Tag Archives: Death Metal

016 Maryland DeathFest 2014

On the hotel nightstand.  In the drawer:  Gideon's Satanic Bible.

On the hotel nightstand. In the drawer: Gideon’s Satanic Bible.

For this episode, your intrepid metalhead Chris made his way down to Baltimore for MDF XII, and while mourning Spence’s absence, he drank in the synergistic vibe of the diverse crowd and hung out with Chris Dick of Decibel and Billy Gamble of Dig. The weather was amazing: sunny but cool for the leather-clad folks and that guy wearing only sneakers and a custom-made Death’s Symbolic Speedo. Billy was the only one of us who had an all-access pass, so he got to see Incantation, Asphyx, The Church of Pungent Stench, et al. at the smaller venues, while the two Chrises had to settle for the Edison lot only for the mainstage bands. Maybe the promoters will eventually have all the stages in one place, like a real festival! Special high-fives to Gordon Conrad, Sean Palmerston, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Ian Christe, and Magnus Henriksson! All the following songs were played live and are in semi-chronological order:

“Cold” from At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul (1995, Earache)

Arguably the most anticipated reunion of the year, these Gothenburg metal pioneers—the ones who put the “S” in NWOSDM—blasted through a treasure trove of gems to top off Friday’s events. Drummer Adrian Erlandsson missed some beats and dragged a bit through the first half of the set, but “Under the Serpent Sun,” “Windows,” “Blinded by Fear,” and “Kingdom Gone” were top-notch. Frontman Tomas Lindberg was nice enough to hang out with us while watching bands throughout the fest, too!

“Zombie Attack” from Tankard’s Zombie Attack (1986, Noise)

These German thrash stalwarts and self-proclaimed ‘Kings of Beer’ have released 16 full-lengths about brewskis since 1986—that’s more than one new album every 2 years! Much like Sacred Reich at last year’s fest, Tankard provided much comic relief in a set highlighted by “A Girl Called Cerveza,” “Ice-Olation,” “Die with a Beer in Your Hand,” and “Stay Thirsty!” Even funnier than the massive crowd sing-alongs were the choruses when frontman Andreas Geremia lifted his shirt and thumped his beergut with the mic to the beat of the tune. By the time of their finale, the eponymous “(Empty) Tankard,” we all wished for more…much more.

“Merciless Death” from Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends (1986, Combat)

What’s most amazing about these old-school L.A. thrashers is that drummer Gene Hoglan—who’s played in practically every band from Death to Dethklok—nailed every stroke and never broke a sweat. Since 1986’s Darkness Descends gets name-checked by lots of bands, the band stuck to that album (“Darkness Descends,” “Merciless Death,” “Perish in Flames,” “The Burning of Sodom”) with a few chestnuts (“We Have Arrived,” “Time Does Not Heal,” “Welcome to the Slaughter House”) in the mix. Word is that a new album is on the horizon, too!

“Neolithic” from Nocturnus’ The Key (1991, Earache)

Yeah, Nocturnus haven’t released anything since Ethereal Tomb, which resulted from a brief reunion in 2000. Original drummer/vocalist Mike Browning got this line-up together, but legally he’s not allowed to use the Nocturnus name, hence Nocturnus AD. Even though they were one of the first DM bands to incorporate keyboards, the tuneage sounded muddled as they chugged through The Key in its entirety. Browning was the original drummer for Morbid Angel, however, and after flubbing the first take, they successfully covered “Chapel of Ghouls” as their set closer. But does that mean they have to pay royalties twice?

Best T-shirt award:  guy with Gorguts Colored Sands parody. Best hat award:  Chris, who just popped out of a Viet Kong foxhole.

Best T-shirt award: guy with Gorguts Colored Sands parody.
Best hat award: Chris, who just popped out of a Viet Kong foxhole.

“The Longships Are Coming” from Unleashed’s Sworn Allegiance (2004, Century Media)

The longship definitively arrived at MDF with the Viking visage of Johnny Hedlund at the helm. Unleashed gave us one of the fest’s strongest sets, though we’d’ve preferred to hear their older death metal; they played nothing from their 1991 debut, and only “Never Ending Hate” from 1992’s Shadows in the Deep. Still, “To Asgaard We Fly,” “Death Metal Victory,” and “Wir Kapitulieren Niemals” slayed as usual…but three cuts from Midvinterblot? Seriously.

