Saturday, October 18, 2014

Execration - Morbid Dimensions

Written by Atanamar Sunyata.

Artwork by Kristian Valbo

The fathomless depths of death metal know no bounds; be thankful. Execration carve out a virgin slice of that ever expanding universe, crafting mid-paced paeans to death in the adventurous vein of Morbus Chron, Tribulation, and Necrowretch. Morbid Dimensions is more primal than polished, more savage than a six-pack of xenomorphs, and weirder than that “one weird trick to prevent cancer”.

Perfectly insane arpeggios and inutterable tremolations frolic amidst herds of primitive, trampling riffs. These grooves crackle like that Mercyful Fate LP you’ve been spinning nonstop for 30 years. Morbid Dimensions plays out in masterful movements, with ebbs and flows of riffs most fine. One moment you’ll be banging your head in assent, and the next you’ll be pondering the infinite facets of sinister pointillism a la Negative Plane.

These diverse compositions are accompanied by organically obtuse rhythms and filthy-fresh bass lines. Add in a barrage of truly demented howls, and you have an album ripe for close listening and repeated spins. When the death toll for 2014 is tallied, Morbid Dimensions will be on my short list.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Morbid Dimensions is available digitally via Duplicate Records right now, with a physical incarnation to follow from Hells Headbangers in December.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hexis - Abalam

Written by metal.txt.

Danish blackened hardcore that has more in common with cold industrial than any passionate youth crew anthems. Most of this album is a relentless assault, and yes, that’s a cliche in metal, but roughly 25 out of 35 minutes of this fucker is anchored by jackhammer blast beats. Vocalist Filip sounds like he’s about halfway through a demonic possession, all snarls and screams, but maintaining enough power to not get lost in the chaos.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The closer, "Inferis", twice as long as any other track here, presents a band that has grown weary of their own audial attack. The track is almost like the usual hardcore breakdown but slowed and stretched out into a 9-minute growl. It’s a fantastic song and a style Hexis revisited on their split with Primitive Man.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Abalam is not the best album of the year, even on this short of a release the sound of the early tracks gets a little one trick pony after a while. But it is a release I've come back to quite a bit this year, whenever I feel like… feel like… hold on let me Google something. Whenever I feel like “getting fucked in the earholes with a sledgehammer”. Ah, yes.

Abalam by Hexis is available on Bandcamp here:

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Or you could be like me and buy a tape of the album in Paris where a weird beard Frenchman will glare at you since you just ruined his day by *daring* to step foot into his store. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Swallowed - Lunarterial

Written by Kevin Page.

Cover art (Four Eyes) by Peter Birkhäuser.

When it comes down to it, Swallowed could have gone the easy route and spit forth 8-10 songs that sounded like their 2010 self titled EP and most people would have been happy (myself included). But instead they made a record that's vile, nasty and uglier than you would have imagined. This isn't a pretty album. It's not meant to be an easy listen.

Plenty of bands back in be early '90's based half their so called 'savagery' on a piss poor production. Even nowadays you can find endless bands that slap the treble knob all the way up to mask the fact they can't play a decent chord. Swallowed simply relies on the grotesqueness of the riffs. Imagine Autopsy's Severed Survival, doomed up, put the guitar higher in the mix and sprinkled with a Finnish Black/Death flair. The sound is both non retro and non modern at the same time. The production has this wonderful feeling of horny elephants stampeding through the room causing mass chaos.

Throughout it's 53 minute runtime you will feel as if you were jettisoned in an escape pod and crash landed on a desolate planet. There's nowhere to turn, you don't know what to do or where to go. Suddenly a violent cacophony of instruments makes you run for your life. Yet there is no escape, no happy ending, just barren nothingness. If the cover art doesn't creep you out, picture it while listening to the monstrous 25 minute closing number, "Libations". It's nerve racking and uneasy. And I love it.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]