Engulf – Gold and Rust (Death Metal)

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Hal Microutsicos (Blasphemous and Chapel of Ruin) got an interesting solo project going on with Engulf. Instead of a releasing a full-length he decided to put an EP series of three out, basically different chapters in a story. Kind of a cool idea in my opinion but it did leave the first EP Subsumed Atrocities really short on only two tracks and almost 9 minutes long. It was a good, yet short experience though with some old school American death metal vibes in a sci-fi setting. Gold and Rust offers a little more juice to the listeners with three songs clocking in on 11 minutes. The opener “Maul” continues right where “Graviton” left off (which also makes me wonder why he didn’t make this a full-length) on Subsumed Atrocities and Engulf goes at it a bit harder on this track than what I heard on the last EP. Which is rather fitting due to the lyrics being all about rage of an entity that seeks revenge.

If I thought “Maul” was going hard then I wasn’t ready for what waited on “Misshapen Abomination” and the closing track “Sovereign to the Seven Underworlds”. Here Hal went closer to the heavier side of American death metal giants like Suffocation, Nile and Hate Eternal. You could tell this was an album filled with more hate than the previous as it just hit you harder, straight in the face. While I thought Subsumed Atrocities was ok I think this is a few steps better. It gets better with each track too as “Sovereign to the Seven Underworlds” closes the EP on a high note. Heavier, more technical and just overall a better EP in my opinion. Now I am looking forward to the last chapter of this series as “the event” will unfold. I do wish however that an full-length with this series of EPs will be put into one in the future as that would make it a more enjoyable listen to me.

Label: Everlasting Spew Records
For fans of: Hate Eternal and Immolation
Release date: July 13th, 2018
Favorite song: Sovereign to the Seven Underworlds
Score: 3.5/5

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Construct of Lethe – Exiler (Death Metal)

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Like death metal? Check! Like juicy riffs? Check! Like Immolation? Check! Hell from the get go Construct of Lethe knows how to rub me the right way. There are definitely worse bands out there to gain influences from than the mighty Immolation but at times I do think Construct of Lethe sounds a bit too similar to their peers. It’s not like the whole album is an Immolation clone either, Construct of Lethe does bring a lot of their own game to the table as well as some darker Horizon Blaze or Ulcerate elements here and there. I just wished they did it more often as it would make them stand out more to me. No denying this is music I like though and the 40 minutes Exiler offers is a joy to listen to which I’ve done so for many spins while writing this. I’ve said so before and will say so again, music doesn’t have to be insanely innovating and groundbreaking in order to be good.

All that aside there are a couple of songs I started pressing the old skip button on as I disliked them more with each listen. Those two are “Fugue State” and “Terraces of Purgation” who both started becoming a snoozefest the more I heard them. In the end it’s a good album with flaws and positive sides to it, a better start than finisher in my ears. Exiler is very different than their debut Corpsegod was, which is for both good and bad. This is instead closer to their EP, The Grand Machination, but with a better vocal performance. They do lack some of the heavy crushing sound they had going on back then. Which is a shame but at the same time the song-writing has improved. I think Construct of Lethe can do way better than this though. If they mix up the good parts from their different albums they will have something really great going. It’s not an album that will land on my best of the year lists and at times it seems like an Immolation light if I am being very rough to Exiler. However it is worth at least a couple of spins to anyone out there who likes death metal.

Label: Everlasting Spew Records
For fans of: Immolation and Horizon Ablaze
Release date: June 20th, 2018
Favorite song: The Clot
Score: 3/5

Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained (Death Metal)

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A band that’s had it’s ups and downs during their career is definitely Morbid Angel. While being a band that created death metal with Altars of Madness being a masterpiece every metalhead needs it’s obviously hard to review a band that’s had such a big influence. It’s been six years since the horror that was Illud Divinum Insanus and with Kingdoms Disdained I dare say Morbid Angel are back on the right track. It’s not an album that will go to history but it’s a good album that puts Morbid Angel back to where they belong, as a death metal giant. I might have had too low expectations of this album and am just too darn happy they’ve found their way again but hey let a guy be happy they are back! Actually all this album needed to do in my book was not being Illud Divinum Insanus, which says a lot.

