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)

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)

Cannibal Corpse, Thy Art Is Murder, and Perdition Temple at Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont, Concert Review

Cannibal Corpse rolled into South Burlington, Vermont Sunday night on their Red Before Black Tour. Their show at Higher Ground was a Fall highlight for North Country Metalheads looking for a night of extreme music.

Perdition Temple

The opening band was Perdition Temple, a three-piece Death Metal act featuring Gene Palubicki on guitar and vocals with Ronnie Parmer on drums and Alex Blume working the bass. Fast and aggressive, the riff-heavy, driving guitar broke the ice and set the tone for evening. Palubicki’s coarse voice and precision fretting filled the room with energy and threat. Wrapping up a tight 30 minutes in a blistering frenzy, Perdition Temple surely made the list for a lot of new fans in the audience.

Perdition Temple

The middle act was Thy Art Is Murder, an Australian band whose music is usually placed in the deathcore category. I heard many fans in the crowd saying they’d come specifically to see Thy Art Is Murder and that didn’t surprise me at all – they have a big following and they don’t tour the US all the time. The band puts up a powerful wall of sound with two guitars via Andy Marsh and Sean Delander that surround frontman CJ McMahon. The bass backing by Kevin Butler and clinical drumming by Jesse Beahler complete the scene.

Thy Art Is Murder

CJ McMahon was suffering from a respiratory infection which caused him obvious discomfort but his performance didn’t seem to suffer at all. Leaning into material from their new album Human Target (Nuclear Blast), Thy Art Is Murder shook the room and played to their strengths, not neglecting fan favorites. In fact, the only time the crowd was actually singing punchlines was during the Thy Art Is Murder set. McMahon talked the crowd into greater participation by reflecting on how wild the show in Montreal the night before had been. Burlington, he told us, was great, but Montreal was unmatchable. The circle pits were going in force, presaging the vortex they would become with the headliner. There were no disappointments with their solid heavy work.

Thy Art Is Murder
Thy Art Is Murder

The main event was Cannibal Corpse, rounding out the tail end of their Red Before Black (Metal Blade) tour. Standing in the pit in the dark after the band had taken the stage but before they began playing, I could see vocalist George Fisher, Corpsegrinder. He stood with his back to the crowd taking deep, fierce breaths, filling his lungs to ready himself for the auditory assault he and the band were about to perpetrate. Hit the lights, hit the sound, and the crowd erupted to “Code of the Slashers.” Moshing started almost immediately and within a few minutes, an enormous circle pit had formed in the Higher Ground Ballroom with a pulsing jagged edge. Metal was happening.

Cannibal Corpse

The band lead with three songs from the latest album then took a tour through their long catalogue of music. Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan brought the riffs and shreds with veteran accuracy while founding members Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz steadied the songs with an unbreachable foundation. Fisher did not disappoint with his signature hair whipping head snaps, his face completely covered by the result when he sang. This is a band that never makes any excuses and always delivers the fury.

Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse

Never slowing down, Cannibal Corpse announced in October that they would begin working on a new album, their 15th full-length release, as soon as the current tour wraps up. See the show while you can. Cannibal Corpse, Thy Art Is Murder, and Perdition Temple is a great lineup. They are three bands that complement each other by employing similar musical themes while maintaining unique identities and performance styles.

Cannibal Corpse

© Wayne Edwards.

Cannibal Corpse, Thy Art Is Murder, and Perdition Temple at Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont, Concert Review