Chelsea Grin, Suffer In Hell (OneRPM 2022)

Salt Lake City deathcore band Chelsea Grin releases part one of the suffer pair, Suffer In Hell.

Chelsea Grin started out around 2007, releasing their first EP the following year. The band experimented with different approaches to the heavy and sharp music they were creating over the years, and there were a couple of schisms leading to major line-up shifts. Indeed, no founding members remain in the band today. Up to now they have released five full-length albums to go along with the pair of EPs, the most recent long-player being 2018’s Eternal Nightmare. The new project is coming out in two pieces, the first of which can be had now: Suffer In Hell.

“Origin Of Sin” offers a dramatic introduction to the album. Sinister and dark, it sounds a bit like a battle in a medieval fantasy movie is about to begin. Almost like a Danny Elfman soundtrack, except meaner. The hissing and gravely vocals are what really send the music over the cliff into the land of cruelty – you get a genuine feeling that there is going to be no respite to the dread, and that terrible, terrible things are about to happen. Very creepy. “Foreverbloom” follows and does not brighten the atmosphere at all. The music is more actively brutal, and there is a playful brutality wherein you get the feeling that whatever horrors are being perpetrated are indeed intentional and well planned out. “Deathbed Companion,” in contrast, inspires a sense of deep hopelessness more than fear.

This album, then, has a deliberate and calculated wickedness. The most obvious expression is in the singing, but don’t overlook the ravaging percussion that rears up periodically to the forefront, and the maniacal guitars that have their own irregular gravitational pull. The songs are all on point and brand, yet they purvey delightful differences. Notice, for example, “Floodlungs” with its aquatic oppression and “Mourning Hymn,” an unfathomable divinity. “Suffer in Hell, Suffer in Heaven” is the final track and is perhaps a bridge from this beginning to the second album where we will reach the end. At the finish, which is the middle, I felt a little sore but I still wanted to know how it will all turn out. Recommended.

Suffer In Hell is out on Friday, November 11th through OneRPM Records. For the record, part two, Suffer In Heaven, will be released on March 17, 2023.

Links.

Chelsea Grin website, http://www.chelseagrinmetal.com/

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

OneRPM Records, https://onerpm.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Chelsea Grin, Suffer In Hell (OneRPM 2022)

Photo Gallery: Bodysnatcher at The Webster Theater, Hartford, October 28, 2022

Florida’s Bodysnatcher is a deathcore band touring for their latest album, Bleed-Abide, which is one of my top picks for 2022. Their performance was a mesmerizing combination of muscular metal and laid-back confidence, and it resonated with the growing crowd in Hartford. They could have played for an hour and a half and still we would have wanted more.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Bodysnatcher, https://bodysnatcherofficial.com/

Hatebreed main article, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/11/02/hatebreed-at-the-webster-theater-hartford-october-28-2022/

Webster Theater, https://webstertheater.com/

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/bodysnatcher

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Bodysnatcher at The Webster Theater, Hartford, October 28, 2022

Ingested, Ashes Lie Still (Metal Blade 2022)

The seventh album from Ingested is one of their best so far, Ashes Lie Still.

UK death metal band Ingested has been on a tear these past few years, releasing three albums in as many years. This is a picked-up pace even compared to the steady track they were on. The band is now a trio – Jason Evans (vocals), Sean Hynes (guitar, backing vocals), and Lyn Jeffs (drums) – but the sound they produce is just has heavy and brutal as it has been since the beginning sixteen years ago.

There are ten tracks on the new album. Guest musicians augment the core band on many songs. On the opening piece, “Ashes Lie Still,” Julia Frau adds a melodic interaction to the brutal, cross growling vocals. Languid lines float over the killing attacks, like blue skies during a stabbing. The syncopation and the periodic entry of hissing black metalish vocal passages further bend and curb any potential subgenre descriptive labels. This one plumbs your depths. “Shadows in Time” seems at first a little more straight-forward, but it is ravaging and relentless, rather like having your teeth cleaned with a shotgun. And, too, here, there are disequilibrium forces at work pushing the musical narrative this way and that. No respite.

The entire album is challenging and entertaining, cracking off in different directions with darkly gleeful abandon. I am especially impressed by “All I’ve Lost,” a song that has a guest appearance by Matt Heafy. Its early quiet attitude builds tension given the music that has come before – you know it is going off the rails soon and that makes you dig your fingernails into your leg as the sound builds. Excellent. “Scratch the Vein” is another one to look out for. It has a more measured tempo overall, and an added weight. Altogether, this record gets high marks and is one of my favorites from the band so far. Recommended.

