Serocs – The Phobos/Deimos Suite (Brutal Technical Death Metal)

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Serocs were formed in 2009 as a one-man project by guitarist Antonio Freyre who released two EPs and a full-length while going solo. With the release of The Next in 2013 Serocs turned into a full-scale band but have since had a hard time with finding the right line-up. Fast forward to 2018 and we got a new edition of Serocs, one featuring members from Chthe’ilist, First Fragment, Funebrarum and Benighted. Not bad right? With that much talent in one line-up I was hyped to see what the fourth full-length offering from Serocs had in store to me.

Want gnarly riffs, blasting drums and meaty bass play? Then Serocs got you covered big time. Hell, right from the bat with the opener “Being” you get a nice Halloween treat of everything. This is how to open a album showcasing your skills the best way possible. You know what the best part is? It doesn’t stop there! Every single song features more of those sick and twisted solos, even more relentless drumming and blazing bass. You simply can’t get enough of it and with great songwriting going hand in hand with this fantastic display of musicianship The Phobos/Deimos Suite quickly turns into a album of the year contender. So which bands would I describe Serocs draw influences from? Well think of the brutality Cryptopsy along with the technical aspects of Spawn of Possession and Gorguts and you’re getting there. In all honesty I think Serocs are the perfect candidate to take over the crown from Cryptopsy of the brutal tech-death masters once they call it quits. Really impressive stuff and Serocs have now got a perfect line-up together who I hope stays for future albums too. It’s consistent with a ton of energy, fun, that’s full of variation which separates it from most music within the genre.

It may have taken Serocs a few albums to get here but with The Phobos/Deimos Suite they’ve created an album most bands can only dream of doing. I am actually in awe of how good this is, even after having had the album on repeat for a couple days I still find something new and keep on changing what my favorite track is (which does in the end fall on “Deimos”). You’ve probably explored hell many times before through music but this is one journey there where you don’t want to miss the ride. Add the incredibly beautiful cover art which makes me think of the underrated horror game Layers of Fear and you got yourself a complete package, a true masterpiece, which is not something I say often.

The Phobos/Deimos Suite is one of the best releases you will hear all year with enough brutality and technical aspects to make you want to go back to this record many times, should be an instant buy for any fans of the extreme music. You will see The Phobos/Deimos Suite fighting for the album of the year title here on The Metal Gamer that’s for sure. Everlasting Spew Records ends this year really strong having released the latest albums by Infuriate and Serocs, both which I think are among the top tier brutal releases of 2018.

Written by J.B.

Label: Everlasting Spew Records
For fans of: Gorguts and Cryptopsy
Release date: October 26th, 2018
Favorite song: Deimos
Score: 5/5 Masterpiece

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Vanhelgd – Deimos Sanktuarium (Death Metal)

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The desecrated are back! With their latest release Temple of Phobos being one of my most played death metal albums these past years since I reviewed it I’ve been looking forward to a follow-up ever since. Now when it’s finally here I am stunned. This is by far the darkest album Vanhelgd has ever made. The lyrical theme on anti-religion and horror is intact but the songwriting has taken a step in a darker, greater direction here. Also has to be added that they keep on having songs in both Swedish and English which is something I’ve applauded them for and still do. The difference is with the last album I thought the Swedish tracks were of higher quality than the English ones, here I find both being superb and I even choose Profaned is the Blood of the Covenant as the best song on Deimos Sanktuarium.

Everything is executed better on Deimos Sanktuarium than on Vanhelgd’s previous albums. The atmosphere is so dark I get scared, something I usually don’t experience in a death metal albums but I do with Vanhelgd, Behemoth or old Eucharist offerings. Very fitting for the theme at hand with the atmospheric doom touch. The crushing riffs are still there but the overall experience on the album as a whole and how the grim world sucks you in is the difference maker here. It’s what separates Deimos Sanktuarium from Temple of Phobos and makes this an even better album. Safe to say if you enjoyed Temple of Phobos you will like this even more.

This album is the definition of a “grower”. It gets better with each listen but at the same time it is not as easy to get into as for example the latest albums from Demonical or Gluttony. I am not holding that against the album though as that is the intentions. One of the best death metal albums you will hear this year, if not the best.

Written by J.B.

Label: Pulverised Records
For fans of: Eucharist and Desolate Shrine
Release date: October 12th, 2018
Favorite song: Profaned is the Blood of the Covenant
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Sumeru – Summon Destroyer (Doom/Stoner Metal)

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If i say Australia, what will be the first things to pop up in your heads. I would say Kangaroos and AC/DC. The subject at hand have a stronger connection to the second one. With a windy noise for an intro the band open up their album, and we get presented to the Doom/Stoner act Sumeru.

