Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and for good reason. I’ve been waiting a few months to give myself a fair amount of albums that I just don’t see fit for a full review to include on here. So here they are! This is just some of the new stuff that I blessed my ears with over the last 3 months that I either just didn’t have time or just didn’t quite enjoy enough to give a full review to. So I did my best to get my full thoughts across on these in a couple of paragraphs. Hopefully I said enough. This is quite a mixed bag. Some great ones, some good ones and a couple disappointments, including one big one. This has been quite a polarizing few months.
So here we go. The rest of my May to July new listens.
Nargaroth: Era of Threnody
“The more you try to create a paradise, the more you will resent the prison, and all you’re left with is dreams of a future that never happened.”
The long-awaited new album by the Norwegian legend, Nargaroth is upon us and I finally got to give it a listen. Upon seeing that cover art for the first time, I grew cautious but remained optimistic. After all, this is the same guy who gave us classics like Herbstleyd, Black Metal ist Krieg & Semper Fidelis. It can’t go too far downhill, right?
Well, this is definitely his most ”polished” album to date. The production is top notch and clean as a whistle. This also may be his most melodic yet. Many of the tracks either open with or feature an almost Prog-like melodic passage that leads into an almost later Enslaved-like flurry of mid-paced riffs and grooves, topped with Ash’s signature snarly, shrieky vocal style. Tracks like Dawn of Epiphany and Conjunction Underneath the Alpha Weel are the best examples of this. Pretty epic stuff. The misanthropic themes and bleak tones are still very much present here, as most evident with Love is a Dog from Hell and closer My Eternal Grief, Anguish Neverending, but presented with a more melodic and Progressive vibe. Am I saying this is bad? No. I’m not a Prog fan, but this is still very much a Black Metal album and a pretty good one!
Would I call this my favorite Nargaroth album, however? No. I’ll still most likely reach for the older material when I want some Nargaroth ravaging my eardrums, but I did enjoy this one for what it was. Still worth a listen. Especially if you’re into stuff like newer Enslaved or Shining.
Suffocation: …Of the Dark Light
The long-awaited and much-anticipated new opus from New York Death Metal legends, Suffocation is finally upon us. It’s an interesting one as well, given the recent line-up changes the band has undergone. A few weeks back when it was released, I heard Your Last Breath and didn’t quite know how to feel about it, so I couldn’t help but think that this one could go either way when I finally gave it a listen. So I finally did, keeping my expectations low going in… actually not knowing what the fuck to expect, and overall I was pleasantly surprised. This is actually pretty goddamn good!
Much like the new Nargaroth, I surely won’t put this one as my favorite from the band; it’s far from their best work, but this is still a really solid slab of techy Death Metal in the signature style Suffocation is known for. It’s not quite as intense as say Blood Oath or their self-titled album, but still just as enjoyable. There are some bangers on here like The Warmth Within the Dark and Return to the Abyss; both super blasty tracks with some chugging, pounding riffs and a good amount of double bass inanity via new drummer Eric Morotti. Great stuff. Suffocation have always had a certain level of precision in their sound, which is why they’re one of the few Tech Death bands I can fuck with. This album is another showing of that that surpassed my expectations and left me pleasantly surprised after months of anticipation and not knowing what I was in for.
Overall, it’s another great outing by the NY Death legends that proves that the flame isn’t out yet. These guys still have much to offer and once they find their footing with the new lineup, they’ll be an even greater force than before.
Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition: Raping Angels in Hell
Time for more Grind. This time by French Deathgrind titans, Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition. Here we have some nasty, sleazy, no-bullshit old school Death Metal-injected Grindcore that goes right for the throat from the jump. Right from the very start of Sabbath Nights (The Impure Reptile), you’re given a good slapping with some fast, intense riffs and pounding drums and it continues all throughout. This is a really good style of Deathgrind with some very sweet, solid riffs and sleazy, brooding growling vocals. Very intense and very fun all around. Some might even call this one straight Death Metal, and I wouldn’t argue with them, but there is a good presence of Grind here, which they’ve always been known for.
Either way, this a very intense and very brutal slab of grindy Death Metal that will have you jamming out all the way through. Another album that I gave a listen on the fly due to my Grind kick and don’t regret it whatsoever.
Municipal Waste: Slime and Punishment
A year ago, I would have never thought i’d be listening to anything new put out by Municipal Waste again. This is a band that I liked once upon a time, but then drifted WAY the fuck away from, and even started to think they sucked. That was until April of this year, when I caved in and decided to give the latest Iron Reagan offering a listen amidst the buzz it was creating and ended up enjoying the hell out of it. It was a fun, hyper and super aggressive slab of Punky Crossover Thrash that harkened back to the days of Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I. It was excellent. Short story short, hearing that raised my curiosity as to the possibility of digging Municipal Waste again. So once again, I caved and gave them a listen after a few year-long hiatus and that leads us here. I’m a fan again and I enjoyed this album too.
This is another fun little Thrash album that wastes no time in bashing your face in from the get-go. It’s the usual Municipal Waste style of humoring you while beating your eardrums silly. Some great riffs, catchy grooves and verses and just an all-around super fast and hyper sound. So if you’re a fan, this one will please you for sure. Definitely better than The Fatal Feast.
