Veilburner, Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The new Veilburner album, Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull, is an all-out assault on your senses.

Pennsylvanian metal duo Veilburner have been haunting studios and stages since 2014. With four previous full-length albums under their collective belt, their fifth shows a confident complexity in technical exploration. Mephisto Deleterio plays all the instruments and lead vocals are provided by Chrisom Infernium.

“In the Tomb of Dreaming Limbo” cracks the capsule open in an absolute rage. Screeching, blast beats, and a howling abyss greet you after a short calm-before-the-storm ramp. This one will shake you fillings loose and explain to you why it had to be done. “Nocturnal Gold” starts out a little calmer but it does not stay that way for very long. The music tracks from a dark and sinister environment to an ethereal pelagic one and back again. It is a soundtrack for savage miners in the netherworld who have high aspirations. Dissonant elements land here too bringing the weird to a more intense level.

“Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull” is a stand-out track, and we should expect that since the album bears the song’s name. It is an explosion of diverse oddities. I could say something similar for “Vault of Haunting Dissolve” and mean it even though the oddities are entirely different compared to the former. The multifariousness of the musical constructions is impressive. The compositional creativity seems boundless, all the while laying in familiar callbacks that remind you where you are in the metal chasm.

The closer is “Dissonance in Bloom,” which could be a subtitle for the band. The attitude of this song is point-of-know-return recklessness even though the creation is fully-formed and executed without a misstep. This music challenges your senses and delivers a therapeutic litany if you are willing to hear it. Recommended.

Transcending Obscurity Records releases Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull on Friday, September 25th. Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up in the US.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://veilburnerband.bandcamp.com/album/lurkers-in-the-capsule-of-skull-dissonant-death-black-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Veilburner, Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Replicant, Malignant Reality (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

New Jersey Death Metal extremists Replicant hit hard on their second album, Malignant Reality.

Replicant is a trio. They released their first recording in 2016, the EP Worthless Desires, following it up with a long-player two years later, Negative Life. There has been more since then, enough to whet the appetites of fans and wind up their cravings for a longer course. And here it is now: Malignant Reality. The musicians are Mike Gonçalves (vocals, bass, and guitar), Pete Lloyd (guitar), and James Applegate (drums).

Let’s begin at the beginning. In “Caverns of Insipid Reflection” the vocals are often reminiscent of the excruciating emotion of an animal caught in a trap from which it cannot escape. The general dissonance of the compositions and the jarring juxtapositions of the melodic with the noise further the disorientation the listener experiences. “Relinquish The Self” is next and it is a bit more linear but, never fear, it has more than enough crooks and splits to fragment your understanding of what is going on. This song continues directly into “Excess Womb” in a sort of draining extension leading toward a proper stop.

The approach established early in these first three tracks continues, with innovations and explorations cantankerous enough to surprise even the most jaded. Even on the anchor piece, “The Ubiquity Of Time,” unlikely events occur. Quiet at first, like a demented lullaby, the guitars kick you hard in the teeth a couple of minutes in and the vocals grind you up. There is no tactic of evasion that will be successful; there is no escape. Once you start you will be there until the end.

Listening to Malignant Reality is a disturbing and upsetting experience. Recommended.

The new Replicant album is out on Friday, September 10th from Transcending Obscurity.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://replicantband.bandcamp.com/album/malignant-reality-dissonant-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Replicant, Malignant Reality (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The Slow Death, Siege (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Australian atmospheric doom band The Slow Death return with their mournful fourth album, Siege.

The first album from The Slow Death was their self-titled entry in 2008, followed four years later by the aptly titled II. 2015 brought the charmed album Ark, and now Siege. They write and perform thoughtful, deliberate doom, typically in long form. The band is Mandy Andresen (vocals, keys), Stuart Prickett (guitar, keys), Yonn McLaughlin (drums), Dan Garcia (bass), and Gamaliel (vocals).

I would refer to this music as Funeral Doom, although many would find the Atmospheric Doom label more accurate, or perhaps simply more palatable. Given the subjects of the songs, the pace, and the haunting constructions, I am standing by my FD assessment.

There are four tracks on this album, two that are about twenty minutes long with the other two a bit more than half that. The first song is one of the long ones, “Tyranny.” The opening notes have a feeling of transition to them, like something has been happening for a while but we are just now becoming fully aware of it. The music is beautiful and melancholy. The first heavy guitar drop is fairly early in, about a minute and a half, and it raises the seriousness of the established emotion. There is a tempo change and then the first voice is heard, a lovely, comforting vocal and, later, a gruff one, both of which return. The narrative is fairly linear and the music moves with the story toward the solemn conclusion.

