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Death's Door // May 2024

Death metal cannot be stopped. It is the will of the void. Darkness reigns. Riffs abound. All is blast beats.  Praise the sun. It’s Death’s Door.  Below you

Death metal cannot be stopped. It is the will of the void. Darkness reigns. Riffs abound. All is blast beats. 

Praise the sun. It’s Death’s Door. 

Below you will find that the genre continues its dominance of 2024 unabated. It’s truly a remarkable time to be a death metal fan, and the month of April was no exception. If time weren’t a factor, there are five or six more records we could have added to this column. But these are our absolute favorites. 

Partake and enjoy. Death metal forever. 

-Jonathan Adams

Cream of the Crop

Protosequence - Bestiary

I love being right and on Protosequence’s Bestiary I was right twice. First, I was right four years ago when I was extremely excited for their previous release. I was right when I knew their music was good but there was something more hiding beneath the surface and just waiting for the band’s ambition to grow and finally give it birth. Second, I was right when I said that this album would be a grower. To be fair, that isn’t some deep observation, considering just how much is going with Bestiary brand of heavy and punishing progressive death metal. Regardless, the months I have now spent with it have only increased my obsession with it as I parse more and more of what Protosequence have accomplished on this release.

I think, at the core of it, Bestiary is so appealing because it manages to be extremely heavy even as it is extremely elaborate, channeling those good progressive death metal vibes from the likes of Gorguts. But here, another layer of attack has been added in the form of the deathcore-inflected vocals, swooning all the way from high-pitched screeches to full-throated growls and even flirting with the occasional gurgle and squeal. They add so much impact to the already incredibly present instrumentals, even as these unfurl in coruscating patterns of sweeps, riffs, blast-beats, bass slaps, and all around technical complexity. It makes the album unpredictable but also immediately accessible, as Protosequence make sure to not drop aggression and weight for an instant.

It also means that you can listen to Protosequence from many different mental positions. You can listen closely for the intricate structures, tuning your ears into parsing all of the musical ideas, callbacks, and constructions that the album utilizes. You can also take a step back and listen to it “just” for its effect, letting the undulating waves of death metal fury roll over you. Or, should you be so lucky, Protosequence can catch you somewhere in between, receptive and appreciative of its complexity but also open and aware of its crushing heaviness. When that happens the true beauty of Bestiary reveals itself as a balanced and fleshed out release, taking Protosequence’s formula to the next level. Happy listening. Death metal rules.

-Eden Kupermintz

Best of the Rest

Antichrist Siege Machine - Vengeance of Eternal Fire

In Shakespeare, brevity is indeed the soul of wit. In metal, increasingly as I get older, less has become more. Much, much more. There’s something quite appealing about a band that knows exactly what it wants to do and does it in the least amount of time possible. No fat. No segues. No frills.  All lean muscle and ill intent.. Antichrist Siege Machine have been the epitome of this style since the release of their first record Morbid Triumph back in 2017. A 17-minute barrage of premium war metal, ASM have developed and progressed their sound under a strict template of concision. Their next two albums, both excellent, clocked in under a half-hour. Vengeance of Eternal Fire continues this trend, and is another stellar entry in the band’s already exceptional catalog. If you want the short and sweet, I can sum it up thusly: This shit is mean as fuck. 

It’s hard to think of another band that is as vicious, noisy, and calamitous with only two members. These dudes absolutely rip, and Vengeance is just another example of how less is so often more. There’s an absolutely brutal economy to ASM’s fourth record that allows each track to feel like nothing other than a full freight train running you over at breakneck speed. There’s one gear on this thing, and that gear is HARD AND FAST ALWAYS. It’s so intense in spurts that it’s almost laughable. This is peak aggression and I’m all the way here for it. Breaking down individual tracks almost feels irrelevant for this record. It’s straight pummeling front to back, and if that sounds appealing this record is definitely for you. 

ASM continue their charge as one of the most vicious bands in the death and war metal spaces, with Vengeance of Eternal Fire showcasing the band’s immense talents at creating absolute chaos with pitch perfect precision. It isn’t too long. It isn’t too short. It’s just right. Prepare to have your head ripped off. 

-JA

Inter Arma - New Heaven

While primarily a sludge metal band at heart, Richmond, VA’s Inter Arma have a propensity towards genre experimentations, and have always had an air of death doom creeping in and out of their discography. On New Heaven, their first proper full-length in five terribly long years, the band reach further into their death metal influences (and beyond) for a versatile yet aesthetically consistent record that marks a high water mark in their discography. 

Fans of “Capital D” Death Metal will be overjoyed within seconds of New Heaven, with the band performing a Gorguts-ian cold open, with creeping dissonant guitars and technical runs that carry on through for over seven minutes of murky dissodeath. Of course, the record goes on from there to cover the gamut from atmospheric sludge metal, black metal, goth metal, and a hint of folk. If you squint hard enough, New Heaven is an experimental death doom record that would sit well on a playlist between bands like Dream Unending and Worm, and hey, that’s good enough for its placement here in the list of death metal highlights from April. Inter Arma is for all moods and occasions. 

-Jimmy Rowe

Replicant - Infinite Mortality 

Hands up who wants some big, fat, filthy, dissonant riffs? Yeah, you know you do, and Replicant knows you want them too. This is exactly why they’ve packed their third full length, Infinite Mortality, with grimy treasures that will have you pulling your best stank face from the outset. 

