Review: Deus Vermin – Monument to Decay

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Label: F H E D

Blackened death metal, on the face of it, might seem like an intuitive genre, or one that’s easy to write. Throw together some whirlwind riffs; layer it with skull-crushing drums and vocals from somewhere down deep and dark, and voila! One record of soul-destroying darkness. Except, it’s not quit that simple, and a lot of bands lose something when actually recording their songs. That’s not the case for Deus Vermin, whose new EP Monument to Decay takes the promise of their demo tape and really runs with it, conjuring up the kind of world-ending atmospheres that blackened death metal aims for, but so often falls short of. This is up there with the best of them, and is a bright (dark) star of British black metal.

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Album of the Day: Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms

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Label: 20 Buck Spin

I think by this stage, it’s safe to say that we’re living through a golden age of underground death metal. Consideration the quality of bands like Blood Incantation, Spectral Voice, Chthe’ilist, Ritual Necromancy, Of Feather and Bone, Necrot, Undergang, Our Place of Worship is Silence – and so many others! Any such list should surely also include Tomb Mold, as their latest album, Manor of Indefinite Forms, is another highlight for death metal in an era that is stuffed full of them. Dirty, dark, and irresistibly heavy, full of incredible riffs, this is something special.

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Review: Abstracter – Cinerous Incarnate

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Label: Tartarus Records / Sentient Ruin Laboratories / Vendetta Records / I, Voidhanger Records / Daymare Recordings

One of the real joys of underground music is watching bands develop before our eyes, going from promising early releases to albums that more than live up to expectations. Such is the case with the latest album from AbstracterCinerous Incarnate. The band have evolved, building on their earlier sounds, bringing further elements of noise and dark ambient to their already soul-crushing fusion of doom, black, death, and crust. It makes Cinerous Incarnate an album of utter despair and world-ending heaviness, filled with the kind of riffs that can collapse buildings and an atmosphere of the most haunting, searing dread.

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Album of the Day: Redacted – Alien Nation

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Label: Blackened Death Records

One of the earliest releases put out by Blackened Death Records was Alien Nation by Redacted, consisting of Jon Stormbeard (also of Petrichor and Stormbeard) and The World Controller (aka Pope Richard, of about seventeen squillion bands). Though a touch crude compared to the music the two individuals would go on to record, Alien Nation still remains a killer slice of thrash. Taking lyrical influence from the likes of The X-Files,  conspiracy theories, and horror, it’s an album filled with a lot of fun, and lots of killer riffs.

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Album of the Day: Behemoth – Demigod

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Label: Regain Records

Two seemingly contradictory statements that I consider to be true: as good as they are, Behemoth are one of the most over-rated death metal bands of our times; and Demigod is one of the best death metal albums of the past fifteen years (oh god has it really been almost that long since it came out?). The band’s later albums have been robbed of their power by a too-clean production, rendering their death metal onslaught a shadow of what it should be. But on Demigod, everything fell into place just right. The production allowed the intricacies of the band to come through strongly, whilst also ensuring the music hit with all the power it was intended to. The band have gone on to become a legitimate almost-mainstream proposition now (at least, as far as death metal goes), but Demigod still remains, to me, their best album.

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Review: Ritual Necromancy – Disinterred Horror

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Label: Dark Descent Records

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Disinterred Horror sounds exactly like you’d except and hope an album with artwork like this would. The second album from Ritual Necromancy is a bludgeoning, other-worldly piece of death metal that sits within the current black/death zeitgeist – with Incantation and Portal comparisons being warranted and deserved – whilst also sounding unconstrained by any restrictions of genre or style. This is extreme metal of dimensional horrors and light-devouring darkness; of the dead rising from their graves to tear down the living; of the end of everything, all set to a soundtrack of mind-melting metal.

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Album of the Day: Dismember – Like an Everflowing Stream

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Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Like an Everflowing Stream is an absolute classic of Swedish death metal (and death metal as a whole). The debut album by Dismember may have found some notoriety at the time of release for falling foul of the UK’s Obscene Publications Act (before winning their case in court), but its reputation endures not because of supposedly shocking song titles, but because it represents one of the pinnacles of death metal. Between this and Left Hand Path it’s a tough call as to which album is better; that album may have the better individual songs, but Like an Everflowing Stream is much more consistent.

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