Review: Cist – The Frozen Casket

Cist The Frozen Casket Artwork

Label: Camo Pants Records

If you’re going to play old-school death metal, and you want to have a hope of standing out in the increasingly crowded scene, you need to be good. It’s not enough to just have a selection of decent riffs and a production torn straight from the 90’s; there needs to be that spark and fire that will make your band stand out. Russians Cist have that spark, and debut EP The Frozen Casket is twenty minutes of decayed, bone-gnawed death metal that could have been spawned during the early days of the genre.

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Album of the Day: Portal – Vexovoid


Label: Profound Lore Records

There are few bands whose reputation precedes them like it does for Portal. The Australian act may be renowned for crafting other-worldly, mind-consuming death metal that is the musical spawn of every Lovecraftian horror ever dreamed of; and their early works certainly upped the ante for how twisting and difficultly chaotic death metal can be, following in the footsteps of Gorguts and Immolation. Yet Vexovoid is, by their own standards, a fairly accessible release, and it’s no surprise that it found their biggest audience yet – at least, until the release of ION next week.

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Album of the Day: Autopsy – Mental Funeral


Label: Peaceville Records

For a long time, Mental Funeral was the only Autopsy album I had heard. Whilst that might seem a borderline blasphemous statement to some, take a step back and consider just how good this album is. When an album is this close to being perfect, there’s always the worry that other releases wouldn’t stand up in comparison, and as a result somehow spoil them. To some extent, it’s a needless worry – Autopsy have never released an out-and-out bad album – but at the same time, I don’t think anything they do will ever compare to Mental Funeral for me.

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Album of the Day: Blood Incantation – Starspawn


Label: Dark Descent Records

Can I confess something? I didn’t really “get” Starspawn on first listen. The debut full-length from Blood Incantation was good, sure, but I didn’t quite understand the reverence some people held it in upon release. But on subsequent listens, some time and distance removed from the initial hype – yes! This record revealed itself to be one of the most death metal releases not just of 2016, but of the past decade. This album is phenomenal.

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Review: Fallen Utopia – Disequilibrium


Label: Cursed Records

2017 was a great year for death metal, with a lot of the old stalwarts releasing killer albums – Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Autopsy… they all absolutely nailed it. Judging by Disequilibrium, the debut full-length from Fallen Utopia, the new generation of death metal acts are determined not to have the elder statesmen of the genre hog all the accolades though, as this is a storming piece of modern death. Full of crushing riffs, moments of technical prowess, and moving with a self-confidence that is utterly infectious, Disequilibrium is a very strong debut indeed.

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Review: Xenosis – Devour and Birth

Xenosis - Devour and Birth cover art

Label: Self-released

How the hell is Devour and Birth not being picked up by a label? The third album from tech-death act Xenosis is incredible. It sees the band take the forward-thinking nature of the best technical and progressive death metal, and pair it up with the hard-hitting nature that defined the wider death metal genre in the first place. Restless, aggressive, and with the song-writing skills to match their technical proficiency, Xenosis have recorded an astounding album, and that it’s being self-released is nothing short of shocking.

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Review: Siberian Hell Sounds / Convulsing – Split


Label: Art As Catharsis Records

Containing two tracks and clocking in at just over forty minutes in length, this split between Siberian Hell Sounds and Convulsing is a dense, challenging listen. Filled with unsettling violence, this record is one that may require some time to get the most out of, but it also has immediate appeal, with its nightmarishly overwhelming assault grabbing hold of the listener’s throat right from the first moment and refusing to let go. This is music of utmost darkness, of the sort that transcends genre, and that the tag of “extreme” barely does justice to.

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