Plasmodulated, Plasmodulated (Personal Records 2022)

If you are looking for some steamy fuzz, Plasmodulated has the answer.

One-man-band from Gainesville, Florida, Plasmodulated, has released a self-titled demo. Myk Colby does it all on these five tracks, and achieves an impressively heavy result. The music is fuzzy and dooming, with enough variegated elements of multiple other heavy music sub-genre to keep your attention sharp. I am always a little dubious of singular generators, but it turns out there was no cause for concern in this case. Plasmodulated delivered the goods.

“Intolerable Stench Place.” If ever a piece of music fit the title better, I don’t know about it. This absolutely sounds like an intolerable stench. There is a constant thrumming that won’t leave your ears alone, and a distant guitar line that echoes the croaking vocals. This the real deal. “Gross Cave” blasts into your space and groans its affection, then kicks up the tempo and rolls you around. The ponderous doom that lands in the middle is cryptic and eerie.

“Microscopic Horror” is a matinee thriller that makes you wonder whether you are safe at any given point in time because of the unseen menace that might be ravaging you and you aren’t even aware of it. Yikes. The title track is a little frantic, and it has an otherworldly ambiance. The anchor is “Protoplasmic Transformation,” a tropical storm in a bathysphere. The sparkling lead guitar is an early highlight, and the rhythm section shines throughout. I love the peppery chop of the riff on the intervening moments, and the echoey return of the lead guitar is a welcome haunting. Recommended.

The physical CDs for Plasmodulated are out August 26th through Personal Records, and you can stream the digital now at Bandcamp and elsewhere.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://personal-records.bandcamp.com/album/plasmodulated

Personal Records, https://www.personal-records.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Plasmodulated, Plasmodulated (Personal Records 2022)

Perdition Temple, Merciless Upheaval (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Perdition Temple returns with their fierce fourth album, Merciless Upheaval.

Tampa’s Perdition Temple came together in 2009 with a musical mission first articulated on Edict of the Antichrist Elect (2010). An EP followed, then in 2015, The Tempter’s Victorious. Each new release was a step forward in the band’s formidable history. Rough seas ensued for a couple of years, followed by a renewed, solidified front on 2020’s Sacraments of Descension. The band is Gene Palubicki (vocals, guitar), Alex Blume (bass), and Ron Parmer (drums).

The new album has four original songs and four covers. New songs first. The title track breaks the ice, and my first thought is that the title is perfect. It is like a soundtrack to chaos with percussive savagery, willfully violent guitars, and Palubicki’s coarse and commanding vocals. “Execution Swarm” continues the death metal attack. The short lead guitar segments are like dive bombers aimed at your brain.

“Redemption Abattoir” might be my favorite track because of the turns it takes throughout. Every corner it explores fills in the picture a little bit more. “In Thrall of Malevolence” is clandestine in the way it circles around you, ultimately coming at you from every direction.

The covers are fascinating choices including classic bands all fans will know together with names that are less recognizable to some: Infernal Majesty, Pestilence, Shub Niggurath, and Morbid Angel. “Skeletons In The Closet” and “Blood On My Hands” are fantastic and especially wonderful to hear in these new renditions. I am delighted to see Perdition Temple offering respect to these storied bands with such reminiscences. The structure of the album is a winner, with half original tracks and half covers, the band has hit on a memorable combination. Recommended.

Merciless Upheaval is out through Hells Headbangers on Friday, June 24th. Have a look at the label’s shop and the band’s links.

Photos by Wayne Edwards, Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, 2019.

Links.

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

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

Perdition Temple website, http://perditiontemple.com/

Hells Headbangers Records, https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Perdition Temple, Merciless Upheaval (Hells Headbangers 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)

Druid Lord, Relics Of The Dead (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Druid Lord conjures deep decaying darkness with their third full-length album, Relics Of The Dead.

Druid Lord has been haunting the catacombs for more than ten years. After the initial long-player Hymns For The Wicked in 2010, the band released a string of splits and a couple of EPs before the most recent full-length, Grotesque Offerings (2018). With a focus on the morbid and horror in general, the themes of the compositions are what you might expect from a doom-laden heavy music band so named. The Metal Archives records the band members as Elden Santos (drums), Pete Slate (guitar), Tony Blakk (vocals and bass), and Chris Wicklein (guitar).

There are six long songs and two transition tracks on the new album. The style is doom and death metal played both in alternating passages and as crossover experiences. “Relics Of The Dead” is a delightfully dreary requiem that drags your spirit through the muck. The following track, “Thirteen Days Of Death,” unsurprisingly, offers no sunshine. The song rolls out in a funeral procession, with heavy, hopeless vocals and slow, churning guitars. The pace becomes spritely after a couple minutes, but that does not elevate the mood. An excellent, depressing song.