“Famine” follows, a shorter work running only about thirteen minutes. Given the title, you are not going in with hopes for a sunny afternoon. Indeed, the story is grim even as the music is compelling an uplifting – at first. The heavy, trouncing guitars and rhythm press in suddenly, conveying catastrophe and doom. Toward the end the inevitability, the fate, becomes clear, and the song ends dramatically.

“Pestilence” is Funeral Doom at the beginning the way I usually think of it: slow, dead slow; utterly hopeless. This track is the other long piece, and certainly it goes through a range of expressions and movements. The beginning passage is the one that stayed with me longest. The final song is “Ascent of the Flames” and it hit me as a sort of cool down – an opportunity to reflect on what has come before and a memorial wrap-up.

I am a fan of Funeral Doom and this sort of music has long appealed to me. As a result, I am always on the lookout for another band I can rely on to set the kind of tone I want to hear. The Slow Death has become one of my regulars and this new album is among their best. Recommended.

Siege is out from Transcending Obscurity Records on Friday, August 27th. Investigate all the possible variations in presentation at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://theslowdeathband.bandcamp.com/album/siege-atmospheric-death-doom-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

The Slow Death, Siege (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Diskord, Degenerations (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The new album from Diskord is another challenging foray into the wilderness of heavy music.

If you are looking for the usual Death Metal band then Diskord is not for you. Their music comes at you from all sorts of angles, many of which you didn’t even know were there. Formed in Norway in 1999, their first full-length album was Doomscapes (2012), followed by Dystopics in 2012 and now the new one, Degenerations. The band is Hans Jørgen (vocals, drums), Dmitry (guitar, vocals), and Eyvind (bass, electric upright bass, cello, theremin, synth, vocals).

The album begins with two short pieces followed by three common-length songs and a sort of exit ramp for side one after that. The first notes are grating. This sound is joined by a drum roll and a bass line. The music starts to form into a Mothers Of Invention kind of arrangement, then darts off into what sounds a little like Black Metal for a few bars. That sounds chaotic, but I do not think it is. There is purpose here in the mind of the composer even if it is not apparent to the receiver.

The second track is rather discordant, while the third, “Abnegations,” follows a more linear path. The percussion is raucous, as are the vocals, and there is a surprisingly straight-forward lead break about a third of the way through that third track … then entropy. And more entropy across the entire set.

You could put a number of different labels on separate parts of this music but it is difficult to describe overall. Avant-garde, sure, but that doesn’t really tell you much. The music is definitely radical. It might make sense to some listeners – maybe there are those who can put the pieces together in their head into some sort of recognizable whole. For me, I think of it more as an experience I had rather than something I can explain. If you are up for a challenge, give Diskord an ear.

Degenerations is out on Friday, August 13th through Transcending Obscurity. Touch the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://diskordband.bandcamp.com/album/degenerations-dissonant-technical-death-metal

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

Diskord website, https://diskord.net/news

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Diskord, Degenerations (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Fetid Zombie, Transmutations (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Fetid Zombie is out with its first full-length album in five years, Transmutations.

The driving force behind Fetid Zombie is Mark Riddick. In 2016, he/the band released Epicedia, an exploratory album with four long tracks that trod every land of heavy music. Since then, there have been many splits and EPs, which is a hallmark of Riddick’s work. Transmutations is the seventh long-player under the Fetid Zombie banner.

Riddick has invited a long list of musicians to join him on the new album including Ralf Hauber (Heads For The Dead), Chris Monroy (Skeletal Remains), Clare Webster (Yylva), Josh Fleischer (Svierg), Jamie Whyte (Beyond Mortal Dreams), James Malone (Arsis), Malcolm Pugh (Inferi), and Toby Knapp (Affliktor, Waxen). The result of this incredible variety of influences is a lush album that crosses multiple borders of heavy music and generates a synergistic whole.

Across six tracks you hear classic metal transforming into death metal and then heavy prog melding with searing dark entropy and more. The variety of the landscape is astonishing in every song. The opener, for example, “Chrysopoeia,” is an eight minute epic with growling death metal vocals, riffs that would be at home in classic heavy metal albums from the eighties, disembodied ethereal voices howling from the void, melodic guitar leads, space prog, and too many other elements to count. It is a grand quest.

