Brand new rock n roll band from Edmonton featuring members of Messiahlator, Languid and the Dirtbags. Recorded/mixed/mastered by me during the early parts of February. For fans of AC/DC, Motorhead, and Thin Lizzy. Another fun session to work on.
My side band Falsehood have unleashed our debut self titled full length. This album was many years in the making, while the recording spanned from July 2016 to April 2017. I joined this band in 2015 with the intent to get their album out, and I am very pleased with the final result. I wrote none of the music here, but I took the reigns on both the audio production and design aspects. Give it a listen here, tapes are currently in production and are available for preorder via our Bandcamp. FFO: Bolt Thrower, His Hero Is Gone, Neurosis.
Two more releases by bands I’ve recorded have surfaced since I’ve last posted. Both recordings took place last fall and both bands are from Edmonton
First, Feeding has a tape consisting of 5 tracks. Both the recording and mixing were done by me. Four of the tracks are really thrashy hardcore that breakdown into some sludgier areas, with the other track further exploring sludge tempos. I’ve recorded them again more recently, and their newer material has taken in some Entombed influence. More on that to come. Here’s their self titled EP:
Paroxysm are another new Edmonton band, but some members are certainly not new to the scene, as they have played in bands such as Iskra, Self Rule, etc. This mLP consists of 7 ripping crust songs that live up to the genre’s core value of combining metal influences (Bolt Thrower and Sacrilege come to mind) with politically charged lyrics that highlight human atrocities close to home. I only did the recording, mixing/mastering was handled by Cody Baresich at Circle A Studio in Victoria.
In October of 2016, I recorded this power trio hardcore band from Edmonton known as Demise. I’ve been friends with them for quite some time now, and we had quite an enjoyable time putting this recording together over the course of a weekend. The tape is available now from the band.
Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to record/mix a new Edmonton d-beat band known as LANGUID. They are good friends of mine and have played in a variety of great bands (TARANTUJA, MESSIAHLATOR, TOTAL WAR, UNLEARN, GEISTER, etc) throughout the years. I mastered an unreleased EP for them which eventually lead to me recording a live demo in May 2015. The band has wasted no time and had me record an LP for them in October 2015 and another 7″ in August 2016. The LP is slated for release this spring with the 7″ to follow. I am very pleased with how both projects turned out, and I feel that the “Oblivion” EP is one of my best recordings to to date. There are a couple tracks streaming from each below.
Genre: Sludge | Label: Mass Deadening/Nerve Altar
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada| Listen: Bandcamp
Vancouver’s Haggatha has finally unleashed their third album, “V,” after an excruciating wait from 2012’s “IV.” Those familiar with the band’s previous efforts can relate, as Haggatha’s brand of sludge paints a bleak soundscape dominated by slow, infectious. The band has rewarded our patience with “V,” as they offer six songs of crushing magnitude.
Fans of classic sludge bands such as Eyehategod, Noothgrush, and especially Grief will find much to love about Haggatha. Unlike those bands, Haggatha never really kicks into tempos beyond a mid-pace, so there’s no punk parts that are typical of sludge. Instead, the band relies on hypnotic pacing that eventually break away like the death of the universe.
Perhaps the fact that this record barely approaches a mid tempo speed may be concerning to those who question how a sludge band could write anything memorable without the genre’s staple approach to dynamic songwriting. Fear not, as Haggatha are a band that give songs their own nuances to keep things interesting. The opening track, “Scrying,” uses dissonant notes and a 7/8 time signature in its middle section, for example.
Some later-era Grief influence is really clear on tracks like “Swallowing Bile” and “Animal Husbandry,” both of which feature some high fretboard work, adding melodies into the colossal riffs as they cascade into the songs endings. “Sherman” starts off with some of this as well before the song really gives away to a slow crawl, where as “Filled With Idiots” gets right into a full out guitar solo.
Two members of the band do vocals, which again will lead to comparisons with Grief, as one member does lower death metal vocals, and the other has a higher scream that one would expect to hear in a sludge band. They balance each other out well throughout the record. Particularly, they do some interesting layering at the end of “No Light No Life,” creating an almost ethereal feeling.
The band opted to record once again with Jesse Gander, who has had his hand in several Vancouver favourites such as AHNA, Massgrave, Chapel, and many more. His sound is very professional and manages to balance heaviness with clarity. For those that have seen Haggatha live, part of their appeal is the the physical loudness, which translates well here thanks to the recording.
