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Plague Widow – S/T EP by orlandooom407

I apologize for the delay in new content, all of us have been busy with pressing matters. Fear not, I return today with some delectable deathgrind for the hump day dreariness. Plague Widow hails from Sacramento and have done a commendable job spreading their disease to each corner of the web. In conjunction with their dedicated leg work their putrid amalgamation rotten death metal atmosphere and contorted grindcore song structure thoroughly, and forcefully, flushes the ear drums of any impurities. Coupled around corporeally eviscerating songs, entitled Abyss I and II, are some short tracks consisting only of disconcerting (film) samples that I can’t seem to recognize. Expect hairpin percussion, grotesque guitar tones, and bile curdling vocals as well between the introduction and outro tracks which consist of demented noisy descents into what seems to be the end of the fucking world. I would highly suggest this to anyone fervent for Cephalic Carnage, Enfold Darkness or Brodequin.

Favorite Track – Mabus Incarnate

Summative Sentence – An all too short lived onslaught of savagely spastic burnt black deathgrind.

Click here to check out Plague Widow on Facebook.

– Jarad Oates Haggard



Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction by orlandooom407

In 2010, Pallbearer released a demo which flew under the radar. Fast forward nearly two years and Pallbearer’s 2012 Profound Lore debut Sorrow and Extinction is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the new year. How did we get here? Let me explain..

Back in December, I had the pleasure of seeing this Arkansas foursome at Rites of Darkness III, and as expected, I was blown away. But Pallbearer were a last minute addition to the fest, and from the looks of it, most festgoers weren’t really familiar with them at all. This changed when they took the stage, and even in the middle of the afternoon, the floor started to get more and more crowded, mostly with people wanting to know more about them. A little later, someone I’d met in line earlier came up to me and said “This band is going to be big.”

The style of doom that Pallbearer play is certainly unique. The comparisons to Warning/40 Watt Sun are fairly obvious as Brett Campbell‘s voice bears a striking resemblance to Patrick Walker‘s. I want to point out how hard it has apparently been for critics to not go on and on about this likeness – so much so that every comment about Pallbearer will invariably mention it. I know I’m not the only one tired of hearing about it and I hate to see a young band with so much going for them being reduced to a reference to a band people are also very fond of. Comparisons are fun to show people what YOU know or what YOU like, but your full attention should be on a band, not on how many other bands you can namedrop alongside that band. Instead, I’ll say this: for me, these comparisons end at the vocals, and this band deserves your attention because of how well they do what they do – not because of another band.

Sorrow and Extinction is rooted in a very specific and unique place: Pallbearer play doom metal slowed to the pace of a funeral with distinctive influences from both American southern metal and epic doom. Clean vocals in doom metal are a tricky issue, especially in the realm of epic doom – go too far and you’re in power metal territory. I don’t need to tell doom metal fans that it can sometimes be hard for a band to make music that never feels dominated by the presence of a vocal performance as strong as Campbell’s. But that isn’t an issue here. The vocal performance is perfectly understated and even subtle at times. One of the Pallbearer’s strengths is that they work so well as a whole, without letting any one performance to dominate their work. The vocals work in the background, set against haunting funeral doom melodies, dual guitar harmonies and a sense of rhythm (and dare I say groove) rare for doom of this pace. Credit it to their southern roots, but this record does something unforeseen at this speed, it rocks. One of the album’s best moments is Devoid of Redemption (a song rerecorded from the demo) which really shows off the band’s talent at defying expectations. Maybe it’s for this reason that at no point does Sorrow and Extinction overindulge in gloom. The rhythm feels loose rather than morose, and the guitars feel alive – a fact I like to chalk it up to Pallbearer’s ability to inject blues influence back into doom metal. There’s such a great blend of styles into a cohesive whole that it makes it hard to apply the adjective-soup definitions that accompany most modern doom metal.

There’s so much more to Pallbearer than any comparison to another band could ever tell you – this record proves that in spades. All the comparisons thrown around don’t mean anything next to what the band has actually accomplished here. This is what doom metal is all about, don’t wait to hear this one.

Favorite cuts: Devoid of Redemption, Given to the Grave

Click here to order Sorrow and Extinction out now on Profound Lore Records.

