Halfway through the year already. Hasn’t time flown past?
June was another month that fell into the surprisingly busy category. I went in expecting, for several reasons, to only have maybe five reviews. More than doubled that. Pretty happy about that to be honest.
Album of the month belongs justly to the unstoppable thrash machine that is Death Angel. A startlingly consistent band to begin with, it wasn’t a huge surprise that they put out more gold. But that it was this gleaming? Didn’t truly call that.
Lots of other good stuff too, plus the return of the transcendently bad review. Always fun.
A gig free month for me. Sad, but inevitable. There’s always later in the year.
As always, you can reach me via Facebook.
See you next month.
Album of the Month
Death Angel – Humanicide
(Thrash – United States of America)
Nuclear Blast – 2019/05/31
You want Bay Area thrash these days? You want Death Angel. Humanicide is one of their strongest showings in their long career. It’s blisteringly fast. It’s unabashedly rabble rousing. And it’s easily the most memorable of their albums. They have penned an album of thrash anthems that will absolutely stay fresh and loud in your mind.
The Rest in Alphabetical Order
Alphanumeric – Condemnation of Memory
(Grindcore – United States of America)
Self-released – 2019/06/01
Don’t let the fact this is grindcore (and a particularly incendiary version of the genre at that) fool you; the primary emotion on display here isn’t anger. It’s despair. They have expressed a worldview so bleak and futile that it’s impossible to not be affected by it. As it cuts to the core of human failure, you will feel the incisions.
Baroness – Gold & Grey
(Progressive Sludge – United States of America)
Abraxan Hymns – 2019/06/14
Is it just me, or is there something wrong with the levelling on this otherwise fine album? It was a complaint levelled at Purple too, but it seems so much worse this time around. It’s an hour of soulful, engaging music, but without serious tweaks to your equaliser, it’s a tough listen. Great if you have the patience. Not so much if not.
Brain Bleed – Automated Eradication
(Slamgrind – United States of America)
Self-released – 2019/06/07
It’s a controversial opinion in my social circle, but I love grind with breakdowns and, in Brain Bleed’s case, slams. There’s something about the primal call to headbang that the slowdowns generate that blends perfectly with the manic fury of blasting grindcore. This burst gets right into the lizard brain and stirs shit up.
Imprecation – Damnatio Ad Bestias
(Death Metal – United States of America)
Dark Descent – 2019/03/22
Imprecation unleash their death metal like an even more feral early Roadrunner-era Deicide; their sound isn’t so much brutal, as it is pure evil. There’s nothing esoteric here; assault and battery take the place of ritual, as ultimately the blood that flows is all the same and always welcomed by those who lurk in the shadows of this reality.
Kūka’ilimoku – Kūka’ilimoku
(Raw Black Metal – Hawaii)
Self-released – 2019/05/29
As far as raw black metal goes, this is raw. But, and I hesitate to mention it given the band’s existence is a hostile reaction to Anglo-American oppression of Hawaiian Polynesian culture, there’s an almost surf rock vibe to it. This does so much to separate the band from the standard death by frostbite sound that raw black metal usually peddles.
Misþyrming – Algleymi
(Black Metal – Iceland)
Norma Evangelium Diaboli – 2019/05/24
For a genre that strongly purports the “You are your own God” worldview, black metal can be very restrictive. Pick a lane and stick to it tends to be the creative ethos. Algleymi bucks this trend by seamlessly incorporating various black metal styles into the one album. It’s melodic. It’s post. It’s punk. It’s avant. It’s brilliant.
Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion
(Death Thrash – United States of America)
Nuclear Blast – 2019/05/10
With a layover between albums of over 30 years, a bit of concern about performance rust is valid. But let me assure you, Possessed are every bit as vital in 2019 as they were in the 80s. Revelations hits like a heavyweight but moves like a cruiserweight. Their classic amalgamation of thrash and death metal fully retains its brilliance.
Skáphe + Wormlust – Kosmískur Hryllingur
(Black Metal – United States of America + Iceland)
Mystískaos – 2019/06/06
I don’t cover a lot of collaborations, but Skáphe and Wormlust teaming up is worth the print. As far as avant-garde black metal goes, this isn’t so much mind-bending but mind-breaking. They’ve combined their already considerable abilities to headfuck a listener and unleashed a swirling, claustrophobic nightmare.
Sunn O))) – Life Metal
(Drone – United States of America)
Southern Lord – 2019/04/26
Life Metal makes it sound like this album is an affirmation of positivity. Nope. It’s more because the dead can’t feel the tension and anxiety these drones inspire. It’s Sunn O)))’s best work this decade for exactly that reason. The noise permeates the body and the brain, and then starts to mess with them. You don’t listen to this; you experience it.
Throat Ditch – Throat Ditch
(Fastcore – United States of America)
Self-released – 2019/06/15
Throat Ditch’s take on fastcore is hardcore that’s all fight and no think. Even with the lulls, samples, and other assorted quiet moments, this is an ep that puts aggression front, centre, and lit up with spotlights. And it’s all the better for it. It has a singularity of purpose that brokers no compromise to its overall vision.
Ulcerated Offal – Wipe Out
(Goregrind – Russia)
Self-released – 2019/05/13
I hate this so much I have trouble fathoming it. The production is muddier than anything I have ever heard. The “songs” are virtually indistinguishable. It hurts to listen to. But all of these are deliberate and considered stylistic choices. It’s a hard push into noise. It’s virtually unlistenable and I hate it so much, I begrudgingly respect it.