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I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit that I was unfamiliar with UK thrashers Shrapnel prior to them reaching out to me to check out Palace for the Insane. But, if the album’s fifty-odd minutes of razor-sharp riff-slaughter are anything to go by, it would appear that I’ve a great deal of catching up to do. You see, it’s clear from the get-go that these four blokes mean business and their third album is the leanest, meanest, hungriest-sounding slab of old school thrash you’re gonna hear in the year of our dark lord 2020.
Topeka, KS brutal death metal masters Unmerciful recently released their third album Wrath Encompassed on the venerable Willowtip Records. The album is easily their most punishing album to date and is already poised to go down as one of the most devastating metal releases of the year. I got in contact with longtime bassist Jeremy Turner to discuss the new album and the band’s efforts to create the most punishing music possible.
We’re just a little past the first quarter mark for 2020, but metal fans have already been treated to a deluge of quality brutal death metal; from the mind-bending technicality of Odious Mortem, to the crushing slams of Engutturalment Cephaloslamectomy, to the unmitigated violence of Unmerciful, it’s shaping up to be a hell of a year. But sitting at the top of this monolithic BDM heap is Spawn of Almighty Essence, the sophomore album from Ukrainian skull-smashers Schizogen.
What happens when Earache Records signs a hardcore techno DJ based on the strengths of their remixes of Morbid Angel and Deicide tracks and then lets said DJ record a metal album? The answer is The Berzerker’s pulverizing self-titled debut recording, which turns twenty years old today and still stands as a pillar of wildly creative what-the-fuckery in the annals of extreme music.
What is Architectural Genocide? Is it when someone decides to round up a bunch of architects and off them en masse? Is it when a group of buildings becomes sentient and decides to wipe out another group of buildings for no apparent reason? I don’t have a fucking clue, but I do know that Houston, TX death metallers Architectural Genocide have a wicked good debut on their hands in the form of Cordyceptic Anthropomorph (whew, what a mouthful!) which was released back in mid-March by that ever-reliable bastion of brutality known as Comatose Music.
I’ll probably catch a ton of flack for this, but I have to admit, Gaahl / King ov Hell era Gorgoroth is my favorite Gorgoroth. Don’t get me wrong, early albums such as Pentagram and Under the Sign of Hell are classics in their own right, but the band became meaner and more brutal when Gaahl and King entered the picture on Incipit Satan and subsequently began their hostile takeover attempt, beginning with Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan) and culminating in Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam.
More so than just about any other metal album I’ve ever heard, Demoncy’s Joined in Darkness is about creating and sustaining an atmosphere. The music is a trance-inducing hellish miasma of tremolo-picked riffage that seems to move at a snail’s pace; even the fast parts feel like they’re being played at half speed, making it the perfect album to listen to in the dark on a good pair of headphones, preferably while in a heavily altered state.
In 1994 I was a freshman in high school. A good boy who followed the rules, got decent grades and showed up to work on time… on the outside. On the inside I was a fucking maniac, an animal caged inside a pressure-cooker that wanted to kill, fuck or destroy everything in sight. A ball of hormones and confusion, tightly wrapped in a nice little Catholic school attending, grocery bagging for $4.65 an hour package. I couldn’t wear my black jeans and Metallica shirt to Catholic school, I didn’t have the strength or the self-confidence to stand up to the privileged, pampered, future white collar scumbags of America that ran the place and I definitely didn’t have the courage to be anything more than friends with the ladies.