Cutterred Flesh, Sharing Is Caring (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The new Cutterred Flesh album has a deceptively calm title to go along with the brutally revealing cover art.

From Czechia, Cuttered Flesh is a death metal band that wears dastardly themes on its sleeve. Over twenty years and four previous albums they have made their intentions known so there is no mistake about what is in store for you when you drop the needle on one of their records. The band is Jiri Krs (vocals), Vitali Novak (guitar), David Krombholz (guitar), Zdenek Hnizdil (bass), Frantisek Drazdansky (drums).

“Vibrio Vulnificus” begins loud and fast with a punitive hammering. Shouting, growling vocals overpower any resistance, and the occasional momentary respite in the driving percussion offers no actual rest. This is plowing, punishing death metal. The tempo is in the upper-mid range and the sentiment is savage. The very next song is “Black Aura,” which begins with a lullaby melody concatenated with blast beats and dark dramatic guitars. The vocals are vile and displeased. We’re off and running toward the tortures of the damned.

There is no place to hide in any song from this set. Battering percussion is always in there whether the track begins slow or fast. The veils and distractions are sleights of hand that serve more to enhance the brutality of the music than offer a look away. A good example is “Knife Is Not The Enemy.” The pace at the open does not seem sustainable – it leaves you breathless. The doors you go through while experiencing the music that follows open up to spyglasses and mirrors and so you see different things but you never truly escape the dungeon you started in. Fans of brutal death metal will welcome this new addition to the canon. Recommended.

Sharing Is Caring is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records. Check out the label’s US store below or hit up the always-reliable Bandcamp for the goods.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://cutterredfleshband.bandcamp.com/album/sharing-is-caring-brutal-death-metal

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

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

Cutterred Flesh, Sharing Is Caring (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Vahrzaw, The Trembling Voices Of Conquered Men (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Australian death metal band Vahrzaw continues its impressive run of drastic music with The Trembling Voices Of Conquered Men.

Formed under a different (and evolving) name in the early 1990s, Vahrzaw released the first full-length album, Defiant, in 2009. That is a long journey and a fascinating tale, I am willing to bet. Once the flag had been unfurled, new LPs rolled out on the regular with Twin Suns and Wolves’ Tongues in 2018, followed by Husk four years later. The music is fundamentally death metal with black metal cross-over features and seeds of thrash and prog. The new album is vibrant and tenacious and not to be ignored.

There are five primary tracks on The Trembling Voices Of Conquered Men, plus an acoustic intro and outro. You can hear “Death Of An Unknown Architect” approaching in the distance, pushing nearer with a relentless surety as the volume ramps up. Inescapable. The guitars strike a sour note above the battering percussion then rip into merciless speed and crunch. This is a prog death tune from the land beyond. “Waiting With The Wolves” swings in on a groove that quickly twirls into something more hideous, signaled early with a black metal hiss in the collateral vocal. The changes are too numerous to delineate and they are almost entirely unexpected. It is a stitching of disparate parts, somehow becoming fluid in the collective.

“As Ships Upon Shores” is a plaintive, doom-laden call. It is a beautifully dark song that rises steadily in tempo then drifts off to quietude in the distance at the end. “Vultures” could be a single with its catchy opening riff if only the composers had married the desire to be approachable to the masses. Soon enough the music is off on an absolute black metal rampage. “The Pessimist” is a nine-minute journey into a twilit realm of despair and incontrovertible angst. All the pieces are revisited and renewed, engorged on the endless creativity of the musicians. This is an album clearly marked for greatest in the annals of heavy music. Highly recommended.

The Trembling Voices Of Conquered Men is out now. In the US, orders are easy at Bandcamp, or buy directly from Transcending Obscurity Records at their on-line store.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://vahrzawband.bandcamp.com/album/the-trembling-voices-of-conquered-men-death-black-metal

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

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

Vahrzaw, The Trembling Voices Of Conquered Men (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Imperialist, Zenith (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Sci-Fi Black Metal band Imperialist have crafted an amazing new album, Zenith.

