Embracing the Descent: May 26 – June 1, 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. At this point we’re pretty sure you got it but for a recap: 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.

FULCI - Tropical Sun

For anyone slow on the uptake, Italian death metallers Fulci lifted their name from horror mastermind and fellow compatriot Lucio Fulci. Call it tribute or whatever but the output has to rival the horrifically shocking images and ultimate mastery their namesake was known for. While debut Opening the Hell Gates got the brutal and horrific part right it fell short in its robust reliance on slam. Not knocking slam at all but it’s not quite what a mental picture would conjure up cozying up next to THE Fulci. However, sophomore effort Tropical Sun —- based on Zombi 2 —- rectifies this by not abandoning slam altogether but making the creepy crawly atmosphere around it that much more horrifying. And of course the samples used throughout help tremendously in setting needed tones of required atmosphere. Brutal melodicism rules the title track while “Splatter Fatality”  and “Church of the Undead” wallow in zombie infested swamp sludge. But the real highlight is “Palms By the Cemetery” with its part tiki / part suffering intro that leads into the lurching sort of death metal rivaling the energy of a zombie on a fresh kill. Horror and metal make extremely good bedfellows and particularly when having fun in the Tropical Sun

Malum - Legion

With a handful of EP’s and splits, a compilation and two full lengths, Finnish black metallers Malum have been busy since forming in 2013. And now, Legion marks their third full length but also marks their best effort to date as it finally matches the frigidness that Finnish black metal is known for. Sure, Night of the Luciferian Light was devastating in its sheer force and Crowned With the Serpent Sun was a blistering opening statement for a debut but the former suffered from a ‘warm’ and muddled sound while the latter was underwhelming and unmemorable. Legion fixes both problems with cryogenic ice in its veins; cold yet calculating production and their best songwriting to date makes for one hell of a satanic romp through arctic vistas. “The Sun Devouring Dragon” is not only a firecracker of an album opener but finds the band experimenting a little with slower, more progressive elements, “Days of Slaughter and Destruction” has an unforgettable cadence, and “Sexual Demon” is ice-pick-in-the-ear devastating. Beyond the fact that there’s something in every track that clings to memory long after Legion’s runtime is done, there’s a slithering and evil atmosphere that unfurls as minutes tick by. But, it’s sneaky and any ol’ random listen won’t unearth it, meaning multiple listens are mandatory. It’s instantly vicious, instantly memorable, and begs for repeat listens to really capture its essence. Malum have outdone themselves and we get to reap the benefits. Score.

Батюшка - Панихида

The battle of the Batushka’s rages on with shots fired on both sides and new developments coming in at a somewhat steady pace. Based on the fact that no one but the actual members were there it’s safe to say that no one really knows the whole story or the whole truth. But, as it usually does, music can do a whole lot of talking where lips or truths cannot and this week’s release of Krzysztof Drabikowski’s Батюшка, Панихида, lays bare the soul and awe inspiring mix of black metal and traditional liturgical songs of the Orthodox Church that were the essential backbone of breakout debut Litourgiya. Further, this release (Panihida, trans.) is as if Litourgiya had a third and fourth side but with alternating vocalists and a very slight lean towards melodic black metal. It’s haunting, emotional, raw, and (dare I say) majestic. But, in truth, that’s what really drew me to Litourgiya in the first place and held me in the palm of its hand for months. Bartłomiej Krysiuk’s version of Batushka however, as you may or may not know, is signed to Metal Blade and nearing release of Hospodi. So far, one track is available, “Polunosznica” and after listening multiple times via multiple sized speakers, it lacks the heart and overall conviction that Панихида and any of its songs display. To be fair, assumptions will have to wait for the full release of Hospodi to draw a final conclusion but for now, and for what’s readily available, Krzysztof’s Батюшка is the most closely tethered to this band’s one album legacy and the fiber that made it. Take that as you will – shots will continue to be fired and opinions will, no doubt, gather by the shitload, and even I may be proven wrong once both full lengths are at my disposal but nevertheless, Drabikowski’s release is amazing. Take a listen below and see for yourself. 

Folks, the comments section is open and just maybe you’ll have an opinion this week. We welcome it but we also welcome whatever catches your fancy in the metal world so leave that as well.

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