Embracing the Descent: April 21 – 27, 2019


Welcome back to another edition of Embracing the Descent and another opportunity to catch some fire from this week’s incoming metal. If it’s your first visit, we briefly discuss a handful of the current week’s new releases that stood out for whatever reason and maybe, from time to time, a week behind but who’s counting. We won’t be hitting everything because no one needs a 40 – 60 entry piece and who’s got that kind of time anyway. Let’s jump in and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent. Before you go, leave us a comment if you have thoughts or gripes or something we should be listening to.

Lord Dying - Mysterium Tremendum

No way I’d be leading this thing off without the ridiculously killer new album, Mysterium Tremendum, from Portland’s Lord Dying. And just like I said in Initial Descent, forget everything you knew about this band based on debut Summon the Faithless and follow up Poisoned Altars, not that either of those were less than stellar but this is just something else entirely. You’ll no doubt recognize them based on the opening three tracks but beyond that, it’s a new frontier starting with the YES inspired “The End of Experience” going forward. But that’s not to say this is an album devoid of heaviness, see “Exploring Inward (An Unwelcome Passenger)” for a lesson in how it sounds when a band successfully marries prog and blazingly heavy riffs in the same song. “Severed Forever” sounds like what would happen if Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, and Conan got together over beers and jammed the night away but then we get “Even the Darkness Went Away” which is by and large a folk song that rules and rules hard. But then we get an amazing duo of the Crack the Skye on acid “Freed From the Pressures of Time” and the psychedelic era of Jefferson Airplane on “Lacerated Psyche.” All that and we still ain’t done but you get the drift here; this is one amazing album that has so many different influences yet sounds so damn unique and outstanding that it sure as shit will draw a tear to anyone with any kind of deep musical background. And I don’t mean the kind of background born from the 80s up to now either. BUT, the best thing is, you need not have any knowledge of yesteryear to enjoy it, just lose yourself in the sweet ass jams found all over this thing.


Italy’s Whiskey Ritual found its way to my soul on Blow With the Devil and ever since then it’s been one hell of a journey of discovery while downing one hell of a load of alcohol. And I blame it on the music, as if I need a scapegoat (I don’t), because this band fires on all available cylinders, at all times, and never stops or slows down. For me, this is the Motörhead of blackened thrash and I couldn’t be happier with Black Metal Ultras. The energy on “Death Comes By Limo” reeks of their split with Forgotten Tomb covering GG Allin but the energy only multiplies on the punked up “666 Problems” and same for “Denim Demon” where the band goes full on anthemic chant vocals. Whiskey Ritual has always pulled from the dangerous side of punk, the speedier side of black metal,  and the most evil side of thrash which culminates in a wave of energy that very few bands can replicate – many try and many fail. Period. As a title, Black Metal Ultras is one hell of a statement but this band backs it up, as they always do and it’s yet another album in a string of albums that I’m ALL in for. Hail Whiskey Ritual.

Murg - Strävan

Murg. After the nuclear winter caused by Gudatall this band needs no introduction. And not to mention debut Varg och Björn as that is the album that really set their trajectory into devastating black metal territory that covers all the phases of the genre yet seals their fate in the most vicious of all of them. On Strävan the band reaches the apex of its trilogy with a theme of mankind obliterated and a new lifeforce taking its place to end the hell that is this universe. A lofty trilogy indeed but one that Murg has taken in stride and with Strävan they stop time in a glorious noise of early Enslaved mythology meets Emperor levels of darkened atmosphere. The title track hints of these influences while “Korpen” pries the gates of hell open and dares anyone entry beyond. “Altaret” welcomes all comers with a knowing black ‘n’ roll gallop and closer “Stjärnan” pummels the last dying breath out of this trilogy with an air of supremacy reserved for the elite. And here, Murg joins this elite and carries the torch high on the battle garb. Murg is one of the best examples of the electrifying effect black metal has going for it today and I urge you to take it all in and study it. Scholars will be looking to us sometime in the future and we can’t lead them astray so GO FORTH and join the cult of Murg.

Norsemen - Bloodlust

Here we go with another Italian band but this time it’s all Vikings and Norse traditions and wicked good death metal fit for battle or a set of headphones or both in a time of need. Norsemen know a thing or two about the kind of Viking death Amon Amarth preach about and on Bloodlust they show that they’re at least as proficient at it as their counterparts with rhythmic precision and glacial death metal chops. “Fenrir” is as epic as the river Slidr while “Odin” catches the kind of granduer as the god of the same name. “Warriors Fate” seems to pit the band directly against their Viking themed counterparts but ends up out-shadowing them all due to the hunger of a young band and closer “Time Wrecked Kingdom” puts the final nail in this same coffin. Meaning, Viking death metal bands of this ilk would be best to step up their game to keep up with youngbloods Norsemen, and don’t @ me before you’ve earnestly listened to Bloodlust. Open your ears and mind and succumb to the power of Norsemen.

Alright then, I’ve poured my damn heart out with some stuff that really caught my attention this week. Now, pour YOUR heart out to me with what catches your attention or bitch over my picks. I’m waiting…

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