Every song has its own environment and infrastructure that makes it unique. With all the seemingly disparate pieces floating around you might worry that this is a confusing basket of everything, but that is not what comes across at all. Each song is carefully constructed to fit together perfectly and the musicians perform expertly throughout. I can’t think of anything to compare it to directly. You have to hear it for yourself. Recommended.

Transmutations is out now from Transcending Obscurity. You can find it in the usual places including Bandcamp and the label’s US store.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://fetidzombiedm.bandcamp.com/album/transmutations-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Fetid Zombie, Transmutations (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Necrogod, In Extremis (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Musicians from Sweden and Costa Rica join forces to create a pummeling Death Metal assault on your senses.

The music for Necrogod is composed by Rogga Johansson who also executes all the instruments except voice, which comes from The Master Butcher. Previously, Necrogod released an EP in 2015, The Inexorable Death Reign, and a split with Morbid Stench two years later, The Bifid Tongue of Doom & Death. The new album, In Extremis, is another thunderous step toward heavy music eminence.

There are nine tight tracks on the new album, all in the three to four minute range, making them approachable and ripe for relistening. From the very first song, “Bringers of Blasphemy,” you can tell there is something different in the approach Rogga has taken this time. The music has a groove quality to it combined with unlikely elements, like a discordant lead break followed by a rollicking rhythm reminiscent of Motörhead culminating in a growling drift-out. This album will appeal to metal fans along a broad spectrum.

This approach follows through, and still he variety is impressive. It is fascinating and engaging to experience one iteration after another. The combination of crushing metal with affable hook and snag catchalls is a powerful push. Along with the opener, I especially admire “The Obsessive and the Deranged” and “When Madness Has Taken Control.” OSDM elements regenerated in previously unconsidered ways are welcome additions to the music in my head. Recommended.

In Extremis has a street date of Friday, July 23rd and preorders are available now through Transcending Obscurity’s store or Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://necrogod.bandcamp.com/album/in-extremis-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/search/?q=necrogod

Necrogod, In Extremis (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

71TonMan, War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

If you like your Doom slow, massive, and pulverizing, 71TonMan is the band for you.

71TonMan has been shaking the earth for ten years. Their first album, 71TonMan, came out in 2013 and Earthwreck followed four years later. The new one is a three-track EP, and each song is very different.

“War Is Peace” is that slow, massive, and pulverizing music I was talking about. The riffs are so heavy your headphones will threaten to collapse under the pressure. It is hammering Doom Metal. “Peace Is Slavery” is more actively aggressive, more like Death Metal – faster, with more vocals and ravaging percussion – in the first half of the song. In the second half, the weight of the world pushes down hard.

“Ignorance Is Strength” finds an ethereal plane to enter on. It is spacey, with a creepy intermittent voiceover. A little over halfway through a beeping beacon disturbs the journey, and the voice is back, even creepier. This continues to the end and the voice becomes more compelling, convincing, hypnotizing. By the time you realize you are being talked into something it is too late.

I recommend this EP particularly for the first two killer tracks. The third is best absorbed as part of a meditation in an altered state. How you get to that altered state is up to you, but once you are there “Ignorance Is Strength” will start to speak to you on a whole different level.

War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery is out now from Transcending Obscurity. You can order through Bandcamp or at the label’s US store.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://71tonmanband.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/71TonMan

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

71TonMan, War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Felled, The Intimate Earth (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Emerging from an ancient haunted forest with their debut album, Felled entrances with blackened neofolk metal.

Eugene, Oregon is where Felled comes from. After releasing a demo in 2017, they follow up that early work with their first full-length album, The Intimate Earth. The band is Cavan Wagner (guitar and vocals), Brighid Wagner (strings and vocals), Isamu Sato (bass), and Jenn Grunigen (drums and vocals).

The musical style is folk metal, but Felled is unlike the usual band creating this sort of music. From their liberal use of violin and viola to the vocal varieties, the uniqueness of their music is profound.

The opening track is “Ember Dream,” and it begins with a solitary guitar joined in a beautiful melody by bow and string only to be ravaged by a croaking voice and threatening percussion and riffs – it has turned into a melodic black metal song, with a violin accompaniment. Unexpected and memorable.