The quartet from New Jersey deliver some seriously groove-laden technical death metal, at times conjuring up Organic Hallucinosis era Decapitated, or when Gojira worshipped at the altar of Morbid Angel (check out “Wisdom Comes” from The Link if you don’t remember). Their more complex moments are reminiscent of Vitriol or Transcending Obscurity label mates Anachronism, with intricate time changes, furious blast beats and jazz influenced interludes. What’s refreshing is that the involved compositions never overstay their welcome and soon make way for more mosh inducing riffage or stripped back atmospheric builds. 

The focus on rhythm makes this a strangely easy album to listen to. Even though some of these songs are over nine minutes long, they are structured in such a way that makes them not just palatable, but memorable. For example, the finale of “Shrine to the Incomprehensible” is almost a separate song in its own right, with a completely different vocal direction and tone to the rest of the track. “Planet of Skin” wanders off into a creepy Danny Elfman-esque interval, before bringing us back for a payoff of staccato sludge.   

As catchy as it is, this is still an incredibly dark and dissonant collection of music. Mike Goncalves’ tortured screams are haunting throughout, and at times sound like he’s trying to summon a beast from some ungodly place. But in the same way you can’t help watching a horror film at its most gruesome moment, you won’t want to walk away from Infinite Mortality until it’s conclusion. In fact, you’ll probably want to start the whole disturbing journey all over again.      

-Phil Knock

Brutalism - Solace in Absurdity

Comatose Music never fails to deliver top-notch brutal death metal, calling itself home to artists like NecroticGoreBeast, Stabbing, and Anthropophagus Depravity. But even in that crowded pack of killers, newcomers Brutalism stand out with their debut album, Solace in Absurdity.

My initial reaction to Solace in Absurdity can more or less be summarized as “whoaaaa.” Balancing warped technicality, raw death metal aggression, and skull-crushing brutality, Brutalism have emerged with a distinctive sound that defies expectations for a first release. Sitting alongside raw brutal death metal bands like Excrescence and Nithing (both HB favorites in 2023), Brutalism injects a stripped-back approach to BDM with well-executed technical songwriting, adding a twisted edge to a genre that often lacks originality. 

Guitars are ever-so-slightly the dominant force on Solace in Absurdity, directing the overall feel of the album and adding heft to Brutalism’s rawness. Mind-bending riffs are juxtaposed against classic skronks and snares, keeping brutal death metal at the heart of the album while experimenting to great success. BDM addicts, tech death nerds, and even OSDM enthusiasts will all find something to love on Solace in Absurdity, making this a can’t-miss release from the dark depths of the underground. 

-Bridget Hughes

Party Cannon - Injuries Are Inevitable

Ah, summer, the time to be dumb and shredded. The sun is shining, life is a little less intense, and everyone is looking for extra fun. In other words, it’s the perfect time for party slam kings Party Cannon and their latest album, Injuries Are Inevitable. 

Building on the IQ-lowering insanity of Volumes of Vomit, Injuries Are Inevitable showcases why a neon, vomit, and glitter-soaked touring project has lasted a damn decade. Ever since the pandemic forced Party Cannon off the road and into the studio, their sound has only become denser, nastier, and heavier. Injuries Are Inevitable delivers a stomach-churning mix of competing guttural vocals, chunky slam riffs, and neck-breaking blast beats. It’s the purest possible distillation of slam, taking inspiration from heavyweights like Devourment, Gorgasm, Dying Fetus, Exhumed, and Disgorge, then pulling them down to Neanderthal levels of ignorance. Believe me, that’s a compliment in the wild world of Party Cannon. 

-BH 

Enemy 906 - Through The Hell

This one’s for the deathcore fans: the cavepeople living for the next beatdown, the knuckledraggers who only show up to curse-scream in packs, the moshpit diehards risking life and limb at every show. Mexico’s Enemy 906 is all you need this summer. Featuring guests from heavy hitters like Kraanium, Root of All Evil, Bodysnatcher, Cycle of Abuse, and Medical Negligence, Through The Hell is a bloody slab of slam, beatdown, and hardcore guaranteed to deliver the sonic bludgeoning of your dreams. 

Skewing more hardcore than Psychosadistic Design-era Vulvodynia and dummy death dealers Snuffed on Sight, Enemy 906 pairs screamable (read: actually decipherable) vocals over utterly satisfying chugs and beatdowns. It’s pure insanity in the best way, br00talizing your eardrums and laying down enough groove to be stuck in your head all day. 

-BH

Funeral Leech - The Illusion of Time

Ah shit, it’s that time again - time for me to cover an album that’s outside of my comfort zone but with which I fell in love instantly. I’m not the biggest death-doom fan, which is funny because I love death metal and I double love doom metal. But something about the combo usually creates a mix that is too grimy for me, the speed of death metal making the doom metal fuzz smear and lose cohesion for me. The cure for that, apparently, is to double down on the groove of your riffs, turning the chunky tone of doom metal into an unstoppable machine of head-banging sounds. Or, at least, that’s how Funeral Leech solved it on The Illusion of Time, an album so chock full of gyrating, nasty riffs that my face just does the stank face for the entirety of its just over forty minutes runtime.

That’s right - forty minutes or forty three minutes to be exact. The Illusion of Time is a big pill to swallow, punishing in its dedication to the almighty riff and its mind-slaying capabilities. If you’re looking for fire, fury, and all the sludge you can stomach, then look no further - Funeral Leech have your number and they are calling it repeatedly to sell you some more blast-beats. Pick up!

-EK

Jonathan Adams

Published a day ago