Ashes Lie Still is out now through Metal Blade Records. Explore its many forms at the links below.

Links.

Ingested website, https://www.ingested.co.uk/

Bandcamp, https://ingested.bandcamp.com/album/ashes-lie-still

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Ingested, Ashes Lie Still (Metal Blade 2022)

Cabal, Magno Interitus (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Danish deathcore band Cabal release their darkly charmed album Magno Interitus.

Springing up not long ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, Cabal is a relatively new band. Their two previous long-players, Mark Of Rot (2018) and Drag Me Down (2020), had all the signs anyone would need to see that Cabal was a rising force and that it had the potential to erupt. The new album, it turns out, is as deadly as spewing lava.

The show starts with an excellent sentiment, “If I Hang, Let Me Swing.” It is noisy, and loud, and sounds a little like what might happen if Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin were smashed together in an industrial hardcore press. There is a lot of shouting and screaming. Clanging abounds, and spacy warbles enter and exit. It’s a situation. “Insidious” leans at first toward the black metal domain before crooking a groove. The title track, next, is a sinister whisper, a dark insinuation, that turns brutal fast and lifts your hide away. The pace is down shifted a bit even as the sentiment harshens and penetrates. This album is a raking.

If you are in the proper frame of mind, this music will affect you. Watch out for “Blod af Mit” because it has a strong industrial stance and a plying energy. Listening to “Like Vultures” is a lot like taking a beating. “Plague Bringer” might be the clearest statement of musical intent on the record, and, in any case, it is the final word so it carries weight. This is not a casual album. It is not something you can take lightly. If you have darkness inside you that needs getting out, this music might be your catalyst. Recommended.

Magno Interitus hits the street on Friday, October 21st through Nuclear Blast Records.

Links.

Cabal website, https://cabalcult.com/

Bandcamp, https://cabalcph.bandcamp.com/album/magno-interitus

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/cabal-magno-interitus.html

© Wayne Edwards

Cabal, Magno Interitus (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Ernia, How To Deal With Life And Fail (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Spanish grindcore band Ernia release their second album, How To Deal With Life And Fail.

Formed initially from a couple of the members of Wormed, Ernia is a blasting grindcore band from Logroño, Spain that appears to value variegation, and perhaps chaos, in their musical compositions. Mainlining death metal into the grind framework and then cracking it in every direction has worked out for them. Following up on their self-titled debut (2016/18), How To Deal With Life And Fail might just be the ticket they are looking for because it is a major accomplishment. The band is Omar I. Sanchez (vocals), Gabrial Valcazar (drums, bass), Daniel Espinosa (guitar), and Daniel Valcazar (guitar).

There are thirteen tracks on the new album, all save one running under three minutes. “Farewell Sputnik” begins with a tinkle and a scream before moving on to flat out belligerence. “Q,” up next, has a very punk feel to it, and it goes out on a thrashing ravager ramp. Very nice. “Room Full Of Paper Cranes” is like a car that didn’t pass a state safety inspection going at a high velocity on a rough road until it breaks apart, with a nice little bass romp in the middle.

By now your senses are becoming a little frayed and you are only six minutes in. Suddenly, “Frustration Theory” brings the doom, and then “The Deer Chaser” pops it up for a while, making sure to slip in multiple chops and hacks. “Dharma” is a devastating deathpunk piece. “A Mute Florist” is a chainsaw in a beehive. It is one outlandish expression after another. The final song is the epic “Ikigai,” twice as long as any other on the album. It is surprisingly somber and sad in its first half, then otherwise after.

I am not sure what I expected from this album, but it definitely delivered – which makes little sense because I didn’t know what I was looking for. But there you have it. Recommended.

How To Deal With Life And Fail is out on Friday, July 22nd through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

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

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Ernia, How To Deal With Life And Fail (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Bodysnatcher, Bleed-Abide (MNRK Heavy 2022)

The third album from Florida deathcore band Bodysnatcher is out this week, Bleed-Abide.

Bodysnatcher came together in 2014. They put an EP out in 2015, and their first long-player, Death Of Me, followed in 2017. It was probably their second album, This Heavy Void, that brought them the most attention, and their fan base has been on the uptick all along. The band is Kyle Medina (vocals), Kyle Carter (guitar), Kyle Shope (bass), and Chris Whited (drums).