– Sean McDonnell



C R O W N – The One by orlandooom407

Heavy is the album that these disciples of Jesu have brought out of their black ice factory. A slow, frostbound take on the sludge genre that employs a fresh-faced young drum machine who recently graduated from the Broadrick School of Art, C R O W N’s “The One” takes us through a sonic mountain path, from the lowest valleys of Sludge, to high summits where synth lines fall across the face like a cold sun at morning. These two drudes have put together a concise yet versatile thesis on the aesthetic of machine-augmented sludge that was originated by bands like Godflesh and Earth. This slab is also very much a product of the metal of the last decade, with lines being drawn to ISIS and Godflesh godhead Justin Broadrick’s 2000’s work.

Despite some evident quotes and influences on this album, CROWN still leave behind a work that can been seen as unique, especially in their mastery of dynamics and a tone that only recalls, not directly emulates, their spiritual predecessors. The album opens with “Cosmogasm,” a furious sludge trudge that layers tremolo picked notes and bliss-inducing synths over a hellishly blackened soundscape. The heaviest moment on the album, this song ends up titled appropriately as it ends in postcoital fashion, played off the stage by disembodied violins. “The One” is a more subtle entry, with a slow burn that reminds me of the more guitar-driven moments of 90 Day Men. On this track especially, CROWN use their robotic drummer companion in a very anti-Thrones manner; moments where old Joe would put bursts of double bass or schizophrenic phased cymbal flourishes, these two keep their beatbot going straight down the line, creating a dirge-like walk under the frozen synths and ethereal vocalizations. Very cool, in more than a couple of ways.

“100 Ashes” is a bit of a detour, being a mostly ambient exercise. This will probably be the moment where people who disliked Jesu’s softer moments or expected heaviness at all times will be turned off. “Mare” is another riff-driven piece, serving almost as a companion to “The One.” These two pieces follow a nautical map of build-and-release, ending up in a spot much heavier than even early ISIS. Kudos to these gents for dethroning the past master of sludge dynamics.

The line on the map brings us lastly to “Orthodox,” which opens with a beat that recalls Killing Joke’s more polyrhythmic side. This closer is the highest point on the album, with haunting guitar duels riding the ghost of Paul Ferguson through a spectral realm of chants and humming synths. It ties up the album nicely, showing CROWN reaching the conclusion of their journey through the schools of millenial doom metal, and bringing their sound concept full circle.

Although I had to use a compass made of past bands to navigate my way through the arctic sea CROWN have laid for us, I still found the album extremely memorable and far more passionately produced than many bands who have tried to swim the same current. Look out for these high priests of cyborg sludge in the future, and be sure to visit their bandcamp for this release, out NOW on SuperStrong.

Click here to check out The One on C R O W N’s Bandcamp page.

– Chris Nunez



Swamp Abyss Sorcery – A Guide to Floridian Metal Circa 2012 by orlandooom407

I sincerely apologize for the lack of updates over the past few days. Combined with sending this grotesque chimeric bastard’s likeness to many of the blogs and forums that I frequent I’ve been heavily preoccupied by life, Fire in the Cave writing sessions and other writing projects. His name is THROMBIBULOUS and he exemplifies what happens when Rick Scott reveals his true form, except well, his flamingo penis is probably significantly smaller. He’s the newest mascot for several of us Florida people who decided to compile our songs together for this FREE COMPILATION entitled Swamp Abyss Sorcery. Satanik Recordings and HOT GRAVES compiled and released this free digital compilation on Valentine’s Day equipped with lore and artwork by Jean Saiz:

To help consolidate all necessary free time for the sake of enjoying the music I’m going to provide a series of one sentence matter of fact explanations of each band:

Miami:

Shroud EaterA  malevolent and equivocally dissonant stoner metal trio armed with a PhD in savagery.

Holly Hunt – Armageddon flavored instrumental drone doom duo with an enamoring gazey trim.

Orbweaver – Deranged psychedelic death metal hurdling through space at speeds that make The Milennium Falcon look like your little sister’s moped.

Orlando:

Druid Lord – Tomb smashing death-doom quartet smelt together by ancient witchery and venomous rhythms.

Fire in the CaveI don’t critique my own band. Grim Kim Kelly did though.

Tampa / St.Petersburg:

flyingsnakes -Explosive blackened crust that eviscerates boundaries between metallic and anarchic.

FatalUnabashed thrash that will trash your entire hash stash to fuel their toxic lashed dash.

Party Time – Hyper active hardcore punk in less than two minutes or your punishment’s free.

