” is another stand-out, with the guitars seeming in a way to be mercurial. And then there is “Incineration Precession,” establishing immediately its breath-taking insistence and sure-footed forward push that cannot be resisted. These three songs might be my most preferred, but there is something remarkable that can be said about each one in the set.

There are a few heavy bands out there that have been around as long as Immolation, but there aren’t many at all that can match them. This new album is exceptional. I can tell already after a couple of listens that it will be one of my favorites of theirs. Highly recommended.

Acts Of God is out now through Nuclear Blast Records. Check out the links below. Immolation is on tour right now as well so catch them live if you can.

Links.

Immolation website, https://www.immolation.info/acts-of-god

Bandcamp, https://immolation.bandcamp.com/album/acts-of-god

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/immolation-acts-of-god.html

Immolation, Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast 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)

Kill All The Gentlemen, Black Canvas (Sliptrick Records 2022)

The sophomore album from Kill All The Gentlemen is a crunching, thumping metalfest: Black Canvas.

The Loss and the Rapture (2018) was the first long-player from the UK death metal band Kill All The Gentlemen, following a couple of EPs in the preceding years. I have seen their music labeled in the “melodic” category but they sound pretty loud to me. There are complex passages along with pace and tone changes along the way, but this is mainly head-thumping metal. The band is Adam Martin (vocals, guitar), Ben Andrew (bass), Mikey Precious (guitar), and Thomas Arne Rørstad (drums).

There is an intro piece at the top and eight tracks following. “Claw Marks” is the first punch to face – it is a ragged crank with a rusty hammer that does indeed have a hook in there to go with the blazing percussion and gruff vocals. You hear that song and you’re glad you’re at the show. “Eyes For Medusa” has some of the same elements, but it also contains clean vocals in places and beautiful lyrical ideas. Hot on its heels is “Snakes,” and that one is an all-out attack. It is definitely one of my favorite tracks of the set.

Every song has something about it that makes it memorable, from the reflective middle of “Giving Gets You Nothing” to the relentless sodden allegations of “Doomsayer.” There are no low or slow moments anywhere on the album. The final flourish is “Death Black.” It is a chunky avalanche of metal notions and with caustic dressings hung around for good measure.

Kill All The Gentlemen will surprise you. There is a good chance their music will not be what you expect. There is an even better chance that you will like it so much you’ll remember their name. Recommended.

Black Canvas is out now through Sliptrick Records. Touch the links below.

Links.

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

Sliptrick Records, https://sliptrickrecords.com/

Kill All The Gentlemen, Black Canvas (Sliptrick Records 2022)

Amorphis, Halo (Atomic Fire 2022)

In their fourth decade, Finland’s Amorphis continue to flex with Halo.

Formed in the earliest part of the nineteen nineties, Amorphis began making progressive doom and death metal music with notable creativity. Over the years, they moved into a more melodic – or perhaps melancholy – range of expression. The depth of the music did not change, and neither did the ingenuity in composition. Halo is the band’s fourteenth full-length studio album, and along the way they have released multiple splits, EPs, compilations, and live albums. The sheer volume of production is enough to give you pause. In every instance, attention to detail and quality was never overlooked. The band is Tomi Joutsen (vocals), Esa Holopainen (guitar), Tomi Koivusaari (guitar), Santeri Kallio (keys), Olli-Pekka Laine (bass), and Jan Rechberger (drums).

The new album is big, with eleven songs landing in the four-to-five-minute range. Across tracks, the musicians take the opportunity to explore divergent tonal and stylistic approaches to composition. Alternating medium-coarse and clean vocals is common, and the use of keyboards to expand the sound is typical. Esa Holopainen describes the album this way: “It is thoroughly recognizable Amorphis from beginning to end but the general atmosphere is a little bit heavier and more progressive and also organic compared to its predecessor.” Extra heaviness is always welcome, as far as I am concerned.

“Windmane” stands out to me especially for the lead guitar and keys work. It is also a good example overall of the album with its many movements and changes. “War” is a great track as well, with persistent heaviness recurring throughout, and “The Wolf” is a wonderful opportunity to escape to another state of being. The album will surely please fans of Amorphis and it will have broad appeal to aficionados of many heavy music subgenres. Recommended.

Halo is out on Friday, February 11th through Atomic Fire Records in a plethora of formats, bundles, and versions, along with tie-in merch.

Band photo by Sam Jansen.

Links.

Amorphis website, https://amorphis.net/

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

Atomic Fire website, https://visionmerch.com/atomicfire/

Amorphis, Halo (Atomic Fire 2022)

Hammr, Eternal Possession (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Hammr returns to its roots with Eternal Possession, and at the same time gets back to basics.