Soilent Green is (texting) people!

Soilent Green is (texting) people!

“Sewn Mouth Secrets” from Soilent Green’s Sewn Mouth Secrets (1998, Relapse)

Soilent Green live? Aren’t they too busy between guitarist Brian Patton’s Eyehategod and frontman Ben Falgoust’s Goatwhore tour schedules? Guitar strings shredded and snare snaps buzzed as Falgoust worked the crowd in fine form with their frenetic swamp-grind lockstep. The manic hordes were treated to “Build Fear,” It Was Just an Accident,” “Antioxidant,” plus “Numb Around the Heart” from that forgotten 2006 Sulaco split. Eyes rolled back in sockets of kvlt fans as the band played the first few notes of “Slapf**k” from their debut…tiiiiiight!

“This Place Is Poison” from Graves at Sea’s This Place Is Poison (2014, Eolian Empire)

Frankly, seeing Graves at Sea on a mainstage kinda blew minds on Sunday. This Portland, Oregon-based band has only released splits and EPs—yep, zero full-length releases in over 10 years. Yet they completely perforated eardrums with their numbing Yob-like sludge/doom. They rumbled through both cuts (“Confession” and “Betting on Black”) from their split with Sourvein, “This Place Is Poison,” and “Praise the Witch” from their Documents of Grief EP. We would’ve loved to hear their recent Black Sabbath cover of “Lord of This World,” but we can/will wait until next time.

“Le Toit Du Monde” from Gorguts’ Colored Sands (2013, Season of Mist)

Seeing Gorguts live nowadays is amazing, but seeing Gorguts boasting Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston from Dysrhythmia is even more so. Luc Lemay and co. are still playing difficult tech-metal but doing it very well. The setlist stuck to selections from the remarkable Colored Sands album, though the band also threw in death classics “Orphans of Sickness,” “Inverted,” and a rousing finale of “Obscura.” Their #1 fan was the guy in the smartly homemade Colored Sands T-shirt, though.

“Solitude” from Candlemass’ Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986, Black Dragon)

Obviously we haven’t kept up with doom originators Candlemass in quite some time, since Mats Levén was hired as the new singer after Solitude Aeturnus’ Robert Lowe was kicked out of the band in June 2012 due to poor live performances. Regardless, these Swedes had a tremendous stage presence and an eye-popping light show, and they stayed close to Messiah Marcolin-era material with “Mirror Mirror,” “Bewitched,” and “The Bells of Acheron.” With the exception of 2007’s “Emperor of the Void,” the rest were all late-‘80s selections, and man, does Levén have the pipes!

No, it isn't Ed Norton on a juice diet.  It's only Aaron Stainthorpe.

No, it isn’t Ed Norton on a juice diet. It’s only Aaron Stainthorpe.

“She Is the Dark” from My Dying Bride’s The Light at the End of the World (1999, Peaceville)

During a head-scratching set from Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, a bold fan yelled, “Where’s the ‘death’ in Deathfest?!?” Our sentiments exactly! But My Dying Bride were due to change that. After 17 years, our favorite UK doom ‘n’ gloomsters finally played on American soil again, and the anticipation was electric. Frontman Aaron Stainthorpe walked onstage, wearing a shirt and tie and fake blood dripping down his arms. Ripping through a setlist of crowd favorites—“Like Gods of the Sun,” “Turn Loose the Swans,” “The Dreadful Hours,” “The Cry of Mankind”—the band efficiently floored the sparse audience that stayed around to see the final act. Shudder to think that MDB are the only crusaders of the Peaceville Three who’ve never strayed from the path!

