Trevor from BLACK DAHLIA MURDER's 20 Underground Picks for February
Every month, The Black Dahlia Murder frontman Trevor Strnad teats us with new underground music he has discovered in a column he likes to call The Obituarist…
Hello my undead faithful, The Obituarist is back with a slew of new sickness ready to bleed right into your ears! I’ve got a pretty good spread of releases this time, 2016 is really starting to heat up. Check out the songs and support the bands by buying their music and merchandise. These sick devotees work hard to bring you quality unfiltered music and you should thank them by contributing a few measly dollars… it's really the least you could do. Remember, folks… Brutality is law!
Blade Of Horus – Monumental Massacre
I’ve got to hand it to Lacerated Enemy… they always seem to find the fresh new sickness, and Blade Of Horus is no exception. Like recent signees The Ritual Aura, Blade Of Horus play a razor-sharp protools perfect brand of post-Necrophagist tech death surely to entertain. If you aren’t opposed to modern, slightly deathcore informed extremity chock full of sweeps, breakdowns and mind warping technical shred, you’ll find a lot to like in Monumental Massacre… some of the passages are simply dazzling. The guitars are nice and clear, but could stand to be a bit heavier… there are a few times when the more open chordy parts sound kind of thin. I should also mention that the drumming was handled by Suffocation/ex-Dying Fetus backbone Kevin Talley, who does a nice job of ripping the skins here. Fans of Rings Of Saturn, Continuum, or Rivers Of Nihil would do well to check these young Australians out. Get in there.
Bleeding Spawn – Pathogenic Mechanized Abomination
Another day, another protools slam album… just kidding, you know I love it. After being put on the map for most brutal hounds by young guns Vulvodynia, South Africa brings us brand new slamming brutal death fiends Bleeding Spawn! Man, this is killer. It’s definitely modern, it may be a little too modern (Deathcore informed?) for some parties… there’s not really anything here that would suggest these guys have any knowledge of the old ways whatsoever or even heard an album that wasn’t quantized to hell (but its still friggin’ sick in my book}. I keep calling them slam but they aren’t slamming nearly as much as some groups out there… they know how to mix it up nicely. “Rise Of The Machine” is an especially bitchin’ track that has a pretty catchy chorus type moment that’ll have you singing along… not too typical for slamming death… I like! Pictures and info on Metal Archives suggest a full band line up (with drummer included), but with how slid-to-perfection the drumming is and how plastic-y sounding the samples are, there is no evidence that any drum sticks were actually hurt in the making of this album. The songs were in reality probably made in someone’s bedroom… and ya know what? They sound pretty damn gnarly… it’s amazing what you can do yourself these days. As the title Pathogenic Mechanized Abomination would suggest, there are some really tough sounding machine-like parts in some songs that give them a futuristic edge… pretty cool. Overall, this is just good. Nice artwork too, the total package here, folks! Physical copies are said to be coming shortly, in the meantime you can grab the new album on their bandcamp.
Bloodgush – From Past To Chaos
Indonesia strikes again with another exciting young death metal band, this time in brutal tech dawgs Bloodgush! Like fellow Indonesian tech enthusiasts Carnivored, Bloodgush are heavily influenced by the guitarwork of Psycroptic… they even have that hairsplitting, razor sharp guitar tone that can peel your drooling face off. The drumming however has that distinctly Indonesian snare heavy sound that we’ve all come to know and love. I like the production here, raw and real but easy to hear all of the individual instruments… these guys definitely know what they’re doing and sound like they are probably very tight in person. If you dig the aforementioned Carnivored, Trojan, or Antithesis, these guys will tighten your jeans for sure. Grab one now from the awesome Groupies Merch out of Indonesia!
Bodybag – Public Execution EP
This is ridiculously heavy. I enjoy bands of this ilk; ugly beatdown hardcore meeting old school death AND slam in a street fight… the result is awesome and to my old man ears sounds like a relatively new and fresh concept only emerging in recent years. Bodybag isn’t entirely a departure from what vocalist was doing in his former band No Zodiac, and fans of the album Population Control will recognize Gerardo Pavon instantly… he sounds like he enjoys hurting people in his spare time. The vocals are so perfectly gangsta, they remind me of hardcore hellions Death Threat from Connecticut… it’s awesome to hear this dude doing his prison rapping over the occasional blast beat. This is unintelligent neanderthalic belligerence at its best… fans of Xibalba, Brutality Will Prevail and lifting barbells with cinderblocks on each end would be into this for sure. My dudes at Rising Nemesis Records Vinyl and Tape are blessing the world with this brutality on a limited run of pro pressed cassettes… grab ahold while you can and support and awesome new band and label… it’s a steal at only 4 euros.
