The Scalar Process, Coagulative Matter (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

French death metal band The Scalar Process unleash their first album, Coagulative Matter, and it is full of fine detail and virtuoso flourishes.

According to the Metal Archives the band is Eloi Nicod (guitar), Mathieu Lefevre (vocals), Cédric Mells (drums), and Alix Guéneau (guitars). When you listen to the album you might be surprised that this is their first because it is so complete and polished. The speed is matched by precision and the compositions remain organic in their determinism.

There are eleven tracks on the album, including three short non-vocal interludes. The first principal track is “Cosmic Flow,” and it continues the mystery of the opening element while adding the actual death metal vocals and guitar savagery. The music is usually described as technical death metal and I would say that is accurate. It often lands as a progressive treaty, as here in this get-to-know-you song, and the prog takes many forms even in this one track, ranging from impossible performances on every instrument to spacey moments of exploration.

The stage having now been erected, it is time for the show. “Ink Shadow” is positively rabid in the blurring speed of the presented notes. “Celestial Existence” includes the continued demonstration of ability and notches up the theater noticeably. “Mirror Cognition” is a “Planet Caravan” type track for the first half – almost soft jazz. Then the lead guitar takes a Zappa-esque turn setting up an absolute explosion of rage in the final minute. Very unexpected, and this is my favorite track.

The big set piece is the title track which runs eleven minutes, making it a glaring epic when held up against the other songs. It has several distinct movements and in that way it operates like a suite. It is an incredible accomplishment, this song, holding together the central concept for such a length while exploring the theme’s many avenues and variegations. It is very hard make music like this that is enjoyable for the listener and not just a recitation of technical abilities, and that is exactly what The Scalar Process has done with Coagulative Matter. I find myself listening to it intently, overtaken by the music and genuinely amazed. Write this one on the short list. Highly recommended.

The usual array of amazing products are available now from Transcending Obscurity – take a look at the Bandcamp page or the label’s homepage for details.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://thescalarprocess.bandcamp.com/album/coagulative-matter-technical-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://tometal.com/

The Scalar Process, Coagulative Matter (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Revulsion, Revulsion (Transcending Obscurity Records 2021)

It is winter in Finland but Revulsion is not hibernating – the self-titled full-length debut is a heavy metal bulldozer bearing down on your brain.

In 2010 Revulsion released a demo then an EP the year after that. Ten long years have passed while fans waited to see if there would be more music. The new album answers that question with a full-throated howl. The music is rooted in death metal with deep veins of doom running throughout, and the integrated elements are a propitious combination. The band is Aleksi Huhta (vocals), Jari Toppinen (guitar), Jarkko Viitasalo (guitar), Tuomas Alatalo (bass), and Atte Karppinen (drums).

The music begins in chaos – just a pummeling of noise you have to sort through. After a few seconds of that attack, the riffs emerge and the vocals become words in “Last Echoes Of Life.” The death metal hybrid continues to morph on “Pyre” which also bears a heavy riff and adds complex combinations in the rhythm and percussion. “Walls” is next, showing off a fat bass line, and then “Mustaa Hiiltä” lifts the lid on the cave of doom with oppressively threatening leaden tones.

There are eleven songs on the album and you can feel groove characteristics nudge you around as the undeniable momentum of the powerful musical energy is a constant exhilarating rush. The bass is more prominent here as a distinct being than in a lot of similar music, and that adds immeasurably to the unique voice of the band. The back half of the record has short blasts like “Wastelands” and “Pawns,” and it also showcases the longest track and closer, “Viimeinen Rituaali” – the final ritual, indeed, and a doom-laden volcano of roaring heavy metal. I am already jotting this one down on the best of list for the year. Killer. Highly recommended.

Revulsion is out now and, coincidentally, it is Bandcamp Friday today so if you buy Revulsion products at Bandcamp, the usual selling fee to the band is waived. The elegant varieties of Transcending Obscurity physical releases are the envy of the world, and the Revulsion album is no exception. Check out all the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

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

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

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://tometal.com/

Revulsion, Revulsion (Transcending Obscurity Records 2021)

Transcending Obscurity Sampler (2021)

It is a new year so that means a new label sampler from Transcending Obscurity.

