Death’s Door 2017 // Death Metal’s Year in Review

Welcome to the final installment of Death’s Door in the Year of Our Nefarious Overlord 2017! Wipe your feet on the mat, remove that stupid holiday-induced smile from your face, and prepare yourself for ultimate year-end audio brutalization. Because, quite frankly, 2017 was one of the best years for death metal in decades. A bold statement indeed, and thankfully one with plenty of data in the form of amazing records to back it up. The overwhelming number of releases in this dirtiest of metal subgenres, coupled with the breadth of quality releases in each of the branches of the death metal tree, all accumulate to create one of the most impressive lists of death metal albums in a given year since the early 1990s. 2017 presented us with exceptional records at such an alarming clip that it was often a full-time task to keep track of them. Death metal this year was in equal measure mind-numbingly technical, socially forward-thinking, compositionally adventurous, and reverent of the past, generating albums that displayed with full clarity all that makes this music the metal behemoth that it is. What a time to be alive. In our final segment of Death’s Door for the year, we will be highlighting the trends and movements within death metal that we found to be the most significant, as well as our own personal top 15 death metal records on the year. Prepare yourself. Madness awaits.

Desolate Shrine – Deliverance from the Godless Void

There is often a mystique surrounding bands that take several years in between projects. Whether they deserve it or not, bands and artists who most often fall into this camp (the Tools and Sufjan Stevenses of the world) tend to be surrounded by hype simply for the fact that they have not released new material in a significant period of time. This isn’t to say that the material released cannot be quality, because it most certainly can be, but rather that there seems to be a strange thread in musical fandom that connects time elapsed between records to expected quality/increased hype. Finnish death metal maestros Desolate Shrine represent the exact opposite of this phenomenon. Having released four albums in just over six years, the band’s fans barely have enough time to absorb their last album before the release of their next project. This pace of material creation also comes with its own potential downsides, but none of them seem to apply to Desolate Shrine, who have topped their previous efforts with each new record, culminating in the crown jewel of their discography, this year’s Deliverance from the Godless Void. In the war of quality over quantity, Desolate Shrine seems to ask: why not both? What a novel proposition.

Enfold Darkness – The Adversary Omnipotent

In 2009, shredtastic metal was the name of the game in metal. Between the huge boom in technical death metal, the rising progressive deathcore bands, and the old prog guard releasing some of their best material, it was a great time for guitar wankery. Buried under the popularity of huge albums like Cosmogenesis, Oracles, and The Great Misdirect, was a little blackened tech death album by a band from Nashville: Our Cursed Rapture by Enfold Darkness. Finding a unique niche in their black metal influenced music, Enfold Darkness turned some serious heads with their debut. Unfortunately, their momentum was lost and they ended up not following up their minor underground success until this year with The Adversary Omnipotent.

Release Day Roundup – 7/14/17

Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the day’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!

EXCLUSIVE: Stream Persecutory’s Towards the Ultimate Extinction

Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, death dealers Persecutory don’t make music for the weak. Their debut album, Towards the Ultimate Extinction, is the audio equivalent of having your skin peeled from your bones over forty-two grueling and relentlessly crushing minutes. Sound like your cup of tea? You’re in luck, as we are proud to bring to your emaciated earholes an exclusive premier of this black hole of a record.

Goatwhore – Vengeful Ascension

Goatwhore might be the most metal band name in existence. I have a hard time imagining anyone hearing that name spoken in conversation and reacting in any other fashion outside of “oh, that must be a metal band. I’m leaving this conversation. What a bunch of nerds.” Sucks to be them, because they’re obviously missing out on some premium content. Straddling the worlds of death, black, and occult-oriented metal, Goatwhore are as difficult to categorize in this subgenre obsessed musical circle as they are to stop listening to. With musical output that is in equal measure intimidating, playful, heavy, and (dare I say it) fun, Goatwhore have carved for themselves a unique and immensely enjoyable niche in the world of metal. Vengeful Ascension does little to dispel this notion, as the band have here released another excellent album to add to an already solid discography.

The Devil’s Roots: Theistic Satanism In Metal

The trait which unites most branches of Satanism is rejection of a Judeo-Christian deity and the embracing of one’s individualism and strength. Satanism, for the most part, is just a sexier way of being an atheist and any notion of a Devil is merely symbolic. However, theistic Satanic belief is traditional, the type that believes the Dark Lord is a real entity whom many objectively worship and revere, and while this Satan is accepted as an extension of Christian belief, the teaching’s of the big man upstairs are rejected in favor of the Fallen One. That said, theistic Satanism is also complex; while the Devil is revered as a deity, what He actually represents differs from thought pattern to thought pattern, with some such as Mayhem’s Euronymous believing in a horned one whose followers should be enslaved to, while others don’t even necessarily believe that the Devil’s roots are Judeo-Christian at all. So, just because they all believe in and worship a Satan, that doesn’t mean that all theistic folks embrace the same variation of Him. However, for the case of simplicity, all theistic Satanism rejections atheism as they believe in a deity of some kind.