Here are our Top 10 crossed-finger predictions for MDF 2015:

  1. Massacre – with a strong new album Back From Beyond, they should’ve played this year!
  2. Loudblast – see #1.
  3. Spazztic Blurr or Lawnmower Deth – for comic relief. Think about it; it would be brilliant.
  4. Bolt Thrower – where they actually play a main stage this time.
  5. Solitude Aeturnus – why not, since Robert Lowe’s out of Candlemass?
  6. Pitchshifter – playing only classics, with nothing older than, say, 1993’s Desensitized.
  7. Mindrot – special one-off set to perform 1995’s Dawning in its entirety.
  8. Botch – special one-off set to perform 1999’s We Are the Romans in its entirety.
  9. Dystopia – not a stretch, since vocalist Dino Sommese is currently singing for Noothgrush.
  10. Acid Bath –will probably never, ever happen, but we can still hope.
I'm totally taking my family next year.  But mom won't be wearing her Pentagram Ass Cheek pants.  Hopefully.

I’m totally taking my family next year. But mom won’t be wearing her Pentagram Ass Cheek pants. Hopefully.

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014 Best of 2013

[Editor’s note:  Spencer was really lame and did not post this on time.  Metal Urges as a whole practiced due diligence in preparing, recording, and even writing this post on time.  Shame on you, Spencer]

We’re back with another year-end list, and this time we’re almost on time! This was another big year for reunions that resulted in new albums (for starters, Carcass and Broken Hope, both of whom made this list), old bands with amazing albums (Monster Magnet, Flotsam & Jetsam, Year of No Light, Gorguts, Immolation, Pyrexia, Autopsy), and relative newbies that totally owned the place (In Solitude, Watertank, Purson). There was a supergroup of note (Corrections House), and even a well-publicized swan song that didn’t suck (Cathedral). And no Converge this year to screw up our list, yay! Hopefully you’ll agree that our list meets and exceeds your expectations of what qualifies as metal…

Devourment:  their future's so bright, well. . .

Devourment: their future’s so bright, well. . .

#10: “Heaving Acid” from Devourment’s Conceived in Sewage (Relapse)

This quartet from Dallas, Texas has been slaughtering souls since 1995. Produced by Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan at his Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida (not Russia), Conceived in Sewage is their 5th full-length (4 studio albums plus 1 compilation) and their 1st for Relapse Records. Put yer deth on, minions!

Batillus or Predator?  Perhaps some other hydra-like beast.  You decide. Photo by Greg C

Batillus or Predator? Perhaps some other hydra-like beast. You decide.
Photo by Greg C http://www.gregcphotography.com/

#9: “Concrete” from Batillus’ Concrete Sustain (Seventh Rule)

Pronounced “Leh-nerd Skin-nerd” (just kidding, it’s “buh-TILL-us”), Batillus is an industrial metal band from New York City. Originally started as an instrumental trio in 2007, later incorporating black/death metal vocals, synths, and samples, Concrete Sustain is their 2nd full-length…and it is a whopper!

#8: “Pouring Out the Hatred” from Grime’s Deteriorate (Forcefield/Mordgrimm)

Grime is from Italy, but not the ancient Roman-laden parts: these guys hail from Trieste, a port city in the northernmost corner of the Adriatic Sea bordering Slovenia. They play Grief/Noothgrush-styled sludge doom, replete with creepy voice samples and absolutely smothering chordage. The cover art for Deteriorate is by Jason Barnett, a Texas-based street artist who’s also done covers for Noothgrush and Cleric.

Grime

Grime.

#7: “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny” from The Ocean’s Pelagial (Metal Blade)

Based in Berlin, Germany, The Ocean is more of a collective: guest musicians contribute to each album, along with the core members of the group, led by guitarist Robin Staps. Pelagial is their 7th full-length and is a concept album about the ocean: each song is named after a deeper layer of water, and the music gets denser and darker as the album progresses. The cut we chose, “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny,” is the 2nd track and is very melodic, since it’s closest to the surface.

Th Oceans contained in a pool.  Wow, that's like poetry, man.

The Oceans contained in a pool. Wow, that’s like poetry, man.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

#6: “Rendered Into Lard” from Broken Hope’s Omen of Disease (Century Media)

After a decade of inactivity, Chicago’s death dealers Broken Hope reunite with a new vocalist and release their 6th full-length and one of their best, Omen of Disease. The deluxe CD comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the band’s career—which is absolutely essential for any death-metal fan—and included is a chapter on Joe Ptacek, their original vocalist who died in 2010.

