Death’s Door. Death metal. Oh yeah, baby. Let’s go. 

What a fantastic month for it, too. Some absolutely premium bangers popped up in May and we’ve documented some of our favorites below. 

As is commonly known at this juncture, Heavy Blog is changing emphasis once more, and while that includes some changes to how we manufacture content it will not change Death’s Door being a blog staple. While we’re working on what exactly that cadence will look like moving forward, know that we’ll continue to provide you sterling recommendations regarding all things deathly. Stay tuned for more. 

Thanks for being legendary. Death metal forever. 

Jonathan Adams

Cream of the Crop

Cosmic Putrefaction Crepuscular Dirge for the Blessed Ones

Death metal and thematic elements of the cosmic have been skipping hand in hand through a proverbial field of corpses since essentially the dawn of the genre. The past decade has elevated this unholy matrimony to new heights with bands like Tomb Mold, Blood Incantation, and a host of others propelling shredded hearts and minds into the void beyond. 2022 has shown no signs of minimizing this trend, with the year’s best example of cosmically inclined death dealing coming from one-man juggernaut Gabriele Gramaglia’s fast ascending project Cosmic Putrefaction. With three full-length releases for the project under his belt in the span of four years, Gramaglia is no slouch in the productivity department, creating a stalwart reputation in a short amount of time in the vein of Esoctrilihum in regard to frequency and quality. Such an assertion can be made boldly, as the project’s third record continues its streak of continual improvement. It’s the best Cosmic Putrefaction yet. 

Gramaglia doesn’t get enough credit for his unnaturally elegant and simultaneously brutal songwriting chops. While the musicianship is truly stellar throughout the record, it’s the construction of these tracks that elevates Crepuscular in the context of the project’s discography. These tracks gyrate with crystalline clarity and precision between progressive, elegiac soundscapes and Incantation ala Bolt Thrower levels of chug-a-licious intensity with an ease very rarely accomplished with this level of control and tenacity. “From Resounding Silence to the Obsidian Womb” and “Amniotic Bewilderment” present masterclasses of stylistic balance that were hinted at in the project’s previous records but never realized with this level of effectiveness. The entire record is replete with these moments of oddly beautiful balance that evidence a noticeable maturity in Gramaglia’s songwriting that is a wonder to behold. 

Impactful song structures will only get one so far in a death metal record, though. The general purpose of the thing is to Hulk Smash listeners into a puddle of ectoplasmic oblivion, and Crepuscular accomplishes this with stunning regularity. These tracks flat-out S L A P, packing its 42 minute runtime with enough memorable headbangers to fill up the entire discography of lesser bands. Tracks like “Lysergic Sulfuric Waters” are as punishing as anything the project has yet produced, bludgeoning and eviscerating ear holes with manic conviction. While the album is sprinkled with progressive moments of cosmic grandeur, Garmaglia wisely bookends the more extended moments of this style, allowing the majority of the meat of the album to punch you directly in the face. It’s a strategy that works beautifully and allows the record to stay propulsive and aggressive in all the right places. 

In case it wasn’t clear, I’m in love with Cosmic Putrefaction’s latest gem. It’s the project’s best and most complete record by a mile, and sets the project on the type of trajectory that many bands covet but few achieve. I cannot wait to see what awesomeness Gramaglia conjures next. But in the meantime, I’ll be jamming this on repeat. Essential listening. 

JA

Best of the Rest

Encenathrakh Ithate Thngth Oceate

On the surface, Encenathrakh are a chaotic and enigmatic brutal death metal outfit reportedly from Columbus, Ohio, whose members are kept a mystery, other than Colin Marston’s involvement on the production side of things. In reality though, it would appear that the band is a supergroup featuring Marston as well as former Behold The Arctopus drummer Weasel Walter, Krallice guitarist and John Zorn collaborator Mick Barr, and new Artificial Brain vocalist Paulo Paguntalan. At least, that’s if Metal Archives is to be believed, and they got the whole “Tobias Forge is Ghost” thing right before it caught on with the wider music scene. 

As you could imagine from the list of personnel, Encenathrakh gets a little bit whacky. Encenathrakh appears to be a vessel through which these four musicians can exercise their wildest impulses in brutal and technical death metal through free improvisation. Fans of Wormed and Defeated Sanity are sure to remain engaged with the blending of reptilian brutality and the avant garde and technical. I’ve said this elsewhere, but this is what free jazz would sound like played by cavemen with sticks and rocks. It sounds like the instruments are being fed through a wood chipper. The vocals are unintelligible toilet sounds. It’s incredible and thrilling, and is the exact kind of thing that people with no experience with death metal probably imagine it sounds like. If you’re a fan of weirdo death metal, this is a sideshow you can’t miss. 

-Jimmy Rowe

Haunter – Discarnate Ails

The dissonant death metal scene has been quite fruitful lately. So much so that it now has its own page on Rate Your Music. One of the latest records to grace the scene is Texas-based blackened death metal act Haunter and their new record Discarnate Ails, which has so far landed at number 35 on the aforementioned list of best dissodeath records (sandwiched between two Pyrrhon records, it turns out). 

Indeed, Discarnate Ails has all the markins of a classic dissodeath record; track lengths averaging around ten minutes long, creepy dissonant riffs, and cavernous atmosphere aplenty, but a simple exercise in blastbeats and skronk chords, this is not. Haunter concocts a suitably Lovecraftian record of engaging, winding post-Deathspell Omega horrors, with the added benefit of early-era Opeth’s subtle air of grandiosity hidden within. The arrangements and production are lively and haunting (sorry), and despite the three song track length (the last of which clocks in at just under fourteen minutes), this is a substantial fucking record and another underground hit for Profound Lore this year. 

-JR

INANNA Void of Unending Depths

Hailing from Santiago, Chile, INANNA weaves cosmic progressive death metal in a similar vein as Cosmic Putrefaction, but far less abstract and with more emphasis on melody. At their core rests a modernized OSDM sound not far removed from that of Horrendous and Tomb Mold, but there’s something within the production and songwriting of their latest record Void of Unending Depths that sets it apart from the rest.

No, things don’t get as oppressively swarmy and technical as the recent dissodeath movement, nor are things so weird as to justify comparisons to Blood Incantation, even on the 13-minute finale “Cabo De Hornos.” The band does however take the time to opt for progressive instrumental sections, as on the 10-minute album centerpiece “Underdimensional” which features shimmering guitars and intricate drum and bass grooves. It’s here where the band gets closest to the likes of early Alkaloid, where references to both Dream Theater and Morbid Angel are seemingly made. 

With an equal appreciation for old school prog and death metal, INANNA crafts a blending of styles that doesn’t outright fit into any one specific microgenre or scene, but should be a delight for just about any death metal fan. Void of Unending Depths has it all. 

-JR