Dank, dark death metal from Greece. The region has always had an ageless evil to their black and death metal sound, and Burial Hordes is no different. At first glance, the art and opening track may lead you to believe that the collective is just another old school DM band with a blackened edge, but "The World Ablaze" proves that they are capable of a certain range from crunchy chords and blazing, blackened tremolos to more expansive and ominous theatrics. Complimented by tireless drumming and unearthly, echoing snarls; this lean little EP is no less gratifying than some of the full length releases to come out this year. Get some.
German dark/death metal trio Valborg have given into a longstanding wish from their fans to record the two songs which have been "the heart of each and every Valborg show for the last three years." “Werwolf” and “Ich Bin Total” have apparently been popular mainstays for the band live, but until now they have never been pressed to an album. Given their quality, I can see why demand has been high. Despite only featuring these two tracks, their primal power more than makes up for the length. I suppose their quality makes sense when you consider that the band has had 3 years to perfectly hone their sound; something that is usually done in reverse. In any case, expect deeply satisfying growls and intense groove that threatens to seperate neck from shoulders. When "Ich Bin Total" kicks this EP off, it shouldn't take more than 5 seconds to step in line. Some tracks are growers...but these put a boot to your face immediately. Valborg is also working on their next full length album, so be sure to check back here frequently for more.
Recommended for fans of Conan, Windhand and Yob; welcome Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. The album title is old North Welsh loosely translated as ‘False Prophet.' Aided by the simultaneously ethereal and creepy vocals of Jessica Ball, this chugging bit of downtuned stoner doom floats like a butterfly and stomps like a mammoth. Think Undersmile meets Myrkur meets Kyuss. It's grungy, it's sludgy, and the Alice In Chains vibe on some of the guitar work really brings the filth on tracks like "Valmasque." Wah wah pedal of doom. It's always nice to hear something a little different in the genre.
Paul Ozz is a musician out of Vancouver. Inspired by his love of extreme music and recent hardships in his life, Ozz put together this 4 song EP with contributions from Kendra Tubbs, Sims Cashion, Christian Munzner (Alkaloid, Eternity's End, Spawn of Possession), and Matt Perrin (Threat Signal, AngelMaker). Before I even noticed the Alkaloid connection, I was already drawing some sonic parallels to that project. This is progressive death metal with a similar pacing and guitar approach (like those weird harmonic solos). Ozz also lists Opeth among the influences for this album, which seems to come through the most on "Dust". "Entropy" and "Sepulchre" are my personal favorites. Expect plenty technical hooks and dark atmosphere for days. This is a solid release that makes me hungry for a full length.
Soul Maggot is a four piece blackened death metal band from Kobior, Poland. They combine only the most devilish of tremolos with old school death vocals and some truly wretched riffs. And that's not all. Stick around towards the end of "Invocation Of The One In Despair" for more Opeth influence on some of these hooks. On first pass I considered this to just be some brutally-inclined death metal, but each listen is revealing a certain flexibility these guys have. They navigate through a plethora of influences: Portal, Howls of Ebb, Gutter Instinct...there's even some doom elements to "The Pathfinder." Compositions are deceptively intricate when you wipe away the slime and pull back the gangrenous tissue. Definitely check these guys out if you like a wide variety of death metal subgenres.
By far the most unique project on this list, Goatpsalm plays an insidious combination of funeral doom, ambient, and drone. The band is from Russia, and in addition to the glacial guitars, 80's wave synths, and gutteral growls they also utilize a number of "ethnic instruments" as well as rain/ocean sounds, female ululating, and really whatever creates the darkest atmosphere. There is a touch of industrial to the band's sound that recalls groups like Unjustly Labeled and perhaps even the most recent Gnaw Their Tongues. Patience is key with enjoying this album, but I assure you it's worth it. It is the perfect compliment to to dropping down on the couch after a long day. Give in to your weariness, pop in the headphones, and press play for an introspective journey akin to Dave in 2001.