Embracing the Descent: September 5 – 11, 2021


Been awhile since we did one of these. Extra day off, extra time, all that jazz. Whatever. You know how this rolls, we pick a fresh batch of albums that struck a chord and you go binge on them. Simple, right? We don’t need to tell you but will anyway; 2021 has given us some gems and will continue to do so and for that we all need to thank the dark lord that bands are even still making music after the shit everyone has been through and still going through. New favorites are coming out every week with no end in sight. This week we’ve got five that struck like lightning; two of them are from last week, but demand your prompt attention. Head inside to see what’s in store and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent.

Mastiff - Leave Me The Ashes Of The Earth

Mastiff hail from a place called Kingston Upon Hull in the UK and if everything you read is correct, this is a rough place that harbors little future and a ton of angry citizens. If taken in that context, it’s easy to see why Mastiff sounds so damn hatefully bleak. Not a slight, mind you. This is the kind of hatefulness that spawns some truly brutal and aggressive music. Score. I’ve kept tabs on them through all their demos, one-offs, EPs, and full lengths, namely Bork and Plague since these are the albums that set Mastiff on a shelf of their own. With Leave Me The Ashes Of The Earth, the band takes it even further down the spiral with charred hardcore on “Futile” and the one-two powerviolence punch of “The Hiss” and “Fail.” But where they really shine the brightest is the melodic by way of punk by way of death metal later cut “Endless.” It’s as if Primitive Man, Napalm Death and Eyehategod collectively fell into a wood chipper and the leftover viscera was served up on silver platters. This is obliterating with a capital O. Period. The fact that this album was spawned during the pandemic shutdowns is heard like an atom bomb; all the anger, frustration, depression, and overall shitty outlook that we’re still in is put to music and it’s a nasty, nasty beast. Looking for extreme? This is it. (Josh)

Cult Burial - Oblivion

Cult Burial are another UK band that takes huge exception to happy, frilly things. Their 2020 self-titled album was an exercise on just how much of a black / death / sludge beating a listener could take yet grew better and better the deeper in the album went. The death and black metal sides were always sparring while their sludge brethren was front and center the whole time for a cesspool of bludgeoning. On Oblivion, it seems the band said “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Even though this EP is only three tracks, the band makes it seem like an epic with sprawling vistas of sewer sludge and grassy knolls of guitar theatrics (“Parasite”) while closer “Paralysed” gets the blood pumping with classic Carcassesque romps and neck snapping groove. For my money though, the title track opener blasts the hardest and sets its hooks the deepest with quite possibly their best and most cohesive songwriting yet. This one is, in essence, all the good parts of everything they’ve released boiled down to nine minutes and change complete with demonic sounding pig squeals and NWOBHM guitar play. Three tracks just aren’t enough here, but it is what it is and three is all we have. Soak it up and get some. (Josh)

Had no idea this was even coming but last Bandcamp Friday proved to be a good damn day. Hot off the heels of this year’s Skin Show, The Lion’s Daughter are back with, arguably, one of the best covers—Turbo Covers, to be exact—albums in recent history AND arguably one of the best “Turbo Lover” covers ever put to tape. The magic here lies in how the band hovers close to all these originals but completely makes them their own, as with “Turbo Lover” where their synth heavy soul makes for a unique take on a metal classic. Elsewhere, their song choices are excellent and fit them like an extravagant suit. “Burning Inside” (Ministry) seems tailor made with its industrialized synth and “Mr. Self Destruct” (Nine Inch Nails) gets a brutal upgrade while “Negative Creep” (Nirvana) is creepier than the original while baring the band’s trademark punk chops. GG Allin’s “Dog Shit” might be the biggest song choice surprise here and, again, they make it their own. Punk and death metal collide here in a sweaty basement full of broken needles and shit on the floor…now that’s a vibe that only GG could appreciate and the band does it extreme justice. If you didn’t snag this last Friday, no worries, just go now and get it. Thank me later. (Josh)

Look at all that neon, and think back to the evolutionary changes Hail Spirit Noir folded into their last album, the terrific Eden in Reverse. You know where this is going, right? Yup, that’s right: the band have gone full synthwave on Mannequins. Not to worry, as it’s a one-off in celebration of their tenth year as a band. And what better way than a SF/pop synthwave album? There’s still the sense in the way the sounds are constructed and the modern nature of the arrangements that tells you this is still firmly Hail Spirit Noir, which is all I ask. Man cannot live on extreme metal alone, so finding gems like this that still speak to the heart of extreme even as the dulcet tones are anything but provide a welcome relief and maybe…just maybe…some day-ago fun. (Chris)

iron maiden - senjutsu

Seventeen albums in and the beast that is Iron Maiden continue to plow their own path, whether you like it or not. The band’s latest loooong player Senjutsu continues the trend of general disdain for editing and pitch-perfect accuracy to craft a heavy, epic album that is packed to the gills with repeated modulated riffs, buckets upon buckets of solos, and an emphasis on synths and keyboards to fill the space. Things can get a little muddled, but my immediate take was that this is some of the best guitar work the band have put together in years: the solos are fantastic, and – dumb guitar doubling the vocals on “Stratego” aside – there is a new-found sense of adventure on the tone that makes the album stand out from previous leviathan The Book of Souls. Nico McBain continues to be the secret weapon of the group, creating an entire world of percussion on each track. Harris takes the last 30 minutes to present a trifecta of solo written tunes that have moments of flying grace and muddled “Haven’t I heard that before?” in equal measure, but with highlights like the title track, “Days of Future Past” and “The Writing on the Wall” that works SO MUCH BETTER in sequence than as a stand-alone sequel, Senjutsu continues the trend of Iron Maiden proving that their path is their own, and they’ll continue to tread it long after we’re all gone. (Chris)

This is metal. This is art. Wait… Anyway, fun was definitely had on our part and hopefully these picks will have the same effect on you to the point where you decide to make it rain on the artists above. Anyway, until next time…

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