Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Vomitor - Pestilent Death

You gotta love underground death metal, and no one has done a better job of keeping the spirit of the genre alive than Hell's Headbangers. The latest glorious blasphemy that they have dug up is Pestilent Death, the upcoming fourth offering from Australia's Vomitor. A record that delightedly plays into the tropes of the genre and is full f over the top death metal riffing it's hard not to smile at the gloriously demented histrionics of Vomitor. It's the same sort of face ripping and delightfully evil death metal that made so many of us fall in love with the genre in the first place.

Seemingly torn out of the musicians by force the high powered assault of this record is evident from the first. The brash sense of bloodthirst with which they dart forward is the exact kind of over the top magic that you would want from a band named Vomitor. A group who have made a name for themselves with their dedication to the cult and the exclusivity of their releases (This is their first album in 4 years) it's interesting to see how Pestilent Death stays so true to the punk rock ethos that made this band interesting in the first place. You can see the mosh pits forming in the stop start punishment of opener Tremolation and it only gets crazier from there. 

Sure the dungeon basement level production can be seen as a limiting factor, but personally I kind of dig it. The sense of 'fuck you' that makes Pestilent Death such a strong statement permeates every aspect of the record and is going to be very important to a specific subset of the metal community. Watching their apocalyptic soundtracks unfold is a lot of fun and hearkens back to that eternal 15 year old who needs to be kept alive for the spirit of metal to still matter in our hearts. Vomitor understand the youthful appeal of the genre and make sure we stay in love with the decrepit truth. 

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Inhumankind - Self-Extinction

Imagine if Mussogorsky had listened to a bunch of weird European black metal and then decided to write a record for double bass and flute. Yeah. That's what Inhumankind are doing. Their upcoming offering Self-Extinction is a fascinating musical journey, one that blendds avant garde classical music with black metal in order to create something truly weird, with all sorts of strange musical twists and turns and a willingness to keep on exploring in the name of forcing us to question what black metal really is.

With hyper esoteric lyrics focused on kabbalah, dark magic, elder gods and left hand paths this isn't exactly a walk in the park. It's in fact exactly the sort of demented musical journey that you would expect Colin Marston to produce. The strange musical explorations on tracks like Against All Odds speak to the esoteric power of the band and the brooding power of the mix, fused with the tortured and hypnotizing vocals that alternate between autotuned choral buzzings and FX'ed out black metal histrionics. There are layers upon layers here, but the orchestration is so deceptively simple that the full horror doesn't strike until the third or fourth listen.

I'm not going to lie - Self-Extinction can be a hard record to listen to. It's a record that really sets the tone for how fucked up some of the releases I, Voidhanger puts out can be. It's a record that forces you to question what you consider to be extreme and whose unique sonic profile is going to leave you digging into all sorts of 20th century masters in order to properly understand it. This is the sort of challenging and weird musical adventure that I think none of us really want to let go of and which will exist on the nebulous fringes of the underground for all time.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Sixes - Methistopheles

Sixes have recently started to seriously make a name for themselves in underground doom scenes across the world, but also in underground black and sludge metal scenes too. this record is a hateful masterpiece, a look into the darker side of the human condition and one which forces you to choke on our own misery. There is a apocalyptic sense of evil within this band, be it in the Conan-esque riffing or the moments of frostbitten fury. This is the sort of sludgy doom metal that forces us to come terms with the darkness residing within us all.

Beyond that this is a record that sounds absolutely massive. you can feel the riffs roaring out of your speakers and falling heavily across your chest. they are brutal, unforgiving and at times simply terrifying. Methistopheles is over an hour long, but it never seems to grow dull, instead you find yourself wandering from one hate filled landscape to another, wondering when the suffering will end. The darkness that drives Sixes is at times intimidating. It allows us to come to terms with the same sort of demonic unrealities that leave so many in sheer terror. In an America defined by school shootings and division of all sorts this is the soundtrack to our apocalypse.

Featuring a variety of vocal styles (With a variety in the quality of execution) and diverse songwriting techniques, Methistopheles can feel like three records crammed into one. But the record is just linear enough that you never feel lost. Instead I can't help but to be impressed at the huge vistas that Sixes is able to conquer with ease. There is something fascinating about their approach to this whole thing and it makes me want to dig ever deeper - forever exploring brash new soundworlds and coming to a deeper understanding of the genre God forgot.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sentient Horror - The Crypts Below

Sentient Horror have been one of my favorite New Jersey death metal bands for a good while now. With insane and over the top guitar playing, powerful compositions and sick vocals all brought together by a visionary musician, Matt Moliti, their latest EP, The Crypts Below is not only a hands down stunner but also a testament to a death metal band who have come leaps and bounds from their debut in order to prove that they have a place on stage next to some of the biggest and baddest in the scene.

Where in the bands early days it felt like they were a little bit lost under waves of guitar porn and over the top shredding, this record kicks in with authority. The maniacal guitar wizardry that launches the opening track, Enter The Crypts Below is delicious and it only gets better from there. The huge guitar tones and masterful riffage on these songs will leave you circle pitting around your living room. Meanwhile, the Edge Of Sanity cover tossed on to the end of the release is a potent end note, reminding us not only of where the band came from, but how goddamn talented the musicians involved are that they can cover that kind of music.

While I won't go so far as to say that Sentient Horror are like a new Death, the parallels are definitely there, although the band clearly enjoys pushing well beyond that bands boundaries and forging their own sound. The emphasis on sick guitar playing and counterbalancing with tasteful songwriting makes for an EP that is an addictive listen, which encapsulates what makes death metal sick in 2018 but also which drives us deeper into insanity and lets us embrace the true darkness within the modern metal scene.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Crawl/Leviathan - Split

It's hard to imagine two more important American underground solo projects than Crawl and Leviathan. Both have made a name for themselves as mysterious and potent monuments to the blasphemy of underground music. Both understand the sheer breadth of sound that this type of music can have and are defined by the demonic sense of unreality that they paint. There is something truly delicious about this split, the way that the bands come together to form something devilish and powerful, from which there is no escape.

Crawl kicks off the split with their trademark sense of unease. There is something truly upsetting about their twelve minute contribution to the release. It has the same breadth and demoniac misery that serves to make so many of their releases so essential when exploring the darkest aspects of ones own psyche. Simultaneously Leviathan come forth with a sense of dynamic hatred that you can't easily understand. It takes a few listens to fully grasp what has been painted here and the devilish illusions conjured up under the eldritch night are nothing short of fascinating. It speaks to the power of Jef Whitehead as a musician and his ability to conjure up realities you want no part in, but can't look away from.

When you have a split like this which so clearly defines a pair of underground artists who are both influential and significant to the development of their music worlds sound I think that you can't help but to dig in. This is the sort of release that speaks to me at least on a deeply personal level and forces me to fall in love once again with the void. Extreme underground metal as a genre can be a struggle to truly understand especially when it is as esoteric and noisy as both offerings here, but simultaneously I think that's why we are all so deeply in love with it.

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