Embracing the Descent: May 5 – 11, 2019

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Welcome back to another edition of Embracing the Descent and another opportunity to catch some fire from this week’s incoming metal. Miss us last week? Rhetorical question, of course. Recap time: 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. We won’t be hitting everything because a 40 – 60 entry piece ain’t happening 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

Zig Zags - They'll Never Take Us Alive

For a band that doesn’t take themselves seriously — hit up any interview, they’re just stoked people dig them — California’s desert thrashers Zig Zags (the shoes, not the rolling papers) make seriously deadly thrash in the vein of old Metallica meets old Slayer meets old Black Flag. They’ll Never Take Us Alive is ten tracks of unadulterated and nasty punk infused thrash that will get your dead ass moving. And don’t mistake all the ‘old’ references for a rehashed album or a retread of the days of yore from the LA scene, it does carry those souls with it but only in attitude. “Ms 45” is a punk party in some dude’s basement and “Punk Fucking Metal” is exactly as its title suggests: a speeding locomotive of aggression. And that’s just the front half, as the back half comes into view it gets weird; “Nothing To Do” sounds like a long lost collaboration between the Zags and Dick Dale while “God Sized” shows off some hefty slow burn and slow paced metal. Weird indeed but crazy good and ridiculous fun. Wait, fun? YES.  

Call of the Void - Buried In Light

Fun is definitely not on the schedule for Colorado’s Call of the Void and on third full length Buried In Light the theme is as dark as their crusty grind and new found blackened sludge. ‘What drives a person to reject everything and choose death?’ is as poignant of a theme as it can be and the band drives it home on the hardcore fueled “Suck Me Dry,” the punk energy of “Drowning Hour,” and the blast beat filled “So It Ends.” The band has had some bangers, Dragged Down a Dead End Path, Ageless, and EP AYFKM, but the thing that stands out almost immediately here is how much better Buried In Light sounds than any of those and how much that amplifies the impact of tracks like “God Hunts” and “Re Death.” Now, four albums in, Call of the Void breathe new life into their chaotic universe and we get to reap all the benefits. Just don’t go join some death cult and say it was for ‘research.’

lice - woe betide you

Look at that cover: how can we not take a listen to this thing?  Turns out Lice is the unholy and desperate lovechild of Niklas Kvarforth of Shining (the sad and slightly troublesome Swedish DSBM outfit, not the wicked black jazz Norwegian one) and J from cavernous death metal outfit Teitanblood.  The two cancel out each other’s more tired tendencies to create in Woe Betide You a satisfying and slightly despondent sound that revels in darkness and despair, mournful clean hooks and Kvarforth’s signature wailing cries trading blows with more dirty sewer riffing.  It works for a particular mood, but I’m not sure you wanna be playing this at the family picnic.

mental cruelty - inferis

Take my word for it: that logo spells out Mental Cruelty, and since it’s on Unique Leader you know what to expect by now.  If you don’t, where have you been and what have you been sleeping on?  Inferis is straight up tech death, freshened up with an obligatory awesomely depraved cover, enough chromatic runs to decode the human genome (does that even make sense?  It’s late, sorry…) and drumming that sounds like a robot savagely beat Gene Hoglan to death and used his shattered limbs for drumsticks.  “Mundus Vult Decipi” translates to “the world wants to be deceived” but make no mistake, aurally it translates to brutal death metal that will have you gleefully rending the flesh of your enemies when you’re not air-guitaring to the God of the Hammer On.

Suspiral - Chasm

Cutting the nigh-relentless assault of their brand of blackened death metal with spacious doom sections, warbly psychedelics, and haunting noise, Suspiral manage to build on their previous full length Delve Into the Mysteries of Transcendence, which was already a strong base to start from.  What was once a sprawling, occult monstrosity feels even less tethered to the rules of extreme metal, yet the duo feel much tighter in their playing.  It’s interesting to find a way to describe an album that feels both more and less held together than its predecessor, but it’s this exact marriage of tightness of playing and willingness to experiment that makes Chasm a step above your average “fog and cloaks” blackened death metal.

If you dig any of the albums featured above, head on over and show these bands some support. If you feel like raising hell because the album you wanted to see wasn’t featured, fill up that comment section – bring. it.

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