Talking about the album, Kyle Medina tells us, “Bleed-Abide is the ultimate culmination of what the band has been building for years, and I believe the best material to date. The instrumentals have matured and become heavier hitting and the lyrics dig deeper personally and more relatable than even This Heavy Void. There is something for everyone in this album: slam riffs, breakdowns, two steps, choruses that stick…”

There are thirteen mostly short, hard-hitting tracks on the new album. After the intro piece “Bleed,” the clubbing begins with “Abide.” Savage aggression ensues. Growling, bristling vocals descend to croaks now and then, and the percussion beats your senses senseless. The intentionality is ever-present, pushing the musical ideas forward.

There is plentiful speed here, but acceleration is not the whole story. “Smashed Perceptions” disturbs perceptions of pace, and you hear this on many tracks. “Flatline,” for example, does it in a different way. Instead of relying entirely on speed and volume, the change ups and hanging moments add tension and drama, maybe also anxiety, to the music.

The last four songs taken together are a menace to reason and sanity. “Wired For Destruction,” “Hollow Shell,” “Behind The Crowd,” and “The Question” work together in my head even if they weren’t meant to – they are a suite of destruction at the end that brings it all together. Recommended.

Bleed-Abide is out on Friday, April 22nd through MNRK Heavy. There are lots of formats to choose from at the links below.

Links.

Website, https://bodysnatcherofficial.com/

Bandcamp, https://bodysnatcherfl.bandcamp.com/album/bleed-abide

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

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/bodysnatcher

© Wayne Edwards.

Bodysnatcher, Bleed-Abide (MNRK Heavy 2022)

Fit For An Autopsy, Oh What The Future Holds (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The sixth full-length album from Fit For An Autopsy makes a move in the intensity direction.

Jersey City deathcore band Fit For An Autopsy began in 2008 and released their first album, The Process of Human Extermination, in 2011. Four more long-players followed, most recently The Sea Of Tragic Beasts (2019). The band has reshaped itself over the years, keeping a steady and growing fan following all the while. The musicians are Joseph Badolato (vocals), Patrick Sheridan (guitar), Timothy Howley (guitar), Will Putney (guitar), Peter Blue Spinazola (bass), and Josean Orta Martinez (drums).

The new album is not as abrasive as some of its predecessors. It is loud and intense, and it crackles with an unexpected poignancy. Fans will hear Fit For An Autopsy loud and clear in every song, and newcomers to the fold will experience a somewhat broader umbrella.

“A Higher Level Of Hate” is a stand-out track. It starts out with unusual percussion, driven by hand. Coarse, screeching lurches into the mix from both the voice and the guitars and it never turns back – offering abatement only toward the end, but it isn’t real. “Savages” is another one I especially liked for its persistently stabby nature and the killer bass line. If you let this one knock you down you will have a hard time getting up.

The exit door is marked “The Man That I Was Not,” and it is a parlor of mystery. At times melodic and at other times brazenly harsh, this long piece is a well-executed choice for the set’s anchor. I can’t wait to the band them tour with this material. I expect they will get rave reviews and a roaring reception. Recommended.

Oh What The Future Holds drops on Friday, January 14th through Nuclear Blast Records.

Links.

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

Website, https://fitforanautopsy.co/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/vinyl/lp/fit-for-an-autopsy-oh-what-the-future-holds-orange-vinyl-import-.html

Fit For An Autopsy, Oh What The Future Holds (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Enterprise Earth, The Chosen (MNRK Heavy 2022)

The new Enterprise Earth album is big enough to swallow a battleship whole and fierce enough to spit out razor blades.

Enterprise Earth has only been around since 2015. That doesn’t seem possible – feels like they have always been here. The band’s long-player entry into the heavy music scene was the rule bending Patient Ø, and since then they have proven time again to be a fundamentally important inventive force in the genre. They play a technical death metal style that faces few rivals. Their most recent album was the 2020 EP Foundation Of Bones, and now we have The Chosen. The musicians are Dan Watson (vocals), Gabe Mangold (guitar), Brandon Zackey (drums), and Rob Saireh (bass).

The new album is a big one, with fourteen tracks and a running time of over an hour. The opening song is “Where Dreams Are Broken.” How about that for a thematic kickoff? There is a short ramp and then no fucking around with killer bass lines and battering percussion. The guitars slash through the jungle of complacency while the vocals present no alternative to complete attention. A pseudo-melodic chorus does not slow the momentum of the construction. Instead it focuses the grievous message and serves to amplify the awe as the song continues.

