Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi (Technical Death Metal)

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Here comes another release from a band that shouldn’t need any introduction. Decrepit Birth, formed 2001, are definitely considered one of the best techdeath bands in existence with their last two albums Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity being masterpieces. It’s been seven long years since Polarity came out so Axis Mundi is a long awaited album for many metalheads out there. So how does Axis Mundi hold their ground against the rest of the bands discography?

I’ll say this straight away, Polarity remains my favorite album from Decrepit Birth but Axis Mundi is a damn close second. They do differ quite a bit in sound and approach of style so that being said Axis Mundi is another beast all together. Again a top class release to add to their already great discography either way. They are still a force to be reckoned with after all these years. Whereas I had some problem with Origin not being brutal enough Decrepit Birth still is. The riffs, the solos, vocals, drumming and production, Decrepit Birth nails it all yet again with Axis Mundi. Be it Spirit Guide, Hieroglyphic, Transcendental Paradox, Mirror of Humanity or Epigenetic Triplicity you will have a freaking good time. The instrumental track Embryogenesis and Orion are also personal favorites of mine. I mean hell as you already see that’s more than half the album right there being instant techdeath classics of mine. That’s how good this album is. I just can’t grasp how many times I started to headbang as there was a sweet tempo-change with killer riffs or solo going on for days in my mind as I air-guitar away on my seat. The change from being more towards the progressive death metal side on Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity to mixing it up with adding the more brutal sides they had on …And Time Begins is what makes this yet another masterpiece from them. Which means it doesn’t matter which album you like the most from Decrepit Birth, they have something for everyone in here!

For me this is the best technical death metal album released so far this year. Axis Mundi will be one of the albums every band will want to beat and I am not sure anyone can. Decrepit Birth made a wonderful return with Axis Mundi and I hope we don’t have to wait seven years for another album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/decrepitbirth
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/decrepitbirth
Label: Nuclear Blast and Agonia Records
For fans of: Origin and Necrophagist
Favorite song: Epigenetic Triplicity
Score: 5/5

Amentia – Scourge (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

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From Belarus a techdeath band named Amentia have come to surprise us all with some of the best brutal technical death metal you will hear all year. They might not be a household name within the genre, yet, but Amentia have existed since 2003 with Scourge being the bands third full-length release, six years after their sophomore album Incurable Disease. Having never heard of the band myself I was caught off-guard by the bands tight riffs and blasting drums. To me this is close to a perfect score, everything just seems to hit the right notes at the right times.

Not a single song on the album is even close to being bad and Scourge has been on repeat several times these past days. Only thing is that the songs tends to be a bit indistinguishable which makes it hard for the songs to stand out to one another. Sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes not and in this case I would like there to be some more variation. In a year when heavy hitters like Decrepit Birth, Suffocation, Hideous Divinity and Hour of Penance are releasing killer techdeath Amentia are making a great effort to stand tall next to those monsters. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know a great upcoming band with an album you do not want to miss.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amentiabelarus
Label: Satanath Records / Amputated Vein Records
For fans of: Defeated Sanity and Decrepit Birth
Favorite song: Noble Death
Score: 4/5

Origin – Unparalleled Universe (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

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From the crazy White Ward jazz-post-black metal experience I go to something I feel right at home with. It’s time to review one of the technical brutal death metal greats, Origin. A band which has given us mortals some of the best brutal techdeath that’s ever existed since their formation in 1997. Since then the band has released one EP and Unparalleled Universe will be the seventh full-length release, something very few techdeath bands have even done actually. With heavy hitting albums like Antithesis and Omnipresent fresh in mind how does Unparalleled Universe stand next to them?

Have to be said Origin still got it, even seven albums and 20 years into their career. However I lack that Wrath of Vishnu, The Aftermath and All Things Dead feel to it. It’s a good album but next to a discography like Origins they almost slay themself. I always hate reviewing albums like this in all honesty. When a band has a really good discography should they get punished for releasing something not on the very very top? I mean if this was a debut or even a sophomore album I would say something along the lines of “omg this is one of the best bands that will tear the future apart!!!”. I don’t know, this is a freaking great album but knowing what Origin has done in the past I know I can expect more. A great album doesn’t cut it this year within brutal death metal, not with Dying Fetus, Broken Hope, Decrepit Birth and Suffocation getting releases out. Mithridatic, Dajjal, Burden of Prescience and Origins longest track as of yet Unequivocal are the highlights of this album and especially Unequivocal makes me go all headbang mode and presents Origin in top form. It’s a good album and any Origin fan should get it. As I said they still got the touch. However I know there is more brutality to be unleashed from them, some songs are just too soft for my liking to make this a real heavy hitter as an Origin album should be.

