Unmerciful really needs no introduction for brutal death metal fans around the world. The band was created in 2001 by Clint Appelhanz, who was also an original member of the band Origin. Another ex-Origin member eventually joined in 2005, just in time for their fantastic debut album in 2006 Unmercifully Beaten, Jeremy Turner and the duo had found each other again laying the foundation that would become one of the most solid brutal death metal bands around. There has been some turmoil in the line-up during the years were especially the vocal spot has been hard on the band with Joshua Riley being the sixth vocalist they have. Line-up changes aside Unmerciful has released two very strong albums during their time and obviously I expected their 3rd album Wrath Encompassed being yet another excellent addition to their growing discography.
Pummelling your skull with a fierce fury Unmerciful is here to deliver the goods of hard hitting riffs. The album never slows down nor lack focus and Wrath Encompassed is an even better output than their latest, also superb, Ravenous Impulse. The new members Joshua Riley on vocals and Trynt Kelly (Marasmus & The Messiah Complex) on drums kick some serious ass and in all honesty I even think Riley is the best vocalist they’ve had (his range is insane) so I hope he will be a long-time member of Unmerciful. Kelley, a.k.a Sgt. Blast, does a fine job replacing John Longstreth (Origin, Hate Eternal (live), ex-Gorguts) which was something I was worried for seeing Longstreth is one of the best drummers in the world in my opinion. Hard to replace of course but Kelley makes a valid effort for you to forget all about Longstreth.
There is nothing on Wrath Encompassed that’s left for granted and Unmerciful has once again shown they are a band that’s symbolic for high standard. The production is the best they’ve had yet, likewise on the vocals front and the rest is just as good as you remember it from Ravenous Impulse. Fans of Unmerciful can sleep well tonight knowing the band never slows down, always work hard and always delivers what they promise. Intense, angry, and destructive brutal technical death metal of the highest quality. This is an album I will have with me at every gym session for those extra gains!
Artist: Unmerciful Label: Willowtip Records Release date: April 24th, 2020 Favorite song: Blazing Hatred For fans of: Suffocation & Origin Score: 4/5 Excellent
A band that hardly needs an introduction is Defeated Sanity. They’ve pushed the boundaries for what is brutal technical death metal over and over again and the expectations for their new album is high. They just finished the upcoming album so now we’re all eagerly waiting for more news but until then I hope this interview with the bands newest member, vocalist Josh Welshman, will make the wait a bit easier.
Defeated Sanity is rather unique as it started as a father and son project. Do you know if Lille Grubers father, Wolfgang Teske, was into the extreme side of metal before you two started the band as well?
-Wolfgang was into Proto Metal like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and also Jazz/Rock like Mahavishnu, Chic Corea or John Abercrombie. Back when he was younger Heavy metal (like the Scorpions etc…) was considered cheesy and not serious in his circles…..his attitude changed when he heard Slayer, Sepultura etc…through me. The rest is history as they say haha.
Being on the forefront of technical brutal death metal, does that come with a lot of pressure? If so does it press you on, pushing yourself to work even harder with each album?
-We’re definitely always pushing the envelope in the technical domain, and this new album will definitely be a testament to that. Pressure isn’t the right word though, mainly the only struggle I would say is the balance between the brutal and technical elements of the music, but for Lille this seems to come naturally.
Having been around for a long time you’ve toured a lot. Do you have any favorite memory from a tour you’d like to share?
-Granted I’ve only been in the band for a fraction of the band’s history, I’ve also been present during the most active years of the band as far as touring goes. There are so many great memories it’s really hard to isolate any in particular. The highlights always tend to be in the people we meet along the way, whether it be fans or the bands that we share the road and stage with. Every tour has its bullshit that happens inherently, but there are great memories from just about all of them for me.
A new album is coming which this time features you as the new vocalist, but you played with Defeated Sanity live back in 2015 too. How did Defeated Sanity find out about you to begin with?
-Lille had found me through a solo project I was doing at the time called “Autonomy”. I also had a vocal cover of Defeated up on YouTube at the time, which also peaked his interest. This was around 2010-2011 I want to say, and we had corresponded a handful of times about potentially collaborating in the future. Fast forward to 2015 and I was filling in on vocals for a US tour after Konni had left the band, which left me with some huge shoes to fill. The rest is history!