In all honesty the only negative parts on Kingdoms Disdained is that the first half is a bit weaker than the second half of the album. However The Pillars Crumbling and onwards almost brings tears to my eyes as it’s been years since I heard Morbid Angel this good. Apart from Declaring New Law (Secret Hall), that song just feels out of place and I would honestly have a better experience as a whole if skipping it. It’s not just the riffs, the vocals or the fact that Morbid Angel pulls off a tight performance. It’s the fact that the song-writing is spot on and is touching issues happening in the world right now. For No Master, From the Hand of Kings and The Fall of Idols will be tracks I spin regulary from now on that’s for sure.

Along with Immolation’s Atonement and Mordbrand’s Wilt (super underrated band in my opinion) Kingdoms Disdained is a must have release this year for death metal fans.

Label: Silver Lining Music
For fans of: Immolation and Deicide
Favorite song: The Fall of Idols
Score: 4/5

Excommunion – Thronosis (Brutal Death/Black Metal)

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Been waiting to review this EP for quite some time now and lucky I was to receive it in the latest The Metalhead Box so I could listen to it on an actual cd. Excommunion is a band I am not too familiar with but I’ve heard good stuff about them. The band was formed in 1998, Colorado, and are known for playing brutal death metal with atmospheric black metal elements, which is exactly the reason they caught my eye. That and the two band members Christbutcher (bass, vocals) and Kyle Spanswick (guitars, vocals) both being active members of Nightbringer. So there has to be a lot of potential in a band like that.

Oh and was I right! The opener Twilight of Eschaton is freaking brutal! I swear to you this is an EP you do not want to miss. I understand perfectly what they mean with atmospheric black elements joined together with the sheer force of brutal death metal. It’s a sound I haven’t really heard before but hell I love it. You can hear that this is death metal from members you usually associate with the black metal scene with influences from both Nightbringer and Enthroned being heard here and there. Just like Morbid Angel, Incantation and Immolation makes their influences on Excommunion.

Each track stands tall on their own, none being the weak link. I could choose either one of the tracks for my favorite song, not just due to the four songs being being solid with none standing out. Rather I think they all do in their own right.

Ladies and gentlemen be taken in by this whirlwind of darkness like me, you deserve it. Thronosis is my rite into Excommunion and I am ready for them to lead the way. One of the best releases I’ve heard all year.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Excommunion
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Enthroned and Morbid Angel
Favorite song: Twilight of Eschaton
Score: 4/5

Mordbrand – Wilt (Death Metal)

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Mordbrand means arson and is not only a horrible act but also one of Swedens best death metal acts that’s spawned this last decade. Having listened to their compilation album Hymns of the Rotten several times this past year I knew Wilt was something to look forward to. Why you ask? Because in this trio you got Per Boder, the vocalist who has been on the frontline to create the Swedish death metal sound with God Macabre. Joining him we got Björn Larsson (who plays for God Macabre since the resurrection in 2013) and Johan Rudberg. This trio has made some of the best death metal music these past years (their debut Imago came out in 2014) and it’s a band that I personally feel will should be up there among the greats soon if they keep this up. My only question to this release is if they can? Is Wilt as good as Imago or Hymns of the Rotten?

Short answer is yes, yes it is. I am not sure how Mordbrand does it, have they made an pact with Satan? Have they found the pick of destiny? Becuase wow I keep getting stunned by this band. Every single song is a hit to me. Every single song. It’s pure death metal which is perfectly produced and every single riff is a headbanger. The songwriting is great and heck even the album cover is freaking art. This year has been too kind to me. As a lover of death metal I’ve not only got to listen to releases from the more known acts such as Immolation, Firespawn, Evocation and Entrails but also found new bands like HerezA and now got something confirmed. Confirming that Mordbrand are here to stay, they are one of Swedens best death metal bands full stop. If you think otherwise listen to Wilt, or any other album in their already great discography.

I am basically too much in awe of this band right now that I shouldn’t even write in all honesty. I usually take an album for a few spins, cool down and then try to make a fair judgement (read my Svart Crown review for example) but this is so good I starting writing this review before I’d even give Wilt it’s first run. I mean fuck, already three tracks in I was asking myself if Bleed Into Nought, Delivering the Gods or Worship Predation was going to be choosen as my favorite track. Fact is they are all good in their own right and I could pick a song at random and still be happy with my choice.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Mordbrand is one of Swedens best death metal bands. It’s a beast that’s been unleashed and ready to ravage the world with death. I suggest you get Wilt now through Carnal Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialmordbrand
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MordbrandBand
Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Evocation and Grave
Favorite song: At the Larvae Column

Shaarimoth – Temple of the Adversarial Fire (Blackened Death Metal)

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Shaarimoth were formed in 2004 with the idea of creating a sonic construct that manifests dark current through music. “This is not music, this is ritual” is the first thing I come across when looking at Shaarimoth’s facebook page. When starting to listen to the album I am inclined to agree with that statement. I feel like I am at the black metal festival Mörkaste Småland and their fourth ceremony as the ascension of the dark lord is upon us. Seems like this kind of darkness could spawn only from the dark woods of Norway.

