Label: Rotted Life
Malignant Records have, for a few years now, been one of the leading names in dark ambient, drone, and death industrial; so, it’s exciting to see them branching out in to death metal with new label Rotted Life. Their first offering on the label is the self-titled demo from Coffin Rot, a dirty, filth-encrusted four song onslaught of pure old-school filth. If you’re in to death metal that sounds like a horde of zombies eating the world alive, heavy with the stench of decay and rot, then you’ll want to be all over this like… well, like zombies over guts.
Sheffield-based duo Nokturnal Ritual have been around for five years now, and in that time have improved their second-wave inspired black metal attack considerably. Entity of the Unholy was an improvement over debut Ushering a New Era of Agony; and, in turn, new album Out from the Old Earth is an improvement over Entity of the Unholy. Theirs is no grand evolution of black metal, but instead a dark celebration of the genre, paying homage to masters of old without sounding trapped by the restrictions of the genre. It’s relatively straight-forward black metal played with conviction and talent, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you want to hear.
Label: Agromosh Records
Mainstays of the Japanese grind scene, Unholy Grave have a discography as long as most of their songs are short – so, very. Just look at it, in all its glory! Over the years, they’ve never lost their passion for short bursts of FETO-style grinding rage, with lyrics that recall the early days of the genre, all about social issues, politics, and anti-fascism. Of all their records, Revoltage is the one I come back to year after year; it may not be their best (but with 162 or so releases, who can judge?), but it’s a great example of the band’s energy and raw-as-fuck grind assault.
Label: Nova Recordings / Alone Records
As time fades, labels close, and technology moves on, it’s inevitable that some records will be lost to the sands of time. Such a fate seems to have been suffered by We’ll Make The Roads by Walking, and indeed by The Assistant, whose noisy, emotional hardcore would probably find a bigger audience today than it did upon release. Were it released today, a PR campaign might describe it as combining The Dillinger Escape Plan style technicality with an emotional, cathartic edge that can be found in Holy Roar Records’ recent outcome from Rolo Tomassi and Employed To Serve, all wrapped up in long, progressive song-writing. But alas, The Assistant are no more, but they did leave behind some killer songs.
Label: Season of Mist
One of the most bizarre metal-related news stories of recent weeks is that Rotting Christ have been arrested in Georgia, on terrorism charges relating to the band’s name. They have since been released, but it’s a bizarre, and worrying, turn of events. Rather than dwell on the negatives though, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how superb a band they are, and that they’re still releasing albums of the quality of Rituals even 30 years after they formed.
Label: Century Media Records
It’s a little over six months since Grave Pleasures unleashed Motherblood on the world, and in that time my love for the album has only grown. No record in recent times has combined pop hooks and melodies to dark, post-punk energy with such wonderful effect. Everything about the album (save the brooding ‘Atomic Christ’) feels streamlined, these songs honed down to within an inch of their live in a quest for perfection – and it’s a quest that Grave Pleasures pretty much succeed in. Few albums are so darkly cathartic and apocalyptically blissful, embracing the surety of death to have us dancing to the grave.
Label: BDHW Records
Thronetorcher do not fuck around. The five-piece unleash utter devastation with their beatdown hardcore on debut EP Eden’s Poison, that’s made even more vicious than the norm through the addition of more metallic elements than is the norm, giving the EP a sound that doesn’t stray too far from the beatdown template, but still manages to do enough to distinguish itself. If you’re looking for something angry and heavy, then this has got you covered.