We’re only a month and a half into 2017 and it’s already turning out to be a great year for all things brutal death metal, so it seems like as good a time as any to resurrect Oodles of Brutals. For those not familiar, I have an unhealthy obsession with this most ignorant of subgenres and its various offshoots, and OOB started over at my old blog as a way for me to round up all all things brutal, gory and slamming in one space. So w/o further ado, let’s dive back into the BDM cesspit, shall we?
There are a bunch of BDM heavy hitters kicking off the year with new releases, but none of them so far are heavier than Beheaded’s Beast Incarnate. The Maltese quintet have exemplified Unique Leader’s trademark style of semi-technical, over-the-top brutal death metal for many years now, going all the way back to 2005’s classic Ominous Bloodline, and over a decade later they’re still firing on all cylinders. Beast Incarnate sees the band continue to ease off on the spasmodic songwriting that characterized their early work in favor of a burlier, more straightforward approach, sounding more like an army of bulldozers rolling over a mountain of burning human remains than ever. They’ve also gotten more atmospheric, as evidenced by the eight minute quasi-death doom epic that is “The Black Death.” This is easily Beheaded’s most mature-sounding effort to date and even though it’s still early, I’d say it’s pretty darn likely that Beast Incarnate will go down as one of the year’s best brutal death metal albums.
Is there another band on the planet that does the brutal death blast-o-rama thang better than Hour of Penance? The answer is “hell no,” and it’s a pleasant surprise to see these guys bounce back from the dip in quality that was 2014’s rather disappointing Regicide. Indeed, Cast The First Stone feels more like the direct sequel to the goddamn mighty Sedition (from 2012) that Regicide should have been, a blistering assault that still manages to be memorable in spite of its somewhat monochromatic approach to brutal death metal. There is a small part of me that wishes Hour of Penance would maybe attempt to branch out a little bit and try some different things with their sound, but as stated above, they do the relentless blasting thing so well that there’s really no reason for them to let off the gas on Cast The First Stone. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” might be the oldest cliche in the book, but Hour of Penance are proof that sometimes those cliches exist for a reason.
His Divine Shadow, the first new Condemned album in six long years, isn’t out until March 10th; somehow I managed to get blessed by the promo gods with an early digital copy, so I figured I’d take this opportunity to whet your appetite. If you were a fan of Realms of the Ungodly, rest assured that you’re going to have your skull crushed into dust once again when this thing finally drops. Much like the aforementioned Beheaded, Condemned are poster boys for the Unique Leader sound so you know exactly what you’re getting, but this is just so goddamn ridiculously heavy and awesome that the lack of innovation doesn’t matter one f**king bit. I’ve just started digging into this album, but I can already safely say that it has potential to give Beheaded, Hour of Penance and just about any other brutal death metal band out there a run for their money this year.
But, as that wise old sage Levar Burton famously said, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can check out preview track “Omniscient Perturbations” from this thirty-five minute behemoth via the UL Bandcamp.
Speaking of Bandcamp, the website is one of my favorite places to trawl for new brutal bands, and that’s how I discovered the mighty Analepsy. They’ve just released their debut full length Atrocities from Beyond and if you’re down with the science fiction-y strain of brutal death metal, these guys should be right up your alley. They’re more straightforward sounding than Wormed or 7H Target, but they still manage to bring the planet-smashing heaviness, reminding a bit of Fractal Generator or perhaps Abominable Putridity. Although Analepsy’s approach is pretty much all pummeling all the time, they do surprise occasionally with some nifty lead guitar work and more atmospheric passages to break up the sci-fi slam damage they inflict. I’m thinking these guys could be the next big thing in slam. I’m also really into how pink the cover art is.
Last but certainly not least is a random Bandcamp find; Spain’s awesomely named Cannibal Grandpa. Their sole album Feed Your Food came out back in 2015, but since I’m just now discovering it and since it’s totally f**king awesome, I decided it was still worth a mention anyway. I guess this is what the kids refer to as deathcore, but unlike any other deathcore band I’ve ever heard, I actually like this a lot; it blows bullshit like Carnifex and All Shall Perish out of the damn water (although that first All Shall Perish album was kind of a banger). Feed Your Food appears to be a concept album about serial killer Albert Fish, and it’s a weird-ass mix of breakdowns, grooves, keyboards, electronic effects and straight-up death metal that somehow works in spite of throwing so many disparate elements into the genre blender.
Feed Your Food is available on Bandcamp as a pay-what-you-want download. From what I can tell, Cannibal Grandpa are a DIY affair; when one looks around and sees some of the atrociously shitty deathcore bands the big labels are pimping, it seems preposterous that nobody has snapped these guys up for a wider release.