Albums of the month: January

The first month of the year has come to pass and with that the first albums of the month article of 2020 is now live. I did mention I could be a bit late on my articles due to recently becoming a dad and this is one of those cases as I simply didn’t have the time to sit down with this. I’ve had a long list of bands but it was tough to get through it all, not only time wise but this was actually a very strong field of albums to kickstart 2020 in style! January is usually a slow month (was in 2019 for example) but not this time around. We got bands such as Lorna Shore, Wormhole and Svarttjern releasing their best material yet while we also got wicked full-length debut albums that packs a punch in Berzerker Legion and Sallow Moth just to name a few examples. Here is me hoping 2020 will be another strong year for metal and that this incredible start pushes the rest of the bands to release their best material yet.

Album of the month:

Lorna Shore – Immortal

All drama aside Lorna Shore has lived up to the hype and released their by far strongest album to date. Not only that I think it’s one of the best deathcore albums in years! Together with bands such as Shadow of Intent and AngelMaker they are pushing the genre forward to reach new grounds.

Lorna Shore – Immortal was released January 31st via Century Media Records.

Runners-up:

Svarttjern – Shame is Just a Word

I liked Dødsskrik a lot but with Shame is Just a Word Svarttjern has become even darker and evolved their sound to new levels. We already got a contender for the best black metal album of the year. This is fantastic and the best album so far by Svarttjern where they’ve truly managed to capture the essence of old black metal with the more modern touches. You can read the review here.

Svarttjern – Shame is Just a Word was released January 17th via Soulseller Records.

Sallow Moth – The Larval Hope

This is just a wicked full-length debut album from Sallow Moth. The Larval Hope is the best old school death metal album I’ve heard so far this year. It packs a punch and is varied enough, with high quality, to keep you wanting to spin this again and again. You can read the review here.

Sallow Moth – The Larval Hope was released January 15th via Dead Red Queen Records.

Berzerker Legion – Obliterate the Weak

What can I say I’m a sucker for catchy death metal! Berzerker Legion is something as rare as a supergroup (with members from Vader, Dark Funeral, Hypocrisy, Asphyx and Wombbath) that works and delivers a superb album.

Berzerker Legion – Obliterate the Weak was released January 29th via Listenable Records.

Wormhole – The Weakest Among Us

While Genesis was solid it might have lacked some bits to make it stand out and be a long lasting album in my playlists I find The Weakest Among Us bringing all the right stuff. You can read the review here.

Wormhole – The Weakest Among Us was released January 14th via Lacerated Enemy Records.

More great albums of January:

Frogg – A Reptilian Dystopia
Aseptic – Cascading Fluids
Unbounded Terror – Faith in Chaos
Blighted – Silhouette of the Sun
Diabology – Nobody Believes Me
Waldhexen – Ego Canus Lunam Cano
Vvilderness – Dark Waters
Svrm – Занепад
Vengeful Spectre – 殞煞 Vengeful Spectre
Kataphraktoi – Ursinne
Unreqvited – Mosaic II: La déteste et la détresse
Empire of the Moon – Εκλειψις
Erdling – Yggdrasil
Kaoteon – Kaoteon
Horned Almighty – To Fathom the Master’s Grand Design
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Impiety – Versus All Goods
Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic
Necropsy – Exitus
Dead End Finland – Inter Vivos
Kawir – Αδράστεια
Slave One – Omega Disciples
Defiled – Infinite Regress
Despondent – The Cosmic Horror
Frigoris – ….in Stille
Reincarnage – Reap
Child of Waste – Hunger Made Man
Aethyrick – Gnosis
Coffin Curse – Ceased To Be
Invictus – The Catacombs Of Fear
Dawn of Solace – Waves
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise
Nattverd – Styggdom
The Absolution Sequence – Silent King
One Vote For Violence – Desolation
Dark Usurper – Mortal Dissonance
I, Delusionist – Catharsis
Jordablod – The Cabinet of Numinous Song
Vananidr – Damnation
Macabre Demise – Awakening
Obsidian Tongue – Volume III

Wormhole – The Weakest Among Us (Technical Brutal Death Metal/Slam)

The year starts heavy for The Metal Gamer as the first review of the year comes from the brutal tech-death band Wormhole and their sophomore release titled The Weakest Among Us. Their debut album Genesis was a sleeper hit that came out late 2016, which I personally didn’t find out about until around a year after but it was definitely one of the better brutal tech-death albums for its time where I enjoyed the hints of slam and deathcore. Fast forward to 2020 and the Kumar brothers now got a drummer in Matt Tillett (Greylotus, ex-Cognitive (live)) and Anshuman Goswami (Perihelion, Cognitive (live)) on vocals joining them on The Weakest Among Us after Goswami having been doing vocals live for Wormhole. He got some big shoes to fill as both Calum Forrest and, the almost legendary, Duncan Bentley were doing solid work prior. Will The Weakest Among Us solidify Wormhole as a giant within the genre or will it prove to be the weakest among us, seeing the band take a step backwards with the member changes?

To start of with The Weakest Among Us got a whole different feel to it than their debut, the deathcore vibe is completely gone and it’s a lot more technical. The title-track “The Weakest Among Us” showcase that right from the start and shows a new side of the Wormhole that sounds more mature, heavier and vastly improved songwriting. With “rA9_myth” bringing way more slam bits into the giant hole I’m just about ready to be devoured by this worm as it is surely going for the kill by now. “D-S3” slows it down a notch, walking on the progressive path for a while, where you can hear some similarities to Sanjay Kumar’s other band Equipoise at times.

With more heavy slam in “The Gas System” putting the….gas back in the tank…. and the mouthful “Wave Quake Generator Plasma Artillery Cannon” we quickly go back into full gear again. The album closer “Ingswarm” is a wicked way to start your 2020 with some filthy breakdowns and the highlight of the album for me together with the opener, and title-track, “The Weakest Among Us” has been my two most played songs at the beginning of this year. Those two songs I think capture perfectly who Wormhole are in 2020.

One thing is certain The Weakest Among Us is a completely different beast than their debut Genesis and a much more varied effort. While Genesis was solid it might have lacked some bits to make it stand out and be a long lasting album in my playlists I find The Weakest Among Us bringing all the right stuff. As far as technical brutal death metal goes this is definitely one of the more experimental albums I’ve heard in the genre. Or as the promo said “prepare yourself for a new generation of Slam and Technical Death Metal!”. It might be a bit too nice and a bit too little brutality at times, while going too hard on the progressive/technical side but at the same time that’s a thing I like with the album. The Vulvodynia resemblances are basically all gone in my opinion, welcome the lovechild of Wormed, Decimated Humans and Equipoise in all its glory. A band that says “fuck it lets go nuts on our sophomore album”, try breaking some boundaries and the result is a good fucking album that makes 2020 have a flying start. Oh and did I mention they base their music on not only common sci-fi but Metroid lore (which you can see through the cover art)!? Metal gamers better dig this!

Written by J.B.

Artist: Wormhole
Label: Lacerated Enemy Records
For fans of: Wormed & Decimated Humans
Release date: January 14th, 2020
Favorite song: Ingswarm
Score: 4/5 Excellent