Heavy Prescription : The Search for Quarantine’s Anodyne

We are forced to reckon and perhaps rethink the idea of ‘space’, its rather unique capacity for confinement and ‘bruise-heavy’ mental skirmishes that comes pre-packaged when its employed under all things quarantine. The cause for quarantining should be respected, yes, but sometimes we need a few salves to soothe those rather unruly ‘side effects’ that comes with living long in a certain space. Getting stuck in our homes for this long and being asked to enjoy enforced solitude is by no means easy. Our mental health, both individually and collectively, is put to the test. Sometimes it may only be a crack away from revealing its rather mushy interior.

And in times like these – with metal’s penchant for all things dystopian/pandemic – album titles and their lyrics can move from being prophetic to being just plain ludicrous (I still love it though).

Regardless. it’s important to keep listening, to keep that conversation with music alive and kicking!

Drown out those sorrows you say? Let’s listen to…

Artwork by Nightjar Illustrations/Adam Burke

1. Drown – Subaqueous

Tchornobog (“Black god” in Ukranian) was an interesting death doom debut to say the least. Markov, the sole person behind the project takes a turn for the benthic with his comparatively older band called Drown. Funeral Doom with a melodicism that is teasing at best but alluring nonetheless. Even Poseidon would have a few godly facial muscles sagging.

 

2. 200 Stab Wounds – Piles of Festering Decomposition EP (Maggot Stomp)

Now some prodding with sharp objects to get you out of that ‘eternal wallowing’ in despair. Short, crisp and all things caveman pummeling.  This is a fine death metal EP that fits into this emergent American clique of grimier death metal bands that’ve come out on the Maggot Stomp label (think Frozen Soul and Malignant Altar).

Artwork by Artem Demura

3. Macbeth – Gedankenwächter (Massacre Records)

A band that has a long and storied history, replete with a few run-ins with the Stasi, and one of the first bands from the erstwhile German Democratic Republic. What I love about this particular release are those lovely anthemic/cathartic choruses (Krieger/In sienem namen). Cool as fuck.

 

Artwork by Nightjar Illustrations/Adam Burke

4. Solothus – Realm of Ash and Blood (20 Buck Spin)

First encountered these guys with their last release on Doomentia Records which was surprisingly good to begin with. This is Finnish death metal painted over with that now infamous sheen of gloomy atmospherics that saddles both death and doom metal. This is no different, but for me the high point of the release is when they go into those melodic soloing modes. Think Mithras, albeit much slower, darker and with adequate breathing space to sink in.

 

5. Beggar – Compelled to Repeat (APF Records)

Initial listens would suggest that they’d fall squarely into the category of those more grimier, uglier and altars of debauchery-spinoffs of Electric Wizard. I’m here talking about the sludge that bands like Dopethrone and Demonic Death Judge sort of espouse.  They are definitely in that league and a breath of fresh air in a niche that has gone increasingly stale over the years in terms of memorability.

 

Artwork by CT Nelson

6. Sutrah – Aletheia EP (The Artisan Era)

This is death metal philosophical discourse 101. Trying to capture Ancient Greek philosophical concepts such as ‘lethe’     (meaning ‘oblivion) and it’s opposite, Aletheia (or ‘disclosure’) is a grand exercise unto itself. But something which metal is not new to (here, here and here). Regardless something as concept heavy as this requires a treatment that is nothing short of grandiose. And yet that is something Sutrah does in style and I mean you could literally hope for nothing less from members of a band that have connections to the whole Canadian circle of proggy tech death that includes the likes of Chthe’ilist, Serocs, and Zealotry. You must check out the debut too if you end up digging this.

 

7. Vredehammer – Viperous (Indie Recordings)

I end this list with the 3rd album from Vredehammer. Fitting I’d say. It’s a jolt of unrelenting blackened death with the death metal aspects having a heightened presence throughout. Now this is probably because of the beefier tone that they use – but here you do begin to grasp a thread or two the close attention to the riff that bands like Desaster and Destroyer 666 employ. And while on a similar vein, it’s not yet traded for a frenetic full frontal assault.

P.S. And oh fuck! Those synth passages are to look out for! Remember the first time you listened to, say Quartz’s Charlie Snow????

P.P.S. Now if this is all TLDR for you then I’d recommend tuning into my little playlist of sorts, that focuses on some of the best tracks (not necessarily best albums) for 2020 in IMHO.