#5: “The Portals” from Kongh’s Sole Creation (Agonia)

Formed in 2004, Kongh hail from Nässjö, a small town in southern Sweden (hometown of the Backyard Babies, if that matters). Their 2nd album, 2009’s Shadows of the Shapeless, was one of our top albums of that year, but we didn’t really dig this new album until the 5th or 6th spin. Sole Creation is so different from Shadows: where Shadows was more post-hardcore doom like Lento or Callisto, Sole Creation is more head-down doom like Yob mixed with High on Fire.

#4: “In Remorse” from Author & Punisher’s Women & Children (Seventh Rule)

One-man band Tristan Shone does it again with his 5th full-length, Women & Children. It’s less brutal industrial than last year’s Ursus Americanus, but still just as infectious. We have an exclusive interview with Tristan to be featured as a future episode, so stay tuned!

#3: “In Awe Of” from Cult of Luna’s Vertikal (Indie Recordings)

Hailing from Umeå, Sweden, Cult of Luna has long been a proponent of the harsher end of atmospheric post-hardcore. Vertikal is their 7th full-length and the first in which they’ve slowed things down to incorporate more melodic sections, like Jesu or Hyatari. They also released a companion EP, titled Vertikal II, with extra songs and a Justin Broadrick remix (!).

#2: “Winter” from Secrets of the Sky’s To Sail Black Waters (Kolony)

An amazing band from Oakland, California, Secrets of the Sky burst onto the scene with their award-winning debut, To Sail Black Waters. They were originally signed to Gravedancer Records, but the label went under and ripped off the band in the process; Kolony Records emerged from the dust to release the majestic new album. To Sail Black Waters is what we wish Novembers Doom became, instead of the overtly melancholic doom that they’ve choked out over the past few albums.

And our #1 pick: “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” from Carcass’ Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

The godfathers of UK grindcore & melodic death metal return with their first album in 17 years! Surgical Steel sounds more vicious than their genre-defining 1993 opus, Heartwork—may be their best album EVER. We’ve got a big surprise planned for Episode #015 as a continuation of our death metal theme…so stay tuned!

Best Carcass ever?  Hmm. . .

Best Carcass ever? Hmm. . .

 

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010 Sweetish Death Metal vol. 2

Continuing our SDM series (this happens every 5th episode because there is too much great death metal out there for us to cover in single-band episodes), this episode’s theme is “new material from the genre’s leaders”: every one of these albums was released in 2012. Plus, this is really a tribute to all these classic DM bands!

“Sarcophagic Frenzy” from Cannibal Corpse’s Torture (Metal Blade)
Hard to believe that Torture is Cannibal’s 12th studio album since their 1990 debut, Eaten Back to Life! These Buffalo, New York natives later moved to Tampa to pioneer the “Tampa Death Metal” scene and record with producer Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios. Cannibal still sounds as vital as ever, despite the band’s creative nadir in the late ’90s after founding vocalist Chris Barnes departed to form Six Feet Under. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz and bassist Alex Webster are the only original members still in the band. Watch them slay on the Decibel tour this summer with Napalm Death and Immolation!

Grave

Grave

“Encountering the Divine” from Grave’s Endless Procession of Souls (Century Media)
This is Grave’s 10th studio album since their 1991 debut, Into the Grave. This Swedish group is considered royalty among old-school Swedish death along with Unleashed, Entombed and Dismember, and guitarist/vocalist Ola Lindgren is the only original member still in the band.

“Gathering the Batallions” from Unleashed’s Odalheim (Nuclear Blast)
Odalheim is Unleashed’s 11th studio album since their 1991 debut, Where No Life Dwells. Like Grave, this is another Swedish band which paved the way for the NWOSDM movement. Bassist/vocalist Johnny Hedlund and drummer Anders Schultz are the only original members still in the band; in fact, Hedlund played in an early line-up of Nihilist, which spawned Entombed.