This label has released some of the best heavy around. In 2020, FFMB covered several of their albums including the amazing Jupiterian, Heads For The Dead, and Revolting releases. 2021 has just as much promise, and the music that has already been announced will freeze you in your tracks.

The sampler itself has 38 songs on it and it is absolutely massive – some songs are a full album side, like “Reverential Silence” by Arch which runs 15:30 and “Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact” by Eremit that goes for more than 18 minutes. The breakdown by genre according to the label is: Tracks 1-22 – death metal/grind/crust, Tracks 23-26 – technical/brutal death metal, Tracks 27-33 – black metal, and Tracks 34-38 – doom/sludge metal. There has to be something here you like. And it is all new music. Check out the full list at the link below.

The sampler is available now and it is FREE – name your price at Bandcamp (link below). How can you pass on this? You can’t. Highly recommended.

Link.

Bandcamp, https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/album/2021-label-sampler

Transcending Obscurity Sampler (2021)

Wombbath, Tales Of Madness (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Back for a second round this year, Wombbath honors the past and looks to the future with Tales Of Madness.

Sweden’s highly regarded Death Metal band Wombbath came together in the early 1990s. Their first LP in 1993, Internal Caustic Torments, made a solid impression and the future looked more than merely promising. Events conspired to sidetrack the band, but the return came in 2015 with furious energy, releasing Downfall Rising, a resurrection to be sure. Since then they have been on a rampage. The Great Desolation came out in 2018, and earlier this year, Choirs Of The Fallen. And now, driving the final nail in 2020’s coffin, we have Tales Of Madness, a collection of re-recorded classics alongside new songs. The lineup has evolved over time, too. Originator Håkan Stuvemark is joined by Jonny Pettersson, Thomas Von Wachenfeldt, Jon Rudin, and Matthew Davidson.

There are eight tracks on the new album. Some of the re-recorded songs go back to the band’s earliest demo, Brutal Mights (1992), including “Tales From The Dark Side,” “Brutal Mights,” and “Unholy Madness.” One of my favorites from way back when is there, too, “Lavatory Suicide Remains” from the 1994 EP Lavatory. The newly worked versions are true to the original intentions, with an upgraded, fuller sound. Several bands have made this move on their older material, with varying degrees of accomplishment. Here it is a great success.

Among the new pieces, “The Fleshly Existence Of Man” stands out for me because of its intensity and penetrating opening guitar line that curls around your inner ear and stays there. It includes a haunting violin and whispering sinister choir segment that serves to drives the hard music in deeper. Overall, it is astonishing how well the new versions of the old songs match up with the current music created by the band. The clear arc between the past and the now bodes well for the future – new music has already been announced for next year. I can’t wait to hear it. Recommended.

Tales Of Madness is available now from Transcending Obscurity through their on-line shop(s) and other outlets as well, like Bandcamp. The digital is instant gratification, and if you are into solid objects, no label has greater variety or more impressive products than Transcending Obscurity.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wombbathdeath.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-madness-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://tometal.com/

US Store, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Wombbath, Tales Of Madness (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Heads for the Dead, Into The Red (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

The hallowed hand of fate delivers a reckoning through the second album from Heads For The Dead, Into The Red.

The band is Jonny Pettersson (strings and keys), Ed Warbie (drums), and Ralf Hauber (vocals). I am guessing those names ring some bells as Heads For The Dead is a trio of heavy music all-stars. Combined as they are in this form, they are creating some of their best work to date. Lurking in the neighborhood of old school Death Metal, these compositions mind no narrow parameters. Elements of speed and doom work with the black and death principles in symbiotic fealty.

The themes have a solid foundation in horror, laying on the menace to coalesce in constant unease. Songs like the explosive “At The Dead Of Night” give way to the tension of “Horror Injection” then press on to epic constructs such as “The Séance,” which is a swaying ship finding its reckless way through the ether and spiritual chaos. Short, eager pieces live among meatier juggernauts in the harmony of a renaissance port city.

The final two songs of the set are the longest, anchoring the effort with their magnitude and scope. “Transilvanian Hunger” is a bloody affair, opening with a riotous peal – and sustaining it for six minutes with enough mass to create its own weather. “Creatures Of The Monolith” is a doom-ridden happening, with opening riffs like granite cliffs. Halfway through the tempo gets dialed up and the guitar weaves a spell that is a melodious consort to the directive vocals. An excellent finale. This album deserves a spot on anyone’s Best of 2020 list. Highly recommended.

