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)

Rivers Of Nihil at Old National Centre, Indianapolis, October 15, 2022

Rivers of Nihil finished off their fall tour with an unusual show in Indianapolis.

Rivers of Nihil finished their Fall tour with The Contortionist last Saturday at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a concept tour in a way. Not only did The Contortionist play two of their albums in their entirety, but Rivers of Nihil also played an album straight through. That is something I had never seen before.

The Old National Centre was known to me for most of my life as the Murat Theatre, the oldest (extant) stage house in Indianapolis. It is a beautiful place with many performance areas including the main theater, The Egyptian Room, and a number of other halls and lobbies. The Rivers of Nihil show was in one of the lower levels in a small hall at the back. It is nicer than I am making it sound – imagine a decent-sized room where a wedding reception might be held with a stage on one side.

The evening got off to a peculiar start when Rivers of Nihil took the stage. The bassist, Adam Biggs, announced that the lead singer, Jake Dieffenbach, would not be performing due to “personal issues.” However, if it was OK with the crowd, the rest of the band would play anyway. The crowd agreed (what else could they do?) and the show went on with Biggs handling the vocal duties. At one point someone did jump on stage to sing for part of a song and I am pretty sure it was Dieffenbach, but in the darkness it was hard to tell.

Rivers of Nihil played their most recent album, The Work (Metal Blade Records 2021) straight through. This album has received a lot of good press (including from me) for its depth of expression. In many ways, Rivers of Nihil have a strong Pink Floyd component going with these songs, particularly in their exploratory nature. There is an extended lyrical presence in the work, and the generous use of saxophones during the live performance greatly enhanced the experience. The lighting was particularly dim and deeply colored, with the liberal use of strobe effects to drive the etherealness home. Even without their usual lead singer, the show they put on ran for an hour and was fantastic.

That’s it for the Fall tour, but Rivers of Nihil are back out on the road in Europe starting in November on the Faces of Death Tour. They will be in the northeast in December for three shows with Killswitch Engage as well, so there are a lot of opportunities remaining to see them this year. Get out there and do it.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

This post is condensed / rewritten from the Ghost Cult Magazine article which is linked below.

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine article on the show, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/concert-review-the-contortionist-rivers-of-nihil-live-at-old-national-centre-indianapolis/

Rivers Of Nihil, https://www.riversofnihil.com/

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/artists/rivers-of-nihil/

The Contortionist, https://www.thecontortionist.net/

© Wayne Edwards

Rivers Of Nihil at Old National Centre, Indianapolis, October 15, 2022

Defleshed, Grind Over Matter (Metal Blade 2022)

Defleshed have reformed and have created a new full-length album of blistering metal, Grind Over Matter.

Back when I first listened to Defleshed, I thought of them as a thrash band. Listening back on those albums from the 1990s, I can hear grindcore and death metal prominently as well. Whatever labels we might hang on them, the metal band from Sweden that is Defleshed was a major presence on the international scene in those days, but then in what seemed like the blink of an eye, they disappeared in 2005. Last year, the original core lineup got back together to record a couple of new tracks with the idea of including them on a vinyl boxset of their old material. The sessions went so well that what resulted was eleven new killer tracks that are collectively now known as Grind Over Matter. The band is Gustaf Jorde (vocals, bass), Lars Löfven (guitar), and Matte Modin (drums).

The album starts on “Bent Out Of Shape,” and with the opening notes we are immediately reacquainted with Defleshed. The heavy chop and pounding percussion is a feast for your ears and a strain on your throbbing jugular. Jorde’s vocals are as powerful as ever and the pace continues to be bewildering. The title track cranks next, and it feels like a sort of call to arms. It is “One Grave to Fit Them All” that seals the deal for me – I love this song with its hook and de-balancing act. The title of the album really sinks in by the third song, too, and I start to wonder how much longer can they keep this up. The answer is eight more songs.

The tracks are hard and fast, and on the brief side, running two or three minutes each, which is more than enough to get the job done. Every song has the ability to flatten you. I really like “Dear Devil” for its absolute ferocity and “Blastbeast” – I bet you can figure out why from the title. The closer, “Last Nail in the Coffin,” is a hard and sustained crack to the neck, a flurry of furious metal. If you are a fan of Defleshed then you are going really like the new album. This record is also the ideal gateway drug for new fans. Recommended.

Grind Over Matter hits the streets on Friday, October 28th through Metal Blade Records in a variety of formats. Choose your poison at the links below.

Links.

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

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

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/news/defleshed-announces-new-album-grind-over-matter/

© Wayne Edwards

Defleshed, Grind Over Matter (Metal Blade 2022)

Goatwhore, Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven (Metal Blade 2022)

New Orleans metal band Goatwhore reach a new plane on their eighth album, Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven.