“The Gods Who Light Up the Sky at the Gate of Sethu” from Nile’s At the Gate of Sethu (Nuclear Blast)
This is Nile’s 7th studio album since their 1995 debut EP, Festivals of Atonement. This band is from our home state of South Carolina in Greenville and quickly gained recognition for their wild Egyptian mythology references. Guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders is the only original member still in the band. As opposed to Unleashed, this guitar solo from Nile is all about speed and fretboard gymnastics, though the song gets slightly theatrical near the end.

It is such a joy to play guitar in Nile.

It is such a joy to play guitar in Nile.

“Red-Skinned Scapegoat” from Cryptopsy’s Cryptopsy (Cryptopsy/Candlelight)
This self-titled record is Cryptopsy’s 7th studio album since their 1994 debut, Blasphemy Made Flesh. One of Canada’s most popular metal bands, Cryptopsy hail from Montréal, and guitarist Jon Levasseur and drummer Flo Mounier (considered one of metal’s top skinsmen) are the only original members still with the group. This self-titled album is considered a back-to-their-roots release of the tech-death that made them famous. Last year, they also released a two-CD compilation with three new songs, The Best of Us Bleed.

“18 Days” from Six Feet Under’s Undead (Metal Blade)
Undead is Six Feet Under’s 9th studio album since their 1995 debut, Haunted. Their 10th album, Unborn, was just released in February of this year. Vocalist Chris Barnes—who left Cannibal Corpse to head SFU—is the only original member still in the band, which once boasted Allen West of Obituary and Terry Butler of Death. Depending on whom you ask, SFU is both worshiped by fans and reviled by critics worldwide. Stay tuned, as there’s a SFU episode in our future!

“Redirect the Evil” from Master’s The New Elite (Pulverised)
The New Elite is Master’s 11th (or 12th, depending on which you’re counting) studio album since their 1990 debut, Master. Guitarist/vocalist Paul Speckmann is the only original member still in the band and is without a doubt one of the hardest working musicians in the metal underground. He hails from Chicago and was a member of Warcry when they were included on the fourth of Metal Blade’s ultra-famous Metal Massacre compilations. He moved to the Czech Republic to pursue his band—how metal is that?!?

Does Asphyx's rehearsal space smell like beer and farts too?  Photo by Dario Dumancic (moltenmagazine.com)

Does Asphyx’s rehearsal space smell like beer and farts too? Photo by Dario Dumancic (moltenmagazine.com)

“Der Landser” from Asphyx’s Deathhammer (Century Media)
Deathhammer is Asphyx’s 8th studio album since their 1991 debut, The Rack, not counting the Crush the Cenotaph EP or the Soulburn record. Vocalist Martin Van Drunen and drummer Bob Bagchus are the only original members still in the band. This group is considered among the top Dutch death/thrash bands of metal’s early years along with Pestilence (Martin Van Drunen sang on the first two Pestilence albums, including their 1989 sophomore release, Consuming Impulse, which was just inducted into the Decibel Hall of Fame by our friend Chris Dick).

“Transcend into Absolute Dissolution” from Incantation’s Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable)
Vanquish in Vengeance is Incantation’s 9th studio album since their 1992 debut, Onward to Golgotha.
Guitarist John McEntee is the only original member still in the band. Compared to other Northeast DM bands like Immolation, Suffocation and other bands whose names end in -tion, Incantation have consistently released strong DM that never veers off-course. Incantation are also featured in our Episode 011: Best of 2012, so please check that out!

Vanquish in Vengeance album cover.

Vanquish in Vengeance album cover.

“Broken People” from Autopsy’s All Tomorrow’s Funerals (Peaceville)
All Tomorrow’s Funerals is a remastered collection of all four OOP EPs, rarities, and brand new studio recordings from these Bay Area death metal mavens. What we find fascinating about this band is that their sound really hasn’t changed much from their humble beginnings: still raw production, grumbly vocals, etc. This song is a brand-new track from this compilation and still sounds like early ’90s DM! How do they do that?!?

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011 Best of 2012

Neurosis

Of course they’re on our list. They’re still Mad Max’s favorite band. (Neurosis, duh.)

