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Death Metal

CVLT Nation’s Top 10 DEATH METAL of 2016

TEN – TEMPLE NIGHTSIDE The Hecatomb

The Hecatomb sounds a bit like early Encoffination with occasional tremolo riffs scattered about. Dark, eerie, and obscure, The Hecatomb is clearly Temple Nightside’s magnum opus, and mainstream fans will expectedly scratch their heads at a listen to this record, because clearly, obscure ritual blackened doom art such as this only makes sense to fans of the underground. The swirling blackened riffs and hoarse whispers on The Hecatomb sound perfect for vinyl records – and it doesn’t sound bad in digital format, either.

The pace is funeral doom-slow on most sections, although the band occasionally blast to add nuance. Still, Temple Nightside has heard its true calling with this visionary full-length album. The band is in top form here, and has clearly seen the veil of darkness fall upon their helicon of inspiration. The production shoves everything back, seemingly. Even at low volumes, the hoarse whispers resound from a dark chasm, and the guitars aren’t irritatingly set too high in the mix as to drown out all instruments.

Read the full review here

The Hecatomb

 

NINE – NECROT THE LABYRINTH

I should preface this review by explaining that THE LABYRINTH, which will serve as Necrot’s first full-length album, is a compilation of all their material to date – the demo mentioned above, along with the band’s two follow-up releases, INTO THE LABYRINTH and THE ABYSS, which all came out between 2012 and 2014. As a result, it’s a clean, convenient package for longtime fans of the band and a perfect introduction/history lesson for their new followers – of which there will be many, since Necrot’s now going steady with the infamous TANKCRIMES RECORDS. It also makes for a consistently interesting and exciting album, since listeners are able to hear Necrot progress through three distinct stages of production and songwriting in real time. Enough beating around the bush, though, this band is one of the most vital and creative death metal acts around, and if there’s any justice, THE LABYRINTH is going to be regarded as one of 2016’s best releases.

Read the full review here

necrot the labyrinth

 

EIGHT – GATECREEPER Sonoran Depravation

I’m going to attempt to be as dispassionate as possible here, but Gatecreeper deserve all the hails and horns that can be collectively mustered. I first encountered this Arizonan quintet two years ago on Halloween for the release of their gut-churning self-titled EP. Stuffed onto the tiny stage of The District in downtown Tucson, Gatecreeper’s energy ripped apart (rest in power, Sunn O))) shirt) the crowd with their punishing and personal stage presence. Since then, I’ve had the chance to see them countless times and garnered a list of injuries to include a black eye, a couple of bloody noses and broken glasses. Worse has happened to others during these sets too. Seeing Gatecreeper live should be listed as a liability when applying for health insurance, they’re that inspiring and the crowd that enthusiastic. In the two years since their EP’s debut, they’ve ridden its tracks into deeper creative territory, releasing a trio of splits along the way that satiated our thirst for a full proper release, in addition to their aggressive touring aesthetic. Now, and declared with much relief, we have their first proper full-length, Sonoran Depravation. At nine tracks, the album is a thorough pummeling, leaving you a bloody pulp by its end, with what remains of your senses telling your broken body that you just witnessed the most punishing death metal album of the year.

Read the full review here

sonoran_3000

 

SEVEN – QRIXKUOR Three Devils Dance

Many have already hailed Three Devils Dance as one of the best releases of the year in its genre, and rightfully so – Qrixkuor have mastered the now-classic war metal combination of sputtering guitar tone, breakneck tremolo-picking riffs, inhumanly deep vocals, and frantic, sonically enveloping percussion. This style is almost known for its impenetrability, since melody and nuance become barely audible underneath lo-fi, bass heavy production, and one would think that Qrixkuor’s long-form songwriting might augment this trait… but despite the trademark bestial sound and the fact that two of the three songs on Devils exceed fourteen minutes in length, this band is actually easier to listen to than many of their in-genre comrades. Qrixkuor’s unconventional songwriting style not only keeps their tracks dynamic – brief solos, unexpected stops, and skillful transitions provide respite amid the confusion – but it also seems a more intentional and continuously punishing approach than the unclear breaks between tracks often heard on underground death metal albums.

Read the full review here

QRIXKUOR

 

SIX – VERBERIS Vexamen

The real charm of Vexamen lies in the fact that all thoughts, feelings, and attitudes are channeled through a kaleidoscope of black, death, and occasionally, doom metal. From the opening instrumental burst you immediately feel something of a death metal core, but heavily tinged with the bleak harmonics and void-driven aesthetic of black metal. And the effect of this merging of sensibilities across the album’s spectrum is really attention-grabbing. The first three songs are quite raucous and driving, some of the most “to the point” songs on the album, as “The Primordial Rift” and the title track race onward and upward with pulsing rhythms, and intersplicing currents brimming with divine sparks. However, there is an interesting acoustic outro to the title track that seems to signal a transition, as it eerily twangs and echoes the last 30 seconds with great foreboding.