From Monrovia, California, the band is Sergio Soto (guitar, vocals), Bryant Quinones (guitar), Joshua Alvarez (bass), and Rodney Quinones (drums). In 2015 they released an EP, Quantum Annexation, and followed that up with the well-received long-player Cipher (2018). The new album is a big next step, embracing science fiction narratives and infusing them with diabolical Black Metal. The amazing dark chemistry of the creation cannot be denied.

The album begins with extremely creepy tones and murky, ominous music on the intro piece. Talk about setting the stage. The trepidation builds leading into “The Maw,” a savage, hammering track. The howling continues with “Parallax Descends,” a confoundingly catchy track. And that is something about this music that sets it apart – it is hard driving, technical Black Metal that somehow also has enough groove in it to transport you on the surface as well as trigger your deeper menacing central dread with the harsher metal. That is so difficult to do that you almost never hear it, but here it is on Zenith.

The back half of the album delivers just as strongly as the front. “Majesty of the Void” first reminds you of the sinister mystical nature of the creature you face then tramples you with beating rhythm and weight-of-the-universe guitars. The story continues in the galactic perspective and so has an infinite space to mine ideas. “Terminal Odyssey” soars in its sounds and sights and revelations, and the final track, “Beyond the Celestial Veil,” spares no emotion or action. By the time the cooldown comes you know you have been through it – you also know you are ready to go again. Highly recommended.

Zenith will be directly overhead on Friday, November 26th through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

Website, https://www.imperialistofficial.com/

Bandcamp, https://imperialistus.bandcamp.com/album/zenith-sci-fi-black-metal

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

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

Imperialist, Zenith (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Abscession, Rot Of Ages (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Swedish death metal band Abscession takes another merciless swing with Rot Of Ages.

The demo Death Incarnate was the band’s first issue in 2010. Grave Offerings came five years later, their first full-length album. Right on schedule, Rot Of Ages is ready for fan consumption a little over one lustrum later. There is not a lot to go on when thinking about what to expect on the new record, but as it turns out the music is a rewarding avalanche of heavy metal surety. The band is comprised of Thomas Clifford (vocals), Skaldir (guitar, bass, keys), and Markus Porsklev (drums).

“Rat King Crawl” explodes at the jump in a race to the end of all things. It slams and pounds all the way through, not changing pace as much as it changes expression in the fourth quarter. It’s a killer. “Theater Of Pain” is more frantic and that’s fine because your blood is flowing fast from the opener. “Dead Man’s Hate” is a heavy metal breather with slightly less pace but just as much weight. The structure of the song allows for twists and turns, rushes and halts.

“Rains Of Death” is a blasting frenzy, capping the fairly short songs on Side 1, leading to the longer title track. “Rot Of Ages” rakes you over the coals for two straight minutes then abruptly drops into a beautiful solo piano aside, joined by clean vocals – for about a minute. Then the rampage returns, softened at the end by a piano callback.

The flip side has more delights in store, and the energy does not diminish at all. My favorite tracks on the back half are “When The Guillotine Falls” and “Prometheus Unbound,” both because of the way they deliver on expectations while jangling a couple of surprises in the mix. The music here is solid death metal at high speed, clinically structural rhythm, and a whole lot more. Recommended.

Rot Of Ages is out on Friday November 19th through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://abscessiondeath.bandcamp.com/album/rot-of-ages-death-metal

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

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

Abscession, Rot Of Ages (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Heads For The Dead, Slash ‘N’ Roll (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Heads For The Dead veer off their usual path into straight-up horror with their new EP Slash ‘N’ Roll.

Heads For The Dead is a band with an international cast, hailing from Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. The musicians are veterans of the heavy music scene who have come together for this project and have released two previous records, Serpent’s Curse (2018) and Into The Red (2020). The music they create has always had a strong horror and cinematic angle so this new EP might be seen as inevitable. The players are Jonny Pettersson (guitars, bass, and keys), Ralf Hauber (vocals), and Ed Warby (drums).

Slash ‘N’ Roll has three original songs and two covers, all horror-themed. “Maniac” is a playful punk tune cast for a broad audience. “Halloween” begins with John Carpenter’s classic theme from the movie and takes off from there. There is more death metal content in this song than the first but there is still plenty of punk in the corners here, too, along with the recurrence of the cinematic theme. “The Thing” continues the movie title motif and is suitably otherworldly, not to mention ethereal. It also includes a short dialogue capture from the film.