The name Sumeru is taken from the Hindu (some more religions from the south east Asia) it is the five-peaked mountain, that in their faith contains the center of all that is physical, metaphysical and spiritual. The band saw the light in 2009, with Sydney as their birthplace, 4 of 5 members have had a past in the band Lomera, a pure blooded Sludge metal band. A project that existed in the years 2011 to 2015. Sumeru are here with their second full-length album, with the title Summon Destroyer. In the past they have released an EP and the follow year the debut record, in 2014.

In their homeland, the big continent from way below on the Equatorial line they are famous for showing their feelings and energy at 100%. Through the music that they perform, you will hear a massive stone crushing creation that will suit a myth from the past. With doom shall they come and with pure power they sure do.

The music present itself best as different layers of sound, which we can hear a rhythm section that very well know it’s capacity of groove, and with staggering guitars that escalate the feeling and maybe even beyond so. It really feel like a live recording, because of all the energy and that is also a reputation that they carrying with pride. They also include some nice lines with an acoustic touch, that I personally enjoy.

From start to finish, there will just be one purpose, energy…and plenty of it. I can not help to mention those beautiful strings in the opening on the last track, their magnum opus “A New Ritual”.

Sumeru have toured with the big acts, within the same genre, where they have been a supporting band for bands like YOB and Torche…to name a few. The band have after a decade really put a level of quality in the Doom/Stoner genre in their homeland, they will not let that go in the easiest way.

This Autumn will be a lot heavier, with the upcoming release from this Aussie power house.

Written by K.P.

Label: Medusa Crush Recording
For fans of: Khemmis and Mastodon
Release date: October 26th, 2018
Favorite song: Embrace The Cold
Score. 3.5/5 Very good

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Beyond Creation – Algorythm (Progressive Death Metal)

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When one of your favorite bands release a new album you know the hype is real. It’s a double edge sword though because when you’re that hyped and have the bar set so high as Beyond Creation the backlash if the album doesn’t live up to the high expectations will hurt a lot. I can calm you all down already by saying it lives up to the hype.

It starts off with an epic intro that could easily be in a sci-fi movie as it moves into the Entre suffrage et mirage. A good opening that ends with a great solo, so we are off to a good start but it didn’t have those transitions I want in Beyond Creation. Surface’s Echoes I think is a bit out-of-place with its intro but around one minute in I recognize the core Beyond Creation sound and it becomes a better track than the previous. I’ve always felt that for Beyond Creation to get the most out of track they need to be 6-7 minutes long, which this one is and it makes the band being able to change the tempo and sound a lot during a song, letting it unfold as its meant to. It’s one of the bands strong-points to me, how a song can feel so complete and have all these different elements to it which some bands need a whole album to do. They show a lot of this on Surface’s Echoes, even though I can’t get the first minute of the song the rest is gold. Finally with Ethereal Kingdom you get the whole experience, an intro that sets the tone nicely leading into a beautiful solo and it feels more complete. It also transition really nicely into Algorythm which together with The Inversion are my favorite songs on the album. They showcase what Beyond Creation is all about in a good way. One may say Algorythm lacks a standout track like Earthborn Revolution or Coexistence which in some ways is true but I feel with time Algorythm will be one of their most memorable tracks. It grows on me with each listen.

Algorythm as a whole is a more progressive experience than their earlier albums, for the good and bad that brings. There are some moments that’s a bit slow to me due to this change but at the same time I don’t mind this at all as a whole. It’s definitely a bit different though but with the core Beyond Creation sound of course. They haven’t gone and switched completely but you should be ready that this is a bit of a change in style from The Aura and Earthborn Evolution. All in all Algorythm won’t be my first choice of album when I look back at Beyond Creation’s discography in the future but it’s yet another solid album from a band that set the bar insanely high on the debut. Their skill is showing throughout in both songwriting and instrumental excellence. While it’s not perfect (I think Earthborn Revolution is a perfect album mind you) it’s a well executed album that’s a must have for prog/tech-death fans all around. Beyond Creation doesn’t let you down.

Written by J.B.

Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Obscura and Augury
Release date: October 12th, 2018
Favorite song: Algorythm
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Karg – Dornenvögel (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Austria have done so much for the people, who have always had the music attached to the heart, or very close to it. All the way back to the 18th century and forward, that is the first reason of two.

The second one is, that if there is something that will make all metalheads say something good about Austrian metal/atmospheric scene it’s because it’s legendary..with bands in the frontline like Belphegor, and for me, a personal favorite…Summoning. But this is not an article about them, this is about the one man band Karg (not to be confused with the Viennese Hardcore act, with same name).

Karg is here with it’s sixth full-length released album, Dornenvögel (German for The Thorn Bird). V.Wahntraum, more famous as the multiartist J.J. Who also is the driving vocalist behind Harakiri For The Sky.

