Morbikon, Ov Mournful Twilight (Tankcrimes 2022)

The debut album from blackened thrash band Morbikon is savagely unsettling: Ov Mournful Twilight.

Morbikon is a solo project of Municipal Waste bass player Phil “Land Phil” Hall. While Municipal Waste is a tongue-in-cheek thrash band, this solo project is darker in tone. “Morbikon to me is an opportunity to explore new atmospheres and new realms of extreme metal,” Hall says. “I wanted to fill it with memorable hooks and punishing moments. I am very happy with the result of these songs and hope everyone notices the amount of detail that has been added to every corner of the music. I also have to give Dave Witte a lot of credit for laying down amazing drum tracks that added so much to these songs.”

There are eight meaty tracks on Ov Mournful Twilight. The aptly titled “Consumed By Entropy” starts with noisy clangs and threatening growls. The song moves through patches of heavy catchy grooves next door to sour calamities of musical collision. A platter of digestible hooks is a great way to deliver the more challenging constructions and so the song works well. “Universal Funeral” puts the smooth at the front and the off-balancing warbles are a patch down the road, mixing things up. There is a significant doomish segment that fits the theme and a fine lead break that marks this song for high praise.

“Cursed To March On Shattered Limbs” has the feel of a dark lullaby that turns into blatantly savage shrieking black metal. Lovely. Likewise, “Deaththirst” is brutal in the rhythm section and really shakes you up. In the middle section, the song becomes very dramatic and psychologically threatening. The second half of the record offers the title track and, of them all, this is my favorite song on the album. The musical build in the composition is pure dark theater.

Heading into the last act we hear “In Ritual Isolation,” a cavernous intimation, and “Contagion Borne Of Phantom Vessel,” a dreadful spell cast in the oppressive gloom that makes me reconsider my top spot song rankings. The anchor is “Infinite Pathways to the Earthen Grave.” I expected this song to be especially dreary, but it is not – in fact it begins with high energy and it runs at a penetrating pace. The guitar work is impeccable; the solemn outro is haunting. It is the perfect wrap to this dark delight of an album. Recommended.

Ov Mournful Twilight is out on Friday, October 28th through Tankcrimes Records. You can pick it up through Bandcamp or at the label link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://downloads.tankcrimes.com/album/ov-mournful-twilight

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/people/Morbikon/100063566229471/

Tankcrimes Records, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Morbikon, Ov Mournful Twilight (Tankcrimes 2022)

Mortuous, Upon Desolation (Carbonized 2022)

The mighty Mortuous lays waste to the world once more with Upon Desolation.

Mortuous is a death metal band from San Jose, California. Now in their thirteenth year, they have released a couple of demos and splits, and their intensely memorable first full-length album, Through Wilderness (2018), an record that still gets plenty of spins here at Shardik Media Headquarters. The unearthly devastation that their marauding death and doom metal proposes is unparalleled. I made a mental note that Mortuous is a must-see band before the end of the first song of theirs I ever heard. I’m a fan. The band is Colin Tarvin (guitar, vocals), Michael Beams (guitar, vocals, piano), Clint Roach (bass), and Chad Gailey (drums).

There are eight tracks on the new album beginning with “Carve.” Relentless pounding is initiated with the first note and continues at speed. There is step back for a few bars now and then, but that does not diminish the power of the musical stance. “Nothing” comes next and it squeezes you hard enough to make your eyes water. The blast beats are monumental and the riffs are titanic. There is an eerie and beautiful middle doom section with a melancholy violin signaling no hope is to be had. “Metamorphosis” opens on a slow tempo while “Days Of Grey” is all about a quick start. Here endeth side one.

The back four are every bit as monstrous as the front half. “Defiled By Fire” continues the combination of death and doom with a sweetly murderous section that shines a dark light on the heavier movements. “Burning Still…” wags an impossible lead guitar splash and “Ash And Dismay” has a fantastic clomping set-up. The final word is “Graveyard Rain” and it washes your brain in fetid blood, leaving no doubt that Mortuous is one of the very best heavy bands out there. Highly recommended.

Upon Desolation is out on Friday, September 16th through Carbonized Records. Tankcrimes has a special limited edition vinyl edition as well. Explore through the links below.

Band photo by Chris Johnston.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mortuousdeath.bandcamp.com/album/upon-desolation

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

Carbonized Records, https://carbonizedrecords.com/

Tankcrimes, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/distributed-music/vinyl/mortuous-upon-desolation-vinyl-lp/

© Wayne Edwards

Mortuous, Upon Desolation (Carbonized 2022)

Fucked Up, Year of the Horse (Tankcrimes 2021)

The new album from storied Canadian hardcore/punk band Fucked Up is a massive treatise of all-encompassing heavy music effluence.

The musicians (from the band’s Bandcamp page) are Damian Abraham, Jonah Falco, Mike Haliechuk, Ben Cook, Sandy Miranda, and Josh Zucker. There is a lot going on here with this band. Twenty years and more than eighty (!) recordings in, they are still innovating and exploring. Let’s stick to the “Year Of” albums from Tankcrimes to maintain a little focus.