Bombs Of Hades – Death Mask Replica
Jonas Stålhammar of old school legends God Macabre and Utumno (and all-too -briefly The Crown) returns in 2016 with his long-running battalion of energized d-beating Swedish death, Bombs Of Hades. I really dig these guys brand of Motorhead goes swedeath… I’m still relatively new to them, having only latched on when the excellent Atomic Temples came out, but boy am I glad to finally be aboard the ship… this stuff rules! I feel like everyone that likes Bastard Priest, Death Breath, Tormented or Stench would feel this pretty hard… I sure do! My only beef is with the cover art… kinda lame when stacked against the awesomely decorated Atomic Temples… you know how I’m a sucker for the classic painted style of artwork… Oh well, don’t let it stop you from fashioning the Molotov cocktail you’ll surely want to brandish when hearing these rockin’ sickos do their thing. Slam another shot of whiskey and grab it now!
Bradi Cerebri Ectomia – Threads of Desperation
Jesus Christ this rules… this is how goregrind should be. There are waaaaaay too many aimless outfits out in the world content to just sound gross; there are very few bands attempting to craft a decent song or have any variety to what they do whatsoever… only the best from Czech label Bizarre Leperous Productions. Bradi Cerebri Ectomia are worlds away from your average Last Days Of Humanity or Cock And Ball Torture clones… these guys are glad to mix things up for you and make an album that’s got some well needed dynamism… it’s as if they actually took the time to think about what they were doing. Fans of Ahumado Granujo, Alienation Mental or Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay would love this, no doubt. Sick grooves, some clever breakdownage, and a few unexpected left turns will help keep you sickos on your toes for the album’s duration and keep you coming back to Threads Of Desperation for more nastiness. The sick sewer pitch shifted vocals we know and love are still there (thankfully) as a genre requisite; but otherwise this is pretty futuristic stuff as far as the genre goes. Polished, professional, and positively putrid!!! Looks like the band is giving this away on their bandcamp, but if you’re a real freak like me, you’ll help them out by securing a hard copy from Pathologically Explicit Recordings or by donating a few bucks for their hard work. Peep it here.
Embalmer – Emanations From The Crypt
A revamped Embalmer is back and sounding pretty damn fierce… I’m fairly impressed and surprised by this. It’s not perfectly up to par with the fear inducing There Was Blood Everywhere; but they’ve managed to recapture a lot of the sludgy sickly atmosphere of their early demo days to great effect (Rotting Remains in particular); surely aiming to help us longtime fans to forget the major fumble that was the 13 Faces Of Death album as a whole. New vocalist Paul Gorefiend (formerly of Ohio’s Gorefiend merch company) continues the lineage of multi-faceted vocal sickness that both Toby Wulff and Rick Fleming forged before him… I was apprehensive about a new singer but this guy does a pretty sick job and covers all the dynamic bases required between deep lows, disgusting gurgles and haunting high screams. Midwestern metal machine Hells Headbangers is handling the CD, LP, tape and digital release, due out April 1st. Great band, great label, get into it!
Entombed A.D. – Dead Dawn
YES! Entombed A.D. are back already with another rockin’ new slab of death and roll sickness. It may seem like they are the most prolific band on earth at this moment with how fast this album came since the last, but in reality, Back To The Front was held up for so long after its recording (due to warring over the rights to the Entombed band name) that the boys have had plenty of time to forge the material in question. Dead Dawn sees the band in fine form, not much different from Back To The Front, perhaps a little less raucous and rockin’ in favor of a more sophisticated, sublime sounding type of evil. Great dynamics, seasoned songwriting and some epic riffing (and of course, the distinct bark of death metal vocal god LG Petrov) propel Dead Dawn and Entombed A.D. to another victory! Grab it now!