Out now from the indefatigable Transcending Obscurity, the many forms and functions of Into The Red await your pleasure. The excellence of the new album suggests a need for the earlier one, too – Serpent’s Curse can be had.

Links.

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

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

Label, https://tometal.com/

US label shop, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Heads for the Dead, Into The Red (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Revolting, The Shadow At The World’s End review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

The next episode in the Revolting saga is another Old School Death Metal juggernaut.

Rogga Johansson is the driving force in Revolting. Joined by Tobias and Martin on the new album, they play in the Swedish Death Metal vein, old school style. That means a fast tempo, razor sharp, tight lead shreds, and the classic invader/dominator commanding coarse vocals. The band released a demo in 2008, and since then has issued an EP, a split with Morbid Ossuary, and six full length albums, the most recent being Monolith Of Madness in 2018. The Shadow At The World’s End, then, is their seventh LP, and if anything it is more creative and energetic than the ones that have come before.

There are nine songs on the new album, all at radio length and every one a ripping sonic roar. “Defleshed” is the opener, and from the first note it is like coming in on the middle of a high speed car chase. The vocals are gruff yet decipherable, and the riffs are layered. “1888” is next with a clompy rhythm up front for a short breather before the title track throws sparks and kicks it up a notch. There are a few somewhat down-tempo paced tracks, like “Daggers That Mimic Life’s Pain,” and there the power goes into the heavy so “slow” is not really a good way to describe the music. The whirring pace of songs like “To The Bitter Bleeding End” keep you on your feet all the way through, and the relative brevity of the compositions allows no attention drift. This is another excellent set from Revolting. Recommended.

The Shadow At The World’s End is available now. You can get the digital at Bandcamp. You can also order any of the amazing bundles offered by Transcending Obscurity through Bandcamp or through the labels’ US store.

Links.

Revolting Bandcamp, https://revoltingdeath.bandcamp.com/album/the-shadow-at-the-worlds-end-death-metal

Revolting Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/revoltingdeathmetal

Label website, https://tometal.com/

Label Bandcamp, https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

Label US Store, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/search/?q=revolting

Revolting, The Shadow At The World’s End review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Aphonic Threnody, The Great Hatred review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Abandon all hope and embrace the infinite with the new album from Aphonic Threnody.

The band is Juan Escobar C. and Riccardo Veronese, and they have released three full-length albums (counting the new one – and four if you count First Funeral) along with several splits since 2013. The music is full fathom five Funeral Doom. Consider the name of the band – “aphonic” means not able to make sound (or only a whisper) and “threnody” is a song for the dead. In the music of Aphonic Threnody, there is a dirge supported by steady vocalizations, sometimes gruff, sometimes quietly melodic, sometimes gently spoken. The non-vocal parts shift from dramatic to stalwart, always conveying an inevitability.

Every song has a different depth of feeling and  perspective. The guitar in “The Great Hatred” is filled with indescribable sorrow that can only be understood in the listening, and the strings just after are a retelling in soaking sadness. The coarse vocals in “Drowning” are filled with frightening menace even as the piano is reassuring (although deterministic). “Locura,” which opens the album, is sheer hopelessness while the closing song, “The Fall,” has a more calculated thread of demise with uplifting moments that are nevertheless firmly set in the incontrovertible certainty of doom.

The compositions are carefully and deeply layered to create an immersive experience. The atmosphere is a preternatural inescapability and if the music does not provide comfort for the terminal subjects in their waning moments it does offer surety that the path is unalterable and that, in the absence of acceptance, there is only suffering. This album is going to be high on my 2020 Funeral Doom list. Recommended.

The Great Hatred is out now from Transcending Obscurity and through Bandcamp. Great bundles are available from the always-reliable Transcending Obscurity. Links below.

Links.

Band Bandcamp, https://aphonicthrenodydoom.bandcamp.com/

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/aphonic.threnody.5

Band YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/c/AphonicThrenody

TO website, https://tometal.com/

TO Bandcamp, https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

TO US Store, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Aphonic Threnody, The Great Hatred review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)