2018 is not ended yet and It’s too soon for a proper top 10 of the best releases of the year. In the meantime, here are 5 records that prove how death metal can still take new prisoners even after more than thirty years from its birth.
DEMONOMANCY – POISONED ATONEMENT (Invictus Productions)
After five years since their debut, Throne of Demonic Proselytism, Demonomancy have unleashed their second album. This power trio from Rome started ten years ago as a raw black/death band, very influenced by Beherit (their name came from the 1990 demo of the Finnish black arts magicians), Archgoat, Blasphemy, Revenge, with heavy and down-tuned guitars riffs that show their love for Incantation and Rottrevore. For their new record, Poisoned Atonement, they decided to take a new direction, as the line up changed completely. With the only The Unbaptised Shepard as founding member, their sound loses some of his black metal references to become an obscure and more personal death metal. The structures of the songs is now far from the standards of the genre and demonstrate their will to write compositions that can add new elements to their style, like the epic riff of “The Day Of The Lord”, the clean post-punk section of “Fanthomless Region of Total Eclipse” or the “martial” bass at the end of “Archaic Remnants of The Numinous”. If you’re looking for something more than the average extreme metal album but you’re not a narrow-minded person that stopped to discover new music, this album will surely tear you apart.
(italian version here)
TAPHOS – COME ETHEREAL SOMBERNESS (Blood Harvest Records/Helter Skelter Productions)
Denmark is a place with an interesting death metal scene, with cool bands such as Undergang or Phrenelith. Another one worth to mention is Taphos, formed between members and ex-members of other bands like Alucarda, Sulphurous and Reverie (the drummer is Turkish and he played in the grindcore bulldozer Sakatat). They come from Copenhagen and they sound like a mix between Bolt Thrower and Pestilence, with heavy blackened riffs and a voice that remembers early At The Gates. Three of the songs here on this album was just released on the Premonition demo ep, their music is quite the same of their demo MMXVI and ep MMVXII, but the compositions here are less focused on the heaviness, with more solid and complex riffs, solos and different tempos. It’s always a good choice to include acoustic songs like “Dysfori” and “Obitum” in an album like this. Come Ethereal Somberness is the kind of record you should listen if you want to hear new bands that are not a copycat of the Swedish of the American ones, not enough technical to defined “tech-death” but without the same doomy riffs that you can find in many Autopsy clones.
BURIAL INVOCATION – ABIOGENESIS (Dark Descent Records)
The Turkish death dealers are well known in the underground. Even if Abiogenesis is their debut full length, many people already knew them for their ep Rituals of the Grotesque, released by Dark Descent in 2010. They sounded like Autopsy and Paradise Lost with many slow parts in it. Now, with this album, they evolved in a different style, way less doomy and similar to Dead Congregation. Instead of the slow and rotting parts, there are long songs (the title track lasts twelve minutes, and the other ones are at least eight minutes long) with intricate riffs, more influenced by Immolation. The length of these compositions is not an obstacle, they are well-written and fluid. They still have some slow breaks but instead of doom riffs, there are sick arpeggios before the storm start again to rage on. This choice made them more original and recognizable among other bands. It’s hard to find a record with only five long songs, with complicated guitar parts, that is not boring. The excellent cover artwork is drawn by Dan Seagrave: many bands chose him or Ed Repka does have paintings that recall some of their classic works, but this one looks like something new, with all the elements that made him famous.
EKPYROSIS – PRIMORDIAL CHAOS RESTORED (Terror From Hell Records)
In the last 5-10 years, many interesting bands were born near Milan, such as Mefitic, Extirpation, Necro or Morbus Grave. Another one that it’s worth to mention is Ekpyrosis, a death metal act that started its course with two demos and cool ep, Witneses His Death. In the beginning they sounded like Nihilist, Grotesque and Sadistic Intent, but after a very good full length, Asphyxiating Devotion, they unleashed this new MCD under Terror From Hell Records. They added more influences from Incantation and to slow down most of the riffs: their music now is very close to doom/death but not enough slow to have this definition. The 4 new compositions in this release have a more personal vibe compared to their previous records. You can hear this on the guitar harmonizations on “Abyssal Convergence” and “Instigation of Entropy” and on the acoustic song “Chaos Condensing”, right before the Incantation cover “Devouring Death” (a classic one, but never a bad choice). With a cool artwork from View From The Coffin and a good sound production by Carlo Altobelli from Toxic Basement Studios, Primordial Chaos Restored is an ep you can’t ignore!
(italian version here)
CHAOS ECHŒS – MOUVEMENT (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
“ To hell with the rules, I am going for the unknown ”
When an extreme band chooses a Wayne Shorter quote to define their sound, you know it’s not going to be something you’ve just heard. Founded by ex-members of Bloody Sign, Chaos Echœs move from the classic death metal to embrace a dark and experimental music. If their debut full length, Transient, was a mind-blowing experience, with long songs and alienating clean guitar sections, Mouvement features the same dissonances but with a more extreme vibe. The overflowing riff lava sometimes can remember bands like Grave Miasma, Mefitic or Grave Upheaval, but when you think the composition is going to turn in a black/death song, a wall of cathartic harsh noise occurs to obtain the same kind of strange behavior you’ve heard in their previous releases. Many people compared them to Portal for their intricate and abstract riffing, while others see a connection with Aluk Todolo (both bands have dissonances and clean guitar parts), but the aim of Chaos Echœs is to create a new form of art, that can be defined like “An Embraceable magma leading the Subliminal” (quoting one of their songs in this album). It’s curious to see a band like this under Nuclear War Now! (compared to the satanic dirty music of most of its roster), but this is another reason to purchase Mouvement. If you like NWN! bands but you don’t want just another group with gas masks and sunglasses, this is the record for you!