I really liked “Festering Tombs,” I must say, with its nice lead flourishes and a driving, dooming intentionality. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “Mangled As The Hideous Feed” as well – it is a song more well-titled than most. The album wraps up on “Monarch Macabre,” a beautifully rendered cinematic story of unrelenting darkness. The final bow is a short uscita that sounds like a creepy invitation to play the album again. Which I did. This one is a keeper. Recommended.

Relics Of The Dead is out on Friday, January 21st in digital, tape, and CD formats through Hells Headbangers. A vinyl version will follow in the coming months.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://druid-lord.bandcamp.com/

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

Hells Headbangers Records, https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/

Druid Lord, Relics Of The Dead (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Fame On Fire, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 12, 2021

Post-hardcore Florida rockers Fame On Fire brought a wilderness of sound to Blue Ridge.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.fameonfireband.com/

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

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazine, https://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

© Wayne Edwards.

Fame On Fire, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 12, 2021

Massacre, Resurgence (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Florida death metal band Massacre roll out the Lovecraftian Resurgence, their fourth big album.

It has been a long road for Massacre. The band formed in 1984 and became well-known for a number of demos they released throughout the rest of that decade. Their first full-length album was From Beyond (1991), followed five years later by Promise. Things got quiet for about fifteen years after that. Back From Beyond was Massacre’s return to form in 2014 and now, seven years later, the latest installment in their history is Resurgence.

The music is straight-forward old school death metal with a strong reliance on H. P. Lovecraft for narrative content. Vocalist Kam Lee describes to new music this way. “lyrically it is basically about body horror of aquatic transmutation. Any deeper meaning than that is just speculative, but could simply be metaphor for our world’s current situation with the pandemic and other threats of the spreading of viral infection. Musically it’s just proper O.S.D.M. the way it’s meant to be played …”

The set begins with mystery and esoteric insinuations on the “Eldritch Prophecy” lead-in before turning to a heavy pounding riff and then taking off at speed. A vocal growl is the sign that death metal is kicking in. Ascending guitars rise above the pummeling percussion and a hiss harmony deepens the vocal attack. It is a great beginning.

Through the course of ten raging tracks, the story unfolds and the music takes a tour through recognizable Old School Death Metal stomping grounds, adding fresh blasts and turns to enhance the delivery. The pace ranges from mid- to up-tempo, spending a lot of time in the fast lane. Lead breaks and guitar pairings are reliably recurrent and the metal is heavy and solid. Could you ask for anything more? Recommended.

Resurgence rises to the surface on Friday, October 22nd through Nuclear Blast Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://massacre3.bandcamp.com/

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

Nuclear Blast, https://www.nuclearblast.com/massacre-resurgence

Massacre, Resurgence (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Worm, Foreverglade (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Florida gloom band Worm continues further down the path of deep dark doom on their third album, Foreverglade.

Formed around 2014, Worm’s early music was more oriented toward a straight-forward black metal tint. As they moved along, the doom emerged and quickly intensified into a lead-heavy oppression. Evocation of the Black Marsh came out in 2017, followed two years later by Gloomlord. The driving force behind Worm is an entity known as Phantom Slaughter whose work is enhanced on the new album by Nihilistic Manifesto, L. Dusk, and Equimanthorn. I wonder if those are their real names.

Foreverglade opens with the title track, sure in its stance and determined in its eeriness. It is a creeping combination of funereal guitar riffs, muffled death metal vocals, and ethereal, almost ritualistic sounds. On “Murk Above The Dark Moor” the composition has moments that are choir-like in their dirge and reverence, positioned against passages slightly paced up and massive in their density. And then, unexpectedly, there is a lead guitar break that is transportive. Side one closes with “Cloaked In Nightwinds,” the longest track on the album. It is a churning, clompy excavation of darkness.

“Empire Of The Necromancers” has an active beginning volley that is positively rapid compared to the tracks that came before. Excellent lead work early on in the song is a memorable highlight, as are the lyrical keys. “Subaqueous Funeral” is a single-length dark beauty with a pulse and flow that is engaging and mesmerizing in the guitar. “Centuries Of Ooze” brings the curtain down on the set, returning to the solemnness of the opening but even more mysteriously. I am a funeral doom fan and this music could fit in that category for its sheer heaviness, but it is more active than the typical strain and so creates its own description and enigma. Recommended.

Foreverglade is available on Friday, October 22nd through 20 Buck Spin. Ordering information can be found below at the label’s website and Bandcamp for the digital, CD, and cassette versions. There is a vinyl edition that is due January 28th, coming out later because of the well-known worldwide vinyl backlog.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wormgloom.bandcamp.com

20 Buck Spin, http://www.20buckspin.com

Worm, Foreverglade (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Charred, Prayers of Malediction (HPGD Productions 2021)

Florida Thrash~Death Metal band Charred re-release their first long-player, Prayers of Malediction.