Karg was formed in the summer of 2006, and between 2010 to 2014, it existed as a “complete” band, meant for the live scenes. Karg stopped to play live in June 2014 for various reasons, but it has not stopped J.J. to continue his work in the studio, and in 2018, he succeeded to deliver his latest work.

The sixth studio album, Dornenvögel, may be his most complete album to date. An album that is not afraid of speaking about sorrow and grief in the most depressive, direct way. Phrases of misery, that seems to be forever stuck in the shadows, but still..still there is also a melancholic touch, with that in my mind..I will say that it’s a divine hand trying to reach in the dark after it’s partner to find a path through the mist. Karg have also made a excellent choice of guest musicians from acts like Lunar Aurora, Downfall Of Gaia and many more. Because of this release, a reincarnated Karg will be risen up from the ashes to perform live in 2018/2019.

There is so much influence from genres, that I lose my count, with everything from Post Metal to Shoegaze, Grunge, but never without the Atmospheric Metal as a ground. The result. An magnum opus with dark dystopian tales…pure art from this multiartist (that is also the creator behind a very beautiful artwork, so to say). A work that will grab people to the core, with it’s music, with it’s lyrics, and conquer the souls in a never-ending loop of solitude.

Written by K.P

Label: AOP Records
For fans of: Alcest and Harakiri For The Sky
Release date: November 16th, 2018
Favorite song: Advent
Score: 3/5 Good

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Vreid – Lifehunger (Melodic Black Metal)

37332763_10155275267032202_6849947339281399808_nA lot of you probably knows this but I will say it anyway. Vreid was formed after Windir split-up due to the death of Valfar. The band is seen as one of the big ones in the vast Norwegian black metal scene. Lifehunger is the bands eight full-length album, meaning they are clearly veterans of black metal by now. Personally I think both Windir and Vreid have released a lot of great albums during the years with very few, if any, bad albums. With that in mind I obviously had high hopes for Lifehunger, especially since I loved the singles I heard prior to the albums release.

What starts off oh so well with the beautiful intro Flowers & Blood onwards to One Hundred Years and Lifehunger, two of my most played tracks this past month, becomes a big mess in the end. The Dead White is ok by all means but already there the quality drops, it feels a bit uninspired. Then the worst choice of a track on Lifehunger comes on, Hello Darkness. I can’t even tell last time I heard a song so out-of-place like this one. Not only that, it’s not a good song by itself either. The album does pick itself up a bit with Black Rites in the Black Nights but there is no real life to that track either. Sokrates Must Die and the instrumental track Heimatt ends the album on a high note at least, but the damage is already done. I had a lot of hope for this album, it could have ended in my top 40 end for the year list, but instead it’s a disappointing end product were two great songs can not save it from being rather mediocre by Vreids standard.

This is incredibly hard to set a score on in the sense it has some of the highest highs but also lowest of lows. I will definitely keep on listening to a couple of the songs mentioned many times in the future as well but I will probably not feel like re-visiting the album as a whole again. Biggest disappointment for me this year as I expected a lot more from Vreid than this. With this review I also present the new score graphics! Original design made my Mörtuus Art (check out the official The Metal Gamer t-shirt) while edited by Rob “Baggers” Baggaley.

Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Windir and Cor Scorpii
Release date: September 28th, 2018
Favorite song: Lifehunger
Score: 2.5/5 Decent

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Surgery – Absorbing Roots (Death Metal)

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What do you get when you bring some friends together to create a band that loves death metal? Surgery! That could both be a joke but also the name of a band from Slovakia that makes some sweet old school death. The Swedish scene is the most inspirational source for Absorbing Roots. What I hear is something along the lines of Entrails meeting Jungle Rot with early years Amon Amarth in order to together create this sound that takes you back to the 90’s. This is good stuff and it’s really catchy. Songs like River in Silence and Depressive Reality get stuck in your head for days with it’s slick riffs. Funny enough I think the follow-up Hands in Chains is one of the low points though, where I honestly couldn’t hear the lyrics “why did I do it” at first and thought it was some Slovakian words coming out. That aside the song just seems a bit off from the rest of the album.

I’ve heard this kind of music countless of times before but it is also the genre I love the most so I can basically never get enough of it. Fans of old school death metal don’t need to look no further, here is a good example on how to deliver crushing death metal the way Sweden did in the early 90’s. This is a great way to celebrate the old times even though it has some flaws. If you’re tired of hearing another Grave or Entrails copy then this isn’t for you but for those of us that always want more of it then this is 30 minutes worth spending, granted it might not be that memorable.

On a side note I am also adding what the score means (for those of you that don’t check that section) on all future reviews!

Label: Support Underground
For fans of: Jungle Rot and Entrails
Release date: February 19th, 2018
Favorite song: Rive in Silence
Score: 3/5 Good