Label: Blood Harvest
The old school death metal revival is really in rude health, and I think it’s safe to declare it one of – if not the – biggest things happening in the metal underground in recent times. Alongside a considerable number of bands who owe considerable debts to Incantation, more and more bands are releasing records which celebrate the g(l)ory days of Autopsy. The latest EP from Transcendence, Hour of the Summoning, does just that. Grim, grisly, and packed full of flesh-tearing riffs, this EP delights in the old-school death metal filth it conjures, and what it may lack in originality, it more than makes up for with atmosphere, energy, and the sheer joy of hearing dirty death metal riffs played with such obvious passion.
Label: Inverted Kite
It’s safe to say that the common thread that unites practically everything covered on The Sound Not The Word – regardless of genre, popularity, or anything else – is a sense of heaviness, be it musical or emotional. Beast to Love is an exception to that rule of thumb. The second album from Brine – following their Kill the Ill debut and New Brunswick EP – is a melodic, catchy, summery blast of post-punk melodies and power pop energy, full of bright energy and a sense of fun.
Label: BDHW Records
Every so often, a band will come your way that remind you why you feel in love with hardcore in the first place; where their blend of melody and hard-hitting riffs combine in those energetic, intense ways that take you back to your youth, making you feel like a teenager again in the best way possible. It’s that feeling that Eisberg give me, and never more so than on their new record Few Will Remain. Striking a masterful balance between the melodic and the brutal, with a sincerity and sense of conviction that cannot be faked, this release is one that exemplifies all that is good in hardcore. It’s been a long time coming – five years since their last tape, and seven since their original demo – but the wait has been more than worth it.
Label: The Fear and the Void Recordings
“Man plans and god laughs”; so goes the old saying. There are things that will happen to all of us that we have no control over, and that will come upon us with no warning, upending the order of our lives and leaving us to do what we can to pick up the pieces and carry on. Aside from the everyday practicalities of coping with a major loss or change, there is the emotional aspect too, which is where From a Father’s Son comes in. When his father was diagnosed with an advanced cancer that would soon take his life, Jimmy Sisco created the Anchorhold project to document that time and his memories. As you’d expect, it’s an emotional journey, and hugely heart-felt, with an intensely personal – yet universal – heart.
Label: Rotting Throne Records
We all need a band like Allfather in our lives. The UK five-piece exemplify all that is good in metal, with their mission in life seemingly to be to remind us all of just how much fun heavy music can be. With a combination of sludge-tinged riffs, commanding, gruff vocals, and an all-around “fuck you” attitude, Allfather are here to make heads bang. They achieved just that with first album Bless the Earth With Fire, and now follow-up And All Will Be Desolation continues that mission, with tighter song-writing, a greater sense of confidence, and impassioned lyrics that do their “riffs against fascism” merch justice.
Label: Camo Pants Records
Following the release of debut full-length Tormentium on Iron Bonehead Records, New York’s Mutilate are back with All Life Ends, a three-track, ten minute demo that sounds just as nasty and fetid as the cover art would have you hoping. As with that album, and their previous demo Fortress of Suffering, there is literally nothing new here – this is death metal as it was when the genre first clawed itself out of its shallow grave to inflict pain and suffering upon the world. This could well have been recorded in 1987 and only just now been unleashed upon the world; and that is exactly the point.
Sci-fi and fantasy is practically woven in to the DNA of metal, and there are plentiful examples of it in extreme metal’s history, whether it be bands taking inspiration from the obvious culprits (see: the plethora of bands taking names from the works of J.R.R. Tolkein), to Trey Azagthoth giving praise to 80’s NIntendo games in the linear notes to Covenant and being pictured with his anime collection, to Gridlink writing songs inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Culture novels of Iain Banks. One-man death metal band Stormland‘s latest album, Songs of Future Wars, is heavily inspired by the Mobile Suit Gundam metaseries, but as with those previous examples, you don’t need to know your RX-78-2 from your EVA Unit 00 to enjoy it, as this is a solid slice of death metal that pulls from multiple strands of the genre to create something crushing.