And it’s with “Protogonos” picking up next that another layer of Verberis begins to reveal itself. Much darker and more mystical than what preceded, “Protogonos” is rife with primeval enchantment and splendor. In fact, the title itself refers to a Greek deity of procreation and new life, and as you keep this in mind at this crucial moment in the album, the aforementioned feelings that come forth resonate with greater depth and clarity. “Protogonos” may very well be my favorite song on this record. The longest track at this point, the strength and prowess of its subtleties cannot be understated, and repeated listens reveal the great illumination coursing through its make up as soul-stirring chords appear early in its undercurrent, before fleshing out in full in the closing minutes with a fast finish that leaves your interest peaked at just the right moment.

Read the full review here

Label: Iron Bonehead

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FIVE – CRUZ Culto Abismal

So how many killer releases has Sentient Ruin put out this year? Too many to fucking count, and they have done it again with the upcoming release of Spain’s CRUZ. This band FUCKING KICKS ASS!!! Their brand of crust-infused death metal is highly addictive, plus the riffs filled with the agony of the world have me hooked. From the beginning to the motherfucking end, CRUZ’s Culto Abismal should not be missed! If you don’t believe me, just press play below because we are streaming this sick tape in full. You can order this bastard release from Sentient Ruin HERE.

cruz_culto_abismal_cover_1500x1500

 

FOUR – INFERNAL CURSE Apocalipsis

Infernal Curse is comprised of scene veterans from bands like Xenotaph and Nocturnal Evil. The music on Apocalipsis can be compared to what sounds like a dense swarm of locusts about to devour crops across thousands of miles of indigenous farmland, the little wings on their backs fluttering rapidly as they descend like a dark cloud on small towns across the world. Helpless to stop them, humanity can only watch in horror as miles and miles of vegetation are wasted. The tremolo riffs are dark and razor sharp even as the drums barely resonate. The cymbal crashes and hi-hat patterns are audible, even as the bass and guitars drown out all other sound. The vocals are unintelligible and the echoing effect is used well to bolster it. The vocals sound like something evil roaring out of a dark canyon. Infernal Curse is extreme in every sense of the word.

This is my second go-around with Infernal Curse, having reviewed their EP, The End Upon Us, which was released in 2014. The band come roaring back with Apocalipsis, as this latest salvo of extreme metal is the most intense material I’ve heard them record thus far.

Read the full review here

Infernal Curse

 

THREE – TEITANBLOOD

Review Coming soon and this record destroys!!!!!!!!!

TWO – OPOWIS The Embodiment of Hate

It’s hard to describe how good it feels to come across some really, really good death metal that breaks apart the monotonous drivel that has polluted the genre over the last decade or so. We’ve seen artists and sub-genres come and go, full of imitators and tourists that hop on the next bandwagon. However, Californian natives Our Place of Worship is Silence have carved their names into the foreheads of all disbelievers with their brutish and enthralling debut, The Embodiment of Hate.

The Embodiment of Hate writhes and rips through 7 tracks of furious, cavernous barbarity, rising and swelling through passages of dissonance and, at times, surprising bursts of melody (hear closing track “Church of Atrocity”). The riffs are technical, but not overwhelming to the point that the compositions become unmemorable, weaving in and out of blast beats and pounding double bass. Guttural death metal growls give way to shrieking, black metal howls, adding a palpable sense of urgency and despair to an already abrasive environment.

Read the full review here

OPOWIS

 

ONE – ALTARAGE Nihil

Altarage has collaborated with not one, not two, and not even three labels, but FOUR. They’ve had the privilege of working with Sentient Ruin Laboratories and Sol Y Nieve for a tape and digital release, Iron Bonehead Productions for an LP release, and Doomentia Records for European tape distribution. If any of these names ring a bell, it’s because they deal some of the most vicious and incredible heavy and alternative music on the scene right now, and for bearing that kind of weight of having to live up to the standards of fans and personnel, Altarage wasted no time in investing a fuckton of violence into one release to not only blend in on these labels, but to stand out from the rest of these artists.

What Altarage has done is take death metal to a horrendously cacophonous new height. Rich guitar tones, echoing drums, bass chugs for the sanest of people to lose their minds to, grinding vocals, and symphonic blasts of refined disfigurement and ruination make me want a count of how many strings, sticks, and cough drops this band had to replace and/or use to tap into this vein of death metal. It’s as raging and downright demonic as the banshee-esque being on the cover, calling you to fall into the perception of death, become a wraith of self-doubt, and become a creature of Nihl.

Read the full review here

Altarage Nihl

Artwork for ‘Nihil‘, credit to Nick Keller

 

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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