We’re back with our Best of 2012 list, only four months late this year. Maybe next year, we’ll cut it down to three months? 2012 was yet another banner year for diverse metal offerings, and TONS of great metal releases struck our collective fancy, from well-established bands (Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Deftones) to not-so-well-known-yet acts (Author & Punisher, Abiotic, Inverloch, Dragged Into Sunlight, Mother’s Green). Our list mixes the familiar with the unknown, and without further ado…

#10: “Rise Up” from Testament’s Dark Roots of Earth (Nuclear Blast). Is it just us, or have Testament gotten better with age? Even more amazing is that four-fifths of the band is the original line-up: Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, and they added the mighty Gene Hoglan as drummer—who actually played with them previously on 1997’s Demonic during their lean years.

#9: “Wrong Side of History” from Kowloon Walled City’s Container Ships (Brutal Panda). KWC are a post-core/-rock quartet from San Francisco who’d probably be on Hydra Head if they were still around. On tour now with Zozobra (who also has a new album out, starring Adam McGrath and J.R. Conners of Cave In).

#8: “Ash” from Abstracter’s Tomb of Feathers (The Path Less Traveled). Like many metalheads, we have an affinity for Bay Area bands, and Abstracter blew our minds this year. They play Neurosis-styled, build-and-collapse doom but more in the vein of Mindrot, -16-, and Yob. “Ash” is 16 minutes long (our longest podcast cut yet), so get ready to DOOM!

#7: “The Innsmouth Look” from Chowder’s Passion Rift (I Voidhanger). Chowder play amazing, vocalless prog-doom from Maryland that’s a crooked cross between Rush and Karma to Burn. Their label, I Voidhanger, will be an interesting one to watch for cool bands. Chowder is not the greatest choice for names, mind you, but does that make their fans Chowderheads (“Chowdah-heads” for all you New Englanders)?

Haarp's brilliant and heavy Husks

Atmospheric and doomy, Haarp’s album cover previews their smart and arty brand of heavy doom, Lou-zianna style.

#6: “bear” from haarp’s Husks (Housecore). With a little “h” but a big sound, haarp are another New Orleans band molded after Eyehategod and Crowbar, but slower—more akin to North Carolina’s Weedeater but with longer songs. Three tracks only on this current album Husks, and our song pick “bear” is almost 9 minutes long. On Phil Anselmo’s label, Housecore, natch!

#5: “Curses Scribed in Gore” from Hooded Menace’s Effigies of Evil (Relapse). Here’s a Finnish band whose sole purpose is to emulate all the classic death/doom of Winter, Cathedral, and Candlemass. Special thanks to Mark & Jason for getting us into these dudes with Episode 048 of Requiem Metal Podcast!

 

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

Don’t worry. The Mystery Machine is out back idling. Ready for the getaway. It’s okay that you’re freakin’ out right now. That makes two of us.

#4: “iDeath” from Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Don’t Hear It…Fear It! (Rise Above/Metal Blade). This oddly named band hails from England and is named after a real-life British naval officer from the 17th century. An obvious titular nod to Sir Lord Baltimore, this wily trio play psychedelic rock/metal like the MC5, Status Quo, et al., plus they have a man-sized red bird as their mascot!

#3: “Raise the Dawn” from Neurosis’s Honor Found in Decay (Neurot). Our third Bay Area band on the list, Neurosis always produces quality, thought-provoking music and has been a major influence on Isis, which in turn were the inspiration for countless more bands. They have always had exactly the same line-up, with the exception of Noah Landis, who joined in 1996 and quit just recently. This is their tenth studio album, and they show no sign of early retirement.

#2: “Vanquish in Vengeance” from Incantation’s Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable). This perennially solid band is also featured in our next episode, Episode 011: SDM Vol. 2, and we spend more time talking about them there. Hands down, one of the very best American DM bands!

 

Katabatic

Pondering Portuguese heaviness. Move over Os Mutantes: Katabatic is the new psychedelic.