Fleshgore – Denial Of The Scriptures
Wow!!! It seems Fleshgore are no longer content to wallow in relative obscurity because they’ve unfurled one hell of a statement with Denial Of The Scriptures; here to give New York Style Death Metal a facelift for 2016 and the outcome couldn’t be more perfectly hideous or downright ass-kicking! A longstanding camp out of Ukraine, the guys have really made strides to improve in recent years… their last outing, 2014’s EP Domain Of Death was impressive but this is just dynamite— top tier quality stuff for sure! Denial Of The Scriptures rages hard with a huge modern production driven by a downright pissed guitar sound… this shiz packs a lot of punch! Musically this Kyiv-based outfit falls somewhere between the old school slam-meets-tech style of Suffocation and ferociously for the throat attack of Italy’s Devangelic… the outcome is seriously heavy with balls to spare. Well written and arranged… this is as pro as brutal death metal gets, ladies and gentleman. The cover art is really nice and appealing… pretty classy and fresh looking if you ask me … kudos for that. I am absolutely loving this beast of an album… I am stoked to get the CD in my sweaty mits! Listen here.
Fourth Crusade – Sowers Of Perdition EP
Goddamn, this is quite a throwback! I feel like I haven’t heard this brand of Slayerized vegan metalcore in a long time… it’s taking me back to the late ninties when I used to go see Earthmover tear it up and drool over the hardcore distros, wondering where the next album as awesome as Morning Again was going to come from. Although their name is an obvious hat tip to midpaced death crew Bolt Thrower, these dudes actually have a lot in common with mosh bringers Arkangel, Dawn Of Orion or Day Of Suffering. There is nothing new or modern here, this is firmly anchored in 1997 and makes no fucking bones about it. If you long for the days of finger points, pile ons and dudes with bleached hair and pukka shells trying to spin kick you in the face, Fourth Crusade is the band for you! Snag the vinyl or cassette version from my homies at Rising Nemesis Records Vinyl and Tape soon, preorders are up now!
Germ – Escape
Tim Yatras’ (of ex-Austere/Woods Of Desolation/Grey Waters/Nazxul fame) solo incarnation Germ strikes again in 2016, gracing our waiting ears with his eclectic style of post black metal quirkiness on third album Escape, displaying an immense prowess on many instruments and forging one hell of an emotionally wrought experience. Augmenting SDBM with electronic elements, Germ weirdly manages to be depressive but at the same time uplifting… it’s difficult to put into words, you’d do best just to press play on the clip and observe for yourself. If you dig Ghost Bath, Deafheaven, An Autumn For Crippled Children or So Hideous; Germ could very well be your new favorite band. Buy it now.
Injury Deepen – Anthropophagous Realm
Ah, yes, Injury Deepen have finally made their New Standard Elite records debut. I’ve been following them since NSE announced their signing quite some time ago, playing the hell out of their first album Entrails Of Infected Corpse and eagerly waiting to see if they would step up their game after joining brutal death metal’s sickest roster going, and I believe that’s exactly what they’ve done here. Injury Deepen play raw and real brutal death metal in a savage style I guess you would call these guys a slamming outfit, but it’s done in an old school NYDM kinda way… the song has an underlying groove that propels it along, it doesn’t sound like flat brim hat bedroom protools slam; this is violent and real. The vocal is of the dry and forceful variety, not easily understood but definitely enunciating and doing some cool and tricky (speedy) lyrical patterns at times. Overall, this is exactly the level of quality you’ve come to expect from the best brutal death metal label in the world, New Standard Elite!!! Grab one now!
Internal Devour – Doomed To Disembowelment
Slamming Australian young guns Internal Devour are back with their crushing sophomore effort (and first full length outing) in tow, Doomed To Disembowelment! These guys were pretty sick on the Aborted and Slaughtered ep a couple of years back, but 2016 sees ID becoming a far more refined and professional sounding beast… this is definitely a few steps in the right direction. The music here is downright devastating… slammers the world over will rejoice with glee. Crowned by the gnarliest guttural vocal attack of a young Matt Turkington (also of wretched slammers Splatterpuss), Doomed To Disembowelment is not to be missed by flat brimmed slam hounds everywhere. Fans of Abominable Putridity, Cephalic Impurity, and Epicardiectomy will eat this shit right up. Get it now!
Irkallian Oracle – Apollyon
Haha, yep, this is horrifying as expected… these guys absolutely rule. Irkallian Oracle hail from Sweden but they sound like they just crawled out of a forgotten grave and didn’t even stop to brush the dirt off before heading into the studio. With their sophomore album Apollyon, these mysterious scandanavians continue the pitch black ritual they began with 2013 excellent Grave Ekstasis, this time delving even further into the haunting abyss. I love how many dark dissonant suffocating atmospheric black/death metal bands are popping up the world over, this is a trend I can live with! If Abyssal, Portal, Svartidaudi or Deathspell Omega float your boat, you ought to give these dudes a whirl… you’ll thank me when I see you in hell. Grab ahold of the physical manifestation now for a mere $8 from the ever sickening Nuclear War Now! Label.