A MidYear Reflection: Deckard Cain’s Maladies of the Ear

A stooping back, coughed up blood, feet that grate and yet death eludes me. A great evil works beneath the surface, ceaselessly, to guarantee me life, sustaining it. I reckon it is that good for nothing, hellhole dweller, Diablo, once again. While the rest of humanity holds vitality dear to their heart, I deny it with vehemence unparalleled. I seek death in the deepest corners of this planet for in eternal silence I might finally rid of my physical burdens. But for now, senility is a curse, while immortality thrust upon you at senility, remains a bane of unfathomable proportions.

What keeps me alive in this howling doldrum, is companionship. My fellow magi, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy(list) and Mohmmad Kabeer(list), of our Ancient Horadrim Order, have once again unraveled scrolls of a nature, hitherto undiscovered. Their great and exotic findings within made for a sumptuous feast of music. And now I present a scroll, hidden away in a SATCHEL deep in Tristam’s boondocks.

Feel free to judge my character, and maybe piss on it…But in the end i humbly request you to…

STAY AWHILE AND LISTEN…

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IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

1. Omnium Gatherum – Beyond

Omnium Gatherum has always been hinting at their best, but was never fully realized. They showered us with a massive amount of proof with New World Shadows but then again, after finding their sound in Redshift, personally it seemed like it was deprived of some key ingredient. With “Beyond” the band truly realizes themselves carving out one fine slab of melancholic melodic death metal.

 

2. The Flight of Sleipnir – Saga

Having not heard anything previously from the band this came to as a pleasant surprise, the effect of which only grew with time. Each song draws from the usually complimentary genres such as blackened folk and doom. Although a bit like Agalloch they do put in a few good old stoner doom riffs in there as well. The production and instrumentation are murky enough to keep it raw. A truly sublimely emotive vocal delivery as accompaniment as well.

 

3. Cortez – Phoebus

With knowledge regarding Noise Rock/Hardcore amounting to naught, I never really knew what to expect from Cortez. In due time i was floored by the furious mix of unadulterated hardcore, alternating between spastic and grandiose, making for great emotive segments. And it all lines up pretty nicely with the production, as against a plethora of bands that have been trying for eons to get this mix that these guys seems to have perfected.

 

4. Man the Machetes – Idiokrati

Having liked Kvelertak’s debut and then going on to get slightly disappointed with their sophomore effort, I was looking elsewhere for quenching my thirst for fun filled punk. I never had to look farther than into the very same record label. Man the Machetes take the more punkish hardcore segments found in Kvelertak, add in a more fun “go get it!” spin to it and make a whole album out of it. Fun extreme.

 

5. ASG – Blood Drive

Laid back alternative stoner rock. A better yet crude way of putting it might be to call them a mix of Black Sabbath-esque stoner riffs bathed in Torche’s sense of melody. Coupled with one of the best vocal performances all year and a production that leaves no deep yearning for clarity, gives this great replayability.

 

6. Katalepsy – Autopsychosis

There’s been a rush of brutal death metal this year from the stalwarts Defeated Sanity, Devourment and Wormed. But this little known Russian band steals the cake. Technicality and heaviness squashed down into a more palpable form. Together with some of the finest grooves laid down in the genre, Autopsychosis brings an insane amount of catchiness to the table.

 

7. Crown – Psychurgy

Exploring the aural alternatives of the word “Crushing”. This French duo take the atmosphere heavy, post- sludge to greater heights. There is ample industrial experimentation on work here as well which makes it all the more interesting.

 

8. Deafheaven – Sunbather

Hipsters black metal… as your average ludicrous kvltist might put it. Do not be fooled my friends, for this is truly a piece of beautiful music, extricating black metal from its inherent conservativeness and spreading it with truly ingenious sense of melody. The lyrics are deeply introspective and further accentuates the music at hand.

 

9. Beastwars – Blood Becomes Fire

Law abiding citizens of planet “Obey the Riff”, are  Beastwars. Having been enamored by their debut just the last year, Blood Becomes Fire makes swift escape from the jaws of the sophomore slum abyss. Imagine if High on Fire attempted  a return to being Sleep and maybe added a dash of melody more than usual.

 

10. Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle

Named after one of the most powerful warriors in the epic fantasy novel series “The Book of Malazan”( which i coincidentally took to reading earlier this year) makes this album and band all the more special. Imagine the Tolkien worshipers in the band Summoning, changing their lyrical influence and accordingly the music as well. Epic folky black metal. Do not look here for an instrumental wank off, rather come here for atmosphere.

