Corpsessed, Succumb To Rot (Dark Descent 2022)

For their fifteenth anniversary, Finland’s Corpsessed release their fourth full-length album, Succumb To Rot.

Back in 2007, Corpsessed came together in Finland. The Metal Archives tells us that the current lineup is Jussi-Pekka Manner (drums), Jyri Lustig (guitar), Matti Mäkelä (guitar), Niko Matilainen (vocals), and Tuomas Kulmala (bass). Creating death metal along a traditional path in the context of their own interests, the band’s early music had a growling quality to it, as on their EP The Dagger & the Chalice (2011). Later releases like Impetus of Death (2018) are more polished and exploratory, while maintaining the signature sound Corpsessed has been developing all along. There is an apparent trajectory and the new album continues the arc.

There are eight tracks on Succumb To Rot, beginning with the titular song, which serves as a short introduction to the set. “Relentless Entropy” in many ways captures the essence of the album, and, really, the cycle of music that has been in motion for the last few years – an endless, relentless destruction and emergence of something else in its place. You can hear this in the music and you can see it in life and the universe.

There are cavernous passages throughout sponsored by the fabulously dark vocals. Rattling percussion and battering rhythm always return at pace to give you skull a good solid crack. Songs like “Spiritual Malevolence” are sinister in their brooding darkness, measured out carefully and then dispensed with aggression. Tracks like “Sublime Indignation,” on the other hand, have a more upfront ferocity with periodic easing and even the occasional groove in there for a bit.

Closing on “Pneuma Akathartos,” creates a powerful anchor for the album. All the music is heavy, of course, but this track has the most finality to it in my ears. It is grievously dreary, dark and treacherous. Make sure you hear this album now because it is going to be talked about for a long time to come. Recommended.

Succumb To Rot is out on Friday, April 22nd through Dark Descent Records.

Links.

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

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

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/

© Wayne Edwards.

Corpsessed, Succumb To Rot (Dark Descent 2022)

Muddy Moonshine, Are We There Yet (Secret Entertainment 2022)

Swamp rockers from Finland, Muddy Moonshine, release their sophomore album, Are We There Yet.

You read that right: swamp rockers from Finland. Are there swamps in Finland? Absolutely, but of course that has nothing to do with the actual music. The style appealed to the originators of the band and they decided to go with it. The result is very impressive, bluesy, guitar-driven rock that is uncommonly listenable. The band is Tuomo Varjola (vocals), Jonne Rytkönen (guitar), Saku Manninen (drums), Jarmo Ikala (guitar), and Kim Sandström (bass).

There are thirteen tracks on the new album. “Under The Moon” is the first song, and it verily seeps swamp gas and drips Spanish moss. It has the pleasant, lay-about twang often associated with the declared musical type. The next song is “Crystal Riders” and it is very different, carrying more of a radio mentality, with pushing rhythm and a catchy chorus. It almost puts you in mind of D.A.D. here and there. “Sold Out” made me think of early 70s Nazareth with its brightness and voracity. It is one of my favorites on the album – it has a great hook and drive.

And there is more. “Corn Whiskey A Go” lays on the southern rock harmonies and “Distilled In Bayou” is essentially a power ballad. “Charm Of Drinking Hard” is a rambler with an undeniable bass and a tasty lead break. Songs like “One More Time” are just straight-up party tunes that put you in the mood and keep you going. There is a lot of good music here, put down in familiar rock styles and performed with the consent of genuine earnestness. Recommended.

Are We There Yet drops on Friday, March 18th through Secret Entertainment. Snap it up at Bandcamp.

Band photo by Emma Manninen.

Links.

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

Muddy Moonshine website, http://www.muddymoonshine.com/

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

Inverse Records, https://www.inverse.fi/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Muddy Moonshine, Are We There Yet (Secret Entertainment 2022)

Aegrus, The Carnal Temples (Osmose Productions 2022)

Finland’s black metal veterans Aegrus unleash a new EP onto the world: The Carnal Temples.

Aegrus has three full-length albums in their catalogue, and a host of EPs and demos dating back to 2006. Originating in southern Finland, Aegrus is part of the storied landscape of black metal history. According to the Metal Archives, the band is Praestigiator (guitar), Lux Tenebris (guitar, bass), Inculta (vocals), and Serpentifer (drums).

