This month’s batch of recommendations isn’t exactly going to be an exiting one. Short story short, I just didn’t listen to too many albums of much note throughout this month, aside from some really damn good new ones like the latest bangers from Power Trip & Immolation, as well as the fantastic new Sun Kil Moon album. I did, however, re-discover some stuff that I dug a few years back and forgot how great it was, especially in a genre i’m not particularly too fond of nowadays, as well as some other stuff. So without any further adieu, let me just get right into it.
This month’s recs…
Carcass: Surgical Steel
From one of the pioneering acts of the then budding Goregrind scene to one of the leading bands of the Melodic Death Metal movement of the early to mid 90s alongside At the Gates & In Flames, as well as being one of the best at it, Carcass released one of the most recognizable albums of the 90s in the great Heartwork back in 1993, then followed it up with the not so great Swansong in 1995, then called it quits. Then as 2013 approached and a reuniting and new album was confirmed, many were wondering what to expect after 18 years missing in action. What we got was this banger. It’s not that often that comeback albums deliver, but when they do, it’s glorious.
After 18 years, Carcass returned with what could have been a continuation of the Swansong style, which everybody feared, but instead, we got a return to the Heartwork roots, like we all hoped for. This is a solid, Thrashy, riffed up and mean slab of Melodic DM that harkens back to the glory days of the now stagnant sub-genre. A little more polished on the production side, but just as heavy, fast and rich with great riffs as ever. I’m glad this one found it’s way back into my ears and heart.
In Flames: Whoracle
Easily one of my favorite albums of Melodic Death Metal’s early era by one of the best bands who did it (despite what they would sadly later become). With this album, In Flames brought forth one of the best offerings of it’s time period, full of some of the catchiest riffs and grooves ever put on record. Whoracle is a super fun listen from start to finish and one of the albums I was jamming out to the most in my earlier days as a Metal fan. The 2 that came before this one, Lunar Strain & The Jester Race and the one that came after it, Colony are also great albums (then after that they went tumbling down the hill like a boulder in a landslide) and I know The Jester Race gets credited as their best album and i’m not disputing that at all. This album just strikes a little bit more of a nostalgic chord for me. I’m usually not one to play the nostalgia game too much, but listening to this one again after such a long time and still enjoying it is just one of those moment where I can’t help it.
Love em’ or hate em’, this album, as well as the other 3 mentioned still fucking rule and while I can’t say they did them any justice whatsoever with the albums that would come after these 4, these are more than enough to fulfill my needs when it comes to In Flames or Melodic Death Metal altogether.
Dark Tranquillity: Atoma
I used to love this band. Especially in high school. During my little Melodic DM kick, I decided to see what they were up to. The last I heard from them was We are the Void, which was meh. I gave their previous albums another listen and I still moderately enjoy them. Especially The Gallery & Character. I saw that they released a new one just last year and I gave it a listen. Holy fuck, I was impressed. This album is their best one since Fiction and without a doubt a big step up from their last 2 (Construct sucked, by the way). Super clean production-wise and riddled with more clean vocals than ever, but this is still a very gripping album with a style only Dark Tranquillity can pull off. You just have to keep an open mind and be able to enjoy different levels of production.
Are they still my favorite when it comes to Melodic Death? No. Are they still a great band? Sure. I’m not nearly as big a fan as I used to be, but I do have a new found respect for them with this one.
Aborted: Goremageddon (The Saw and the Carnage Done)
That’ll do it for the Melodic stuff for now, now onto the more brutal side of things.
Aborted nowadays have become boring and repetitive. They’ve been treading along Cannibal Corpse & Slayer territory of releasing the same goddamn album over and over again since The Archaic Abattoir. This album however, is one of my favorite Death Metal albums and in my opinion, this is when they peaked. A lot of people may see them as a Carcass clone, and I can see it in terms of subject matter and aesthetics, but that’s where it really ends. Their style is unique on it’s own, even with the obvious Carcass influence. This is Brutal Death Metal that’s a little more melodic than most, bust still furious and hard-hitting. Also, really fucking loud. Really loud. When I first heard this album I thought my eardrums were going to explode because of how loud this album’s production is.
Anyway, still, this is a great Death Metal album, no matter what you want to classify it as. Fast, heavy, energetic and just super fun all the way through. Despite what Aborted have become nowadays, this remains one of their best works.
This is a band that took me a while to get into, but upon a recent random listen, now I fucking love them. Vallenfyre play a dirty and super aggressive style of old school Death Metal that can appeal to older and younger fans of the genre, comparable to the likes of Bloodbath and Grave. The main reason it took me a while to get into them was the vocals, but they have grown on me greatly. Vocalist and Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh’s style is sort of similar to what Nick Holmes is currently doing in Bloodbath; very different and may be a bit off-putting to some, but still very nasty and sleazy. Again, it took a few good listens to grow on me, but it did. The guy is great.
Overall, this and their last album A Fragile King are both very intense and very punishing slabs of old school Death that I enjoy thoroughly and have no idea why I didn’t like them at first. I highly recommend these two and i’m very much looking forward to their upcoming new one!
Corrections House: Know How to Carry a Whip
If there’s one thing I love, it’s Mike IX Williams. If there’s one other thing I love, it’s anything made by Mike IX Williams. If you like Doom & Sludge, you already know of and probably love Eyehategod. If you like Industrial and Drone, however, this is a treat for you. Corrections House is one of the numerous side-projects of Williams and honestly of of his best. This is an experimentation that turns away from the usual ugly, stomach-churning Sludge style that Mike is known for in Eyehategod to an Industrial Metal sound that experiments with drone, noise and other elements, and it’s really well done.
Mike & company take all these elements and combine them into this nasty, sleazy sound that goes from slow and dragging (in a good way) to fast and super aggressive, all topped of with Mike’s signature spiteful, pissed off and mean screams and snarls that make Eyehategod so goddamn great. This is one of his lesser known projects so I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some solid and super aggressive Industrial other than Youth Code.
That’ll do it for this month. Hopefully this isn’t too disappointing. It just wasn’t a very eventful month. I’ll make sure next month is better. For now, hopefully Corrections House have at least grabbed your attention. It’s much deserved. Especially with all the health issues Mike has been dealing with as of late.
Until next time.