How come Defeated Sanity hasn’t had a permanent vocalist? What’s the reason behind wanting to change vocalist with each album?
-It was never intended to be as such, but as the story goes “life happens”. It’s hard to keep up with the touring schedule with families and careers to also balance. All prior vocalists of Defeated are still on good terms with everyone in the band so there were never any major issues that led to any sort of falling out. I’m planning to end this stigma attached to Defeated however!
Speaking of the new album, which you just finished recording, when will we get more info on it?
There will be info coming very soon. The music is ready and we’re moving onto getting artwork and stuff like that done now. We’ll have some news coming really soon, so hang in there!
The album as recorded at The Thousand Caves who also did the famous Psalms Of The Moribund album. Will it have a similar sound?
-This is actually the first record we’ve done with Colin so I’m not sure where you may have heard that (TMG: I read it on Discogs). Psalms was done at the Soundlodge in Germany if I recall correctly. The sound of this record will be different than anything prior though to answer your question.
What can Defeated Sanity fans expect of the new album?
-We’ll put it this way: Men are born with two balls for a reason, one is a backup for when an album like this one drops. We think it will crush, and we’re all extremely happy with the result on all fronts!
Will we get to see a Defeated Sanity tour to promote the new album in 2020?
We have plans to play extensively this year. We just announced a tour in support of Origin and Beneath The Massacre this Spring in the US, and a couple of shows in Iceland and London in May. We have a few other things in the works for this year but nothing that I can offer specific details about at this time.
If you had to choose one song by Defeated Sanity that you would show a friend what the band is all about, which song would that be?
-For me I would say a great well-rounded song for Defeated in terms of style is Consumed By Repugnance. It’s very fast but also has plenty of groove. It also displays some of the jazz influence and more abstract songwriting aspects of the band.
It’s not everyday you get to interview one of your all time favorite bands so I want to give a massive thank you for saying yes to this interview. Any parting words?
-Cheers man! Keep your ears to the ground, we’ll have more news coming soon and the record will be out late spring/early summer. We’re all really excited to present this new material to you guys!
The year is soon over and with that we only got one last albums of the month article to go after this one and of course the album of the year list. The competition is fierce yet another month with heavy weights such as Nile, Ragnarok, Cattle Decapitation and Despised Icon releasing killer albums. However they got bands like Iapetus, Sentient Horror, Avslut, Immanifest and Unfathomable Ruination breathing down their necks. We’ve been blessed with a very good year for metal, with the album of the year list going to be really hard to finalize but that’s a good problem…. Don’t forget to give the bands a like and check out the labels too. The Spotify playlist is updated with music from November so get following, discover all the best new extreme metal music! New for this month is that The Metal Gamer Community has also been voting for the best albums in November and the poll has been running for a week. At the end of this segment you can see who got voted into the top 5. Don’t forget to join the growing community which is now close to 300 metal gamers! Thanks for your support!
Album of the month:
What can I say when a band release the best brutal death metal album since Defeated Sanity put out Passages into Deformity in 2013 then I’m totally spellbound. Any fan of the heavy meaty sounds will love this. You can read the review here.
Nile is definitely a band I consider one of the best ever created for extreme metal. Their discography is vast and full of groundbreaking music. Vile Nilotic Rites is a great follow-up to What Should Not Be Unearthed and possibly their best album since Annihilation of the Wicked. Pure gold.
I know there are a few doubters out there when it comes to Ragnarok since Jontho switched his drumkit to a microphone. I for one see it as a new era and I still have a lot of love for a band who I see being in my personal “the great four” of Norwegian black metal (along with Tsjuder, Emperor and Immortal). Non Debellicata is an album I spin regularly, its fury and speed might be something some see as one-sided but I see it as hellfire fuel that gets me up in the mornings.
I enjoy myself some Schammasch but I honestly didn’t think they would release one of the best black metal albums of the year and what possibly might be their crown jewel when they look back at their career. Hearts of No Light blew me away on the very first spin and it’s a big positive surprise.
Sentient Horror is a very young band but they prove they are here to stay with yet another killer death metal album heavy influences in the Swedish school. Morbid Realms is one of my most listened albums during November with catchy hooks that will grab a hold of you, never to let go. A rather complete swe-death experience for modern times. You can read the review here.
Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas Iapetus – The Body Cosmic Paganizer – The Tower of the Morbid Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race Mara – RÖK Immanifest – Macrobial Krater – Venenare Mesmur – Terrene Midnight Odyssey – Biolume Part 1 – In Tartarean Chains Sarke – Gastwerso Aeons Abyss – Impenitent Blind Guardian – Twilight Orchestra: Legacy of the Dark Lands Second To Sun – Legacy Esoteric – A Pyrrhic Existence Cannabis Corpse – Nug So Vile Kaamos Warriors – Shadows of Northern Chaos Obscure – Darkness Must Prevail Ganondorf – Ancient Ruins Guru of Darkness – Ararat Nordic Frost – Ov Blasphemy and Other Rites Depressed – Into the Putrid Fiction Ashen Crown – Obsolescence Mourned – Devoured Humanity The Drowning – The Radiant Dark Third Chamber – Harvesting Our Decay Despised Icon – Purgatory Cryptic Brood – Outcome Of Obnoxious Science Bednja – Doline Su Ostale Iza Nas Zarraza – Rotten Remains Crusadist – The Unholy Grail Nerbrus – Dark Forces Reign Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings Celtefog – Outlands Avslut – Tyranni Hideous Divinity- Simulacrum
The Metal Gamer Community albums of the month: November
Album of the month:
Cattle Decapitation took the first place in style and there was no doubt who The Metal Gamer Community saw as their favorite of the month. Personally I’ve never really fallen in love with their sound which is why you don’t see it in my top 5 but I can’t deny their impact on the scene and that they got no fear of doing their own thing.
2/3. Unfathomable Ruination – Enraged and Unbound & Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites
A two-way tie with Nile and Unfathomable Ruination proving to be high on everyones lists just like mine. Brutality prevails!
4. Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark
This was an album that went in and out of my top 5 all month. Prior Walk Beyond the Dark I wasn’t that big of a Abigail Williams fan but this is by far their best release yet and absolute killer. Who knows, given time, it might be higher up my end of the year list than some of the albums that were above it this month.
Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark was released November 15th via Blood Music.
5. Schammasch – Hearts of No Light / Ragnarok – Non Debellicata / Avslut – Tyranni / Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
Here there was a bundle of bands with two of them finding their way into my top 5 as well. Other than that I can say that Obsequiae were actually recommended to me by a member of The Metal Gamer Community and it’s one of the best atmospheric black metal albums of the year. Avslut I know has a lot of fans, especially in Sweden, but again it’s a band that I’ve never really connected to and I even personally think their full-length debut from last year was slightly better.
Avslut – Tyranni was released November 29th via Osmose Productions. Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings was released November 22nd via 20 Buck Spin.
I don’t know about you but England’s Unfathomable Ruination has quickly become my favorite brutal death metal band this past decade after having had Cryptopsy, Dying Fetus and Defeated Sanity as my trio to go to for many many years when kicking back with some heavy music for the gym sessions, getting those extra gains. Already on their debut Misshapen Congenital Entropy in 2012 you knew something special was at work here, they then released Finitude and with that release one of the best brutal death metal albums of this decade. You didn’t think they could top that, but here we are and Enraged and Unbound is upon us. Buckle up because Unfathomable Ruination is coming in hard!
Wasting no time Enraged and Unbound starts just like you would thought an album with that title would do, pedal to the metal and enraged like a motherfucker with “An Obsidian Perception”. Nothing is left to chance here, production value has always been one of the things that I think Unfathomable Ruination almost perfected for the genre with Finitude and of course this album is just as crisp, making each element pop like it should at the right times. The vocalist, and gamer, Ben Wright pulls of his most varied performance yet and does it incredibly well (check out “Occulta Violentiam” as an perfect example of this). The title-track and later on “Codebreaker” gives you no room to breath as the sledgehammer keeps on bashing your brain in with mighty riffs, thundering drums that Odin himself would love and Ben’s sick vocals. “Defy the Architect” might start of a bit slow but it’s all a ruse as it gives you breakdowns and heavy hitting music that will make you want to mosh with your dogs at home straight away. Hell they even try an Cattle Decapitation approach on “A Prophetic Compulsion”, with elements of Suffocation and Morbid Angel on “Maniacal Disillusion” and does so with ease. This is one of those albums where every single song can be put into the favorite song section. Usually that’s because a band does an album where a lot of the songs sound the same but here it’s due to Unfathomable Ruination give life and identity to each and every one of the tracks, there simply isn’t a bad song here and every one could be put into singles. There is something for everyone of the brutal school here and I’m sure if I asked five people what their favorite track was I would get five different answers. That speaks volume on what they’ve created here.
