Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained

After finally listening to Kingdoms Disdained, its clear that guitarist Trey Azagthoth’s deterioration as a songwriter has been a key, unaddressed factor that’s affected Morbid Angel’s recent output. While he may have written some of death metal’s greatest riffs during the band’s heyday, Kingdoms Disdained is the best case study thus far in terms of demonstrating Azagthoth’s slipping capability as the driving force of Morbid Angel’s sound. It was easy to overlook Heretic given how generally forgettable it was, and the predominant critiques of Illud Divinum Insanus revolved more around the band’s decision making than anything else. But now that Morbid Angel have entered into the perfect setup for a successful comeback, it’s difficult to overlook how complacent Azagthoth’s songwriting is across the entirety of Kingdoms Disdained. There’s no denying the album is an incomparable improvement over their industrial metal excursions, but it’s also difficult to avoid comparing the album’s aggressively average delivery with the milestone records that have preceded it in the band’s discography

Necrovorous – Plains of Decay

Old school death metal is in a state of resurgence unprecedented in the subgenre. Father Befouled, Necrowretch, Dead Congregation, Undergang, Portal, and a seemingly bottomless list of other bands have released record after pounding, flesh-tearing record heralding back to Incantation’s doom-laden, suffocating death metal, or Immolation’s fire-breathing aggression. The early 90s is a period of inspiration for many a young death metal band, and especially so for Necrovorous, whose new album Plains of Decay desecrates the shrines of old to create a death metal sound that is both incredibly aggressive and filthy on an unsettling level. If you hate this sound, go find another review of a record you may enjoy. If death metal that venerates its forebears is up your alley, prepare yourself. This record is quite good.

Decibel’s Toxic Nostalgia – Exploring the Magazine’s Narrow View of Modern Death Metal

The following article is a collaboration between editors Jonathan Adams and Scott Murphy.  Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear—we and Decibel (“America’s only monthly extreme music magazine”) agree that 2017 has been an exceptional year for death metal. Jonathan has highlighted countless fantastic death metal albums this…

Obituary – Self-Titled

As Immolation proved earlier this year, one can age with power and magnitude, only increasing one’s stature as the past becomes a launch pad to an even more nuanced and aggressive future. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer also tested this theorem in 2016, to mixed results. Age does not always sit well with metal bands, but many try to use their longevity to their advantage, releasing albums 25+ years into their career. This month, Obituary, equally loved and reviled death metal legends, join the ranks of veteran bands trying their hand at perfection through age.

Gruesome – Dimensions of Horror

For a band with such an explicit mission statement, Gruesome’s music is a complex and frustrating beast to analyze. The quartet broke out last year with a debut album (Savage Land) and lineup that embodied the concept of an “on paper” scenario; one of those perfect storms of marketing that whets the palates of…