Haggatha continues to be one of the leaders of doom/sludge in Canada, and this record solidifies their position. This isn’t music that’s made for putting on for your friends – this is music for getting lost in.
Draghkar, a new death metal band from California, has released their debut demo on bandcamp today. I handled the mixing and mastering. Check it out!
Proud to announce that Begrime Exemious will be hitting the road to join Ares Kingdom for three exclusive dates in western Canada this summer.
June 1st – Edmonton, AB @ The Mercury Room w/ Pathetic, Phylactery
June 2nd – Calgary, AB @ The Distortion, w/ Pathetic, + TBA
June 3rd – Vancouver, BC @ Pats Pub, w/ Assimilation, Pathetic
Brutal Alberta and Famine Fest have collaborated to make this possible. I look forward to seeing some maniacs on the road in June!
Another year has come and gone, and regardless of how you experienced the year, there’s been plenty of quality releases from a variety of bands this year. Here is my list of music I enjoyed this year, separated by full lengths vs demos/EPs/splits, and organized alphabetically.
Altered Dead – s/t
Death Metal | Victoria, BC | Cavernous Records | Bandcamp
If you’re looking for death metal with a massive guitar tone, look no further than the debut full length from Altered Dead. This death metal duo from Victoria, BC spew forth exceptionally heavy riffs in the vein of Autopsy. The production of this album is fantastic, benefiting from an excellent recording/mixing job by Cody of Iskra.
Auroch – Mute Books
Black/Death Metal | Vancouver, BC | Profound Lore | Bandcamp
Vancouver’s Auroch return with their third full length, and manage to spew out a vast array of styles under the guise of death metal in just 30 minutes. Their sophomore LP was excellent, and foreshadows where the band would take their frantic paced music to next.
The Bellicose Minds – The Creature
Post-Punk | Portland, OR | Black Water Records | Bandcamp
Post-punk from Portland, the Bellicose Minds take huge influence from the Chameleons to make dark yet energizing music. Their sophomore album contains everything I liked about their previous material and shows that the Bellicose Minds are one of the better modern post-punk bands.
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Death Metal | Boulder, CO | Dark Descent Records | Bandcamp
Arguably, this is the album of the year. Based out of Colorado, these death metal maniacs flex their technical musicianship with copious amounts of marijuana to create a record that fans of all types of death metal from Demilich to Morbid Angel will eat up. It’s only 35 minutes but it reaches heights of epic proportions. The space themes further make Blood Incantation’s debut full length enjoyable to me as a sci-fi nerd.
Chthe’ilist – Le dernier crépuscule
Death Metal | Montreal, QC | Profound Lore/Dark Descent | Bandcamp
Speaking of Demilich, this Quebecois death metal act certainly has earned a lot of comparisons to the classic Finnish band. Much like Blood Incantation, Chthe’ilist are technically proficient but never let that take prominence over the all mighty riff. Aside from the obvious Lovecraftian themes, they even turn to video games (namely, the Legend of Zelda) for lyrical influence. It’s a pretty nerdy LP but you can’t deny how crushing songs like “Voidspawn” are!
Church of Disgust – Veneration of Filth
Death Metal | San Marcos, TX | Memento Mori | Bandcamp
Disgusting death metal out of Texas, these guys play raw death metal in the vein of Autopsy and Morpheus Descends. I had not heard this band prior to this album, but it’s certainly a strong release that will cater to those who like their death metal on the filthy side. A few guest vocalists appear on this record, including a member from Sewercide (who are also on this list) and Mike Browning from Nocturnus/Morbid Angel fame.
Czarface – A Fistful of Peril
Hip-Hop | Brooklyn, NY | Silver Age | YouTube
Inspectah Deck (of the Wu-Tang Clan) returns with his collaborators 7L & Esoteric for the third Czarface LP. I personally love hip hop uses comic book imagery/allusions as its backbone (something that Inspectah Deck himself has done in the past), and Czarface manage to stay fun and fresh with each release. Fans of the last two LPs will love this, but may note there aren’t any guest appearances by other Wu-Tang members. I can understand that the group probably wants to stand on its own without relying on the Wu-Tang connections that much, and indeed this LP does. As many of you know, I’m a huge basketball fan and I can’t help but get stoked when I hear all the basketball references in these raps.
