Rumblings From the Underground: Malokarpatan, Nomads, Reptilian, Tombstoned + Zealotry
Back again, eh? I knew you couldn't resist! In this week's Rumblings From the Underground, we're going deep into the trenches and coming back with some of the dirtiest metal coming out this week. In the Reviews section, you'll find Slovakian black metal tyranny from Malokarpatan, cinder blocks broken over your face by Nomads, a time machine to Scandinavian death metal circa 1992 with Reptilian, a plume of smoke emanating from Tombstoned and a monster under your bed from Zealotry's latest slab of brutality.
I've been busy lately furthering damage to my ears. Royal Thunder played in Massachusetts, so I took small trip north to see them, followed by Ghost and Tribulation in New Haven the following night. Coming up this weekend? Behemoth in New York as they play The Satanist in full!
Okay, time for some news...
Behexen have a new song, "Chalice of the Abyssal Water," (heard here) off their new album, The Poisonous Path. Heavy on melody and highly reminiscent of Mgla, this sounds the most promising of anything these guys have released since By the Blessing of Satan.
Combichrist have toned down the dance elements and now represent a more fortified industrial rock outfit. Their new album, This Is Where Death Begins, is slated for release June 3 on Out of Line Music. I've been known to stomp in a goth club or two, so here's to that.
Grave Desecrator are set to release Dust to Lust on July 1 through Season of Mist. The new song "Temple of Abominations" (heard here) is six minutes of Brazilian black / death defilement as they shovel the dirt back on the graves they opened.
Malokarpatan, 'Stridžie Dni'
One of last year's best keep secrets is now getting a proper release! Slovakia's Malokarpatan self-released Stridžie Dni in 2015, but it's great that there's now a buzz surrounding this primitive release. Raw and abrasive, they use cavernous guitar tones, retaining the lo-fi charm, but without all that tinny, trebly nonsense.
Malokarpatan use single-string leads to great effect, adding just enough texture to their feral black metal brand to differentiate their sound from a sea of others. Synth and barren acoustic elements come into focus as well as some bona-fide true metal riffing, offering a diverse experience on Stridžie Dni.
Love It or Leave It'
Nomads are one of the most straight pissed off bands to emerge from Los Angeles. The firebrand crust punkers play a particularly volatile and intolerant brand and
Love It or Leave It is an 11 song, 22 minute statement of disdain and disgust.
Putting this album on is like asking Randy Johnson to pelt you with bricks. Buzzsaw guitar tones rip through songs like "The Killer" and "Gang Mentality," the latter of which has a savage pause 47 seconds in and comes back in with lethally effective snare fill (don't you love it when snare fills are executed perfectly?). The two covers, GG Allin's "Commit Suicide" and the Sisters of Mercy's "Lucretia, My Reflection" couldn't be further apart stylistically, but Nomads put their own twist on both, making for a consistent album in
Love It or Leave It.
Reptilian, 'Perennial Void Traverse'
Norway has gradually become a sparing but worthy exporter of death metal. Reptilian play a decidedly Scandinavian style (duh) closely resembling countrymates Execration and Sweden's Morbus Chron (Sleepers in the Rift era). Omitting the current psychedelic facets of those two acts, Perenneial Void Traverse is a potent exercise is raw, classic death metal.
Complex song arrangements across the album's six tracks keep Reptilian from becoming predictable in the oft-imitated style. "Possessed by the Living God" boasts a catchy, single guitar lead that helps maintain the more haunting elements of their sound. "Phantasm" represents one of the best cuts here, essentially a sonic straight jacket struggling to contain the angsty Norwegians.
Finland's Tombstoned formed in 2010, meaning hundreds of stoner doom outfits missed out on one of the best band names. The trio play a refreshing style that is too often hampered by shallow imitation and lazy riffing. Blending psychedelia, sand-riding desert grooves and slightly timid vocals calling to mind Witchfinder General's Zeeb Parkes at times, Tombstoned have nailed it on their sophomore album, simply titled II.
"Pretending to Live" opens with a bell and slow-blowing wings before clean tones enter the picture, building the tension and conjuring mirages. Looking through the haze, there's nothing but riffs on the horizon. If you're looking for the best Tombstoned have to offer, "Haven't We Seen All This Before" should satisfy your needs. What a groove!
Zealotry, 'The Last Witness'
Boston death metal outfit Zealotry flew under the radar with a brilliant 2013 release in The Charnel Expanse. They're back with The Last Witness, further cementing their sound heavily entrenched in earth-heaving, Morbid Angel-esque riffs with lingering and understated melodic lead work. Straddling the line between tech and progressive, Zealotry steer clear of any over-the-top moments and keep it ugly.
If you like your death metal delivered with thoughtful arrangements and endless cycles of riffs, The Last Witness would find a solid home in your record collection. "Heralding the Black Apostle" and "Mutagenesis" are immediate standouts while longer offerings like "Progeny Omega" and "Silence" take a few listens to fully grasp.
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