Musically there are a lot of influences to be heard here from Behemoth and Nile due to it’s death metal ritual like music. While I also draw parallels to Dissection’s lyric contents Shaarimoth got a mix that works. Funny enough Norway aren’t really known for death metal music, however they are for their satanic black metal. This draws some of the best from both worlds creating an entity that can portray Norwegian metal in a new way. The more I listen to Temple of the Adversarial Fire the more I think back on Behemoth’s award winning album The Satanist. The dark and satanic atmosphere, production, mix of black and death metal (or blackened death metal), riffs, vocals and lyrics got a lot in common with one of the best albums to come out this decade.

Shaarimoth (just as Earth Rot did yesterday) has surprised me. This is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. I can’t find nothing wrong with it and when I tried to pick a favorite song from the album I had to literally close my eyes and pick a song at random. That’s how good it is. It’s meant to be played in full to get the whole experience as it’s meant to be, as a ritual. Even the album cover screams of darkness and it’s the perfect way to wrap this package in. To end the review here is another quote from their facebook page that I like “To rid ourselves of our shadows – who we are – we must step into either total Light..or total Darkness”. Now join us to celebrate The End times, Kali Yuga, The return of the Dragon, when the Infinite Waters have finally turned calm.

Temple of the Adversarial Fire is out now through World Terror Committee.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Shaarimoth
For fans of: Behemoth and Dissection
Favorite song: Faceless Queen of Bloodstained Dreams

Enragement – Burned, Barren, Bloodstained (Brutal Death Metal)

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I usually review albums that are already out or soon to be out. However this time I got a promo from Inverse Records on a Finnish band called Enragement and their sophomore album Burned, Barren, Bloodstained which isn’t out until June 9th. When I get an album that’s not released until so far away in the future I usually wait for the release date to be closer but this time I couldn’t, the album is simply too good and I couldn’t wait! Lets start with some background on Enragement. The band was formed in 2006 by Lasse Sannikka (drums), Erkka Järvinen (guitars) and Jouni Mäkelä (vocals), Erkka left to focus on hockey, Jouni later on left to focus on his other band Reflection Dies. Left with no members, nor any album releases, Lasse rebuild Enragement and the band is now a four-piece, featuring three vocalists (!). It took just a bit more than a year for Lasse to assemble the new group together and release their debut album Omnimalevolence of Man. Now three years later they are active with Burned, Barren, Bloodstained.

I did mention Enragement consists of three vocalists. That’s the part that makes this band really stick out. Jarkko Niemi (Brymir), Atte Ojanne and Tuomas Iivanainen all got different types of growling, all from classic death metal, brutal death metal and shrieks as taken from a black metal band. And it’s not just the vocals that differs, the music overall also demonstrates a wide range of musical influences all from old school death metal to grindcore. One song can lean towards black metal (Ashen Unity), just to on the next track, As the Acid Burns, become a groovy riff-fest classic death metal type of song. What makes it all jell together in harmony is the intense heavyness and brutality that never stops. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is an album that will go down as a hidden gem in Finnish metal scene and I hope many of you out there will notice this rare display of brutal death metal from a country that hardly dabbles in the scene. I am actually quite stunned to find such rare talent with a unique sound and never heard of them before. Being half Finnish I try to give that market an extra ear (just like with the Swedish scene) but this has simply went by me. For that I am sorry but I am now a true believe of Enragement’s quest to create the ultimate song to capture the human condition at its darkest.

Enragement now got a new fan, this is one of the best releases of the year. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is out June 9th. I suggest you mark it down on your calendars and get it from Inverse Records for your own salvation. This is Extreme Death Metal, this is Enragement!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Enragement
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EnragementMetal
For fans of: Beheaded and Immolation
Favorite song: Dead Flesh Treasury