There are four tracks on the new EP, each running in the six minute range. First up, “The Carnal Temples.” A solitary guitar strums a direct riff and is soon joined by the rhythm section and the hissing, strained vocals we were waiting for. An episode of chaos follows, and then the rampaging riff returns. “In Death Rapture” opens slower, but you know the kick is coming … and it does, fierce and excoriating.

“Moonlit Coffinspirit” dooms up front with a heavy trod and a melancholy melody. The pace does grow throughout and the song ends on a vocal duet and a hammering groove. It is a very different song from the other three on the record and stands out as my favorite of the set. The final flourish is “Flesh And Blood,” a traditionally savage black metal beast. The song does have divergent groovy hooks in a couple of spots that mark it for notoriety.

If you have been following Aegrus all these years then you are in line already for this new one. It is a good place to start for newcomers to their music, too, because it shows a nice array of the variety of music the band produces. Recommended.

The Carnal Temples is out through Osmose Productions on Friday, January 28th. In the US, Bandcamp is the place to go.

Links.

Website, https://osmoseproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-carnal-temples

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

Osmose Productions, https://www.osmoseproductions.com/

Aegrus, The Carnal Temples (Osmose Productions 2022)

Battle Beast, Circus Of Doom (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The unstoppable Battle Beast launches their sixth session of epic metal mayhem: Circus Of Doom.

I saw Battle Beast at the Worcester Palladium a few years back at what might have been the final New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. They were one of the earlier acts then, opening, in a way, for bands like Kamelot. I have to say Battle Beast gave the best show of that group. They had a positive, high-energy attitude and they did not hold anything back. I have had my eye on them ever since.

Circus Of Doom is Battle Beast’s sixth full-length album, following 2019’s No More Hollywood Endings. There have been a few line-up shifts, including one highly publicized schism. Whatever effect this had on the band, in the years since I have been following them there is only evidence of growth in songwriting and performance. Each album is a notch up from the one before, and the legion of fans for the band from Finland keeps expanding.

The title track opens Pandora’s Box with a calliope of metal. This is dramatic, epic music. In other words, intense, layered production surrounds the clear, powerful vocals of Noora Louhimo, who has one of the best voices for metal performance working today. The heavy guitar and rhythm makes appearances by stepping into the light and then sidles back to the shadows, but it is always there. Epic metal is a clear and particular lane for heavy music, and Battle Beast charges right down the middle of it.

Every song is up-tempo, and each has a combination of smoother and rougher elements, some leaning more on the one and others, the other. Put together, then, the album is a great success in variety and delivers to fans exactly what they are looking for. Recommended.

Nuclear Blast issues Circus Of Doom on Friday, January 21st in a plethora of physical forms and, of course, digital. You can get it anywhere that heavy music lives.

Links.

Website, https://battlebeast.fi/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://label.nuclearblast.com/en/music/band/discography/details/7563223.591628.circus-of-doom.html

Battle Beast, Circus Of Doom (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Mask Of Satan, Underneath The Mire (Iron, Blood, and Death 2021)

The death metal band from Finland, Mask of Satan, is back with a second serving of Lovecraftian menace.

Formed just a few years back, Mask of Satan released a demo in 2015 followed by the long-player Silent Servants: Chants of Lovecraftian Horror two years later. The new album continues exploring the themes opened in the earlier releases and pushes forth with the winning combination of groove and death metal their fans like so much.

There are nine high-energy tracks on the album, all swinging and stretching old school death metal ideas in clever ways. They tend to run about radio length, and the best example of the album overall is perhaps “Bloodpact,” with its hooky opening, growling vocals, and occasional spastic wobble. The way the song is put together really is intriguing.

“Corpsewitch” is tied for my favorite track with “The Black Goat.” The former has exactly the tempo and push I wanted to hear when I heard it, and latter is a sinister festival of dread at the front end with a pummeling middle and madness on its way out. I enjoyed this album all the way through. It is highly entertaining death metal. Recommended.

