Altarage – Endinghent

Portal, Mitochondrion, Antediluvian, Grave Miasma, Adversarial, The Ominous Circle, and Impetuous Ritual. The mere mention of these bands automatically conjures thoughts of a particular sound, a sonic aesthetic, within the death metal community. Jagged riffs, overwhelmingly heavy and murky production values, vocals that leap slowly and maniacally from the deepest pits of hell itself. Though this strain of death metal isn’t without its detractors and controversial elements, these above bands and a host of others have constructed successful careers upon the foundation laid by Finnish gods Demilich, and in my mind death metal is all the better for it. Spain’s Altarage also belongs in this group, cementing their reputation among the most punishing of death dealers with their monumental debut release Nihl. It was as relentless, pounding, and utterly suffocating as anything yet released in the band’s chosen subgenre, and ended up being one of my favorite releases of last year. With Endinghent, the band’s much-anticipated sophomore record, Altarage continue to expand upon the sound that brought them such positive attention, but with a twist: Endinghent is without question an evolutionary leap for the band in both song-craft and sound that serves as a sonic departure from their previous work. Whether these changes are good or bad depends on your view of what makes Altarage special, and in my book the band have begun a gallant voyage into a more refined and sharp sound that not only serves to highlight their songwriting ability, but also flesh out elements of their sound that were somewhat drowned out in their last album. It’s a bold move that pays dividends with repeated listening.

Editors’ Picks: April 2017

Man, 2017, y’all. We realize that it’s kind of our m.o. to be proponents of the whole “Golden Age of Metal” narrative and be incredibly positive about the consistently great level of stuff that is being put out from pretty much every part of the musical spectrum, but it’s such an easy thing to do when we are so constantly bombarded with new material that utterly consumes our attention. Even in months where one of us might not have as many new albums that really impressed them, without doubt there will be another one who could barely keep up because of all the superb releases from genres they pay close attention to. This April has certainly been no different in that regard, and we have a whole slew of top-notch albums to recommend to you all.

Succumb – Succumb

Most music nerds can name at least one instance where an album stopped them dead in their tracks. You know the feeling. Those moments when the mind slowly pushes out all other thoughts and daily duties that regularly clutter the brain in order to make ample room for complete and total fixation on one incredible piece of music. There’s no multi-tasking in this space, no working on our various outside projects with music happily and quietly occupying the background. Instead, the music muscles its way front and center. It is music at its most alive, vibrant, and commanding of our full attention. In those distinctly transcendent moments, the music is everything.

Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon

Many genres have their own holy grails. “Weird tech death”, which can also be called avant-garde death metal, has a few such releases, but the one that is perhaps most untouched is Demilich’s 1993 masterpiece Nespithe. Artificial Brain’s 2014 debut release Labyrinth Constellation was a clear attempt at this throne, but it focused more on an old school death metal sound than the sheer weirdness. Enter Infrared Horizon, their sophomore release. Here we have a much more focused and experimental album that is closer to the prize than any other album has ever been, and it also happens to be a fantastic record.

Lantern – II: Morphosis

One of the principal challenges bands with stellar debut records face is simply having to make another record. The magical element of surprise and general exemptions given by listeners for unmet potential due to relative youth have long been discarded, replaced instead by impossibly high expectations and the audience’s/label’s manic need for new material. Some bands, like Finland’s death metal legends Demilich, make one excellent full length record and call it a career. Good for them. Many others have opted for a more content-rich approach. While not necessarily the most consistently amazing record in a band’s discography, the sophomore album may be the most important because it gives the audience their first real taste of a band’s long term potential. For a band to thrive, it needs to do it right.

Undergang – Døden Læger Alle Sår

Only vulgar adjectives accurately describe the sounds fileted for public consumption by Danish trio Undergang. With a self-described M.O. of “regurgitating sewer death metal since 2008,” the band has spent the several years churning out bile-grade releases that harken back to the genre’s Nineties golden age. Indeed, albums such as…

For Fans Of: Gorguts

The most common feedback we get from our readers about this site and why they continue to follow us (aside from our dashing good looks, obviously) is that they come to us to find out about bands new and old they might have otherwise never been introduced to. We pride ourselves…

Artificial Brain Want To Harvest Your Worms

Artificial Brain are an old school death metal band featuring  Dan Gargiulo of Revocation on guitars. Their brand of metal is pretty far away from Revocation though; they embrace a grimy, ugly sound akin to the legendary Demilich. Excited yet? Well they have two tracks available for you to feast…