ACxDC – ‘Antichrist Demoncore’ (Melotov)
No, not that AC/DC. This is ACxDC, a powerviolence quintet from Los Angeles with their first full-length (a full decade after the band’s inception) entitled Antichrist Demoncore. ACxDC are well regarded within the powerviolence genre, an abrasive genre similar to grindcore, but with a greater emphasis on hardcore.
Uncompromising in their assault, ACxDC blast through sixteen songs in just over twenty minutes with an approach that is a direct descendant of hardcore, but with a metallic sound to the guitars and with violent shifts in tempo. ACxDC largely reside at the top of the powerviolence heap, a genre that seems to result in polarized opinions. Judge for yourself because, if nothing else, Antichrist Demoncore is a good introduction to the genre.
Alraune – ‘The Process of Self-Immolation’ (Profound Lore)
Profound Lore Records
Genre: Black Metal
There’s good stuff coming out of Tennessee lately. Yautja, Black Tar Prophet and now black metallists Alraune and their haunting and visceral debut album The Process of Self-Immolation. Alraune will take your feet off the ground in a maelstrom of darkness and hate over 38 harrowing minutes.
It’s terrifyingly intense. Its raw, destructive black metal works intricacies into the bludgeoning making from a complex and rich sonic experience. Lamenting guitar melodies and needling tremolos coarse through your veins to squeeze the heart until tears of blood run down your face. An atmosphere of despair hangs heavy with introspective post-BM moments interspersed within the fiery wrath. TPoSI is corrosive, unforgiving and dense. The extent of anguish represented is beyond grasping. USBM of the highest order.
Auroch – ‘Taman Shud’ (Profound Lore)
Profound Lore Records
Genre: Death Metal
For Auroch, excess is overrated. Their merciless death metal is handled in a clear-headed style, with an emphasis on directness. The band’s sense of brevity results in Taman Shud closing out around the 25-minute mark. They still make space for a few acoustic interludes, which don’t have much of a desired effect beyond moving the album past the length of a typical EP.
The album charges frantically in a manner appropriate from a band featuring members of the outrageous Mitochondrion. No-frills death metal is what Auroch are capable of, and their second album is a dizzying declaration of that fact.
Axegressor – ‘Last’ (Listenable)
Genre: Thrash Metal
Drawing from the more aggressive side of thrash metal, Finland’sAxegressor return with their third release, Last. Influenced by the classic sounds of Destruction, Sodom and Exodus, the band’s display of riff writing is an excellent throwback to the glory days of the genre. This is one of the better modern day thrash releases so far this year, as they completely capture the essence of the era.
At just over thirty-five minutes, the record flies by. Vocalist Johnny Nuclear Winter is the perfect combination of Schmier and Mille Petrozza with his blend of aggression and high-pitched shrieks. The strength of the band is in their precise riffing. The bass could have been more audible in the mix as the high end dominates.
Beige Eagle Boys – ‘You’re Gonna Get Yours’ (Reptilian)
Genre: Noise Rock/Punk
You’re Gonna Get Yours, the debut full-length from Detroit trio Beige Eagle Boys, is an odd, angry little album. All three band members share vocal duties and the result is as manic as the noise they create. For example, “Nothing’s Ever Good Enough – Scrambler” starts off with ‘90s-style alt-rock singing and then dissolves into pissed off caveman screaming.
Sure, the music is heavy as all hell, but the Beige Eagle Boys don’t come off as intimidating tough guys over these ten tracks. They’re more like the dudes you befriend but keep at arm’s length because they may or may not be totally insane. If you like your noise rock distorted and dirty, check this out immediately.
Blut Aus Nord & P.H.O.B.O.S. – ‘Triunity’ (Debemur Morti)
Debemur Morti Productions
Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal/Industrial Metal
Though continuously hailed as one of the forerunners of avant-garde black metal, the truth is that Blut Aus Nord have been resealing the same album over and over since 2003’s landmark The Work Which Transforms God. Their portion of the songs on Triunity continue in the same vein, with only the odd clean vocal inflections on “De Librio Arbitrio” breaking up the monotony.
Sadly the same goes for P.H.O.B.O.S., whose heavily industrial take on the genre fails to raise the nape hairs. Not terrible, per se, but both bands need to freshen things up lest they wish to become irrelevant.
Cemetery Lust – ‘Orgies Of Abomination’ (Hells Headbangers)
Hells Headbangers Records
Genre: Death Metal
Cemetery Lust are just pure fun, as in bands that are wholly descended from Venom and Sodom and party hard like it’s 1984. Upbeat tempos, blistering riffs, and vocals somewhere between a growl and a rasp typify the delivery from Cemetery Lust, a quartet out of Portland, Oregon.
Though similar to bands such as Teitanblood and Vasaeleth, Cemetery Lust are considerably more upbeat and are clearly having fun with their tongues planted firmly in cheek. Think Midnight, and you’ve got the idea. With band members sporting monikers such as Evil Andrew, Nasty Nate, and so on, you might be quick to dismiss Cemetery Lust as silly nonsense and not much else; but, don’t be hasty. Cemetery Lust have the songwriting chops and knowledge of their forebears to deliver a rollicking album in Orgies Of Abomination.
Dead By Wednesday – ‘Death Of The Rockstar’ (Ear One)
Ear One Productions
Dead By Wednesday have been around for a while, releasing a few albums on various labels. They have made a mark in their home state, winning back to back “best metal” accolades at the Connecticut Music Awards.
Death Of A Rockstar is a 5 song EP. The opening and closing tracks are intense metallic hardcore. Other songs are more in the metalcore vein with a greater emphasis on melodic vocals. Those aren’t as effective. “Shipwrecked” is an interesting track, almost proggy in places, and crushingly heavy in others.
Death Of An Era – ‘Black Bagged’ (Artery)
Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie
Black Bagged is the debut album from Columbus, Ohio’s Death Of An Era.They are a young band, still in high school when they formed in 2013.
Many of the songs are pummeling and aggressive deathcore with harsh vocals and some electronic elements that add flavor and diversity. Thoe are the album’s strongest, providing technicality and creativity. Other tracks are more in the metalcore vein, alternating singing and screaming. They tend to be more generic, but will also have more mass appeal.
Ending Quest – ‘The Summoning’ (FDA Rekotz)
FDA Rekotz Records
Genre: Death Metal
Ending Quest are a Swedish trio, with two of their members also in the death metal band Desolator. After releasing a couple of demos, The Summoning is their first proper album.
There’s a seemingly endless supply of old school Swedish death metal bands. Ending Quest do the genre proud with excellent musicianship and quality songwriting, even though there’s not a whole lot of originality. If you like the Sunlight Studios sound and reliving the glory days of Swedish death metal, this will fit the bill just fine.