Rumblings From the Underground: Inverloch, Gadget, Ripper + More
Woo! Another week has passed and it's time to take a look at some more of the best the underground metal scene has to offer. This week is pretty interesting as we're dealing with some releases with a lot of back story. Church of Misery have overhauled their lineup, Inverloch have finally unleashed their first album, which should make dISEMBOWELMENT fans' thighs quiver, and cult grind freaks Gadget have resurfaced with their first record in a full 10 years! You'll also find a review of Dream Death's Dissemination and Ripper's Experiment of Existence (artwork featured above), but as always, let's recap some news real quick before diving in!
In case you missed it, we sat down with Cannibal Corpse's Paul Mazurkiewicz for a round of 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?' so make sure you catch that as he set the record straight on some long-standing rumors about the band.
German power metallers Iron Savior are one of the genre's most consistent bands and are set to release their ninth album, Titancraft, on May 29 on AFM records. View the artwork here.
Metal Blade announced they'll be releasing Metal Massacre 14, the first Metal Massacre compilation since 2006. The track listing was hand-selected by Primordial's Alan 'Nemtheanga' Averill and will be out on April 8.
Doom legend Scott Wino has reactivated the cult act the Obsessed, stating, “I have been waiting for the right combination of ability, attitude and personality to accomplish this goal. From this day forward The Obsessed is myself, Dave Sherman (Spirit Caravan - bass) and Brian Costantino (Spirit Caravan - drums) who have proven to be dedicated, fearless and unwavering in their love of this music.”
Vektor are equal parts thrash and sci-fi and are readying their first album in five years. Terminal Redux will be out on May 6 through Earache and the first new song, "Charging the Void," can be heard here.
Church of Misery, 'And Then There Were None...'
Japan's Church of Misery are now an international act as native Tatsu Mikami (bass) has enlisted the services of stateside musicians Scott Carlson (vocals, Repulsion), Eric Little (drums, Earthride) and Dave Szulkin (guitar, Blood Farmers). And Then There Were None... continues the band's reputation for tactfully aping Black Sabbath and penning songs exclusively about serial killers.
With a revamped lineup, the band hasn't changed a bit, unleashing bluesy, doom riffs with a bit of a southern flair, most notably on songs like "Dr. Death (Harold Shipman)" and "Confessions of an Embittered Soul (Leonarda Cianciulli)." Carlson's time spent in Cathedral has had an impact on his vocals, falling more in line with Lee Dorian than prior singer Hikedi Fukasawa's best Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) impersonation. Church of Misery are a beacon of consistency, which remains true on And Then There Were None... despite the lineup changes.
Dream Death, 'Dissemination'
Dream Death are one of the more unique death / doom entities, taking a stripped down and simple approach to their songwriting with their own twisted charm. Frontman Brian Lawrence can be an acquired taste for some as he borders on a spoken / shouting style delivery alongside the band's delightfully sloppy and neanderthal riffs. Dissemination is the third overall album from the group and their second since reuniting in 2011. Instantly recognizable,the modern production is the only differing aspect.
The title track opens the album, delivering a swinging rhythm as the band plays around with intensity, seesawing between work and play. Following this song is "Expendable Blood Flow," starting off with an eerie xylophone melody before one of Dream Death's most demented riffs pays a nod to Autopsy's most barbaric moments. Dissemination is an album for those who praise intentionally sloppy, reckless metal.
Gadget, 'The Great Destroyer'
Swedish grindcore outfit Gadget were seemingly gone as quickly as they came, releasing two full lengths (Remote in 2004 and The Funeral March in 2006) and then mostly disappearing for the next decade save for a handful of songs on a 2010 split with Phobia. Well, they're back and sound as pissed as ever! The Great Destroyer is 17 tracks and 26 minutes of concussive fury that leaves your teeth shattered and scattered across the floor.
Making up for lost time, Gadget keep the pedal firmly on the floor, rarely breaking their manic pace for some knock-down, drag-out guitar work that typically represents the other spectrum of grind. "In the Name of Suffering" is one of the exceptions here, featuring bruising riffs with a beatdown mentality. The final track, "I Don't Need You / Dead and Gone" starts with the same intensity found on the rest of the album, but eventually degrades into a slow meltdown across its five and a half minute span, as if to leave everything behind in ruin.
Inverloch, 'Distance | Collapsed'
Australia's Inverloch have seemingly done the impossible. Featuring two original members of death/doom outfit dISEMBOWELMENT, they've managed to craft an album alarmingly close to the masterful efforts presented on Transcendence Into the Peripheral in 1993. Inverloch's debut, Distance | Collapsed not only follows the footsteps bassist Matthew Skarajew and drummer Paul Mazziotta walked in over two decades ago in song composition, but sonically as well.
Yes, the production is a bit slicker these days, but the ethereal and haunting tones of the clean guitar work is left in tact, which was truly the essence of dISEMBOWELMENT's majesty. Opener "Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)" serves as a sort of overture, hitting on all the trademark elements from the suddenly spastic blast beats that helped influence acts like Evoken to crawling guitar leads that make Inverloch unpredictable moment to moment. If this, too, is the only record we get under this moniker, fans should be eternally grateful for such a marvelous sonic comeback.
Ripper, 'Experiment of Existence'
Chilean death thrashers Ripper are a band more than deserving of their name. Their sophomore studio album, Experiment of Existence, well... rips! Combine Leprosy era Death with the more savage elements of Nocturnus' The Key and some Sepultura South American flavor and you'd have one unf--kwithable band to contend with. That's what we have here with Ripper as they've honed their craft.
From top to bottom, Experiment of Existence harkens back to the early days of extreme metal where bands were just beginning to break away from thrash, but hadn't figured out where else to go yet. Fusing speedy aggression with frenetic and subtle leadwork, songs like "Anthropophagic Life" and "Neuronal Unity" can be counted among the best metal songs to be released so far in 2016. The production is perfect, tossing a nod back to the Morrisound Studios era and it appears that artist Paulo Girardi is the modern day Dan Seagrave considering all the records his work has graced in the last few years. Oh, did I forget to mention there's a bass solo? There is!
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