James Sweetlove takes a look at nine songs that he’s been spinning on repeat this past week. There’s plenty to dig through here but this one is definitely a heavy rotation, with a focus on death, black, doom and sludge metal as well as some hardcore and thrash. This is the perfect list if you’re looking for a new soundtrack to your day, particularly if you want one with a little bite.
Written by James Sweetlove
Ulfdallir – Age of Storms and Wolves
Ulfdallir present us with a track that embodies everything Viking metal fans want from Amon Amarth but never get, almost reminding me of Helcaraxë. The underlying groove in the track makes it a melodic and enjoyable listen, but it still packs a real punch. The guttural vocals really command the listeners attention as they belt out line after line of Russian lyrics. Meanwhile the guitars deliver plenty of tasty riffs and actually bring us some nice variety between dirtier, heavier tone and crisper, more epic riffage. The drums also really bring a ton of energy to mix, as they drive the track ever-forward. Overall this is a song that I’ve come back to multiple times this past week and I’m sure many of you will too, just make sure to play it loud.
Gravewurm – Poisonous Kingdom
Cleveland, Ohio’s Gravewurm are one of those bands that continuously put out new music, seriously, have a look at their discography, they’re seriously prolific. Luckily though this isn’t a case of quantity vs quality, because the band give us both. The band give is a track that is equal parts raw and atmospheric. It has a great underlying rhythm throughout that will have you nodding your head as you listen, but its not a melodic track. The vocals are a raw screech/howled hybrid that perfectly matches the energy of the track. The guitar tone used really works well to add bite but also develop that depressive, occult atmosphere. Overall this single has me very excited for the band’s upcoming full album Poisonous Kingdom, out January 2, 2024.
TodoMal – A Greater Good
A Greater Good is one of those songs where a short way into listening to it you’re thinking “I don’t know exactly what I’m listening to, but I’m very glad that I’m listening to it.” The Spanish act describe themselves as epic doom meets a space rock opera and I would have to say that they’re pretty spot on. This truly is epic metal at its finest, but with an atmospheric complexity that elevates it to a whole new level. From the depressive yet epic vocals to the varied guitar that ranges from slower, heavier, more atmospheric work to epic, crisp soaring segments. There’s a subtle proggy undertone at play throughout that adds some nice flourishes and experimentation. Overall this track has me truly excited to hear the full album and you can probably expect a review once I do.
MALFIORE – Zero
Do you like raw shrieked vocals, do you like filthy downtuned guitar work, do you like heavy fuzz and underlying groove? Then you will love this track from Indonesia’s MALIFORE. The Bandung group give us an offering that ranks right up there with classics in the sludge genre, right alongside EYEHATEGOD, Weedeater, Bongzilla etc. For me though its the vocals that really shine here, they’re just so raw and unhinged and perfectly capture the energy that I want to see from sludge. The guitar and bass work also make the track what it is, combining heaviness and groove effortlessly. I actually struggled to decide which track to choose for this article, as the whole EP is killer, especially Mind Void. So go give Decaying Carcass a full listen today.
Asagraum – De Verloren Tijd
De Verloren Tijd is my favourite track from Veil of Death, Ruptured, the new album from Norwegian all-female black metal act Asagraum. Energy and tone wise I’m reminded of a few tracks from Gorgoroth’s Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt, one of my all time favourite albums. They capture that mysterious, occult atmosphere that while raw in sound is more complex than that. It isn’t quite atmospheric black metal but it has more than enough atmosphere to flaunt. A large part of that is owed to the stunning guitar tone employed, which carries its own weight of emotion. The other key element is the vocals, which have a raw, pained tone to them and have a slightly faded effect applied adding to their atmosphere. I also love the more stripped back instrumental segments that make up a large part of the track. Overall I enjoyed the full album Veil of Death, Ruptured and recommend listening to it, but this song in particular is a must listen
Depressionista – Caveman Champagne
I was immediately hooked from the first few seconds of Caveman Champagne, with the song opening with a sound byte from I Think You Should Leave, one of my all time favourite skit shows. That may have hooked me initially but Depressionista‘s music is what had me coming back again and again. Their unique style of mathcore, hardcore and grindcore is as unhinged as it is powerful. Its a short track but it packs a real wallop. Technical but discordant guitar and bass work is performed at unusual time signatures while wildly shrieked, howled and shouted vocals hammer the listener. So, if you want a fun time then blast this bad boy on loud, hell put it on repeat, you won’t regret it.
Inculter – Death Reigns
Norway’s Inculter give us an old school offering of black/death/thrash metal on Death Reigns. You’ll find killer riffage, some great vocals excellent songwriting on display here. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that this will be the band’s third album, so they know what they’re doing. If I were to compare their sound to any one band I would probably say Possessed with a thrashier energy and a little more speed, as well as some additional black metal influences. Personally I need to give some praise to the drum work on the album, which is honestly fantastic, just furious energy at breakneck speed. I also love the vocals, which fall into that mostly shouted thrash based style with a slight death metal tinge to them. Gutiar wise there more shredding here than you bang your head at. Overall this first single has me excited for the full album Morbid Origin, out December 8th on Edged Circle Productions.
Battlemaster – Extradeath
Where do I even begin with Extradeath, my top pick from Richmond, Virginia black/thrash act Battlemaster‘s new album Greedgripped & Spellspoilt. This song is furious, breakneck speed, no-holds barred, balls to the wall aggression and speed. The track just doesn’t let up from start to finish, even when it seems like it will or should. The timing of the vocal delivery on the track is a little off, which may be off-putting to some, but personally I think it adds to its effect, making it feel even more out of control and unstoppable. This is the kind of song that you need to watch out for in the pit, because its going to blow it wide open into an all out frenzy. Give this bad boy a spin on full volume for an unrelenting assault of blackened thrash riffage, furious drum work and rapid fire shrieked vocal delivery. Make sure to check out the full album too, but this song cannot be missed.
Luciferica – Neoplasia
I hope you like your music slow, heavy and evil, because Argentina’s Luciferica is bringing all of that and more with their blend of death, doom and sludge on Neoplasia. This is the first of two tracks from the bands new single Descent into Oblivion and what a banging track it is. There’s a crushing heaviness to the guitar and bass work, both of which have been HEAVILY downtuned. The genre blending is done seamlessly, as we switch between crunchier, harsher OSDM style elements, moodier, slower doom elements and more biding sludge sections with underlying groove. The vocals are very much death metal based and alternate constantly between a rawer howled/shrieked style and a more guttural delivery. Overall this is one hell of a song and one that I’ve spun more than a few times lately.