Tankard: One Foot in the Grave
On to another fun offering of Thrash. This is the latest one from legendary German thrashers, Tankard, who are also known for their style of humorous and fun, riffy Thrash Metal and the countless albums they have released from 1986 to now in that style without getting old or boring. This is a very abrasive, energetic and fun serving of humorous riffy Thrash with some catchy tracks like Pay to Pray and the title track, as well as just fast, loud and straightforward tracks like Don’t Bullshit Us! and Syrian Nightmare. Some may call it cheesy, but that’s what Thrash like this is supposed to be. I love the aggressive and intense stuff as much as the next bloke, but sometimes, a little cheesy fun is fine too.
This is a great example that as long as the music itself is enjoyable and fits the subject matter, it will work, and this does. Really damn good album that makes for a good energy-lifter. Worth a shot.
Last but not least in the pure Thrash department, we have the latest offering from Denver, Colorado quartet of old-school style Thrashers, Havok. Conformicide is the fourth full-length release of the already prospering career of these guys, who have built up quite a name for themselves in their so-far 13-year existence by playing a very aggressive style of fast, riffy old-school Thrash Metal with some catchy verses, abrasive hooks, sharp as fuck sounding drums and raspy, harsh vocals with an old school attitude but a modern energy to them that makes for a fun, ear-smashing listen. Tracks like opener F.P.C. and Hang ’em High are fast, loud and energetic assaults with some really catchy riffs and some sweet solos here and there that really set a nice tone for the album that lasts all throughout. Peace is in Pieces is another banger. It’s nothing too far off from any of the other so-called “Retro Thrash” that we’ve gotten so far this year like Power Trip or Iron Reagan, but it’s just as good and just as worthy of a bunch of consecutive listens until I get tired of it. There’s even a nice cover of Pantera’s Slaughtered to wrap it up.
Really damn good album and another example of why Thrash is still alive and kicking’ in 2017 and will be far beyond.
Goatwhore: Vengeful Ascension
I’ve been a Goatwhore fan for 11 years now. Ever since first hearing Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult all those years ago and immediately buying A Haunting Curse at my (since shut down) local FYE, I was hooked and they never disappointed me with any album that followed… until now.
What I love about Goatewhore is, not only that they formed from the ashes of Acid Bath, but the sheer intensity and aggressiveness they brought to the table. From The Eclipse of Ages into Black to Carving Out the Eyes of God to Blood for the Master & Constricting Rage of the Merciless, these fuckers always found a way to keep me invested while churning out masterpiece after masterpiece of vicious Blackened Death Thrashy goodness. So, needless to say when I learned that this album was on the horizon and read the title for the first time, I was ecstatic. Fast-forward a couple months, the wait was finally over and I gave it a listen… and wow. This is a very disappointing output by these guys and all things considered; the title and cover art, which had my expectations high, I was shocked and really let down. This album to me, just lacks the intensity and aggressiveness that I love and expect from Goatwhore. It’s more groove-oriented and mid-paced, similar to Slayer’s 90s output (Seasons in the Abyss and onward). I’m just not a fan of that style. When listen to Thrash, I want to hear THRASH. Fast, heavy and abrasive. Especially when it’s Blackened fucking Death Thrash. I mean, come on. The Groove Thrash thing just doesn’t do it for me.
It’s not that it’s a generally bad album, i’m just not a fan of how things are toned down here. The only tracks really worth mentioning here are Drowned in Grim Rebirth and Mankind Will Have No Mercy. Those are the two most solid tracks that I enjoyed the most. That about does it. So, overall, check this one out for yourself, but for me, it just falls flat. I love you to death, Goatwhore, but this is far from your best work.
Ending things on a more positive note, last but not least, we have the sophomore full-length by Finnish Blackened Death Metal titans, Pimeydentuoja. Putting it short and sweet, Hellcrowned is a very solid and brutal slab of hellish, ripping Blackened Death with crushing riffs, sharp, blasty drumming and fowl, gnarly vocals. Nothing too fancy or innovative, but unique in it’s own right and does what it’s meant to do and ravages your ears into oblivion with it’s blasphemous fury. I was looking forward to hearing this one after hearing their first album and last EP and it delivered no doubt. If you’re a fan of the likes of Angelcorpse, Archgoat or Vanhelgd, this is for you. Very precise, very intense and straight to the point. Great stuff!
That’s it for now. Again, I wish I could have gotten to give a lot of these full reviews, but time just won’t allow it. So hopefully I’ve said my piece enough for each of these. I do have more reviews coming in the next couple weeks, including one that WAS going to be a part of this post, but far too deserving of a full review, and it’s gonna be a rave one! You’ll see what it is.
So yeah, these last few months were interesting. Some bangers, some rippers and some downers. The really good ones are getting the full reviews (including my last 3) and these are the ones that just didn’t make the cut for one. I have more thoughts for another batch of releases coming out later this week as well. Some non full-lengths. Be on the lookout for that. Until then, check these out if you want and form your own opinions, but enjoy my ramblings on them in the meantime.
Until next time.