Nightkin – Oath Of Elucidation
Wow! If there were a real god, this would be HUGE. Trust me, I too cringe when I hear that a new band is playing melodic metal, but these guys do it in an exciting way that is powerful and tuneful without being sissified. Imagine if you will a marriage of Dissection’s melodic black metal frost, Arghoslent’s earthy, hooky riffing and a dash of the NWOBHM tinged influence of Heartwork era Carcass. Hell, even Morbid Angel shows up at the party; popping in here and there to slime things up. There is an overall foreboding quality to the music, as if Nightkin were informed by some sort of greater wisdom of how all life will come to an end… they know what the reaper knows and aren’t afraid to share it. Mike “Gunface” McKenzie (The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Beyond The Sixth Seal) has a great growly voice, it’s low and gruff as fuck with an excellent roaring quality to it. The subtle layering he has chooses at times is nice and helps keep things interesting. The guitars are just metal as fuck, seriously just molten… I am goddamn impressed by what Dave Lock (ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) has been able to summon for this incredible band, graduating not only from bass to guitar but also to being the band’s sole songwriter and a clever one at that. Unlike the short concise songcraft of TBDM, Oath of Elucidation brims with longer, more narrative arrangements, taking the listener questing on horseback as their epic courses unfold… I enjoy the pacing of the songs immensely… it’s got a nice dynamism to it. The drumming by former TBDM and Abigail Williams skinsman (currently also of Obituarist approved sickos Gutrot and Shit Life) is extremely aggressive and lends to the death metal edge of Nightkin’s canon; wantonly bomb blasting and double-stroking into oblivion. This is the total package, dudes, and deserves to be heard by all fans of the underground. Physical LPs are coming soon from Corpse Flower records, but in the mean time you can snag it digitally here.
Nordjevel – Nordjevel
You simply must check out the debut album of orthodox black metal by Norwegian up and comers Nordjevel (North Devil)… it’s incredibly good! Featuring Marduk’s drumming maniac Fredrik Widigs, these icy demons bring classic blasting and frost laden professionality that will appeal to fans of Tortorum, Taake, older Glorior Belli, Secrets Of The Moon, and Pale Chalice. I found myself entirely under Nordjevel’s spell midway through the third song… this is truly outstanding stuff… they have an infectious energy to them… while the material is really nothing new, the playing sounds so full of life and enthusiasm that it really sounds appealing. Like the entrancing energy of the tuneage, the gorgeous cover artwork is a breath of fresh air; I really find it attractive. Pick this up now, you won’t regret it!
Putrified J/Domestic Terror – The Holy Landfill
Germany’s Rising Nemesis records offers up this disgusting monolithic split release between international slamming bulldozer Putrified J and Columbus Ohio’s brutal death grinders Domestic Terror, and it kicks a whole lot of ass. Having already been familiar with Putrified J’s brand of Kraanium style slamming madness I was initially more excited for their half of the release but unknowns Domestic Terror really surprise here, actually bringing the stronger portion of this 9 track affair. I would describe DT’s sound as a fresh take on grinding brutal death metal… it’s raw and real and at times slightly technical, something about it just strikes me as new and exciting while being hard to put a finger on. There is a great deal of dynamics to the material, they know how to make a song that grinds and slams while building and releasing tension; this isn’t just mindless parts… there is a real song at the very core of what Domestic Terror does. I am now eagerly awaiting a full length album from these dudes, I will be the first in line to scoop it up! Both bands are featured in the above youtube clip so be sure to stick around, the Domestic Terror material starts around 13:10.
Slaughterday – Laws Of The Occult
Sweeet! I love these guys. It blows my mind that not only has Autopsy gotten back together and started getting the recognition they deserve, there are also countless Autopsy worshipping outfits that have popped up around the globe. Slaughterday (named after a song from Mental Funeral if you’re a noob) hail from northern Germany and do the Californian legends great justice with Laws Of The Occult. While Nightmare Vortex was sheer Mental Funeral worship of the highest order, Laws seems to meld all different eras of Autopsy’s canon and the result is outstanding… the vocals are so dead on Chris Refiert that it’s goddamn ridiculous. Grab a bag of greens, hit play, and join Slaughterday in their praise of the ancient ways of doomed out death!!! Order one from the awesome FDA Rekotz now!