 

Other Notable Mentions

1. Benea Reach – Possession

With their innate knack to pen down some of the catchiest riffs with a great ear for melody , they ride far from the madding crowd of djent fanatics. If one can see past their cringe worthy lyricism, then this will go down as one of the better modern metal albums off late.

2. The Fall of Every Second – Amends

Imagine Insomnium being further slowed down and choosing to tread over a more doomier path.

3. Hate – Solarflesh

Clearly a case of the band outdoing and outmaneuvering their influences (Behemoth in this case). Makes for a much better listen than any of Behemoth’s albums.

4. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Regarde Les Homme Tomber

Probably the best debut all year. Might as well call it sludgy/post-metal/black metal/doom. There are so many genres at play here, yet it all seem as a single entity.

5. Universe217 – Harm

Some of the best vocal performances in a long time, thoroughly haunting and captivating. The doomy instrumentation fine packages the sublime vocal performance.

6. Moth – Endlessly in Motion

Strapping Young Lad-ish and at times Decapitated-ish. Catchy nonetheless.

7. Scale the Summit – The Migration

Once again a case of top notch instrumental wizardry at par with stellar songwriting.

8. Krownn – Hyborian Age

Conan, gives all hideous monsters a rest, smokes a reefer and tries a hand at composing music. “Hmm… Not that bad… Good infact.. Real Good.”

9. Vuyvr – Heiskalt

The best release from the already impressive Throatruiner records roster. Scathing and unrelenting black metal, unfolding and bathing in its most primeval form.

10. Shade Empire – Omega Arcane

Septic Flesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse have a new rival in the making. Although being their 4th full length, this is a strong release which will establish their relevance in the symphonic death metal milieu.

A mid year reflection: Jayaprakash Satyamurthy’s best of 2013

With the rest of the (active)writers on board, we’ve decided to put up our own little mid year best-of lists. Hopeful to the fact, that you guys might stumble on something new in the process as well. We had Mohammad Kabeer’s list posted last week, check that if you haven’t already. Today we have our own doomlord Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, talking about his favorite ones.

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1.       Victor Griffin’s In-Graved – S/T ( Review )

I greatly prefer this album to the last Pentagram offering; the best bits on it were Griffin’s solos, anyway. A soulful, heavy and integral collection of excellent tunes by a consummate songwriter and guitar player.

2.       Goatess – S/T ( Review )

What some of the latter-day trad doom bands forget is that their influences always turned in albums that were as diverse as they were definitive. Goatess understands this, and each song has its own character while maintaining a consistent feel. Chritus, of course, is in fine form.

3.       Kongh – Sole Creation ( Review )

Just four songs, but each one is a sprawling epic of heavy, sludgy guitars, mesmerizing, almost post-metallic textures and a great mix of gruff and melodic vocals that don’t sound gimmicky at all.

4.       Primitive Man – Scorn

Abrasive, grimy, downtempo and heavy as heck, the Colorado sludgers’ debut album is one of the finest slabs of dissonant, pissed off riff abuse in a while. A fantastic production job abets songs that emerge and fade in squalls of noise while providing a surprisingly healthy quota of genuine hooks in between.

5.       Endless Boogie – Long Island

This is blues rock the way it’s rarely heard – not an effervescent virtuoso showcase, but a series of strung-out, stoned jams that reverberate with washes of glorious fuzz, oddball storylines and eccentric but very authentically bluesy ritualism.

6.       Abyssal – Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius

Imagine a slowed-down Portal. That begins to describe this UK black/doom band’s sluggish, weighty sound. The ambience is nightmarishly oppressive and the structures are more abstract and free-form than on their debut, ‘Denouement’, which only works in favour of the uncanny atmosphere conjured up by this band.

7.       Dark Buddha Rising – Dakhmandal ( Review )

Not an album as much as a ritual, a trance-inducing, terrifying, alluring song-cycle that takes you through a stunning diversity of musical textures. Their best album yet.

8.       Dragonauta – Omega Pentagram

The band with the Sleep-worshipping name delivers a doom/sludge album that doesn’t wear any of the expected influences on its sleeve, choosing instead to revel in some of the most original and distinctive riffs and melodies I’ve head being carved out in this genre in a while.