Goatwhore came to life in New Orleans a couple of years before the turn of the last century. After a demo and a split, the first full-length album they released was the raw The Eclipse of Ages into Black (2000). A few years later came Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun (2003) and then, the first one I heard when it came out, A Haunting Curse (2006). The next couple of albums were break-outs for the band in many ways. My favorite of them all, looking back, has become Constricting Rage of the Merciless (2014), but the new album has given it a run for its money. It is the intensity combined with the relentlessness that gets to me when I listen to Goatwhore. The band is Louis B. Falgoust II (vocals), Sammy Duet (guitar, vocals), Zack Simmons (drums), and Robert “TA” Coleman (bass).

After the eerie invocation there are eleven blazing tracks on Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven, beginning with the bestial “Born Of Satan’s Flesh.” It is a rampage of savage metal. Speed and wickedness are the guiding principles, and they are executed to the extreme. The growling and howling vocals are an active threat; the guitars an attack. The lead guitar break is surprisingly lyrical, luring your attention away before a counterattack. “The Bestowal Of Abomination” follows and falls in line. Here the guitars soar at the beginning and the opening percussion is even more in your face. And, here too, the lead guitar at first gives a look that stands in contrast to what is happening around you. When it returns, however, it is a craven menace.

The title track, “Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven,” comes third. It is dark and dramatic. The opening bars set up a story from which you cannot turn away. A superior depth is plumbed here. The odyssey you are on with the album comes into sharp focus, as the does the realization of the magnitude of the band’s achievement. I am impressed with every song, and I have a special attachment to the sequence of “Voracious Blood Fixation” and “The Devil’s Warlords.” In both, and for different reasons, the guitars are especially vivid to me.

The set ends with “And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition.” This last piece has its own set-up and culminates in a voracious consumption of doom. It is my favorite track on the album for the way it brings together and connects all the thriving elements employed in Goatwhore’s music into an overwhelming compelling amalgamation. This record will live on in your mind and will haunt you for as long as time exists. Highly recommended.

Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven is out on Friday, October 7th through Metal Blade Records in all kinds of vinyl and the usual other formats.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Goatwhore website, http://www.goatwhore.net/

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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thegoat666

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

© Wayne Edwards

Goatwhore, Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven (Metal Blade 2022)

Revocation, Netherheaven (Metal Blade 2022)

Boston prog death metal band Revocation take you down a dark path on their new album, Netherheaven.

David Davidson (guitar, vocals), Brett Bamberger (bass, vocals), and Ash Pearson (drums) are Revocation. Since 2006 (and even before that as Cryptic Warning), this Boston metal band has been playing technical death metal to the escalating delight of their fans. They have released seven previous full-length albums, most recently The Outer Ones (2018). With what they have accomplished so far, they could have gone in any direction on their new record. They chose the dark, seething mythology of hell itself.

Talking about the new album, Davidson says, “We’re definitely in more of a death metal mindset than on earlier albums in our catalog. We’re focusing on how we can write the best death metal-centric album that we possibly can while still pushing our boundaries. The new songs on Netherheaven are evil and sinister but also have a progressive element to them to keep things interesting. It’s got our stamp on it, no question.”

There are nine crucial tracks on the new album. “Diabolical Majesty” sets the tone, and the tone is bewilderment. The music is almost overwhelming in its density. If you stand back a little you can catch the wave, and when the vocals kick in you will find your legs. The riff shifts are stabbing, the vocal changes are threatening. Prog elements add depth but also have a lifting quality to them that enormously enhances the music.

“Lessons In Occult Theft” is next. The percussion is a brutalizing affair, and the big guitar break is a fleeing spirit wandering the dark regions of a menaced space. It will make your head spin. Immediately following is “Nihilistic Violence,” which is every bit as trance-worthy as its predecessors.

The album does not let up at all. I particularly like the lyrical elegance of “Galleries of Morbid Artistry” and the extended guitar work of “The 9th Chasm.” Don’t miss “Re-Crucified,” either, because it features guest vocals by the late Trevor Strnad and George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – it is a buzzsaw. Revocation has done it again. Recommended.

Netherheaven is out on Friday, September 9th through Metal Blade Records. Touch the links below to get the details.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://revocationband.bandcamp.com/album/netherheaven

Revocation website, https://www.revocationband.com/

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Revocation, Netherheaven (Metal Blade 2022)

Amon Amarth, The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade 2022)

Iconic Viking metal band Amon Amarth have crafted their twelfth album, The Great Heathen Army.