Unparalleled Universe is out now through Agonia Records in EU and Nuclear Blast in the US. With this review I am also bringing back the score scale, this time instead of a 1-10 scale it will be a 1-5 one. 5 being the highest grade and 1 the lowest.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Origin
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/OriginBand
Label: Agonia Records (EU) and Nuclear Blast (US)
For fans of: Nile and Decrepit Birth
Favorite song: Unequivocal
Score: 3.5/5

Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone (Technical/Brutal Death Metal)

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Italian brutal techdeath masters Hour of Penance are back with a flurry of blistering riffs and brutality some bands can only dream of to jell together into a perfect mix. And oh does it deliver! After having listened to the single XII Century Imperial Crusade a million times already I knew this album was going to be something special. However after listening to the album I am still in ave. XII Century Imperial Crusade, as great as it is, isn’t even one of the best tracks on the album!

Track after track Hour of Penance keeps on giving me some of the best riffs and music I’ve heard in a long time. The album is so polished, yet undeniable crushing and I can only applaud them for keeping such high quality during their career even on their seventh release. The addition of drummer Davide “BrutalDave” Billia (Beheaded, Septycal Gorge and Xenomorphic Contamination) only seems to have fuelled this tank of destruction that is Hour of Penance. I have to say time after time again when I hear Davide he rises on my list of the best drummers in the world, he puts in a lot of hard work and has never let me down so far.

Hour of Penance has already released a contender for album of the year. I urge you, do not miss this album!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hourofpenance
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HourofPenance
For fans of: Nile and Origin
Favorite song: Cast the First Stone

Inanimate Existence – Calling from a Dream (Progressive/Technical Death Metal)

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Calling from a Dream is Inanimate Existences third full-length since their formation in 2010. Meaning they’ve been quite productive since their debut Liberation Through Hearing came out in 2012. During their six years they’ve had quite a few lineup changes but the core of the drummer Ron Casey and vocalist Cameron Porras have always remained, keeping the quality high even with those changes. Has to be said this is the first album featuring Taylor Wientjes, who has performed with the band live for some time though, can say he passed his trial so congratulations! Oh and in case you didn’t already know Inanimate Existence are under the Unique Leader Records label. Which we all know means high quality death metal incoming.

What hits me first is the female clean singing vocals, which I know has been Inanimate Existence thing but it always hits me as I don’t really expect it. I guess that’s also something that’s been bugging me with Inanimate Existence and made me not fully get on the hype train surrounding the band. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Calling from a Dream is a good album but I guess I don’t like the changes of tempo the way they do it like many other tech death fans. That’s more of a personal liking that I want it to be more brutal, less progressive though and that definitely shouldn’t stop you from grabbing this album. There are some tracks on the album I really do dig and get back to though, like Pulse of the Mountain’s Heart. There the vocals fit into perfect symphony, together with the use of a flute (!) I can imagine it being the mountain in the woods calling.

So to sum it up. Is Calling from a Dream by Inanimate Existence a good album worth recommending? Yes, these Americans are great musicians that have their unique touch of tech death that will leave many in awe. Is the album a personal favorite of mine? No, I sadly can’t get passed how the clean vocals sounds and too much prog for my taste. Who knows though, music taste changes and in a few years I might get back to this album and absolutely love it.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheInanimateExistence
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Inanimatetweets
For fans of: Decrepit Birth and Arkaik
Favorite song: Pulse of the Mountain’s Heart

Virvum – Illuminance (Technical Death Metal)

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Ah Technical Death Metal, a genre that has really shined these last couple of years with great bands such as Black Crown Initiate and Fallujah showing how the heavy technical death metal side can sound if done well. Virvum continues the trend with good tech death metal bands spawning as Illuminance is a debut album worth taking an extra look at with their wicked riffs, solos and simply incredible musicianship overall.

Every song on the album is top notch (making it hard for me to pick a favorite song) and the instrumental play is so great it basically tells a story all on its own. Safe to say the progressive side on the album shines just as much as the death metal side. Which probably has a lot to do with Arran McSporran, De Profundis member, being a part of the band. Illuminance sets the bar very high for other contenders that might want to crown themselves with the “debut album of the year” title. As a side note the cover art is beautiful and really captures the essence of the album.

Illuminance  is an album you just have to listen to and be taken away to the fantastic world of Virvum. You won’t regret it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/virvum
For fans of: Fallujah and The Faceless
Favorite song: Ad Rigorem