Chuck Schuldiner Project

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper

When I first heard that Bell Witch was going to be doing an extended one song quadruple LP I gotta say I kind of shook in my cowboy boots. There aren't a lot of bands doing what Bell Witch does and none execute with the same subtlety and lucidity. Featuring a unique bass and drums lineup the band has always had a unique and powerful melodic sensibility - but this record pushes it to the max. For a band defined by extremely long songs, Mirror Reaper is the ultimate statement. It's a potent and highly intelligent artistic statement that will take countless listens to properly understand.

Though the sole track on this record is eighty three (!) minutes long it's important to understand that it's broken into a few distinct parts, making it much less of a trudge than one might imagine. Instead you find yourself wandering through unique musical landscapes of the sort that only Dylan Desmond can properly conjure up. This is a group who have never played by the rules but instead who deal with extremes. They are the slowest, the heaviest and the darkest band in the world and if you can't deal with their crushing sonic poetry then doom simply isn't for you. There is something poetically devastating about Mirror Reaper that is going to take the scene by storm.

While on the one hand one track albums can sometimes be a bit intimidating they also allow you to really immerse yourself in the music. Bell Witch has always made a name for themselves by meditating on nothingness and navigating massive aural cavities. Mirror Reaper simply sees the band expanding this sensibility so far beyond anything most fans thought possible that you might very well have to reevaluate your entire understanding of doom metal. This record goes above and beyond, transcendent and beautiful - this is the future of the genre.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Exhumed - Death Revenge

Exhumed have always held a fairly unique position in the world of death metal, they are perhaps the lead band in the world of hard hitting gore obsessed death metal that has come to define so many of these types of groups and their peers. What's striking though is after 2013's twisted and hard hitting Necrocracy and the 2015 rerecording of Gore Metal Exhumed is now coming at you hard with something far more ambitious than their last few records. Death Revenge is a well padded out concept album about a series of 19th century murders, and I fuckin' love it.

It's always interesting when a band of this caliber, who have a made for themselves for so long doing one thing move beyond it. Now yes, there have been theatrical elements in Exhumed in the past and yes the overall sonic approach of Exhumed hasn't changed, but the padding makes this release sound particularly different. You will still throw out your neck headbanging to the crazed riffs and manic drumming and you will still want to circle pit it up, but suddenly there's a lot more to unpack here than we've ever really had in an Exhumed record. This expansion of the sound is really exciting to me and hints at some interesting potential.

When it comes down to it, this is the sort of death metal record I have always loved, it has grandiose ideas and a powerful vision but simultaneously pays respect to the bands underground roots. Exhumed don't fuck around and they have always made a name for themselves cracking skulls and riffing hard. This record is a hell of a ride and one that you won't want to get off of. Join me for the satanic assault of Death Revenge, it's a huge step forward for the band but one that proves Exhumed deserve their place in the death metal pantheon.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Primitive Man - Caustic

I've spun it 3 or 4 times now and all I can say is holy shit, Primitive Man have done it again. They have established a reputation for themselves as perhaps the worlds premier sludge doom band, having traversed the globe playing their unique brand of basement dwelling filth. Their latest offering, and their second ever full length Caustic, is the kind of abrasive madness that drives men to madness. There is something wonderfully depraved about this band, and the punishing assault painted here is utterly inescapable.

You get choked out on Primitive Man fairly easily. It's the sort of band who overwhelm you with a wall of sound, but rather than being friendly or endearing, this is the sort of wall of sound that makes you want to die. Though the band has only been around since 2012 they have amassed an insane 13(!) releases since 2013. They've established something totally crushing and inescapable, the kind of music that reminds us why nihilism is often the only way. Painting pictures of a twisted and fucked up America tormented by class, health and drug issues Caustic is the soundtrack to Trumps demented country.

These Denver natives are among the greatest representatives of their rapidly burgeoning scene. Caustic is the sort of record that makes you choke on your own insecurity and forces you to realize that no matter what the media might want you to believe it always gets worse. The utterly colossal riffs that define this record and simply mind melting devastation that rings out from your speakers as you turn this up to eleven is a fitting reminder that all is not right, and furthermore all will never be right. We're fucked.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice Woven

There is something inherently magical about a new Wolves In The Throne Room release. This is a band who have come to define their scene. A band who have come to craft a bold new vision of what it means to be play black metal their influence cannot be overstated. They are perhaps the group who helped to shape the third wave of black metal into what it is today. Half of these new bands wouldn't exist without the influence of Wolves In The Throne Room and Thrice Woven is perhaps their strongest and most inspirational musical statement to date. 

It's been three long years since the release of the rather left field Celestite and now Wolves In The Throne Room are back with a vengeance. There is a very real intensity to what the band is doing here, something fanatically mesmerizing about their songwriting and a deep intensity to the progressions. Thrice Woven waves triumphant through all five tracks, the statement from a band who even though they have become legends in their own lifetimes still deal with the struggles of this world. Despite any elements of well merited swagger that might creep into the bands music, one still gets a sense that they are tormented, and this devastation guides us all forward. One need look no further than the tearjerking bridge of Born From The Serpents Eye to realize there is quite a bit to unpack here. 

This is the sort of record that you can get lost in time and time again. It's an album that demands multiple listens and one which I've had on repeat all day. It's rare that you get a black metal band sounding this goddamn angry these days, and balancing that so well with a grander vision, and it never happens in the unique way that Wolves In The Throne Room do. While there certainly are artsier passages throughout, this is one of the bands angriest releases to date. With top notch production and mesmerizing swirls of sound crashing over your head, it's impossible to escape the glory of Thrice Woven. 

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Archspire - Relentless Mutation

Man - I always knew Archspire where good and had a ton of potential, but I don't think that I ever realized they were THIS good. A band who have always played by their own rules and brought  unique approach to technical death metal, their latest offering Relentless Mutation sees them pushing their unique brand of tech death to the motherfucking fore. With tastefully done solos and relentless grooves defining the album there is something endlessly exciting about what the band has done here. Cracking skulls mercilessly and consistently reminding us why we fell in love in the first place.

The devastating assault of these riffs is only matched by frontman Oliver Rae Aleron's unrelenting vocal attack. His percussive gutturals are devastating, adding an exciting new element to the music and reminding us time and time again just how different these dudes are. There is something wonderfully unique about his approach to the genre and it's perfectly complimented by the swirling riffs and angular bottom end assault that pad out this bands attack. This is tech death you can get lost in, not because it's super dense (Though it is) but because the songwriting is great, and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

With this record I find myself bobbing along to the music here and enjoying the genre in a way that I haven't in years. They have brought in an undeniable element of groove to augment this release as well. This is what technical death metal should be. As hard as it is, Archspire have somehow managed to create a highly unique tech death record that is also relentlessly addictive and which will draw you into the mix, refusing to let you go but instead choking you out on endless black metal annihilation.

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