And the #1 song of the year: “Wonder-Room” from

Katabatic’s Heavy Water (Raging Planet). “Katabatic” is an adjective describing the cold, fast wind that travels downslope from mountaintops. The band Katabatic are a four-piece from Lisbon, Portugal that play almost vocalless atmospheric doom in the vein of Isis or, more obviously, Pelican. The light/dark shift in our song choice, “Wonder-Room,” just blows us away like those katabatic winds!

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005 Sweetish Death Metal vol. 1

We’re devoting Episode 005 and every 5th episode hereafter to our favorite death metal, old and new, i.e. anything and everything that one would term as “sweetish.” This time, we’ve paired classic death metal bands with newer bands that were clearly influenced by them:

  • “I’m In Pain,” Obituary’s The End Complete (1992, Roadrunner)

Based in Brandon, Florida, a suburb of Tampa (Death Metal Capital of the World), Obituary is considered a pioneering band in the death metal of the late ’80s/early ’90s. The new band that we paired with Obituary ends this episode…

  • “Secret Face,” Death’s Human (1993, Relativity ) 
  • “Lapse,” Dreaming Dead’s Midnightmares (2012, self-released)
Dreaming Dead

Dreaming Dead pose and/or freak out.

Death is one of the most influential death metal bands, ever! Their fourth album, Human paved the way for technical metal of today. This track is from the 2011 remastered & repackaged re-release from Relapse Records. Dreaming Dead is a L.A. band featuring guitarist/vocalist Elizabeth Schall, whose gruff voice sounds a lot like Death’s Chuck Schuldiner! Midnightmares, their second album, features cover art by renowned metal album cover artists Travis Smith, who’s done covers scores of metal bands, from Anathema to Zimmers Hole.

  • “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay,” Autopsy’s Mental Funeral (1991, Peaceville)
  • “The Origin of Disease,” Aborted’s Global Flatline (2011, Century Media)

Autopsy is another super-influential death metal band, though they chose slower tempos over extreme speed of other DM bands. This track was originally from their sophomore album, 1991’s Mental Funeral, though this remastered version is from the excellent 2001 compilation, Torn From the Grave, both on Peaceville Records. Recording since the late ’90s, Aborted is a Belgian band that conceptually sounds more like Carcass but with heavy Autopsy undertones. This album (their 9th!) features the guitarist and drummer from Abigail Williams and a bunch of guest vocalists, including the dudes from Misery Index, Rotten Sound, and The Black Dahlia Murder.

  • “Wasteland of Terror,” Asphyx’s The Rack (1991, Century Media) 
  • “The Unseen Hand,” Vore’s Gravehammer (2011, self-released)
Vore from Arkansas

Lookin’ all concrete and stuff: Vore

Pioneering death metal from the Netherlands, Asphyx has been crushing skulls since the early ’90s. This track features original vocalist Martin van Drunen, who quit in 1993 but has since returned to the band. Vore hail from Arkansas, and Gravehammer is their fourth self-released album of uncompromising death, released in December of last year. Vore just signed to German label AFM Records, who will re-release Gravehammer worldwide in July.

  • “Rapture,” Morbid Angel’s Covenant (1993, Giant) 
  • “The Art of Redemption,” Hate Eternal’s Phoenix Amongst the Ashes (2011, Metal Blade)

Along with Obituary and Death, Morbid Angel paved the way for the death metal of today. This track is taken from 1993’s Covenant, the biggest selling death metal album of its time. Covenant also marked the first time a death metal band was signed to a major label, Giant Records. Hate Eternal is helmed by former Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan. He opened his own Mana Recording Studio in St. Pete and has produced a slew of metal bands, including both Cannibal Corpse and Cannabis Corpse (!), Six Feet Under, Goatwhore, Soilent Green, Denial Fiend, Malevolent Creation, et al.

  • “Reduced to Sludge,” Funerus’ Reduced to Sludge (2011, Ibex Moon)
Funerus band photo

Straight outta the bathtub drain: Funerus

Tri-state metallers Funerus plays Obituary-styled death, with fabulously guttural vocals from bassist Jill McAtee, wife of John McAtee, founding guitarist of Incantation and president of Ibex Moon Records. John also plays guitar in Funerus; these two win our award for Death Metal Couple of the Year!

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