Jacksonville / Gainesville:

Hollow Leg – Ravenous Floridian cult classic doom quartet that’ll have you saying “WHAT?!” for days.

Extremely Rotten – Red herring gore grind brutality with vocal tones so low that if plumbers had spidey sense it would violently tingle against the subconscious.

HOT GRAVES – Menacing blackened thrash burning a glorious Midnight inspired homage straight through your mind’s eye.

If you haven’t already, CLICK HERE to download the entire compilation for free.

– Jared Oates Haggard



Psycroptic – The Inherited Repression by orlandooom407

This is definitely not the Psycroptic I remember hearing in 2006 when Symbols of of Failure released. I honestly haven’t kept up with these ostentatious Aussies, and I selected to review The Inherited Repression on complete impulse. I say hybrid because Cephalic Carnage aren’t the only ones taking tidbits from sludgy and grindcore compositions these days. One should still expect well practiced down tuned devastation for which they’ve always received notable praise.

TIR starts off with “Carriers of the Plague” and immediately reaches for attention by waving around the timing chops. Thrashy (or crossed over?)  leads are tossed in briefly before another brutal juxtaposition by integrating precise chonging (chugging). The chugging would tease any listeners expecting any kind of a comforting break down. Much to my surprise the guitar tone stands out here unlike my memory of previous recordings. If I recall correctly former tones were familiar yet similar to a habitat for sentient mechanical hornets. Now they hulk around a thickened sound shared by bands like Bison B.C. or Mastodon. Bass fiddle tracks also follow this motif of sewage soaked tinge, and hammer the supportive  rhythmic beams into place. In accordance with tone The Inherited Repression also sports lumbering southern fried riffing while still finding ways to branch into bewildering double bass driven death metal. Not only that, but certain songs carry an aroma of  unmistakable groove oriented hardcore similar to the likes of A Life Once Lost or Burnt By the Sun.

Every song showcases a trek through each of Psycroptic’s favorite metallic flavors. Grind nuances make fleeting appearances in conjunction with riffs filing into their half-timed counter parts. Portions that affirm a dedication to remain a death metal band bore association to Vader‘s by having slower groovy riffs contrasted with freakishly hasty percussion (from every appendage).  Vocals range from mid to low brutalized barks and provide a dominant accentuation to the onslaught of instrumentation.

After a few listens I really began to fully perceive the clever transitions between riffs. Psycroptic, a band I never paid mind to before yesterday, has successfully stitched together an astoundingly cohesive medley for several of my favorite styles of metal.

Summative Sentence: A punishing gargantuan construct of fattening guitars and unnerving vocal vigor in convoy with double bass velocity that would make Achilles look like Billy Milano following a complimentary buffet.

Favorite Track: Carriers of the Plague

Click here to order The Inherited Repression from Nuclear Blast Records.

Click here to check out Psycroptic on Facebook.

– Jared Oates Haggard



Christian Mistress – Possession by orlandooom407

I feel like I missed like three or four albums in between Christian Mistress’s 2010 Agony and Opium and their 2011 Relapse debut: Possession.  Their first release was the talk of the metal underground with its lo-fi basement recording and NWOBHM influences. They were lumped in with the rising tide of retro bands that showcase their classic influences on their sleeves and use gimmicks to cover up their lack of songwriting chops. Turns out that anyone who lumped Christian Mistress in with this camp deserves a swift kick square to the bean pouch. There is nothing retro about Posession.  Heavily armed with beefy production and monumental hooks, Christian Mistress sounds like a band on the verge of mainstream success.

For people who love heavy music this particular metallic flavor never really went out of style, and it’s  familiar but never boring. I imagine this is how most people feel about warm blankets and mashed potatoes. For me it’s dueling guitars, plain striding rhythms and a singer with a banshee’s range. All of this is presented without a wink of irony, gimmicky costumes, cheese drenched lyrics about Satan. Neglecting said motifs makes me love this album even more. Iron Maiden comes up frequently as the band’s most obvious influence and its hard to disagree with that. Aside from the blatant musical influence they also bare the attitude of Iron Maiden’s first two albums on Posession.  The early Maiden albums proved that you could have technical skill and grand ambition while playing with the “get in the van” break neck abandon of a punk band.

