Holy shit you guys, I haven’t done one of these brutal/tech/slam death metal roundup features since 2014! Wasn’t this supposed to be a semi-regular feature?! I guess 2014 was also the year that I realized I’m far too disorganized/scatterbrained to pull off regular features, so they’re more like whenever-I-feel-like-it features and apparently I haven’t felt like it in almost two years.
Whatever the case, I’ve been discovering lots and lots of good stuff of late that’s more than worthy of being featured, which in turn means that Oodles of Brutals is back for another trawl through the nether regions of all things br00tal, technical and slammy. So sit back, relax and enjoy the beating.
The biggest news to hit Brutalsville so far this year is the return of Wormed, who will be unleashing their third album overall and Season of Mist debut Krighsu in March. The Spaniards released one of the most devastating brutal/tech death albums of the last ten years with 2013’s Exodromos, so there’s a lot to live up to here, but if preview track “Pseudo Horizon” is anything to go by, Wormed just might have topped their slamming sci-fi mastepiece from a few years back. Be on the lookout for a full review of the interstellar beast known as Krighsu when it drops later this year.
I’m not entirely sure that one can technically call Cleveland’s Embalmer a brutal death metal band; having been around since 1989 they definitely predate the distinction between regular ol’ death metal and BDM. But make no mistake, the quartet’s early demos and debut EP There Was Blood Everywhere influenced scores of bands that came after them to up the gore and violence, not to mention the fact that they’re responsible for one of the greatest DM song titles ever in “The Necro-Filing Cabinet.”
Embalmer have set April 1st as the release date for their long-awaited second album Emanations from the Crypt via the mighty Hells Headbangers. The label has graciously put the title track up for your listening displeasure on Bandcamp and it’s already sounding far better than the somewhat disappointing 13 Faces of Death. If you’re not familiar with these guys, you owe it to yourself to acquainted with one of brutal death’s unsung granddaddies.
While Wormed and Embalmer’s new ones are sure to be stunners, the award for most brutal album of 2016 might have already been taken by Brutus, who’ve returned from the wilderness after thirteen years with Murwgebeukt, an album that’s as burly and bulldozing as it is difficult to pronounce. This thing is so relentlessly pulverizing that I find it difficult to listen to all in one sitting, which is surely a sign of its greatness.
There’s nothing terribly unique about Brutus’ attack in and of itself, yet I can’t help but be captivated by how relentlessly over-the-top brutal this thing is. Yes, yes, I realize that the “b-word” gets thrown around in metal so much that it’s easily the most overused descriptor in the genre at this point, but trust me friends when I say it’s the only word I can come up with that defines these Dutch deathsters’ unrelenting approach.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t let the rather generic cover art fool you; Murwgebeukt is an album that forgoes things like melody and technicality in favor of focusing all its efforts on making you feel like a pile of hammered shit, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s out now via our good friends at Willowtip.
I was still on hiatus when Virginia’s Construct of Lethe reached out to me about their debut album Corpsegod, but I’ve been keeping this bruiser filed away for almost a month now. I’m to the point where I can’t resist sharing it with IG readers any longer and Oodles of Brutals seems like as good a place as any to do so.
Contruct of Lethe hit that sweet spot between brutal death metal and tech death on Corpsegod; there is depth and complexity to the songwriting, but they never overdo it. They also manage to be brutal as all hell, only occasionally giving you a chance to collect yourself before resuming the eardrum abuse. Not only that but these guys sound hungry and like they’ve something to prove, and I’d much rather hear that from a young band than soulless technical wizardry for technical wizardry’s sake.
The production is modern-sounding, but retains a certain roughness around the edges; it’s a welcome sonic balance that’s not often heard in a genre that tends toward either extreme overproduction or sounding like it was recorded inside a trash can with very little middle ground. It also perfectly suits the music, which is propelled by session drummer Kevin Talley’s (ex-every band, ever) merciless precision and the six-string havoc wrought by guitarists Tony Petrocelly and John Styers.