Year of the Dragon (2014) and Year of the Snake (2017) both feature an extended primary track along with one or two shorter ancillaries. As the titles indicate, these albums are part of an “ongoing series celebrating the Chinese Zodiac.” The story that rolls through the albums covers a lot of ground and that is perhaps the point. The music also travels quite a winding path. Given the length of these compositions, it is unsurprising that they present multiple musical expressions ranging from hardcore to classical, loud and raging to quiet and lilting.

Year of the Horse is a single track that runs over ninety minutes cut up in four pieces (Acts). The four segments function very much (in my ears) like movements in long pieces of classical music. It is not only that each one of them is different compared to the others, they also have individually different variations in each local environment. There are differences in the differences, you might say.

With such a lengthy musical expression, you have to figure you are going to miss something by sampling here and there because sampling means skipping. Resist the temptation. There are parts of each Act that I like especially but I am unlikely to skip to them when listening again because it would seem truncated to me if I did. Certainly the first time you listen you have to go from beginning to end without a pause. Heavy music fans, harken: set aside an hour and a half to discover where this album finds you. It is worth it. Recommended.

The digital version of Year of the Horse has been out for a while and you can pre-order the CD and vinyl versions now at the Tankcrimes store for anticipated September and December ship dates, respectively.

Band photo by Natalie Wood.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://fuckedup.bandcamp.com/album/year-of-the-horse

Fucked Up website, https://www.fuckedup.cc/

Tankcrimes Records, http://www.tankcrimes.com/

Fucked Up, Year of the Horse (Tankcrimes 2021)

Despise You, West Side Horizons (Tankcrimes 2021)

Tankcrimes issues West Side Horizons, a massive compilation from Inglewood power violence band Despise You.

Founded by Phil Vera and Chris Elder in 1994, Despise You had a major impact on the hard music scene. Lasting only a couple of years, the band released a slew of split 7s and compilations featuring their brand of aggression and anger operationalized in musical expression.

This collection is vast, including songs from splits with Crom, Supression, Scapegoat, and Stapled Shut, plus cuts from compilations and sixteen previously unreleased tracks. All of this music was recorded between 1994-1996 and bits and pieces are floating around out there in the ether. Having it all together in one tight package is boon to fans and collectors.

If you haven’t heard Despise You before then get ready for shrieking anger and spinning kicks. Only twelve of the sixty two tracks are over one minute long so listening to all of them in a row is a shock to the system. It is a shock worth taking.

I could do a track-by-track on this but it is better if you just listen to it – it is quicker to listen to some of them than to read a description of them. Hit up the first track, “Culpa Mia,” and see if it is for you. Then go from there. Brutal percussion and rhythm, screaming, shrieking, belligerence, and bad attitudes. That’s what you will find. My favorite song is “Puppet.” So there. Recommended.

The drop date for this big set is Friday, August 6th from Tankcrimes. There are CD and LP versions.

Photo by Anthony Mehlhaff.

Links.

CD, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/tankcrimes-music/cd/despise-you-west-side-horizons-cd/

Vinyl, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/tankcrimes-music/vinyl/despise-you-west-side-horizons-vinyl-lp

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

Despise You shop, https://despiseyou.bigcartel.com/

Tankcrimes Records, http://www.tankcrimes.com/

Despise You, West Side Horizons (Tankcrimes 2021)

Necrot, Mortal review (Tankcrimes 2020)

The second Necrot full-length delivers on the promise of the first, and raises the bar well up in the process.

I first found out about Necrot by listening to Mortuous because Chad Gailey plays drums in both bands (and he has actually been in Necrot longer). After I heard The Labrynth (2016), which is a compilation of demos, I immediately hit 2017’s Blood Offerings and I was hooked. Not only was Gailey’s drumming a monstrous pummeling, Luca Indrio (bass, vocals) and Sonny Reinhardt (guitars) completed the trinity in such a superlative fashion I had to have more. And now we all do with Mortal.

Coalescing in Oakland almost ten years ago, the early music of Necrot was infused with an elemental, volcanic energy that burst out like an exploding lava flow. In more recent years the feral zeal has found a more defined form and the band has developed into a Death Metal agency with an outer crust of punk.

Mortal begins with “Your Hell,” a story of suffering and revenge rendered at the speed of a roaring river and colored deep black. “I’ve built a grave for your dreams, I’ll make it your home.” A vivid image that cuts right to it, and no mistake. Every song has this collider push with boulder crushing percussion, psyche twisting vocals, and ravening guitars. “Asleep Forever,” “Stench of Decay,” and “Your Hell” were issued during the lead up to the full release, and they show you a big part of the story, but not everything. While “Stench” might be the representative track, you have to listen all the way through or you’ll miss the triumvirate closing sequence of “Sinister Will,” “Malevolent Intentions,” and “Mortal.” Whether they are meant to go together or not, I heard them as a suite that tops off the megalith the music created. The lead guitar in “Sinister” is positively searing, the rhythm of “Malevolent” is charging and unstoppable, and “Mortal” is a final permanent seal that entombs human arrogance – “Mortal dies. Everything fades away.” We’ll all be gone one day, but not this music. It will live on. Highly recommended.

Preorders are up now in many forms and variants (links below), and the full album drops Friday, August 28. Hearing the music is the most important thing, but if you also want a physical memento, you better hurry because they are selling fast.

Band photo by Chris Johnston.

Links.

https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/

https://necrot.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cyclesofpain

https://downloads.tankcrimes.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tankcrimes

Necrot, Mortal review (Tankcrimes 2020)