There was an EP titled Hammr released in 2015 that started to capture the rowdy emanations that had been percolating for a while. Unholy Destruction (2018) was the debut long-player and it was a monster. Now we have Eternal Possession. Like the earlier work, the new album is the singular province of “JH” who started it all in the mid-twenty-teens. The label says that on this new album “each of these nine sick ’n’ sleazy slices of minimal-is-maximal crush just steamroll the listener with preternatural ease.” That sounds like a good selling point.

On “Forces of Sin” the vocals sound like they are emanating from another dimension. There is a furious pounding pace that is happening in a closed environment, as if you are being pummeled while seated in a chair. It is claustrophobic and upsetting. “Ritual Desecration” is next, and it is out there, too. It has an excessive aggression to it that I like a lot. Very punk, very thrashy.

“Seeping Chalice” is an entirely different beast with a motorizing kind of muscle. And then you have songs like “Negative Fury,” which is not only the longest track but is also relentlessly oppressive in its battering. If the metric is crush factor, then every track breaks the needle.

My favorite song might be the title number. It seems like an explanation of everything to me, a recounting and a declaration of what the music is all about. It is a roaring, smashing encumbrance of your senses that pushes straight into your brain. I am really glad I heard this album – it makes me want to dig deeper. Recommended.

Eternal Possession is out on Friday, February 11th through Hells Headbangers on CD, tape, and digital. Vinyl to follow. Check out the label’s website or punch the Bandcamp link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hammr-us.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-possession

Hells Headbangers website, http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

Hammr, Eternal Possession (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Vorga, Striving Toward Oblivion (Transcending Obscurity 2022

The debut full-length album from Vorga arrives to smash the glistening bubble of astronomical mediocrity.

Vorga is a black metal band centered in Germany. Taking inspiration from the stars more than from the depths of the earth, the music they create is expansive and awe-striking. It is an atypical approach for black metal, and it really works. They previously released an EP titled Radiant Gloom in 2019, and a single, “Cataract Mind,” the following year. The band is Atlas (guitar), Jervas (drums), and Спейса (vocals, bass).

The eight tracks on Striving Toward Oblivion are absolutely all black metal, often grueling and pummeling. And yet there is welcome variety in the music throughout. “Starless Sky” is best described as relentless. It holds you down and screams at your for five minutes. “Comet,” on the other hand, has a great sense of adventure in its melody and rhythm. It is more engaging than punishing. “Disgust” is penance for past crimes, and “Stars My Destination” shines in its elevated self. I wonder what Alfred Bester would think of the song.

Black metal in space turns out to be a rich vein to mine. “Last Transmission” is an industrious song that has a potential for broad appeal. “Fool’s Paradise” is very catchy in the initial hooks – it could be a radio song, almost. It is one of my favorites on the album and it has stayed with me after the album was done. Indeed, the farther in you go with this album, the longer you stay with it, the deeper you understand it and the more you begin to inhabit the space it describes. Do not stop after the first song or two. You have to hear the entire thing. Recommended.

Striving Toward Oblivion is out tomorrow, February 4th, through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

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

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

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

Vorga, Striving Toward Oblivion (Transcending Obscurity 2022

Thorn, Yawning Depths (Chaos Records 2022)

Brennen Westermeyer has a new album under his solo project banner Thorn on the way, Yawning Depths.

According to the press release: “Cavernous, brooding, and bleak, Thorn is a solo project of erstwhile Fluids vocalist Brennen Westermeyer. From the deserts of Phoenix, Thorn specializes in the foreboding and ominous. Weaving elements of death metal, doom, post, and grind, Thorn creates a soundscape for worshipping pagan gods and making offerings to entities unknown.”

I find the description to be quite accurate. Take a look at the cover image. That is what the music sounds like – being chewed, swallowed, and digested by a gap-mouth horror. In some ways, this album runs like a sequel to last year’s Crawling Worship. In my head, anyway.

There are eight tracks on the new album. I am going to go ahead and label this death metal music. There are other elements swimming in there, too – most notably a tasty doom sensibility that rears its handsome head occasionally. Still, death metal suits the set pretty well.

It is a brief affair but it has titanic moments. I was absolutely floored by “Noxious Existence,” and the sorrowful “Lapis Lazuli” took my breath away with its dark, mesmerizing beauty. The grinding crunch of doomy “Unknown Body of Light” burbles to the surface of my consciousness from time to time even now, and the closer, “Graven Moonglow,” is a show-stopper, and no mistake. I like the commitment in this music, the unswerving menace created in the compositions that is so well executed in the performance. Well done. Recommended.

Yawning Depths begins breaking hearts on Friday, February 4th with the CD and digital, out through Chaos Records with the vinyl version to follow later in the year. Gurgling Gore has the cassette.

Links.

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

Chaos Records, https://www.chaos-records.com/

Thorn, Yawning Depths (Chaos Records 2022)