My only real gripes with Corpsegod are that it runs just a little long for this style at forty-four minutes and that the songs tend to get a little samey-sounding at times; some more guitar solos (such as the one that opens the title track) and a little less reliance on chugging would likely remedy the situation in no time. However, these minor criticisms don’t keep Corpsegod from being a promising debut from an up-and-coming young band.
Another band that’s given us a toilet tantalizer of great things to come is Ukranian act Fleshgore, who’ll be releasing their fifth album Denial of the Scriptures on Xtreem Music on February 19th. They’ve only made three tracks available for streaming so far via Xtreem’s Bandcamp page, but trust me when I say that this trio of tracks is enough to know that Fleshgore plays some batshit crazy-sounding brutal death, rife with big phat slams and just enough frenetic technicality to keep things interesting.
What is it about the former Soviet Union that makes it such a hotbed for this shit? I don’t know, but as long as bands like Fleshgore, Abominable Putridity, Katalepsy, Disfigurement of Flesh, Traumatomy and 7H Target keep pumping it out, I guess it really doesn’t matter.
Speaking of Traumatomy, those sneaky bastards released a brand new album in October of last year that went completely under the radar. If pure, lizard brain tickling slam is what you crave, this is your new favorite band.
It should be noted that Traumatomy is actually something of an international project featuring two members of Russia’s Disfigurement of Flesh as well as Japanese vocalist Haruka Kamiyama, whom astute fans will recognize from Gorevent and the delightfully named Medic Vomiting Pus.
Moving on to other releases that flew under the radar last year, I finally got a chance to check out the latest EP from Cryptopsy. The tech/brutal death elder statesmen have been working to rebuild their reputation ever since the complete and utter debacle that was 2008’s The Unspoken King, a regrettable decent deep into the pitch-black bunghole of deathcore. Their self-titled 2012 full-length was a step back in the right direction, but The Book of Suffering Tome 1 is the most vicious-sounding thing they’ve released since Whisper Supremacy.
While it is evident that Cryptopsy will likely never fully recapture the skull-splitting awesomeness of Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile (no Lord Worm, no dice), The Book of Suffering ain’t half bad for a band that sports only one original member and is still recovering from releasing their very own Cold Lake.
Saprogenic is one of those bands who’s name I’ve heard several times over the years but for some reason never bothered to check out. I quickly realized the error of my ways after picking up a copy of their third album Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs down at my local shop. The 2013 album is a damn fine example of bludgeoning and bottom-heavy oldschool brutal death metal that owes much to genre luminaries such as Suffocation and Dying Fetus.
Granted, Saprogenic themselves aren’t exactly rookies at this point, having been around since 2001; their veteran status is evidenced by the manner in which they bulldoze their way through tracks such as “Removing a Phantom Limb” and “Mutated Deception” with the power and precision of a well-oiled killing machine. The material is ferocious and twisted without being overly technical, making for an album that never overstays its welcome in spite of its forty-plus minute running time and Saprogenic even displays a little diversity with a surprisingly faithful cover of Dissection’s classic “Night’s Blood.”
Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs is a few years old at this point, but that’s no reason not to circle back and check out this stellar Willowtip release if you haven’t already done so. Don’t make the same mistake I did and miss out on these guys.
Lastly, I thought it might be fun to revisit the greatness that is Aborted’s Goremageddon: The Saw and the Carnage Done. While most of the Belgian band’s catalog ranges from above average to very good, Goremageddon is a bonafide classic that saw the band firing on all cylinders. The guitar tone, which sounds like a rusty chainsaw carving its way through cadaverous flesh, is well worth the price of admission, but Goremageddon also features some of Aborted’s most memorable and distinctive songs and riffs. I could probably write all day long about the merits of this thirteen year old masterpiece, but it’s far better to just listen for yourself.
That wraps it up for this edition of Oodles of Brutals… hopefully it won’t be another two years before I crank out another one. If you’re in a brutal/tech/gore/slam/whatever death metal band and are interested in being featured in a future installment, or if you have any hot tips on cool bands that fit the brutal bill, get in touch ASAP.