I for one couldn’t be happier about real death metal’s return to prominence within the underground. By “real” death metal, I mean death metal that is truly evil and morbid sounding, death metal that adheres to the raw, vile groundwork laid down by the genre’s originators, none of that studio-slick bullshit that the big metal labels have been forcing down our throats since the dawn of pro-tools. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff has a time and a place, but I will take a gnarly, organic and rough-around-the-edges sounding recording any day over whatever “brutal band of the week” the industry at large happens to be pumping out. I swear that somewhere must be a secret factory that pumps out deathcore and tech death bands like fucking widgets. Being that the market is currently so oversaturated with sterile tech-death and the like, many ‘heads out there might not even be aware that there is an alternative. Luckily, oldschool death metal is starting to garner more attention, and hopefully more fans will be introduced to some quality dark and heavy music as a result.
In the recent past I’ve covered several bands that in in my humble opinion epitomize the genre (Vasaeleth, Fatalist, Impetuous Ritual) and now you can add the UK’s Grave Miasma to that short list. The band was formerly known as Goat Molestor, which is one hell of a gnarly name if you ask me. However, I feel Grave Miasma is not only a more serious-sounding moniker, it also perfectly describes the band’s sound. On their debut ep (under the Grave Miasma moniker) Exalted Emanation, the band unleashes some seriously grimy, subterranean death metal that sounds like it was exhumed from an ancient crypt. Being that Britain is one of death metal’s spawning grounds (along with Sweden and the US), its only fitting that one of the next generation’s flagship bands should emerge from there. In fact I recently read a write-up somewhere that said Grave Miasma was the best death metal band to come out of the UK since Bolt Thrower. Although I can’t take credit for that assessment, I do whole- heartedly agree with it.
Unfortunately I have yet to check out any of their Goat Molestor-era material (a situation I hope to soon rectify), but if Exalted Emanation is any indication, then I have truly been missing out. Grave Miasma crank out some seriously sinister death metal, churning, ugly and cavernous, like the aforementioned Bolt Thrower gone Tombs of the Blind Dead; a crusty and ancient sound that is still utterly dense, demonic and bulldozing. There is a thick atmosphere seeping out of tracks such as “Gnosis of the Summon” and “Pillars” that some how manages to split the difference between the heftier side of black metal and trudging, classic Incantation-esque death/doom. The whole disc feels as if it is drenched in a noxious fog, with the undead lurking inside its black, billowing confines and waiting to drag unsuspecting listeners down into the bowels of the Earth.
Indeed, Exalted Emanation is one of the most horrific releases of death metal’s new breed, a breed from which Grave Miasma just might emerge as the apex predator. Although the band themselves might refer to this as an ep, I call it a damn near perfect death metal album (if this is their idea of an ep, I can’t wait to hear what they have in store for a full length!). If you’re looking for some morbid, forbidding DM that completely crushes the competition and makes the the big label death metal bands seem like nothing more than a bad joke, look no further.