Enraged and Unbound is a new step for Unfathomable Ruination that shows a band that’s not scared to try out some new things, be it vocals or instrumentals they are really pushing themselves here. If Finitude was the perfect album for how to make old school brutal death metal fresh then Enraged and Unbound is the perfect album for how brutal death metal can evolve into a new monster. There is nothing holding this album back at all. I can go as far as to say this is the None So Vile album of modern times and the best brutal death metal album I’ve heard since Defeated Sanity’s Passages into Deformity in 2013. This is how brutal death metal is made 2019, you try to break the boundaries with every single note to production and artwork being nothing but the best of quality. A pure gem for the genre that will blow you away and you will see this in the single digits on my album of the year article, that I can assure you.
Written by J.B.
Artist: Unfathomable Ruination Label: Willowtip Records For fans of: Defeated Sanity and Abysmal Torment Release date: November 22nd, 2019 Favorite song: An Obsidian Perception Score: 5/5 Masterpiece
What a month! This year for metal has been good overall, granted some months better than others but May oh my…. There has been not just one, nor two but six albums I could consider album of the year contenders! How freaking sweet is that (and bad for my wallet)!? That being said the album of the month was very very hard to pick and hell even the top five won’t consist of the all the albums that might find their way into the yearly top ten! Hope you find some great metal here, be sure to check all the band out and comment your own lists here, on Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook as I would love to hear them! With this album of the month article I am going on a vacation to Prague for a bit over a week. Catch all of you metal gamers later!
Album of the month
Wow what a journey Vale of Pnath has had! They’ve always been of my favorite techdeath bands, much do to their black metal influences, but they really knocked this one out of the park! A perfect five in my book and a crown jewel in their already great, and growing, discography. Released May 17th via Willowtip Records. Read the review here
From one of my favorite techdeath bands we have one of my favorite deathcore bands. Angelmaker is not just mine but also my wifes go to band when we want some deathcore quality. This is their most varied release yet and I absolutely love it! Released May 31st as an independent release.
This is in my opinion the best black metal release so far. Even with strong releases from bands like Nordjevel, Abduction, Murg and their countrymen Sinmara I think Misþyrming got an edge and Algleymi has been one of my most played albums since its release. Released May 24th via Norma Evangelium Diaboli.
Warforged was probably the band I had changing up and down the most if it was going to be my album of the month or not. What an experience! Add the very cool music video for the whole album and you got yourself a great time. Released May 10th via The Artisan Era. Read the review here
My biggest surprise of the month. My partner in crime K.P. was all up in flames over this release and it didn’t take more than a couple of songs to understand why. Nearly perfect black metal in the Swedish old school way. Released May 1st via Leviaphonic Records. Read the review here
Decomposition of Entrails – Abnormality Darkthrone – Old Star Krypts – Cadaver Circulation Nihility – Thus Spoke The Antichrist Entrapment – Imminent Violent Death Kampfar – Ofidians Manifest Kull – Exile Ontborg – Within the Depths of Oblivion Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno Firelink – The Inveterate Fire Mordbrand – Döden/Efter Döden Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion October Tide – In Splendor Below Amon Amarth – Berserker Abnormality – Sociopathic Constructs Osiah – Kingdom of Lies Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces of Palingenesia
Vale of Pnath is an interesting band, even with quite a few member changes during the years I personally think all their albums are great. They somehow seem to be immune to it leading towards a bad album every now and then. Maybe that is exactly why the band is always up for experimenting, while making it work is due to the strong glue and vision Vance Valenzuela (guitar) has who keeps it together (I should interview him one day to find out).
