Defecrator – Abortion of Humanity (Drakkar Productions, 2019)

Born of an unholy union between members of Killgasm and Gloriam Draconis, Sacramento black/death warlords Defecrator have been pillaging their way across the California metal underground since 2014.  After nearly half a decade of existence, they have at last dropped the tactical nuke of an album that is Abortion of Humanity on the unsuspecting masses and make no mistake, this aggressive yet atmospheric slab of total annihilation was worth the wait and then some.

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Belzebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods (Century Media, 2019)

When I first saw the animated music video for “Blackened Call” I was not aware of Finnish artist J.P. Ahonen or his popular web comic Belzebubs.  As such, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of a cartoon black metal band romping about the woods, “Call of the Wintermoon” style.  I’m more than a bit ashamed to admit that my first thought was “Oh great, a corpse-painted version of Gorillaz,” yet there was something about the combination of quirky comic book visuals and frostbitten yet catchy and melodic black metal that made me want to see/hear more.

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Merzbow – Venereology reissue/remaster bonus tracks (Relapse Records, 2019)

A few years back, I wrote a piece about Release Entertainment, the long lost sub-label of Relapse Records dedicated to experimental sounds of all kinds, from dark ambient to noise to death industrial.  One of the the most extreme albums to come out under the Release banner was Merzbow’s Venereology, a salvo of pure, corrosive sound that would serve as a gateway for many metalheads (including yours truly) into the world of harsh noise.  I previously bemoaned the fact that Relapse seems to have no interest in preserving the legacy of Release Entertainment, but perhaps they’ve come to their senses at least somewhat, because in honor of Venereology‘s twenty-fifth anniversary, they’re giving the album a rather lavish-looking vinyl reissue, replete with remastered sound and re-touched artwork, as well as three previously unreleased bonus tracks.

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Gorepot – Asian Stoned Effect (Brutal Mind, 2018)

Slam is one of the most over-the-top subgenres of metal and they don’t come any more absurdly OTT than Taipei City, Taiwan’s Gorepot.  The brainchild of ubiquitous slam god Larry Wang (Facelift Deformation, Fatuous Rump, Guttural Corpora Cavernosa, Maggot Colony, Umbilical Asphyxia, Coprocephalic, Fat Tub of Lard Records), Asian Stoned Effect is the band’s seventh album and it’s also one of the most ri-goddamn-diculous slamming death metal albums you’re ever going to hear.

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Butcher ABC – North of Hell (Selfmadegod, 2018) and Butchery Workshop 2002 – 2009 (Bizarre Leprous Production, 2018)

North of Hell has been a long time coming for Japanese goregrinders Butcher ABC.  Formed in 1994 and leaving a bloody trail of demos, EPs and splits in their wake, it took the band over twenty years to finally release a full length.  But was it worth the wait?  Thankfully, it only takes a few listens to North of Hell to determine that the answer is a resounding “yes.”

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Madball – For the Cause (Nuclear Blast, 2018)

I recently had the opportunity to check out The Godfathers of Hardcore, a documentary about NYHC legends Agnostic Front focusing on the lives of vocalist Roger Miret and guitarist Vinnie Stigma.  Of course, you can’t talk about Agnostic Front without also talking about Madball, the band fronted by Miret’s younger half-brother Freddie Cricien, which began back in 1988 with a then twelve-year-old Cricien being backed by the members of Agnostic Front.

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Fetor / Crepitation – Onset of Horrendosity (Deformeathing Production, 2019)

Split releases can be difficult to review due to the competitive vibe they give off.  Although it’s likely not the intention, it always feels like a battle between the bands involved.  Indeed, Onset of Horrendosity is a slamming brutal death metal death match between two up-and-coming acts, Fetor and Crepitation, and both are young, hungry contenders.  Which band will put the slam smackdown on the other and come out on top?

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