The latest heavy metal album reviews, including releases from Aborted Fetus, Artificial Brain, Ass To Mouth, Bodyfarm, Coffin Dust, Cripple Bastards, Down Among The Dead Men, Embryonic Devourment, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fuoco Fatuo, Godhunter, Kamchatka, More Than A Thousand, Omnivore, Omotai, Sahg, Skindred, Soreption, TrenchRot and Tyrants Blood.
The ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Aborted Fetus - ‘Private Judgment Day’ (Comatose)
Genre: Brutal/Slam Death Metal
All that you need to know is ‘brutal/slam death metal’ and Comatose Music and you’ve got the gist of it. Aborted Fetus play bottom of the barrel, slam/ brutal death metal with gore laced lyrics, burped vocals, and ‘slammy’ breakdowns interspersed with a few blast beats.
There’s nothing here remotely interesting, as you’ve heard it all before from bands that are infinitely better. Stick to Putrid Pile for your slam fix.
Artificial Brain - 'Labyrinth Constellation' (Profound Lore)
Genre: Death Metal
Space and sci-fi are fairly common lyrical topics in metal, especially in genres like progressive and power metal. The debut album from the New York band Artificial Brain covers celestial topics, but in a genre you might not expect. Labyrinth Constellation is a death metal album.
Pummeling blastbeats give way to galloping grooves and some trippy semi-progressive sections. The gurgling vocals are only semi-intelligible, so you really don't know what they are talking about except through the song titles. Artificial Brain change things up frequently and the songs are well-written, a good combination for repeat listens.
Ass to Mouth – ‘Degenerate’ (Selfmadegod)
If anyone forgot that drinking and getting high were extreme music pastimes, Poland’s Ass to Mouth are here with a reminder. Their second full-length album is the aptly titled Degenerate, a 20 track case of grindcore with an affinity for Leaving Las Vegas samples.
The music on hand is appropriately fun and dirty, take “Drunk & Stoned,” for instance. Devil-may-care song titles of drinking and anti-authority are carried by tireless drumming and Jakub Ziomkowski’s ragged shouts and growls. For a grind record, one could do much worse, but the bar closes far too soon on Degenerate. It’s never good when a grind album outstays its welcome.
Bodyfarm - 'The Coming Scourge' (Cyclone Empire)
Genre: Death Metal
The Coming Scourge is a trip back to death metal’s heyday a la Asphyx, though with a crisper production bringing it to modern times. Even when the double bass drums are kicking and the ferocious riffs threaten to obliterate mankind, melodic guitar solos keep Bodyfarm well-balanced.
The band puts out aggressive flashes on “Unbroken” and the title track, but vary the songs to avoid complacent songwriting. The stirring, momentous tunes are saved for the last third, including a rousing performance of Bathory’s “Enter the Eternal Fire.” A wider release gives Bodyfarm’s second album a fighting chance to make waves among death metal enthusiasts.
Coffin Dust – 'This Cemetery, My Kingdom' (Unholy Anarchy)
Genre: Death Metal
Filthy dirty death metal; Coffin Dust is just that from their album art to the crust ridden riffs they bring to the table. "Ancient Rites Of Buried Evil" is a powerful opening song that would fit well into either the US or European field of death metal.
Gritty production takes This Cemetery, My Kingdom back a solid 20 to 25 years, which can only work in its favor. For all of the positives of this album, the back end isn’t nearly as strong as the opening few tracks, but for fans of OSDM this is one of the best of 2014 so far.
Cripple Bastards – 'Nero In Metastasi' (Relapse)
Cripple Bastards are a long standing outfit of Italian grind. Combine that with the endorsement of one Mike IX Williams from Eyehategod and you have a good idea what comes next with Nero In Metastasi. Nearly unrivaled anarchy follows throughout this grind beast and fans of Pig Destroyer will find themselves right at home.
There's plenty of riff based madness and more foreign language short grind than Wormrot themselves could shake a stick at. Relapse Records have found themselves another winner and any fan of modern grindcore should do themselves a favor and pick up this fun and chaotic album.
Down Among The Dead Men - 'Down Among The Dead Men' (CycloneEmpire)
Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
Down Among The Dead Men are a veteran trio out of Denmark, with vocalist David Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower), who mixed up the genre Legos on the kitchen table and used all the black ones to build a squat castle of crusty, thrashy death punk metal. It's impressively tight and never lets up on the beats per second.
Lyrics are polished gems of the usual death prattle, but delivered with sincere vitriol. DATD have a sound as dark as obsidian. The songs rage and roll, crash one into the other with mosh pit abandon. After it’s done, it doesn’t linger for long, but does leave surprise bruises in weird places.
Embryonic Devourment - ‘Reptilian Agenda’ (Deepsend)
Genre: Death Metal
Embryonic Devourment have been kicking around for about ten years or so, but Reptilian Agenda is my first exposure to the band. I was expecting, more or less, typical brutal death metal, but, instead, Embryonic Devourment play a rather quirky form of technical death metal with a few jazzy influences and fluid guitar work.
Although interesting with a few good songs, Reptilian Agenda suffers from some shoddy production with a thin sound. The musicianship is more than competent, but comes up short against the heavy hitters of the genre, namely Gorguts, Ulcerate, and a handful of others.
Flotsam and Jetsam – ‘No Place For Disgrace - 2014’ (Metal Blade)
Genre: Thrash Metal
Smashing onto the metal scene in 1986, Arizona’s Flotsam and Jetsam were one of the leaders in the second wave of the early thrash movement. Their first six records are bona fide classics, in particular the first two. Now twenty-six years later they have re-recorded their sophomore release, No Place For Disgrace.
While reworking the songs, the tempos have been slowed in some instances and Erik AK just doesn’t have the vocal range he once displayed. Along with the title track, “Escape From Within” and “I Live You Die” the songwriting is sensational. I can understand the band thinking they can improve upon a classic but unfortunately it rarely, if ever, pans out. Stick with the original, as it is one of the best thrash albums ever released.
Fuoco Fatuo – 'The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains' (Iron Tyrant)
Genre: Doom Metal
Fuoco Fatuo sounds like Latin for “obese Kaley Cuoco” doesn't it? But make no mistake, this Italian doom trio's debut LP The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains is definitely not pretty, but it is ungodly heavy.
These five monstrous tracks define the meaning of ultra-doom. Heaving and slow, monotonous riffs bring to mind Evoken, Mournful Congregation and Loss. It has that kind of weight. Faster parts are equally devastating and are cut with a blackened edge. It's worth your money just for the riff at 5:13 in “Junipers of Black Iridescence” alone. This doom is not for fools.