They have names like Decapitated, Artificial Brain, Gatecreeper and Immolation, and they make death metal. Once the sun comes out, it’s time for the crassest of heavy music genres, with guitars like chainsaws, drums like an escalated bison stampede, and a singer as an asthmatic lion with tantrums and death rattles. While sister movement black metal is a dark ritual in wintry forests with strictly agreed rules, death metal is more like an exuberant party with sun and beer where anything is possible. It was invented in Florida (Morbid Angel, Deicide, Death) and California (Slayer, Possessed, Autopsy) for a reason. With the arrival of summer this week, there are an extraordinary number of strong albums from this genre ready.
An understandable question arises: why listen to music that sounds like a condition that makes you better go to the doctor? Compare it to very spicy food, a super scary horror movie or a heavy roller coaster: it gives a kick. Those who like kicks would like more, and gradually learn to appreciate the nuances, and want more. And you can. Here are six (six) records by lesser known bands from the genre, which should not be missing from your summer playlist (on Spotify or Bandcamp).
Undeath: It’s time… To Rise From the Grave
Undeath could be the stereotype of what death metal is exactly: they have worked out the traditional foundation of the genre perfectly. So predictable? Absolutely not, because this band from Rochester, New York has understood very well how far you can go with a good, fat riff; every song has a few of those guitar loops that stick to your brain like Velcro. The production is clear and raw enough, with screeching guitars and a singer with his heart in the right place (cooked on his back). The best song is ‘Rise from the Grave’, a sympathetic call to join their growing zombie army before the growing zombie army reports to you…
Haunter: Discarnate Ails
This third album by Haunter from San Antonio, Texas is their shortest – 3 songs, 31 minutes – and after listening you understand that there just can’t be more to tell. The band’s sometimes dissonant music is drawn out and complex, and a big challenge for the experienced listener. But it is worth it, Discarnate Ails is a trip to another world full of dark, layered twists and turns in which you seem to be drowning, until every time there is a melody or hook that drags you out. Think Opeth, but all their albums at once. The thirteen minutes long ‘Chained At The Helm Of The Eschaton’ contains everything that makes this band so good.
Also read: three times free-spirited black metal
Tomb Mold: Aperture of Body
Three songs, only available on cassette tape that sold out in minutes. Not surprising: these Canadians made three previous strong demos and three excellent long players, with which they established an extremely reliable reputation. on Aperture of Body they take turns that they hadn’t explored so much before: an ambient opener that Blood Incantation would be jealous of, an acoustic passage, and further riffs at full speed, heavy grooves and restrained, cumbersome parts where you have the feeling that the planet is slowing down a bit. running. It is to be hoped that especially ‘Prestige of Rebirth’ is a blueprint for the band from Toronto (with a drumming vocalist!), because it is one of their best songs.
Primitive Man: Insurmountable
If the Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park listen to music, he would say to the new Primitive Man album: “Well well tut tut, this is very misanthropic.” Technically it is a mix of doom and sludge metal that makes this trio from Denver, Colorado, in which death metal is a very important ingredient. But there is no room to think about those kinds of details while listening to Insurmountablebecause it breaks down your brain cell by cell. So heavy, so cumbersome, so intense. In the sonic nightmare ‘Cage Intimacy’ – they recently played it at Roadburn in a thick, fiery red mist – the band sometimes unexpectedly goes up to double speed, turning into an inhuman vortex of sound.
Inanna: Void of Unending Depths
Inanna is a Mesopotamian goddess, but this foursome comes from a completely different climate: the Chilean capital Santiago. That gives them obscurity points, and the fact that their heads so far from the big death metal scenes (the US, Sweden) have reached the top of the table is not because of their work ethic. It’s crammed full of interesting ideas Void of Unending Depths is only their third album in 22 years. Musically they are somewhere between Morbid Angel and Immolation – complex and heavy – but Inanna does it all a bit more psychedelic. The closing track ‘Cabo de Hornos’ is long but terribly good.
Also read: the review of Blood Incantation’s previous album
Blood Incantation: Timewave Zero
This is… not death metal. Confusing message, because Blood Incantation is one of the best death metal bands of the last ten years. But their latest album, Timewave Zero, is an entirely instrumental record and even in terms of instruments you should not expect too much from it: it is one long, warm, cosmic, atmospheric synthesizer blanket. The band from Denver always supplemented their riffs with spacey atmospheric passages (they don’t call it ‘cosmic death metal’ for nothing) and decided to explore that direction. They made an entire album for the metalhead who fell asleep after that one beer too much in the sun and a day later with the hangover of the year would rather exchange his earthly, miserable existence for a subconscious journey through the vacuum of the space. It’s a bit of delayed pleasure: you expect that at a good moment a rattling singer will break in, but that doesn’t happen. Strange, but brave and certainly not unsuccessful.