Outliers // 2017

Welp. You’ve seen it. You’ve debated it. You’ve cried over it. But what’s done is done: Our list of the best albums of the year is behind us, and there is much rejoicing. But what about the albums we loved that didn’t make the cut? For those of you who…

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.

Death’s Door // October 2017

Welcome to Death’s Door, nerds. We’re freshly past Our Lord and Infernal Master’s designated holiday, and I’m so hopped up on candy and the blood of the non-believers that I can’t even function. Despite my shot adrenal glands and ever-expanding waistline, there’s a whole lot of premium death metal to cover, as has been the custom in this most nefarious year of 2017. Praise be. October is typically a fantastic month for premier releases, especially in the world of metal. In that regard, this October did not disappoint. Melodic death metal in particular saw a glut of fantastic releases, while death-doom and progressive death metal both unleashed releases that are poised to transform the way we think about death metal as a whole. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 2017 is one of the finest years for death metal of nearly every shape and type in recent memory. This is legitimately the second golden age of death metal, and I hope and pray it continues in perpetuity. Regardless, let’s celebrate the health of the music we love while it continues to fester and rot in new and unexpected ways. Our picks this month pull from many different sectors of the death metal world. Post your picks in the comments and let us know what you loved/what we missed. Let’s do this.

Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

Sometimes I listen to albums and mini-movies play in my head. Narratives that to me encapsulate the sound, the feeling, of the music I am listening to. Spectral Voice has been doing this to me for years, with demo after demo of evocative, strangling death-doom that conjures images and stories that transcend the boundaries of my typically limited imagination. Their debut full-length album, Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, is no exception. In fact, it is the apex of everything the band have thus far released. It is cavernous, ethereal, terrifying, expertly performed, compositionally sound, and an utter masterpiece of death-doom glory. This is music that soundtracks nightmares of spiteful aliens, burning space stations, decaying planets, and the coming of the end of all things. It is music constructed for the dark. Prepare yourself accordingly.

Incantation – Profane Nexus

Metal has an abiding relationship with physical and geographical spaces. From the rolling cascades of the Pacific Northwest to the dense, foreboding forests of Norther Europe, metal has long championed music that not only exists in a specific physical place but is often consumed by it. Think the ice cold tremolo knives of Norwegian black metal, or perhaps the gentler wanderings of folk metal from across the globe, or the oppressively heavy and moderately paced trudging of Bayou sludge. To these ears, these are sounds that are intended to transport and project us into a physical space that often adds further distinction to the thematic and lyrical themes of the music. The same could be said of the music of Incantation, but opposed to feeling like the American East Coast from whence the band originates, the death metal legends have composed music for decades that feels as if it is slowly emerging from a deep, hellish cave. It is reverberating, dripping filth bathed in oppressive guitar work, echoing and cavernous vocals, and a seething, roaring rhythm section that feels like an earthquake. It is a sound shrouded in slow, creeping, all-consuming darkness that feels viscerally physical, and Incantation have molded and transformed this beastly noise into something close to perfection.

Death’s Door – July 2017

Welcome to our latest edition of Death’s Door. Wipe your feet on the mat, etc. There’s a lot to discuss this month, though frankly, I had my doubts at certain points about whether or not there would be. You see, July tends to be a musical doldrums for yours truly, with lots of leftover releases that didn’t make it into the prime Spring and early Summer release calendar clogging streaming services with mundane/barely serviceable drivel. Obviously, this makes for some not-so-great listening experiences. Thankfully, July pulled through regardless, delivering unto us another fantastic batch of death metal releases that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of 2017. So much so, in fact, that we are foregoing our new tracks section to focus exclusively on the great records released this month. So prepare yourself for some good stuff and thank your lucky stars, because hell hath no fury like a month without good death metal.

Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed

Inverloch is a name that should conjure up an intense anticipation at this point: the band involves two of the members of diSEMBOWELMENT, the band that is, essentially, the progenitor of the death-doom style. The single diSEMBOWELMENT album, Transcendence Into The Peripheral, is not only the first death-doom album, but…

Atten Ash – The Hourglass

When people try to classify ‘doom metal’, it used to be easy. Things like early Anathema and Disembowelment pioneered the doom movement, which was slow, loud, and grim. However, as time went on, the genre seemed to gain more diverse influences. Katatonia added melody and cleans to the genre, and…

Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker

Dragged Into Sunlight Widowmaker 01.  Part I 02. Part II 03. Part III [11/06/12] [Prosthetic Records]   Sparse, haunting chords are what greets you during the opening of Widowmaker. It’s a million miles away from the dirty and crusty doom that acted as your entry into Dragged into Sunlight’s debut Hatred For…