Oregon trio Vitriol make some of the most violent music on the planet. Kyle Rasmussen and co. are in the business of dealing absolutely ferocious death metal without any compromises, and their upcoming debut record To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice delivers on the promise of their earliest material in spades. It also happens to be one of the best records of the year. Which is no surprise, given Kyle’s influences as a musician and songwriter. There’s some damn good music on this list. There’s also some hyperviolent music on this list. Which is exactly as it should be.
Check out the band’s playthrough of their fantastic new track “The Parting of a Neck” from their debut record, then give Kyle’s words your undivided attention.
Hate Eternal – Conquering the Throne
There is no denying that there isn’t a more influential album on Vitriol’s sound. Conquering the Throne, to me, represents the apex of forward-thinking extreme metal in the late 90s. This album demonstrates musical ambition steered by the guiding principal of death metal being a medium for providing a violently oppressive experience. This is death metal at the peak intersection of philosophical integrity and progressive mentality. More so than the sonic offerings of their early work, how and why the first few Hate Eternal records are what they are serve as an even stronger creative foundation for how I approach Vitriol’s music. You can hear all of the devotion to the fire in every second of that album. It’s death metal at its most pure. It is music made with the express purpose of crushing people. or to speak to the experience.
Krisiun – Black Force Domain
There are a lot of good things about being a death metal musician post 1995. The foundational groundwork had been laid for, what is to me, the truest approach to an art that should not only assail the body, but the mind and spirit. I’m not sure if that’s what these three Brazilian boys were going for when they conjured forth Black Force Domain, but this album leaves you limping on every existential plane. Likely far too technical for freshly blackened disciples of the “Fallen Angel of Doom…” who crashed to the Earth five years prior, too murky for fans of the more commercial death metal of the time, and if two middle fingers weren’t enough they threw in arpeggios. This album instructed the standards of the genre to properly fuck themselves. This is also one of the strongest examples of technicality used to overwhelm, not to impress. I like to believe that this has less to do with their strict musical ambition and more to do with some performative sibling rivalry between guitarist Max Kolesne and drummer Moyses Kolesne. You can hear them pushing and tearing away from each other in terms of speed and aggression throughout this entire record. It sounds like two brothers boxing in the backyard while mom was out grocery shopping. An element that further secures this album into my personal hall of fame.
Marduk – Panzer Divison Marduk
I often fondly refer to Marduk as being the honorary “death metal” black metal band, in that they implement a specific kind of physical terror, eschewing black metal’s more typical focus on that which lies beyond. If one was to be tasked with drawing an existential line of delineation between death metal and black metal it would very likely lie between that of the physical and the metaphysical. Panzer Divison Marduk was the first black metal album I had encountered as a boy that so clearly aimed to break my body over my spirit. As an already diehard devotee to the metal of death I responded very well to that. Their commitment to militant aggression over self-indulgent dynamic and musicality — or a dedicated emphasis on atmosphere — spoke to me very deeply. I’ve always craved extreme music that refused to pull punches, and that album threw every hand it fucking had; both conceptually and sonically. The lack of variety present on Panzer Divison is both what makes this album important to many subgenres focused on impact over finesse and what makes it a target of critical derision, to which I’d say, WE’LL SLOW DOWN WHEN WE’RE FUCKING DEAD.