Since 1992, Amon Amarth has been carrying the banner and swinging the sword for Viking metal, an heroic melodic heavy metal style that is wildly popular from sea to sea and icecap to icecap. Releasing a new album every two or three years for the past three decades has made them a reliable source of fresh music for their legions of fans. The new record has nine tales of heroism and conflict set in a savage world and told in the way only Amon Amarth can. The band is Johan Hegg (vocals), Olavi Mikkonen (guitar), Johan Söderberg (guitar), Ted Lundström (bass), and Jocke Wallgren (drums).

The battle begins with “Get in the Ring.” The song has a very ominous set-up to put you in the right frame of mind for the tenacious musical intercourse. Hegg’s gruff vocals cast their familiar spell over the abiding guitar riffs and steady percussion. It is an excellent choice for an opening song as it reminds you how much you like Amon Amarth. The title track follows, and it has a serious tone with a lithe delivery. “Heidrun” takes the baton and charges the field with a romping riff that sounds like the steady movement of a well-appointed army. A catchy chorus makes this song one that will stick in your head. “Oden Owns You All” is a much more aggressive track, with rippling percussion and forceful pattering that enhances the established style and theme.

Overall, the album delivers what the band’s fans are looking for. My favorite track is “Dawn of Norsemen” because it encapsulates the elements I like most about Amon Amarth from the story to the melody to the reliable rhythm section. You might choose a different favorite, but if you have enjoyed the previous albums from Amon Amarth, I think we will agree that the new one gets high marks. Recommended.

The Great Heathen Army is out now through Metal Blade Records in a variety of forms. Make your choices at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://amonamarth.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-heathen-army

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

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/releases/amon-amarth-the-great-heathen-army/

© Wayne Edwards

Amon Amarth, The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade 2022)

Wake, Thought Form Descent (Metal Blade Records 2022)

Canadian death metal band Wake release their sixth album, Thought Form Descent.

From Calgary, Alberta, heavy music band Wake has built a career by being different, not just from other bands but also from their previous selves. Moving from grindcore and crust toward black and death metal, combining and fusing them, and adding whatever was right and deemed needed is a hallmark of Wake. Over the course of five previous long-players, a couple of EPs, and split, the music is as reliably earnest and unpredictable.

There are eight tracks on the new album. “Infinite Inward” opens like a melodic death metal song and travels on an arc that leads to more extreme environments. “Swallow The Light” has a rambler kind of feel to it in the opening bars, reminding me a little of Mastodon. “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead)” completes the first triplet, sounding for all the universe like a battling starship in an uncertain scrap that could go either way.

After a transition piece, “Venerate (The Undoing of All)” leads the way into part two. The song is a big production with dramatic presentations throughout, pushing even more than the previous pieces, and that is saying something as, up to this point, the album has already been intense. “Observer to Master” plasters rage across the horizon, and then does it again, and then does it some more. “Bleeding Eyes of the Watcher” puts me in mind of sorcery and has me thinking the world is not what it seems to be on the surface. This is a steady one that climbs a mountain then explores the coastline on the other side. Unsatisfied, the music presses on to reveal horrors buried deep. That is where it leaves you. “The Translation of Deaths” is a short reflective cooldown.

I presumed this album would diverge from the previous one because the previous ones had done that very thing to their predecessors. The new album lived up to that expectation and, more than that, provided active entertainment, drama, and opportunities for introspection. Recommended.

Thought Form Descent is out through Metal Blade Records on Friday, July 22nd. Explore the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wakegrind.bandcamp.com/album/thought-form-descent

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Wake, Thought Form Descent (Metal Blade Records 2022)

Birth, Born (Metal Blade Records 2022)

San Diego prog rock band Birth issue their debut full-length album, Born.

Birth emanated from the band Astra, the latter having released an impressive set of albums, including The Weirding (2009) and The Black Chord (2012). They play progressive rock in a style that might remind you of King Crimson at times, or the deeper moments of Yes. Jazz inlays and ethereal engagements combine with celestial pulses and expeditions featuring ever-present key work and mesmerizing guitars. The band is Conor Riley (keys, acoustic guitar, vocals), Brian Ellis (guitar, keys), Trevor Mast (bass), and Thomas DiBenedetto (drums).

There are six tracks on the new album, beginning with the title song. O man, what a way to kick things off. It is a psychedelic flashback that could be a combination of ELP and Yes with more cosmic energy infused into monumental conceptions of Earth. Illustrious keys and vibrant guitar enterprises give way to thoughtful, languid explorations. It was difficult to resist simply hitting repeat over and over on the first song. “Descending Us” comes next with a more serious-sounding set-up. The vocals transform from bard to soothsayer as the song goes along, and the guitar is a constant reminder of flux, creation and destruction.

