Good melodic death metal is in painfully short supply these days. Sure, there are a small handful of stalwart bands that continue to soldier on, but to say that the subgenre could stand to be infused with some fresh blood is an understatement. Fortunately, Ye Goat-Herd Gods have emerged from the frozen Canadian wastes to rescue us from the dearth of new and interesting melodeath sounds with their mighty second album, Ashes Shall Be Made of Them.
Hailing from Edmonton Alberta, Canada, The Black Sorcery play a pummeling brand of bestial black death metal that keeps with their home country’s unrivaled tradition of bringing the pain when it comes to the style (see also: Blasphemy, Revenge, Conqueror, etc), yet they also do a great deal to differentiate themselves from the hordes of bands that owe their careers to the seemingly bottomless well of inspiration that is Fallen Angel of Doom.
Early last year, I discovered Psalm 88, an offshoot of Berkeley, CA-based cassette label Acephale Winter Productions. While all of the sub-label’s initial batch of wares were impressive in their own right, the one that impressed me the most was Behold Darkness’ I, a gripping nineteen minutes of frozen-soul black metal that was easily the most complete sounding of the four releases reviewed. Indeed, it was a recording I found myself continuing to revisit on the regular, which is really saying something when one considers how often I burn out on the music I choose to review due to the sheer number of repeat listens involved.
Of all the trends that have to come to prominence within the metal underground over the last several years, the murky/cavernous death metal thing is surely the least interesting (pro tip: if you really want to piss some people off, refer to this junk as “caverncore”). In fact, I’d say my interest in bands shitting out non-riffs from underneath a pile of wet blankets is exactly zero. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the mysterious Canadians known as Malsanctum have proven that there is something to be said for this sub sub genre with Metamorbid Fetishization, their debut(?) release on Germany’s ever-prolific Iron Bonehead Productions.
Just when I think I have Gore House Productions all figured out, they start throwing wicked curve balls late in the year. First came the oddly progressive debut full length from Swine Overlord, then the “party slam” of Party Cannon; now we’ve got Canada’s Cuff, who’ve unleashed what might be the be-all-end-all of goregrind whatthefuckery in the form of Transient Suffering Through the Ergosphere. I don’t typically expect a goregrind album to make me stop and ask myself what the hell I just listened to when its run-time is up, but that’s exactly what’s happened with my first exposure to Cuff.
Trying to keep up with Profound Lore Records is no easy task. Every year it seems that the label bombards us with more and more quality releases, and being a one man show here at THKD, I often find myself stretched incredibly thin as far as my ability to listen to and write about as many new albums as possible is concerned; some stuff inevitably slips through the cracks. In an effort to prevent that from happening, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recent PL releases in one place. What follows is a brief rundown of each one.
Hellébore’s Anouof thwo is the second of two cassettes recently unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses by the great Sol y Nieve. Whereas the other release, Nemorensis’ The Lady in the Lake is an exploration of black metal’s earthy, elemental qualities, Hellébore’s take on the genre reaches for the deepest, darkest corners of the universe. Indeed, the giant telescope gracing Anouof thwo‘s cover art is telling, as this solitary project delivers just over forty minutes of raw yet infinitely astral black metal.