Along with the extravagant leap in production, the band’s songwriting has grown more dynamic. From the power balladry of “There Is Nowhere” to 70’s boogie rock riffs in “Black to Gold”, Christian Mistress prove they are more versatile than most of their peers. Signs of additional potential progression are apparent. Posession is just one of those albums that comes along ever now and then that just cuts through trends and all the sub sub sub genres of modern metal and reminds you why you love this kind of music.

Possession is set for a February 28th release through Relapse Records.

Click here to pre-order and preview Possession from CM’s Bandcamp page.

Click here to check out the Christian Mistress blog.

– Clark Johnson



Aborted – Global Flatline by orlandooom407

Some great things have come out of Belgium, like beer, cheese, and some great looking supermodels. Ever heard of late 80’s grind stars Agathocles? Yea, Belgium. So now that I have you thinking about Belgium, did you know Aborted was from there, because I sure as hell didn’t. They’ve recently released their sixth full length album titled Global Flatline, their third release on Century Media Records. This is their first album in four years, and there have been some member changes, like new guitarists, a new bassist, and a new drummer. Pretty much everything that made their previous album, Strychnine.213 sound like the metallic equivalent of a long, moist fart.A surprising album for a death metal band, in that it’s 15 tracks long and clocks in at a solid 51 minutes and 12 seconds (roughly). A ballsy move. Why? This is the same band that’s had songs run together in the past, just like the aforementioned Strychnine.213, and again on Archaic Abattoir. Honestly though, the album does feels a little run on, especially when you start to get towards the middle.

You’re probably sitting there thinking “alright, get to the fucking point Aborted, tighten your shit up!” And it’s not even like the music is bad per se, it’s that the songs feel more dragged out than they should. This is an album review, so don’t take my word on it, let’s look at the music.

The flat line begins with an ominous intro. Pretty standard fare, as they’ve had this approach in the past. Yawn, next track. “The Origin of Disease”, the first actual song on the album, rips out of the gate with some ferocious drumming courtesy of Ken Bedene, and guitar work that feels reminiscent of Carcass and Emeth, the latter being fellow Belgianites. The song plods around, throws a little breakdown, and then slows down into some chugging with a spit of atmospheric reverb that segues into the token death metal solo. Not too bad, Aborted, better than Strychnine.213 already.

So you get to the next song, and then the next, and oh fuck, aw shit, every song follows the same formula. If not identical, some incestuous variation. That’s not to say that a formulaic approach to song writing guarantees a lack of quality, look at Nasum. They did what they did so well, it didn’t fucking matter how similar the approach was, it was still fucking great. Unfortunately, Aborted aren’t as up to snuff with song writing, because after the fourth track (entitled Fecal Forgery, I definitely laughed when I read that) the songs begin to bleed into each other instead of being stand alone tracks. It’s just riff after riff of Carcass worship, all tied together with hasty solid drumming. If you like Carcass, you’ll enjoy Aborted rehashing their riffs.

The first song to break away from the formulaic incpeption: Expurgation Euphoria. The double E starts off slow with some groovy dissonance in the chugs that lead into the actual song. The song maintains until the middle, and finds an evening pace around then. They start to rehash the beginning riffs to finish the song; a nice escape from the first half of the album that had become almost predictable by this point. You aren’t going to find much else in variation on this album, the first half of the album can be interchanged with the second half with little trouble. There isn’t much feel of flow, and the riffs that really get your neck moving are few and far between.

Now. Am I saying the album is shit? Not necessarily, there are some standout tracks that rise above the other tracks, like Endstille, which has a classic Carcass sounding intro that really lays into the groove, which it then keeps right into some really nice guitar work. After all this wankery, they get into a really sick mid paced song, but it’s 6 and a half minutes long, so the constant repetition of their own motifs wears one down. And the first song, The Ominous Bloodline? I don’t care if it’s Carcass worship, it has a solid sound that many other bands try (and fail) to pull off.

Bottom line, this album didn’t really impress me, it was a pretty safe bet for a death metal album. You won’t hear a track, and then look to your friend and yell “HOLY SHIT, DUDE” and then mercilessly shred on your air guitar. You won’t circle pit in your living room/office/car. You’ll recognize it for what it is, another Aborted album, and appreciate it for its Carcass aspects, and then probably never think about it again.

Click here to order the CD/LP combo of Global Flatline from Century Media Records.

Click here to check out Aborted on Facebook.

– Joseph Roettgen