October 18, 2017

Antiversum - Cosmos Comedenti

By Bryan Camphire. The time has come for Antiversum to rear their ugly head once again on Invictus Productions. They're here to deliver their debut long player, Cosmos Comedenti (Cosmos Eater in Latin). The title is full of portent
By Bryan Camphire


The time has come for Antiversum to rear their ugly head once again on Invictus Productions. They're here to deliver their debut long player, Cosmos Comedenti (Cosmos Eater in Latin). The title is full of portent: we've got some nihilistic music on our hands. Glistening obsidian adorns the cover, confirming any and all suspicions: this is oppressively heavy material of elemental depredation.

Antiversum adopts a sound that is well-defined and make it their own. You'd be forgiven for comparing them to Portal; the influence is palpable. However, Antiversum is no mere simulacrum of the gods. The band stands tall because they write great songs. Would Portal exist if not for Morbid Angel? Asking such questions is only useful in illuminating how pathways have been paved for new ideas over time. When all is said and done, solid songwriting is what's tantamount to transcending one's influences. Cosmos Comedenti is an expertly crafted work that continuously beckons the listener back for more.

The first minute of the record sounds like gathering gloom on a hopeless night. This is before Antiversum have even struck a note. "Antinova" is the name of the tune in question. It's a made up word, perhaps referring to some kind of cosmic increase of darkness. How fitting for a record about eating the universe.

Antiversum comes ripping through space like a nemesis to heavenly bodies all and sundry. A churning rhythm locks into place, throwing all equilibrium out of orbit. Ghostly whispers enshroud the atmosphere in a thick putrid all-encompassing fog. Stars blink out. Fear sets in. Unwholesome melodies smear the senses. "Antinova" winds down and things get stranger still. Guitars scratch through the black, opening up the landscape like a wound. This gaping maw murmurs forth a remembrance: This is not a dream.

Cosmos Cemedenti clocks at thirty eight minutes with four tracks. It's a succinct offering, one that sticks with you long after the music stops. Invictus Productions have put out some of the darkest metal to be heard this year. The first proper full length by Antiversum is a formidable addition to the roster of this fiendish imprint.

Tagged with 2017, Antiversum, blackened death metal, Bryan Camphire, Invictus Productions

October 13, 2017

Altarage - Endinghent

By Bryan Camphire. The more I listen to this record the more I want to turn it up. Bilbao's Altarage have delivered another scorcher of a release, and repeated listens can feel like witnessing the spreading of wildfire.
By Bryan Camphire.


The more I listen to this record the more I want to turn it up. Bilbao's Altarage have delivered another scorcher of a release, and repeated listens can feel like witnessing the spreading of wildfire. The band has upped the ante for themselves on Endinghent, their second proper full length in as many years. The record plays on the strengths that made their debut Nihl so remarkable, and makes everything meaner. This is caustic death metal played on a colossal scale.

Opener "Incessant Magma" gets right to it. Searing guitars are tremolo picked as the rhythm section pounds out a violent undulating dirge. It erupts white hot and blots out everything in its wake. Endinghent is a record that makes you want to throw up your fists while it pulls you under, deep into its pyroclastic flow. Still, for all of the band's vivid roiling might, it's the excellent song writing that keeps the listener coming back. The tunes each possess a distinct individuality, and there is not a dull cut in the batch.

Photos by Pedro Roque.

What makes Endinghent a meaningful record is its ability to deliver hopeless blackened death metal in a fresh way. Altarage add a secret ingredient to their ominous sound—something which has made metal so engaging since its inception, something that has a tendency to get subjugated in the name of innovation. Simply put, they play riffs that make you want to headbang.

All of the instruments possess this propulsive quality. And yet the playing is never formulaic, always nuanced. The rhythm section changes things up often enough to keep things from getting predictable, yet still manages to grind out rhythms that make you want to break stuff. The guitars come across like parasitic cordyceps worming their way into your brain and dominating your thoughts and feelings. Unique unexpected chord choices open the music up at intervals. The sinking spiraling entropy never lets up.

Endinghent triumphs as a work of meticulously calculated order that gives way to an outpouring of raw, cataclysmic fury. It infiltrates and takes control. All the while, this music breeds virulent destruction like a nemesis bent on stopping overpopulation. Listen to Endinghent and bang your head as the world burns.

Tagged with 2017, Altarage, black metal, Bryan Camphire, death metal, Pedro Roque

October 6, 2017

Spirit Adrift - Curse of Conception

By Calen Henry. There's a bit of a doom renaissance going on. Bands like Crypt Sermon are carrying the traditional doom torch alongside the likes of Monolord and Elder; deep down the rabbit holes of their own sound.
By Calen Henry.


There's a bit of a doom renaissance going on. Bands like Crypt Sermon are carrying the traditional doom torch alongside the likes of Monolord and Elder; deep down the rabbit holes of their own sound. Meanwhile Khemmis, Pallbearer, and Dvne are pushing the boundaries of the genre by incorporating myriad other influences. Nate Garrett's solo doom outfit Spirit Adrift burst onto that crowded scene last year with the impressive and impressively traditional Chained to Oblivion. A year later, backed by a full band, he follows it with Curse of Conception.

By sticking close to traditional doom Spirit Adrift show what's possible within its confines. The songwriting and playing are incredibly varied but extremely cohesive. In almost complete antithesis to bands like Monolord, Curse of Conception is a barrage of riffs, acoustic interludes, and dual guitar leads. Never really leaving the confines of doom, Spirit Adrift nonetheless push them. The varied tempos and searing solos edge into traditional metal territory but it always comes back to the doom.

It's stand-out riff after stand-out riff; from the legato stomp of "Curse of Conception" through its major key change outro (also beautifully employed on "Spectral Savior"), into the very Pallbearer'y (and very excellent) intro to "To Fly on Broken Wings" and through the mandolin/synth intro on "Wakien". Then, saving the heaviest for last, the absolutely obliterating "Onward, Inward".

The riff madness is all anchored by Garrett's soulful vocals. I initially found the vocals to be the album's weak point; Garrett isn’t the most technical singer but ultimately his vocals really complete the band's sound. They are mostly clean with just a bit of "grungey" grit and are delivered with absolute conviction. Like with many great bands, anything he may lack in technical skill is more than made up for in the commitment with which he sings. He sells every note.

Fans of Khemmis and Pallbearer absolutely cannot miss Curse of Conception. Softer than Hunted, more traditional than Heartless and as crushing as it is gorgeous, it elevates Spirit Adrift to new heights making the doom darling duo a triumvirate. A traditional doom record this good in 2017, with such strong competition, is a jaw dropping achievement. Unless you hate melody do not miss this record.

Tagged with 20 Buck Spin, 2017, Calen Henry, doom metal, Spirit Adrift