The other four songs on the album are longer, running between seven and eleven minutes long and taking that time to expand on the ideas presented, exploring the subtleties. “Fire Season on the Outer Rim” listens like a play, with long moments of repose and beautiful voices appearing and disappearing among the recurring metal and journeying violin.

The song I remember most is “Sphagnum in the Hinterlands” for its slow and dooming passages that complement the lighter moments. The final song is “The Salt Binding,” and it is filled with sorrow and melancholy as well as forceful metal elements, finally resolving on a haunting whisper. What Felled is doing here is truly something to behold. Recommended.

The Intimate Earth is out today, July 2nd from Transcending Obscurity Records in a wide variety of formats and with accompanying merch.

Links.

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

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Felled, The Intimate Earth (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Eye Of Purgatory, The Lighthouse (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The sophomore album from Eye Of Purgatory achieves new levels of breadth and captivation.

The band’s first album, The Rotting Enigma, came out in 2018. Helmed by the indefatigable Rogga Johansson, that inaugural issue was a fiery burst of Death Metal remembered especially for the ten minute opus “The Hause on the Edge of Hell.” The new album is more expansive in its compositional idiom while staying true to the old school metal framework. Johansson is joined in the studio by Taylor Nordberg (drums, guitar, keys) and Jeramie Kling (bass).

There are eight tracks on The Lighthouse after the intro instrumental bit, most of them punching in at the four minute interval – they could all be singles. It is mid- and up-tempo work, notable and marked by the generous use of keyboards which, let’s face it, are not a Death Metal standard. On this album the keys fit right in and would be sorely missed if absent.

The roughened voice is a dominant force in every piece, sharing space and prominence on a revolving basis with the other instruments. Clever twiddles abound, always surround and bolstered by solid guitar riffs.

The narrative elements on the new album are more dark fantasy in origin compared to the earlier release which focused narrowly on horror ideas. I think the myth and mysteries fits the music a bit better and that makes me like this set even more. From the opening “The Lighthouse” to the final notes of the closer “Rebirth,” there is a constantly maneuvering maelstrom of metal that blends the wizened old school sensibility with a Melodic Death Metal tincture to produce a literary-lace musical theater. Rogga Johansson strikes again. Recommended.

The Lighthouse is out now from Transcending Obscurity. Bandcamp is the place to get it in all its forms.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://eyeofpurgatory.bandcamp.com/album/the-lighthouse-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/band/eye-of-purgatory

Eye Of Purgatory, The Lighthouse (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Eremit, Bearer Of Many Names (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

German Doom Metal trio Eremit offer their second full-length album, Bearer Of Many Names, to the multitudes.

Eremit’s first album, Carrier of Weight, came out in 2018 and it started something big. It had three songs, the short one being eleven minutes long and the long one covering thirty three minutes. Even for a doom band, this is epic-length work and in conveys a commitment to concept and idea that would become a hallmark of the band’s approach. The line-up is Marco Baecker (drums), Pascal Sommer (guitar), and Moritz Fabian (vocals and guitar).

Desert Of Ghouls is an EP that was released last year – two songs, twenty minutes – and it was a welcome transitional release for the new album. It is not necessary to listen to the earlier releases to become immersed in the latest one, but I do recommended it because there is an arc here from the beginning to the now and beyond. Like Carrier Of Weight, there are three tracks on Bearer Of Many Names.

“Enshrined in Indissoluble Chains and Enlightened Darkness” (29:22) opens with six quiet minutes of uneasiness then explodes suddenly with a Black-Metal-esque eruption to show you the trepidation was in order. The doom approach is slow and fatally heavy, punctuated by the tectonic shifts in the percussion, guitar, and voice.

“Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact” (18:36) is a bit more funereal to my ear than the first track and “Unmapped Territories of Clans without Names” (18:27) is the eeriest, pressing against the edges of ethereal and ritual music. Everything about the music on this album is absolutely mesmerizing. Listening to any track by itself is a welcome a welcome journey. Even so, listening to all three in order is worthwhile enhancement.

I have been following Eremit through its brief career and I have enjoyed the first two releases. The new one is the best so far and it sets a higher standard for Doom Metal in this vein. Highly recommended.

Bearer Of Many Names is out now from Transcending Obscurity, one of the very best heavy labels around – if you are into variants, bundles, and merch, they always deliver. Look over the links below and dive in.

Links.

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

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

Eremit store, http://eremit.limitedrun.com/

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Eremit, Bearer Of Many Names (Transcending Obscurity 2021)