I remember the first time I went to Amoeba Music’s Hollywood location like it was yesterday. It was actually 2006; I was interning for Metal Blade Records and living in Simi Valley, CA. I had the day off and I was itching for adventure after being stuck in an office all week, so I decided to take a commuter train down to Hollywood for the express purpose of visiting one of the largest record stores in the world.
I can trace my love of all things brutal, blackened and bestial to one album, and that album is Black Witchery’s Desecration of the Holy Kingdom. Sure, I’d already heard Blasphemy when I got my grubby little mitts on it back in 2001, but as nasty as Fallen Angel of Doom was, it didn’t quite grab me by the balls and rip my fuckin’ ears off the same way that Black Witchery’s debut did.
Sacramento’s bestial black/death masters Defecrator recently went on indefinite hiatus, but from their ashes an uglier, more barbaric entity has risen in the form of Abhorrency. The band just posted their debut demo on Bandcamp earlier this month and rest assured it’s some seriously gnarly black shit.
Formed in 1992, Wind of the Black Mountains were among the pioneering bands of US black metal, along with the likes of Profanatica and Judas Iscariot. However, after releasing two stellar albums, the band’s career was cut tragically short with the untimely passing of founding guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tchort in 2006.
Japan’s Gorevent are the undisputed heavyweight champions of minimalist slam. Over the course of a decade and a half, the band have successfully stripped the sub-subgenre of slamming brutal death metal down to its molten core; no technical flourishes, no guitar solos, no bullshit, just slam in its purest, grooviest form. Fate is a testament to Gorevent’s continued dedication to keeping things as boneheaded as possible, and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with it.
Followers of the mysterious Texan black metal cult known as Nyogthaeblisz have been anticipating their debut full length ever since it was first announced several years ago; it had gotten to the point where many were questioning whether or not it would ever see the light of day, especially given the lack of regular updates and the “controversy” that has swirled around the band in the intervening years. But on December 27, 2019 the duo at last dropped the sickening slab of extreme noise terror that is Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation.
Hard to believe it’s been a decade since we last heard from Bay Area post-thrashers Skinlab; the band that gave us groove metal classics such as Bound, Gagged and Blindfolded and Disembody: The New Flesh went into hyper-sleep not long after releasing The Scars Between Us to seemingly little fanfare in 2009. But if there’s one thing that metal history has taught us, it’s that you can’t keep a good band down and at last a reactivated and rejuvenated Skinlab have returned with Venomous, their fifth full length overall and first for Art Is War Records.