“Shadow and Agony” strikes me first and it’s such a scary, horror movie like intro fitting the Lovecraft techdeath masters! Banger after banger Vale of Pnath is hitting me with, they simply don’t want me to go anywhere as I give this album a spin. There is such a great flow throughout the album, time just flies by and your neck is sore after all the headbanging yet there is enough room to breathe at just the right times so it doesn’t break. Even with a great flow, a red thin line, every song sticks out on its own. It isn’t just a simple rinse and repeat for seven songs straight. Something I find hard to find albums which does great on both areas, making the album have a wicked flow and be great end to end but at the same time letting the songs speak for itself so I can just choose one at random and enjoy it. Very well done, it’s certainly not something I take for granted!
“So Jimmy what song do you recommend I listen to first?” Fact is I choose “The Darkest Gate” only due to it being the single I’ve heard so many times before this album dropped it’s just stuck in my head, and rightfully so as it is a killer track. You could definitely take any pick and you would be pleased, they have different elements to their songs that works good on the tracks they are meant for. Both “Obsidian Realm” and “Spectre of Bone” are epic finishers with a more atmospheric and techdeath side to them than the first half of the album for example (Vale of Pnath seems to have a patter to end with the longest, most epic track).
What a year for the technical side of death metal it’s been so far! First we got the riff feast from Equipoise, followed with a phenomenal experience in Warforged (which also brings a lot of black metal influences into the mix) and now Vale of Pnath shows they don’t want to be any worse with their strongest album yet. What do these three bands have in common? They have been experimenting with their sound and executed it well! The path Vale of Pnath has walked has led them to this sound, album after album has drawn them close and close to what finally became Accursed. This is a big change for the band who are now closer to being called a technical black metal band than ever before. I welcome this change with open arms with Accursed being the best I’ve heard from Vale of Pnath so far and an album of the year contender in my book! This makes all my metal sensors tingle the right way and fans of extreme metal have to give this a listen.
Written by J.B.
Label: Willowtip Records For fans of: Enfold Darkness and The Black Dahlia Murder Release date: May 17th, 2019 Favorite song: The Darkest Gate Score: 5/5 Masterpiece
American blackened death metal band Hath is a new name to me and as I write this I’m currently just done listening to the EP Hive they had released before the full-length debut Of Rot and Ruin. Hive was a fine display of blackened death metal which they put out same year Hath was formed (2015). Meaning now I was very stoked to hear what Of Rot and Ruin would have in store for me as they now have a few years together, a solid foundation to build on and a great label behind them in Willowtip Records.
Of Rot and Ruin is very different from Hive in some aspects. There is a lot more emphasis on creating a atmosphere that essentially guides you towards rot and ruin. It’s quite beautiful and I respect Hath for going their own way like this, I can’t really say I’ve heard blackened death metal being this close to me naming it atmospheric death metal before. Hell even blackened progdeath would be cool label for it! Labeling aside I am quite sure you haven’t hear anything quite like this. Sure you can say it sounds like Opeth here or Sulphur Aeon there (even some Rivers of Nihil aspects at times) and you’re right in saying so but that would take so much away from Hath and the path they are carving. Of Rot and Ruin has definitely left me speechless at times, which doesn’t happen all that often. One side of me thinks this is unique, inspiring and superb death metal. Then one side things the album is too long, if I aint in the right mood it’s easy for me to ditch this album halfway through as it doesn’t captivate me. That’s where the only negative aspects lay, granted a big one, the album is long and the music is rather unique that definitely requires a listener that’s focused and willing to invest into the music, taking it all in. I do see this being a hit or miss for quite a few out there due to these reasons.
One thing is certain Of Rot and Ruin is miles ahead in songwriting than Hive, the years in the making have proved to be well invested. Also as The Metal Gamer I need to add, how cool is it to make an album based on Dark Souls!? That alone deserves a lot of praise. Hell we all know how hard that game is, you can almost say Hath is hard to get into for a few but those willing to accept it will come to love it. Of Rot and Ruin might not float your boat in terms of the style they go for but I am sure I will see this album being on many peoples end of the year lists.
Written by J.B.
Label: Willowtip Records For fans of: Opeth and Sulphur Aeon Release date: April 12th, 2019 Favorite song: Accursed Score: 3.5/5 Very good