Wormed – Metaportal

Tech death is a weird branch of the metal tree. Focused primarily on performative fireworks as opposed to standard songwriting structures, the music can at times come across as highly robotic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for me as a listener there’s only so many insane guitar passages…

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Ceremony of Silence – Oútis

The murky and amorphous style of extreme metal that has taken root in the wake of acts like Gorguts, Portal, and Deathspell Omega has seemingly become the predominate driving creative force in the underground extreme metal zeitgeist in recent years. The emphasis on weird, Lovecraftian atmospheres has infected both black and death metal, with acts like Imperial Triumphant, Artificial Brain, Pyrrhon, and Dodecahedron, to name a few, land on year-end lists with wonky, dissonant riffs, and a flair for the experimental. The trouble at this point is that when working within such an esoteric sound, it becomes difficult to carve out a niche and break out from the pack. Up and coming bands, take note: murk chords and blastbeats aren’t cutting it anymore.

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Irreversible Mechanism – Immersion

Man, technical/progressive death metal’s really been having somewhat of a boom at the moment, huh? Rivers of Nihil, Obscura, Alkaloid, Monotheist, and Augury have all put out great albums this year, and 2017 saw some landmark drops as well with the likes of Archspire, NYN, Artificial Brain, and Cytotoxin. And as much as I enjoy name-checking bands to remind…

Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury

The fact we’re amid a death metal renaissance has been widely covered over the last several years, and particularly the last few months. Along with our usual monthly praises in Death’s Door, sites like Bandcamp and Toilet ov Hell have recently published odes to the modern crop of death metal ingenuity.…

Construct of Lethe – Exiler

The balance between technical nuance and sheer, unadulterated power in death metal is not always easy to strike. Often (at least to these polluted ears) it feels as if death metal bands must sacrifice one for the other, or fail miserably attempting to incorporate both. It’s an understandable difficulty. Technical…

Covet – effloresce

It’s a good thing Covet exist because they’re not only an example of how math-rock can be done right but also an example of how a band can learn that kind of restraint as it keeps working on what makes it tick. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Covet’s earlier releases; I even own a shirt! But there was definitely plenty on them which could have been excised for a more careful and powerful delivery. Focused on main guitarist and composer Yvette Young’s skills, the previous Covet efforts too often felt a bit thin and airy, sapped under the weight of too many notes. But effloresce is a whole different release; on it, Covet are much more a band in the true sense, parts supporting a richer, fuller, more impactful whole.

The Aftermath – Vermine

Nuclear explosion footage is a fascinating and horrifying historical artifact: A massive mushroom cloud, houses within the blast radius being completely vaporized, unconscionable heat melting down everything in its path. We’ve all seen the footage. It’s a common and mortifying set of images that draw us back to humanity’s recent…