Death's Door // January 2024

Yo. Death’s Door. New year, same us. Let’s go. I’ll cut to the chase: January slapped. It’s been a minute since the first month of a

2 months ago

Yo. Death’s Door. New year, same us. Let’s go.

I’ll cut to the chase: January slapped. It’s been a minute since the first month of a given year featured this many quality bangers, and that number has only gone up with our February listening thus far. It’s a good time to be a death metal heathen. 

So feast your ears on a small sampling of some of the best death metal from last month. Lots of goodness now, and even more to come. Praise be.

Death metal forever.


Cream of the Crop

Vitriol - Suffer & Become

There are many ways to wield a sword and Vitriol seem intent on speedrunning each and every one. Every since Pain Will Define Their Death took the online metal community by storm, I have been waiting for their thrust to pierce as deep and, each time, haven’t been quite as satisfied. Which is not to say the previous few albums were bad; they just didn’t even have that “it” factor that their debut had. Apparently, what Vitriol needed in order to recapture their own original momentum was to double down on the technical death metal elements of their sound while insisting on keeping their brutal death metal core alive and willing. This results in Suffer & Become being an absolute beast of a dual onslaught, combining the two different styles of aggression into one blistering assault.

Tune in to “Weaponized Loss” for one of the best examples for what I mean. The verses have the monumental groove and direct attack that brutal death metal is so good for, every instrument clawing over the others in their race to be the fastest and the loudest (the drums probably win). All of this is layered over with thick, guttural vocals that tie everything together in a malaise of violence and derision. But the destruction doesn’t stop there; bridges with extensive sweeps, many-noted transitions, and massively complexes choruses dominate the rest of the track, adding in the fury of calculated and technical excess into the mix. These elements serve to further highlight the more direct passages’ brutality while shining their own twisted, clinical light on the album’s themes and motifs.

“Excess” is probably the best word to describe this entire release and, as such, it might not be for everyone. Everything, and I do mean everything, is dialed up to eleven on this release. There is absolutely no quarter, no subtlety, and nothing left on the cutting room floor. This is Vitriol at their most flagrant, self-assured, and flamboyant, driving a stake of death metal into the heart of the listener. If that’s not what you’re looking for, there are other, more subtle and intricate releases on the list this month. But if that sounds like exactly what you need as we wrap winter and its frustrations, open your arms wide - the burning chariot that is Vitriol’s excessive, flagrant, and crushing death metal is careening right into you.

-Eden Kupermintz

Best of the Rest

Dissimulator - Lower Form Resistance

If you told me that members of Chthe’ilist, Atramentus, and Beyond Creation had formed a band, technical death thrash ala Voivod would probably not be the top sound I’d assume they’d choose. But here stands Dissimulator, which is exactly that. The collective’s debut LP, Lower Form Resistance came out of nowhere but has left an indelible impression after several spins. Old school, technically masterful, and superbly written and performed, Dissimulator have hit struck gold on their first swing. 

The Voivod name drop is truly about as close a comparison as I can draw when it comes to describing Dissimulator’s sound. This is peak death thrash, replete with riffs upon riffs that are stacked within a general package of insane guitar pyrotechnics that feels almost unrelenting. It’s enough to make even the stingiest old head tap a toe or two. The kit work is also spectacular, weaving around these ever-flowing riffs with an effervescent energy that’s impossible to resist. “Neural Hack” and  “Outer Phase” are especially impressive tracks that showcase the band’s prodigious talent as well as their knack for technically astute songwriting that never feels too over the top. Which is how the entire album could be described. There’s almost a sneaky level of technical wizardry on display here, as the production and performances are so easily digestible that one may simply forget how much meat is on these musical bones. It’s a true feast for the ears on repeat listens. 

If you’ve been enjoying the resurgence of death thrash from the likes of Cryptic Shift and Necropanther, Dissimulator’s Lower Form Resistance should be right up your alley. It’s a truly enjoyable and exceptionally written and performed record that unveils its charms more and more with each listen, culminating in an experience that reveals new facets over time. I’ve been revisiting this record with frequency over the past few weeks and am nowhere close to tired of it. A strong, easy recommendation here. 


Drowned - Procul His

Sometimes, I don’t want technical wizardry all over my face. Or to be beaten to death by breakdown upon vicious breakdown. Sometimes I just want fucking good death metal, pumped directly into my veins. No frills. Not extraneous commentary on themes or aesthetic. Just good riffs pounding my ear holes ad nauseam. In my search for that good old fashioned death metal deliciousness, legendary German death metal crew Drowned have certainly presented the cure for what ails me with their excellent second full-length effort Procul His. Looking for outlandish dissonant skronkery? Look elsewhere. Drowned aren’t here to be weird. They’re here to rock hard and well. Which is exactly and only what they do on this record, front to back. 

Pulling in some cavernous old school death metal production that doesn’t feel too distant from 90s peers like Incantation or Deicide, Drowned hit the exact vibe one might expect from a legacy act in the death metal space. But it’s the sheer command of their sound and their obvious confidence in executing their old school vision that makes Procul His such an arresting listen. “Phantom Stairs” is a true barn burner of a track that encapsulates the subtle tonal and tempo shifts that make this album special, while tracks like “Man in Devil in Man” and epic closer “Chryseos Ras” display the band’s ability to vary their sound enough across a record to stay constantly interesting. It’s a brilliant combination of classic death metal sounds that is as listenable as this type of death metal gets. 

Drowned aren’t going to wow you with insane solos or dizzying drum insanity. They play classic death metal with a truly commendable level of confidence and skill, letting their songwriting competence do the talking. The result is a record that’s very easy to get lost in and bang your head to. Which sometimes is just about all I want in a death metal record. A fantastic release. 


Saevus Finis - Facilis Descensus Averno 

Saevus Finis is a many-headed beast. Like the Hydra itself, the band seeks to crush all who dare enter Facility Descensus Averno with an overwhelming arsenal of jarring dissonance, suffocating doom, searing black metal, and bludgeoning death metal. Survival is a hard-won feat for the determined and the brave. 

As the name suggests, listening to Facilis Descensus Averno is a descent, a journey through darkened doors with danger lurking around every corner. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here: Saevus Finis have mastered a crushing strain of dissodeath doom that crushes the spirit and traps the listener in a cavernous soundscape. Its black heart is death metal, with fetid, guttural growls oozing over chugging beats that feel like a death march. Dissonant guitars create a haunted aura of confusion that’s incredibly evocative, drawing the listener into the descent in a visceral way. Black metal shrieks only heighten the sensation of spiraling into a nightmare, juxtaposing jagged edges against meaty-yet-caustic guitars. The end result is an overwhelmingly immersive and compelling album that demands the listener’s full attention…or else. 

-Bridget Hughes

Jonathan Adams

Published 2 months ago