Underneath The Mire is out now and you can get all the varieties at Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/underneath-the-mire

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Mask-Of-Satan-1592079117747406/

Iron, Blood, and Death Corp., https://ibdclabel666.bigcartel.com/

Mask Of Satan, Underneath The Mire (Iron, Blood, and Death 2021)

Sadistik Forest, Obscure Old Remains (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The follow-up to Morbid Majesties is a thundering EP of hammering Death Metal.

Sadistik Forest is from Finland, and they put out there first recording in 2010, a self-titled full-length album. Two years later came Death, Doom, Radiation, and then a split (with Septory) the very next year. After that there was a bit of an hiatus. 2018’s Morbid Majesties was very well received by both fans and critics – listening to the album, it seemed as if no time had passed at all. The band is now Antti Heikkinen (guitar), Jarkko Lahtinen (guitar), Markus Makkonen (bass and vocals), and Jimi Myöhänen (drums) – Vesa Mutka played drums on Obscure Old Remains.

There are four songs on the EP. The band has stated in a Facebook post that these four tracks were recorded in a studio live, meaning all the instruments were playing simultaneously. The studio was set up with separate isolated booths for each member allowing for this especially energetic form of recording. The style leans in on an old school vibe, and according to the band is somewhat reminiscent of “early Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, early Atheist and Darkthrone.” I’d say that is right – you can definitely hear it in the music.

The compositions spread the weight around in all four songs, bringing together voice, rhythm, and lead for most of each song while also allowing the lead guitar or bass or drums to have moments in the spotlight. “Mandragore” throws out the percussion up front then lays on a riff that sounds like the soundtrack to dangerous experiments undertaken in a castle laboratory. “Barbarian” has a combative feel, a struggle for survival sentiment – trials and tribulations. “Nihil” fades in and builds up into a dramatic presentation that is the most theatrical of the tracks. And “Waters Black” is dark and dooming, dripping with eldritch infestations. This set is a great side-step for the band that keeps the metal pouring from Sadistik Forest. Recommended.

Obscure Old Remains is out now and ready for the taking at Bandcamp or at the Transcending Obscurity store.

Links.

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

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/band/sadistik-forest

Sadistik Forest, Obscure Old Remains (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Ghastly, Mercurial Passages (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Death and doom boil to the surface in Ghastly’s newest album, Mercurial Passages.

Ghastly hails from Finland and Mercurial Passages is their third full-length album following Carrion Of Time (2015) and Death Velour (2018). As three-piece metal bands go, Ghastly creates a full and heavy sound than you might imagine possible, achieving unexpected penetration and breadth. Ten years in, they still seem to be gaining momentum.

There are seven tracks on the album. It starts off doom-centric with “Ouroborus,” a song that does give you a feeling of perpetual struggle. “Out of the Psychic Blue” follows and has a fast clip throughout thereby giving the listener a more direct taste of the Death Metal aspect of the band. It is “Sea of Light” that strikes me as the first song of the set that represents the core of the band and its compositional approach with its big builds, growling vocals, and frenetic outburst that punctuate and disrupt the steady state.

The album is anchored by two big tracks at the end, “Dawnless Dreams” and “Mirror Horizon.” The former is a dark story filled with Eldritch secrets and lurking, fell beasts while the latter is an even darker story with a saturating heaviness and hopelessness that drives you down into the endless abyss. The guitar in the second half of “Mirror Horizon” is playing you off into eternity and the dual vocal performance is hair-raising in its creepiness. This is the stuff of the most desolating, dreaded dreams. Recommended.

20 Buck Spin releases Mercurial Passages on Friday, May 28th. Look to the label website or Bandcamp for all the possibilities.

Band photo by S. Kujansuu.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/mercurial-passages

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

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/products/ghastly-mercurial-passages-cd

Ghastly, Mercurial Passages (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Lord Of Pagathorn, Age Of Curse (Woodcut Records 2021)

From the dark heart of Finland comes Lord of Pagathorn with their third full-length album, Age Of Curse.

Formed in the tumultuous days of the early 1990s, the band put together a couple of demos but they never got the footing they needed to go forward. Re-grouping in the 2010s, they have found a stride where they can create a steady stream of tooth-rattling, unforgiving Black Metal. Band members are described in the press release this way: Corpselord (vocals, guitar), Skrubb (guitar), Ronitor (bass), and Skalder (battery).

