Spotty this column may be, but fulfillments go unfilled, expectations ain’t what they used to be, and so on and so forth. So, expect the unexpected or whatever. Anyway, there’s a handful that flipped a switch this week and I had some extra time and here we are. Oh, and one from a couple weeks ago because…reasons. Try these on for size and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent.
Color me surprised. Didn’t even read the promo materials and went straight for the “art looks cool as hell and obviously death metal” approach. And, voila. Got me a banger of meloswedeath that has as much in common with old At The Gates and Entombed as it does with more recent acts such as LIK and their ilk. And bonus points for the fact that Within Death has some extreme energy and big balls to boot. “Mind Eraser” rips like an everflowing stream and “Spawn of Monstrosity” comes across like a pack of wild banshees out for blood at a punk show. “Effigy of the Rotten” opens with the ever infectious ‘slow death groove’ that Floridian death metal nailed in its heyday then rips into hyperdrive blasts—this thing just doesn’t stop. I could go on and on about how later tracks like “Slave To Addiction” and “Within Death” tick off a lot of boxes of things I love about death metal, but as crowded as this specific brand of death is I’m not sure how much mileage it’ll see over the months. However, this band does have its energy going for them and it’s at an insane level. With that said and as far as debuts go, this one from The Plague is a killer.
As far as what any death metal fan would expect based strictly off album art and album title, Homo Homini Brutus from Becerus definitely hits the nail on the head. I mean, caveman grunts? Check. Brutality? Check. Sweaty jungle vibe? Check. But, it does all this better than expected and at least entertains with its meaty guitar tone meets caveman stomp (“Primeval Ignorantia”) and of course the old ‘headbang in unison with hair perfectly spinning’ groove (“Circular Deficiency”). I gotta give the drummer a shout out if for nothing else his performance in “Latent Primordium.” I mean, holy christ on a cracker this cat can get down on some skins. Inhuman speed meets laser precision equals an absolutely engaging album to stomp your feet to. “Bifolcus” closes things out on a classic death metal note which makes it easy to find myself going back to this over and over and over again, at least for now. It’s nothing new or genre bending but what Becerus does—which is ride a line dead between brutal and standard death metal—they do well.
Bongzilla‘s fifth full length Weedsconsin may not fit the whole death metal vibe I’ve been throwing and it may have been released a couple weeks ago, but I’ll be damned if for as long as I’ve been waiting on this I wasn’t going to talk about it. My biggest question going into this was: would this at least keep up with classics like Stash and Amerijuanican? 45 seconds into opener “Sundae Driver” I had my answer and it was a resounding HELL YES it can. No shit they’re stoners but man what they do with that sound is so ridiculously heavy and intense and just…well, great and unique to them and them only. They haven’t lost an ounce of that over the years and it’s been 16 so I was ready to give them some room. But, no room needed. They are right back in smokin’ spirit like the past 16 years never happened. Muleboy’s vocals are still as brash as ever on “Free the Weed” and their freewheeling spirit hasn’t lost its sense of adventure either (“Space Rock”). But, its the epic “Earth Bong / Smoked / Mags Bags” that really seals the deal and shows us where they are today vs where they left us. If anything, the band has spread its wings a bit more with age and learned to just sit in the pocket while the jams burn off into smoke rings. It’s so good to have these guys back making music and I hope they stick around for a long, long time to come. Heavy, fuzzy, Bongzilla jams forever.
Alright, I’ve cleaned out a couple somewhat close to empty bottles doing this, no surprise there. As we said last time, “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).” Hopefully something here will stick to you like glue or THC, depending on which one of these you dig the most. Anyway, until next time…