There is not an enormous amount of information out there about Charred. The Bandcamp page reports that the band is from Deerfield Beach, Florida. The Metal Archives has about the same amount of detail, adding that Prayers of Malediction was originally released digitally in 2019. The new HPGD release will give wider distribution to this excellent album, so that is a good thing. And, anyway, maybe we don’t need to know much about the musicians and the band if we have their music to listen to.

There are nine ripping tracks on the album. Along with the obvious Thrash and Death Metal content, there is also a strong groove vein running throughout that makes these songs even more memorable. Most of the tracks are short, in the two minute range, with a handful of longer pieces. Growling vocals, battering percussion, and wailing shreds tag team to add force and power to the music.

“The Athame Of The Witchking” has a tasty Doom Metal opening, and that is always a good thing for me to hear. “Entity Of War” has a nice Mercyful Fate callback and “Enthralling The Weak” swings a weighty metal hammer aimed directly at your spine. My favorite track might be “The Means Of Destruction” because of the way it comes at you low and swerving then hooks back to crack you on the skull.

“Kesai Khati (Eater Of The Raw Flesh)” shuts the show down with a story that will keep you up at night. I did not know about Charred until I listened to this album and I am glad I got to hear it. Keep an eye out for anything else they release. Recommended.

CD and digital forms of Prayers of Malediction will be out from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions on Friday, October 1st.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/prayers-of-malediction

HPGD, https://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Charred, Prayers of Malediction (HPGD Productions 2021)

The Electric Mud, Black Wool (2021)

The new EP from The Electric Mud shows how the old and the new can come together the make something even better.

I first heard The Electric Mud last when I was reviewing their album Burn The Ships (2020). That was a good one, and it made me want to listen to their first album too – another winner, Bull Gator (2018). I have been on high alert for anything new from these bluesy Florida stoners ever since and now here it is, Black Wool.

There are two new songs on the EP and two covers. The new ones are “Ordinary Men” and “Black Wool.” The former is a radio-length churner that carries their signature sound on in a logical procession with a peppy, rolling riff and effusive vocals. The title track is more measured and twice as long; settled in for a steady heavy session. It is a great pairing, the short runner with the long-haul heavy.

The covers are Corrosion of Conformity’s “Albatross” and the Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post.” That COC song is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music I have ever heard, so to hear such an excellent cover of it put a big smile on my face. “Whipping Post” has been widely covered by Southern Rock bands and even acts like Frank Zappa. It is an iconic piece. The version The Electric Mud has crafted for this EP is exceptional in its depth and completeness. It is certainly one the very best I have heard, after the original.

You can never go wrong with this band. Go get you some Black Wool from The Electric Mud. Recommended.

You can have Black Wool on Friday, September 25th. Grab the digital album at Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://theelectricmudofficial.bandcamp.com/album/black-wool-ep

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

The Electric Mud website, https://www.theelectricmud.com/

FFMB review of Burn The Ships, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/09/21/the-electric-mud-burn-the-ships-review-small-stone-records-2020/

The Electric Mud, Black Wool (2021)

The Absence, Coffinized (M-Theory Audio 2021)

The fifth album from Tampa, Florida metalists The Absence is a tour of dark imaginings.

Melodic Death Metal is a popular lane for heavy music these days, and one of the premiere bands creating it is The Absence. For nearly twenty years and through four previous albums, The Absence has charted its way through the mire of possibilities by producing music exactly the way they wanted to, and fans have responded. Now comes Coffinized, another chapter in the band’s growing legacy.

The album opens with the title track, and it is a dismal wind blowing arctic devastation that at first seems like a dirge but soon enough starts swinging a metal hammer. The compositional approach is compartmentalized ideas stitched seamlessly together that will turn you this way and that until the disequilibrium makes you see the truth in the void.

“Future Terminal” has a clever and catchy vocal/guitar duet in a the chorus that stays with you after the close, as does the explanatory lead break near the middle. The songs are heavy and driving, fast and churning. “Choirs of Sickness” is incredible in the way it establishes drama, while a song like “Black Providence” is much more eerie and sinister in its approach. “Discordia” screeches and “Faith In Uncreation” delivers speed and depth (and has a truly bizarre ending after a few moments of silence – it is better if you just hear it without me describing it in advance).

Every song is its own microcosm while being undeniably a part of the greater whole. I have listened to The Absence consistently through the years and always liked their music. This new album reinvigorates my interest and takes it to a new level. Recommended.

Coffinized comes out tomorrow, Friday, June 25th from M-Theory Audio.

Links.

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

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

M-Theory Audio, https://www.m-theoryaudio.com/

The Absence, Coffinized (M-Theory Audio 2021)