Sorcier Des Glaces – North
So stoked to share this one with you all, SDG is one of my very favorite black metal outfits and one that I feel goes largely unnoticed by the masses. Sorcier Des Glaces, or Wizard Of Ices, has long been festering in the Quebecois black metal scene and while 2014’s Ritual of The End started to garner some long overdue attention for SDG outside of French Canada, North will hopefully see multi-instrumentalist and loner Sébastien "Roby" Robitaille take the world in his filthy clutches with his unmistakable brand of classic coldness… the atmosphere he conveys is second to none. I have been devoutly following this one man operation since 2011’s excellent The Puressence of Primitive Forests blew me the fuck away. Roby’s riffing and arrangements effortlessly conjure endless sheets of snow falling over miles of majestic evergreens without a pesky human in sight… with North, he has again captured the spirit of the early second wave greats, one I find to be largely missing in the modern scene… think Immortal Pure Holocaust and you’ll be on the right track. Cold and frosty are words often used to describe black metal, but for crying out loud, this shit will give you frostbite… you could end up with a black foot or hand if you aren’t too careful. Robitaille has a great voice that is very grim and distinct… it manages to cut right through the music in an awesome way — you’ll be singing along in no time to his awesome (sometimes ESL funny) lyrics. North is the total package and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t make it in the top ten of my year end list… it’s that freakin’ good. Dread records is handling the limited tape version and Obscure Abhorrence will eventually be handling the cds. Snag a tape now.
Spawning Abhorrence – The Sleepless One
These young bastards play a pretty good brand of modern technical (sometimes brutal) death metal from the United Kingdom that is lightly sprinkled with a deathcore informed flavor. I can tell from the first minute alone that these guys haven’t even heard a death metal album before Necrophagist’s Epitaph, but hell, that’s okay… it’s okay to be young. While not the most original stuff here, Spawning Abhorrence do know how to get a proper breakdown going, I like the surprise one that swings out from the middle of the first track… pretty tough! The majority of the vocals on The Sleepless One are deep growls, dry yet powerful… there are the occasional piercing deathcore-ish high screams to break up the barrage of barks. Spawning Abhorrence’s strongest suit lies in their slower, dirged out moments, reminding me slightly of mid-era Job For A Cowboy. Overall, this is a pretty solid sophomore effort from an up and coming young shred squad whom I will definitely keep an eye on. Seize one now from up and coming UK label, Kings Of Decay!
SpermBloodShit – Obliteration From Beyond
I like this stuff. Fuzzed out, fairly well produced grindcore album that is apparently a concept record about John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy (The Thing, Prince Of Darkness, In The Mouth Of Madness)… nice idea. Obliteration From Beyond is chock full of a higher, angry shouted style of vocal… sort of powerviolence-esque in delivery, it reminds me of one of the black up voices from Pigsty… it’s different than what I was expecting from a band called SpermBloodShit… not as gross. In fact, contrary to what the name would lead one to believe, these guys don’t have much in common with goregrind; it’s a bit more like Gadget or Cerebral Turbulency than Dead Infection. A nice use of samples from Mr. Carpenter’s films help present the concept at hand and help break up the barrage of searing grind without being overbearing (I’m looking at you, Mortician). Grab this slab of Italian sickness now!
Wormed – Krighsu
Ah, Wormed…. we’ve certainly saved the best for last. A couple years back Exodromos was my album of the year… so goddamn ridiculously good… I can’t even tell you how excited I am for the next piece of the Wormed puzzle. So far, the tracks put forth have been devastating to say the very least. Season Of Mist was smart to snatch these guys up… it’s great to see a brutal band approaching such a high profile… it’s breakouts like these that could be good for raising awareness of the genre as a whole. I wish Defeated Sanity would get snatched up, too. In 2016, the days of 2003’s album Planispherum’s raw recklessness are long gone; this is sheeny, shiny mechanized perfection that has a bit more in common with modern day Cryptopsy than Dripping or Devourment. I wish Wormed all the success this year and I hope that Phlegeton keeps growing that crazy ass hair of his so long that it eventually wraps around the entire world. Get Wormed!
Put a fork in me, cuz I’m done for this month. Thanks for reading and sharing The Obituarist column… your support and enthusiasm fills my aging sails with putrid purpose, and until next time, stay dead!
Read previous "The Obituarist" columns from Trevor right here.