The covers are “Skulls,” originally by the Misfits, and the Ramones’ horror movie theme song “Pet Sematary.” The main beats are there and the songs are recognizable, but there is a profound Heads For The Dead stamp on these renditions. While it might be tempting to think of this set as a disposable one-off, I believe instead that it will become a much sought-after collector’s item in the physical forms. These tunes are a lot of fun for metalheads and they are hitting the street at the exact right time of year. Recommended.

Slash ‘N’ Roll dropped early, on Halloween, so it is out now. Links are below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/album/slash-n-roll-horror-death-metal

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

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

Heads For The Dead, Slash ‘N’ Roll (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Noltem, Illusions In The Wake (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Connecticut metal mystics Noltem release their first full-length album, Illusions In The Wake.

Noltem began in the early 2000s, releasing their first demo in 2005. It was ten years later that their inaugural EP emerged, Mannaz. And now in 2021, the first long-player. They clearly take their time with musical constructions and that care pays off because Illusions In The Wake is exceptional. The band is Max Johnson, John Kerr, and Shalin Shah. Guest soloists for the album include Zach Miller (Pyrithe), Jordan Guerette (Falls of Rauros), and Aaron Carey (Nechochwen).

The primary description of Noltem’s music is Atmospheric Black Metal, and that is not wrong but, as with any shorthand label, it misses the nuance. The compositional clarity and depth of these songs is hard to overstate. There are big, theatrical moments and gorgeous, quiet, acoustic passages. The range of expression is truly impressive.

Illusions In The Wake has five long tracks and one short transition piece. The first song is “Figment,” and in it you can see the future. Big metal riffs, coarse vocals, and complex constructions highlighted by elegant, simply moments. This track places you in Noltem’s world so you can be prepared for the rest of the music.

“Illusions in the Wake” displays a scope almost too large to take in, and then “Beneath the Dreaming Blue” shuffles in very understated, in a casual way that entirely changes the mood. When it drops the boom directly on your head the impact make you see stars. The space for personal imagination is enormous.

“Submerged” is a light, short bridge leading to the grand “Ruse” and the sweeping “On Shores of Glass.” That final song truly serves to inculcate the magnificence of the musical accomplishment of this album. This is a metal album, a metal album painted on a limitless canvas in the finest detail and with the deepest palette. Recommended.

Illusions In The Wake makes its full digital appearance on October 10th with physicals shipping a few days later through Transcending Obscurity.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://noltemband.bandcamp.com/album/illusions-in-the-wake-atmospheric-black-metal

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

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

Noltem, Illusions In The Wake (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Norse, Ascetic (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Australian dissonant Black Metallers Norse release their fourth full-length album, Ascetic.

Norse is a duo that has been haunting the landscape since 2006. Their focus has always been on Black Metal, but the execution of the musical endeavor has changed over the years. The new album works a penetrating brand of dissonance that enhances the chaos of the songs’ narrative themes.

There are eight tracks on the album, most of them tipping over the five minute mark. The title track has what I would call strong doom influences to go along with the more central dissonant black metal orientation and it opens the set with howl. “Parasite Warmongers” is very clanging, noisy, and operates a clearly defined dissonance. I know I am over-using the word, but an intentional grating quality is so much a part of this album that it is difficult to avoid.

Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty of variation. “Fearless Filth Seeker” has a shrill distortion to it gliding along with the melodic vocals. “Radical Depression” sounds like a march played in a cocktail lounge at the beginning, quiet and sultry; insinuating. After a couple of minutes a wall of sound kicks in and pushes you over until toward the end when the snare returns. There are many corners and crannies to explore.

“Useless” is the final mail in the coffin, and it seems to be offering a way through. But to where? The afterlife? Maybe. I hear it as a parable of the ultimate pointlessness of a life of struggle when the end is predetermined: death. That might be too on the nose. Whatever the intent, it is one the most engaging tracks of the set and it is properly fitted at the end. It is also one of the main reasons I am recommending the album.

Ascetic is out through Transcending Obscurity on Friday, October 8th, gatherable at Bandcamp or the label’s US store.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://norsebm.bandcamp.com/album/ascetic-dissonant-black-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/norse.official

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

Norse, Ascetic (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

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)