9.       Fragarak – Crypts of Dissimulation

Intelligent, questing and melodic progressive extreme metal with an introspective bent. One of the best debuts of the year and certainly the best Indian metal release of the year so far.

10.   Reino Ermitano – Veneracion Del Fuego ( Review )

This Peruvian doom band has fallen beneath the radar for me in past years, but this platter of seasoned, immersive music ensures that I’ll pay them a lot more attention henceforth. Dark, mystical music with great tone and songs that stretch out to great effect.

Notable albums:

 Cathedral – The Last Spire

Not their finest hour, but a wonderfully doomy set of songs.

Sacred Gate- Tides Of War

Proof that the battle of Thermopylae and Iron Maiden still have the power to inspire some really good metal music

Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark

Their most assured and original album yet

Hexvesselc – Iron Marsh EP

This EP shows the gains this band has reaped from bringing heavier textures into their musical mix

Timo Tolkk’s Avalon – The Land Of New Hope

Great melodies, dramatic over-the-top vocals and some brilliant soloing make this Tolkki’s best album since the demise of Renaissance Revolution

Anvil – Hope In Hell

A catchy, likable album that underscores the real reason you should listen to this band – their incredible consistency

Krypts – Unending Degradation

Delivers on the promise of their self-titled EP with one of the most idiomatic and well-conceived old school DM sets this year

Asgard – Outworld

Metalheads who swear by Helloween’s ‘Walls Of Jericho’ simply must check out this album by a band that puts the power back in power metal

Abysmal Grief – Feretr

This band occupies the common ground between goth and trad doom, and does a fine job of it

Cauchemar – Tenbrario

The trad doomers take it up a notch or two from their debut EP, delivering a very strong follow-up

Ramlord – Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom

Crusty sludge with shades of d-beat and black metal. Another supremely abrasive, scalding album

A mid year reflection: Mohammad Kabeer’s Best albums of 2013

Two months into 2013 i was absolutely gutted. I was dumbfounded by the sheer lack of good metal this year. Probably so because i did not do the required amount of digging and unearthing that i usually do. Yet again i was plain upset compared to the spate of brilliant releases that dotted (quite frequently) the previous year, and nothing of the like this time around. All said and done, the fact remains that metal will come through come what may. And that is precisely what happened. It was time for a second session of dumbfoundedness, only this time, spurred on by the sheer quality of good releases, i seem to have ignored all long.

Well with that in mind, along with the rest of the (active)writers on board, we’ve decided to put up our own little mid year best-of lists. Also hopeful are we, to the fact, that you guys might stumble on something new in the process as well.

Mohammad Kabeer, the man of Grind has just sent me through, this little list. He’s a lazy half ass, but yet still one of the best men in the country for all the latest grind and hardcore. A genre that is still really to catch on around here. Read on!

Wet Grinder

All right here goes!

 1. Disciples of Christ/TRIAC split

Great DOC owns this split right here creating some really fast grind that is pure aural destruction. It is unstoppable. TRIAC is not far behind, although much more predictable but still raw and brutal

 

2. Nails – Abandon all Hope

A pretty decent follow up to their last album not as epic but still a lot of fun!

 

3. Sex prisoner – State property (EP)

Sex Prisoner make a triumphant return after a pretty dismal split with Magnum Force and ACxDC sounding a lot heavier, almost falling into the category of Entombedcore.

 

 4. Inter Arma – Sky Burial

Fantastic album which refuses to fall into any category, if you haven’t heard it HEAR IT NOW!

 

5. Seven sisters of Sleep – Opium Morals

Just really thick and punishing Sludge/hardcore that just makes me bang my head without fail, every single time!

 

6. Full of Hell – Rudiments of Mutilation

Full of Hell make their mark this year with a really experimental hardcore album that refuses to play to the gallery

 

7. Fuck the facts – Amer (EP)

As always these guys know their grind and do what they know best! To shock and awe!! Do what no one else can. Definitely a must listen!

 

8. Rotten Sound – Species at War

Rotten Sound still sounding heavy and a letting go of their robot like precision which makes this record sound much more raw in terms of playing.

 

9. NVRD – Coma

Some great catchy hardcore in the vein of converge.

 

 10. All Pigs must Die – Nothing Violates this Nature

Another great hardcore/sludge album. A lot faster and kinda like fusing High on Fire or Black Tusk with hardcore.

 

11.Call of the Void – Dragged Down a Dead End Path

Awesome old school grind mixed with a slight touch of technicality!