The technical precision of the band’s guitar work is well known and amply in evidence here. “Unleash Hell” is the perfect example, and there are many more. Most of the songs have moments and movements that peer into different perspectives, altering tempo and plight, style and substance. The pace is savage and relentless overall, save the two short transition pieces and the closing gambit. The title track is an epic that places the situation of the theme at the center of the fray and explores its many refractions. As an Enterprise Earth fan, I couldn’t have asked for more. Recommended.

The Chosen drops on Friday, January 14th through MNRK Heavy. Investigate the choices at the links below.

Band photo by Chris Klump.

Links.

Band website, https://enterpriseearthband.com/

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

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

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/

Enterprise Earth, The Chosen (MNRK Heavy 2022)

Whitechapel, Kin (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Heavy metal stalwarts Whitechapel have created their eighth full-length album, Kin.

It is no accident that Whitechapel rose to prominence in the heavy music world so quickly. At the jump their music carried a uniqueness in theme and an energetic earnestness in expression. The lyrical themes have changed over the years and the music has expanded to cover new and invigorating ground. The band has released seven previous full-length albums, the most recent being The Valley in 2019. The lineup for Kin is Gabe Crisp (bass), Alex Wade (guitars), Ben Savage(guitar), Phil Bozeman (vocals), Zach Householder (guitar), and Alex Rüdinger (drums).

The first song on the album is “I Will Find You” and it starts off like a theme to a western film before taking a sharp turn less than a minute in toward a punishing landscape. Other tracks have a loud voice right at the first note, like “Lost Boy” and “To The Wolves.” Whether it is a race at the sound of the gun or a slow build, every song takes a journey with unexpected encounters and obstacles to overcome.

Stand-out tracks for me include “The Ones That Made Us” for its dooming nature and mysterious intrigue that soaks the sound throughout, and the title track which closes the set. The clean vocals at the beginning of “Kin” deepen the emotional impact of the song overall and also open the gates for the second movement with its soaring guitar work. It is a bold choice to end the album on this song, one that pays off in welcome closure.

In some ways this new album is reminiscent of the previous one, The Valley. Kin, though, is more than a reflection of the earlier work, and it is more even than a continuation of it – it is an expansion into broader realms, the nature of which can only be understood through time and experience. Recommended.

Kin officially drops on Friday, October 29th through Metal Blade Records. Enjoy a promenade through the many aspects of format versioning and merch at the links below.

Links.

Whitechapel website, https://www.whitechapelband.com/

Bandcamp, https://whitechapelmetal.bandcamp.com/album/kin

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

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

Whitechapel, Kin (Metal Blade Records 2021)

An Unction In Braille, The Wordless Whisper (2021)

New England metal band An Unction In Braille release their inaugural EP, The Wordless Whisper.

The band has been coming together since about 2012. The music is a melodic-esque combination of death metal, metalcore, and grindcore – light on the melodic. While that description does cover a lot of ground, the music itself has a recognizable focus in its combinatorics. The musicians are Robert Meroski (guitar), Josh Veck (vocals), Kieran Beaty (guitar), Wes Welch (bass), and Jacob Lindquist (drums).

There are five tracks on the EP, each weighing in at radio length. The opener, “Catharsis,” is built around a discreet elemental sounds that stand together in order to create a collective front. The tips and ranges make ideal sense in the context of the subject. “Of The Dead” goes next and dashes off in a different direction altogether. There is a coarseness to the syncopation that oversteps the fundaments just enough to keep you guessing. And then “An Inch From Death” has a structure that seems almost linear compared to the first two; a very death metal approach to the ideas.

“Sickening Sweet” shows the most melodic movements on the set, all the while surrounded by pile driving percussion and staccato riffs. The final track is “Dark As Black.” There is a vileness in the vocals that would go nicely in a black metal tune. Here it both competes with and complements the barely contained other-raging pylons of musical construction. These songs do leave you a little unbalanced after listening to them, an effect that is surely deliberate and calculated. When I am listening to An Unction In Braille I am hearing something different from the off-the-shelf music I sometimes come across, and I like it. Recommended.

The Wordless Whisper is out on Friday October 29th on CD and digital. The omnipresent Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up.

Links.

An Unction In Braille website, https://www.anunctioninbraille.com/

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

Bandcamp, https://anunctioninbraille.bandcamp.com/album/the-wordless-whisper

An Unction In Braille, The Wordless Whisper (2021)