Throughout the album, we experience this manner of journey and description at every turn. We are invited, really, to consider what is happening around us at the terrestrial level as well as the celestial one, and all spaces in between. “Cosmic Tears” is perhaps my favorite song on the album as it, for me, showcases best the way in which a paradigm can be constructed – it imagines the edges of understanding then peers within them and beyond. The writing and performance are exceptional. Highly recommended.

Born is out from Bad Omen Records and Metal Blade Records on Friday, July 15th. This is one to mark on the calendar.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://birthprog.bandcamp.com/album/born

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Birth.prog

Bad Omen Records, http://www.bad-omen-records.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

Birth, Born (Metal Blade Records 2022)

Kardashev, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade 2022)

The second full-length album from Arizona deathgaze band Kardashev is Liminal Rite.

Breaking ground in 2012, Karadshev is peopled by founders Nico Mirolla (guitar) and Mark Garrett (vocals), along with Alex Rieth (bass) and Sean Lang (drums), who both joined in 2019. With three EPs and the full-length album Peripety (2015) under their collective belt, the band now ventures forth on Liminal Rite. The style of music they play has received a variety of labels ranging from progressive metal to atmospheric deathcore and on to the catch-all post-metal. Most recently, deathgaze has been frequently leveraged as a description. As with most successful bands, the music of Kardashev has been growing and evolving with the passage of time.

There are eight principal tracks, an intro, and two interstitials on the new album. The story is spoken by drummer Sean Lang, and the music surrounds these establishing ideas. Talking about the narrative, Nico Mirolla says, “Liminal Rite explores how the past can both wound and seduce, leading us down a path of self-destruction. It’s an anecdotal tale from a fictional man’s perspective late in life on how perception and reality do not always coalesce. His experience tells a larger message of how our minds often create a false view of the past. Sean’s narration is him expressing the man’s perception and recollection of life. The failure of his memory, the nature of dementia, and how it plays into his experience are all encapsulated by the narrative sections.”

The music has a serious air about it, a sense that it is the result of a preponderance of manifest ideas that could not be contained. The spoken word passages begin on the first track, a short ramp into the blistering “Silvered Shadows” where percussion blasts and riffs rail against it all. Melodic vocals sweeten the harsh realities that are made solid by the growling, croaking singing that follows. The mixture is the paradigm throughout.

Stand-out tracks for me are “Lavender Calligraphy,” which is hopeful sounding and “Compost Grave-song,” which is the opposite. The final two tracks together run over twenty minutes, “A Vagabond’s Lament” and “Beyond The Passage Of Embers.” Taken together they lift my respect for this album, which was already climbing with each song that came before. The music here is challenging and exceptional, and not to be missed. Recommended.

Liminal Rite is out on Saturday, June 11th through Metal Blade Records. Examine the many varieties of physicals at the links below.

Links.

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

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

Kardashev website, https://kardashevband.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

Kardashev, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade 2022)

Killswitch Engage, Live At The Palladium (Metal Blade 2022)

Killswitch Engage releases the recording of their 2021 Palladium livestream event this week.

Do you remember last year? The pandemic was still roughing us up, sort of like it still is today. Back then, though, there were more restrictions than there are right now on live music so we fans were treated to a number of livestream events to offset the sadness of not getting together in person. I remember the Clutch livestreams particularly, and there were many other bands following suit. A few were captured for posterity, including the August 6, 2021 performance by Killswitch Engage at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Coming together on the cusp of the new millennium, Killswitch Engage has had an enormous impact on heavy music. Over the years they have released eight full-length albums and a heaping helping of splits and EPs. Typically labeled metalcore, the aggressive musical presentations of heavy metal were formative for the category. I have been lucky enough to see them several times at festivals and, if a choice has to be made when two bands are playing at the same time, Killswitch Engage is probably going to get the nod. The band is Jesse Leach (vocals), Adam Dutkiewicz (guitar), Joel Stroetzel (guitar), Mike D’Antonio (bass), and Justin Foley (drums).

This show was very different, not only because of it being a livestream but also because of the content. The set included both the Atonement (2019) album and the Killswitch Engage (2000) album in full. Talk about bookending. It is an amazing performance and it is incredible fan service with a little surprise toward the end. Beyond the band’s fan base, this concert is a good vehicle for new listeners to jump in. Recommended.

Live At The Palladium is out on Friday, June 3rd through Metal Blade Records on digital, vinyl, and CD/Blu Ray combo. I would get the Blu Ray in order to actually see the show, if it was me. I understand the both attraction of vinyl and the convenience of digital as well. This might be a tough choice. What to do?

Links.

Bandcamp, https://killswitchengage.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-the-palladium

Website, http://www.killswitchengage.com/

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Killswitch Engage, Live At The Palladium (Metal Blade 2022)