A suitably ominous intro track lets you know things are about to get ugly. “Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All” punches in at top speed and pushes you over with its aggressive attack of vengeance. Hissing vocals and rapid-fire percussion sears you from beginning to end. The next track is very different, “Conqueror of Im-Kharasak.” The structure is more linear and it has an almost catchy riff. There is a reminiscence of Venom in there for me, too. Excellent.

“Instability Of Man” has a dramatic, theatrical timbre – you can see it unfolding on a stage before you while you listen. “Over Throned” is a pile driver and “Age Of Curse” is sheer chaos that infects the next two tracks. There is no respite until the final song, “Dragging In The Dust.” On that one the music shifts into a vile grinding campaign that leaves you with nothing. The vocalizations are emphatic and the last notes drip with sinister threats. Overall the album is a cascading attack that deploys customary Black Metal elements and uniquely stylized features to create a deliberate menace. Recommended.

Out on Friday May 21st, Bandcamp is the best way to buy the album and related materials in the US.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://woodcutrecords.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-curse

Lord Of Pagathorn website, http://www.lordofpagathorn.com/

Woodcut Records, http://www.woodcutrecords.fi/

Lord Of Pagathorn, Age Of Curse (Woodcut Records 2021)

Dark The Suns, Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä (Inverse Records 2021)

Finnish melodic Death Metal band Dark The Suns release their fourth full-length album.

According to the Microsoft translator, the album title Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä is “grief raged in the darkness of my heart” in English. That is the perfect theme for the style of music Dark The Suns creates. The band started as a solo project by Mikko Ojala in 2003, evolving into a duo with Inka Tuomaala. After releasing three albums over the years, the band split up in 2013. The new album is their first music together as Dark The Suns since then.

There are ten songs in the set. The music is theatrical and emotive, cascading between quiet, lyrical moments and big metal explosions. You can get a sharp image in your head while listening, created by the fullness of the composition. For example, the opening track can be described as what we might expect if Danny Elfman wrote Death Metal music. Imagine Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King in a tight frontal shot marching up that crazy hill pumping his arms and moving with purpose in The Nightmare Before Christmas. “Spirit in the Dark” is the perfect music for it. Very theatrical, very full, and a complete vision.

There are symphonic elements throughout, and progressive ones as well. Even with this kind of complexity and attention to drama and presentation the metal music is always still there. The songs land at about radio length, tightly formed and design for impact. In this album you will find power and angst in the loud moments as well as the quiet ones. Recommended.

Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä is out now. You can buy it at Bandcamp and listen through the usual streaming outlets.

Links.

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

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

Label, https://www.inverse.fi/site/

Dark The Suns, Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä (Inverse Records 2021)

Obscure Fate, Raven’s Call (Inverse Records 2021)

Finland’s Obscure Fate raise the flag on their brand of heavy metal with Raven’s Call.

The band began as a solo project of guitarist Kaleva Kovalainen in 2008. Over time, the band as it is today began to take form. The other musicians are Tapio Härkönen (vocals), Jari Keränen, (drums), Joni Moisanen (guitar), and Antti Möttönen (bass).

The music is a broad-based heavy metal approach, setting up the song structure around catchy riffs, with punctuating elements stemming frequently from syncopation. There is often a guitar line in harmony with the lead vocal. Speaking of the vocals, Härkönen presents mostly clear singing with a gruff edge and an epic lilt. The compositions have a highly-produced fullness to them, and therefore have a radio feel, targeting wide appeal.

The EP has four songs, all in the digestible three-to-four minute range. They are all up-tempo with solid bases and dark fantasy / mythical themes. The straight-forward hard rock approach is enhanced by crisp lead breaks and singable lyrics – these elements are on brightest display with the title song. I imagine hearing this music on a summer night outside at a festival. That would be the way to go. Recommended.

Raven’s Call is out now. Bandcamp is an easy place to get it in the US, and it is available on a variety of other services as well.

Links.

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

Website, https://obscurefate.net/

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

Obscure Fate, Raven’s Call (Inverse Records 2021)