Death is a big category. With so many subgenres, it was tough to boil it down, but I'm pretty happy with it. If you were only to buy 10 death metal albums this year, these should be the ones. Honorable mention to THE HUDSON HORROR and Silence Lies Fear, who just barely missed the cut.
While it is easy for groups in this genre to lump together, Laniakea has a very defining, stylized sound that helps it become instantly recognizable. The very purposefully digitized sound brings to mind groups like Within the Ruins or, especially on "Time Lost Utopia," Genghis Tron. But the comparisons to these groups end in that particular dimension. This is still very much a death metal record.
Taking the showmanship of technical death metal and presenting it within the aesthetic of melodic and symphonic death, Irreversible Mechanism kicks down the door and pummels the listener to the ground with a sense of class.
The drums are your feet hitting the ground, the guitar the blood pumping through your veins, and the death growls the grisly death that awaits those who slow down. Don't. Ever. Slow. Down.
Want something a little different today? How often do you hear someone screaming about cellular mitosis? If you like slime, and goo, and all things squishy; you need to check this album out.
I'm being pounded to dust by kick pedals and palm mute crunch. And to fall into cliche...I love it. It's a must-listen for extreme metal fans of death, black, and everything in between.
The sheer intensity of the music is impossible to not be caught up in. A lot of this has to do with the vocals. The sway between death growls and blackened screeches conjures Burn the Priest-era Randy Blythe possessed by steroid-abusing demons. This is some brutal death with more bite than most.
In Twilight's Embrace is here with their third album, and they are out for pure bloodlust. These Poland natives have an unquenchable thirst for speed. There's definitely a touch of Venom thrash, especially notable in tracks like Der Hellseher," but this is tempered with a modern twist a la Arch Enemy. Pure 90's melodeath rifftravaganza.
Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism is truly an unpredictable inferno of atmospheric death metal. Guitars will take breaks from squeeling and howling to engage in more typical DM and BM progressions, but this is still noisy as f@#k.
Many words come to mind as I attempt to describe its atmosphere: visceral, gripping, ugly; yet stunningly beautiful. Perhaps the most accurate word for me: Spell-binding. Hooks are equal parts infectious and hypnotic in their grief-stricken melodies.
"I Am The Alpha and the Omega" may be one of the most appropriately named tracks this year. From Revelation 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Abyssal ain't Jesus, but when it comes to death metal, this is some end of days-sounding stuff. "The Cornucopian" follows this apocalyptic introduction appropriately with an ambient walk through purgatory...that is until we become Dante tumbling through the many layers of the underworld.