Embracing the Descent: March 7 – 13, 2021

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Losing L-G Petrov this week hurt like a mother fucker. If there ever was a champion of death metal and loving it, he was it. So, as we always do, let’s turn to music for some solace since there’s some exceptional albums to talk about this week. Do run out, after reading up, and buy all of the ones we chose to speak on and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent.  

Eyehategod - A History Of Nomadic Behavior

After Eyehategod‘s first couple of albums, they’ve had absolutely zero to prove. Ever since, we’ve been graced with the best sludge metal that’s ever happened in the history of ever. Period. So, with each new album the band has built on just getting in the studio and blasting their blue collar, downtrodden blues the only way they know how. Sure, they’ve suffered some exceptionally shitty setbacks; tragic deaths, serious health issues, and then some, but they’ve always managed tremendous realism that I’ve always closely associated with and moreso than any other band dabbling in sludge metal—let’s face it, if you’re not Eyehategod, you’re dabbling. This is the real deal from the realest that ever existed and A History of Nomadic Behavior is yet another example of how real and down to earth this band is. “Built Beneath The Lies” is a punk/sludge gutter masterpiece while “Current Situation” reeks of the Eyehategod of old with its ‘twist of the knife’ sludge riffs and poignant lyrics. “High Risk Trigger” is the showcase single due to its catchy as hell rhythm and snarky feedback and the duo of “The Trial of Johnny Cancer” and “Smoker’s Place” are the unlikely hits here, even if the song’s placements were happenstance as noted in recent interviews. At this point, Eyehategod could sludge to the damn phonebook and make it sound interesting and harrowing. Such is the day in the life of a long storied band with a deep history and a fantastic discography. And, A History Of Nomadic Behavior is yet another hole in the belt of excellence from this NOLA band. Long live EHG. (Josh)

The Crown - Royal Destroyer

I’ve got a long standing relationship with The Crown that started way back in 2000 with their melodic death/thrash genre defining Deathrace King. And, I’ve kept up with them ever since; through the outstanding followers Eternal Death and The Burning to the meh inducing Doomsday King and Death Is Not Dead. To be a fan you’ve got to live through the lean times and with 2018’s Cobra Speed Venom the band was back and back in top form with their brand of crazy fast death metal that almost led to a couple of speeding tickets for yours truly. And now, with Royal Destroyer, the band rages with that Deathrace King vibe but set to today’s need for speed and brutality over anything else. We’re in a fucked up era that begs for fast and brutal, no matter the genre of metal, and this album delivers in spades; “Motordeath” sounds exactly like its title with hyper speed melodic death metal and gruff vocals while “Glorious Hades” comes across like an epic battle with hammer forged grooves and razor sharp riffs. “Scandinavian Satan” would make ol’ Beezlebub grin due its fiery speed and evil stance and the melodics of “We Drift On” are some of the best I’ve ever heard from the band in its long history. Bottom line, if you’re like me and fall back on Deathrace as The Crown’s best ever, this album will do wonders while shaking up that train of thought. This is insanity set to melodic death metal and very welcomed in a year, thus far, devoid of anything good in the melodic death metal arena. An easy target for EOY consideration this very much is, give it some attention and you’ll be better off for it. (Josh)

I forget…are we still loving the art of Mariusz Lewandowski or has he become old hat again? I love it, and when it’s connected to some monstrous death/doom that hearkens to the best of bands like Evoken and Mournful Congregation, all the better. Sepulcros hail from Portugal, and their debut Vazio (Portuguese for “Empty”) know how to create that hypnotic dirge that sinks you into true ether of pain and despair even as the death vibes take hold of the reins during the heaver moments of the title track or the monolithic “Magno Caos.” No surprise the band found its way to Transcending Obscurity, one of the most well-rounded and varied metal labels out there. The way the guitars wail and wheeze to create almost discordant melodies works to keep you moving through the funeral sections, and the vocals sound like they’re already emanating from the bowels of the earth without sounding processed or forced. It takes a lot of focus to create something that feels this ethereal and dark, and Sepulcros seem to have found the ancient tome that makes a debut like Vazio something to take note of in these dark times. (Chris)

Sometimes you read a press release and a phrase just jumps out at you, forcing you to take a moment and say “ok, well now I HAVE to check this out.” Well, for Russian band Isgherurd Morth it was the phrase “high-tech French drummer Romain Goulon (NECROPHAGIST)….” I didn’t read any more, just grabbed the promo, thanked the synergy of having just listened to the debut episode of Technically Inclined for the Nine Circles Audio Thing and let it rip. So right off the bat: Hellrduk is definitely not tech death. According to the band’s own words, it’s their attempt to interpret their love of 90s second wave black metal with more modern blackgaze elements. And I guess it is that, but it’s also more. There’s a heavy compositional element that goes much deeper than what you would think of when considering either second wave black metal or modern blackgaze. There’s a technicality and almost orchestral element (although no orchestra) to the five songs that make up Hellrduk, and without understanding the lyrics there’s still a sense of plunging hidden depths of understanding. Extremely technical without ever being mistaken for “tech death” there is a lot to parse in the music of Isgherurd Morth, and I’m here to tell you it’s worth checking out. (Chris)

Alright, between Chris and I we collectively cleaned out two bottles doing this and loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t say this will be a regular thing but I wouldn’t say it won’t, either (the Embracing column. I can guarantee you cleaning out bottles is and will continue to be a regular thing). Even if you don’t feel any better, we do—yay us. If after all that you’re still reading this, thanks; maybe you found something to dig into or maybe you’ve got a big middle finger to wave in our general direction.

If that’s the case, right back atcha. Until next time…

Josh & Chris

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