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Black Metal | France | Norma Evangelium Diaboli | Bandcamp
The French black metal masters of dissonance return with their shortest full length to date – 4 songs clocking in at only 30 minutes. They’ve had EPs longer than this, but let’s not get distracted by what is an extremely solid effort by a band that’s been consistently putting out quality material for over a decade. This is a lot more aggressive than the “Drought” EP, and ends on such an ominous note that I have to listen to it over and over.
Howls of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
Black/Death Metal | San Fransisco, CA | I, Voidhanger | Bandcamp
Howls of Ebb’s second album is my first experience with this bizarre black/death metal band. This album is really unique, it’s almost like the soundtrack to a predator stalking its prey, as it dances in the shadows and lunges in for the kill with grace, embracing the chaos that comes with death. Not much compares to this, so if you like eerie and quirky riffs in your death metal, get this now!
Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed
Death/Doom Metal | Australia | Relapse Records | Bandcamp
Inverloch is essentially the rebirth of the greatest death/doom band of all time, diSEMBOWELMENT. After releasing an EP, Inverloch has graced us with a full length album. Obviously, people are going to compare this to their former band, and although this isn’t on the same level as the legendary “Transcendence into the Peripheral,” it does have many of the same characteristics and overall similar atmosphere. If you like those sombre moments of pure desolation that diSEMBOWELMENT does so well between massive death metal riffs, Inverloch will surely satisfy.
Krypts – Remnants of Expansion
Black/Death Metal | Finland | Dark Descent Records | Bandcamp
From Finland comes Krypts, and they’ve certainly outdone themselves on this full length. Although I got some enjoyment out of “Unending Degradation,” this album breathes a lot more than their debut, controlling the pace much better. Listening to this album is like being crushed by the cosmos itself. I can’t stress how much of a leap Krypts has made with this record, it’s phenomenal black/death metal.
Massgrave – The Absurdity of Humanity
Crust/Grindcore | Vancouver, BC | Haunted Hotel | Bandcamp
Massgrave are the greatest crust band in Canada, period. Taking the core of their sound from crust/grind legends Disrupt, Massgrave have been delivering the goods for a decade and a half. This is their third LP and they show no signs of slowing down. “RCMPig” is likely the best punk song of the year.
Necrot – The Labyrinth
Death Metal | Oakland, CA | Tank Crimes | Bandcamp
This is technically a compilation of three demos from the last few years but it’s all new to me, so I’ve included it on this list. Necrot are from the Bay Area, and share members with a lot of incredible death metal acts including Vastum, Acephalix, and Rude. Here we get nothing but filthy riffs performed in relentless fashion with a tinge of punk influence. Here’s hoping a proper album is in the works!
Nucleus – Sentient
Death Metal | Chicago, IL | Unspeakable Axe | Bandcamp
Technical death metal appears to be having a resurgence this year, and Nucleus are another band that will appeal to fans of Timeghoul and Demilich. Unlike Chthe’ilist, the songs here are shorter and to the point, but still feature some whacky ideas that give the songs some twists and turns. Lyrically, the band takes influence from plenty of classic sci fi novels, and combined with the Dan Seagrave artwork, it’s definitely something that resounds with my inner nerdy death metal fan boy.
Phobocosm – Bringer of Drought
Death Metal | Montreal, QC | Dark Descent Records | Bandcamp
Coming from Montreal, Phobocosm’s first LP didn’t really make a huge impression on me. Quite honestly, this one didn’t either, but as the year progressed I came back to it a couple times, and found myself more pleased with it each time. Although this band is generally touted as a black/death metal band, Phobocosm is really doomy. The four tracks presented here are paced with ominious intent, building up to faster parts which release to open space.
Putresence – Voiding upon the Pulverized
Death Metal/Grindcore | Winnipeg, MB | Unholy Anarchy/Fatss | Bandcamp
Winnipeg’s Putrescence decided to call it a day this year with the release of their fifth, and most powerful album. Bluntly put, I consider these guys close friends and am very happy to see this line up execute such a stellar mix of death metal and goregrind. The two guitar players had not played on any releases for the band prior, but you couldn’t tell as they churn out neck breaking riffs like absolute pros. I feel this album will fly under the radar for a lot of folks, but if you’re a fan of stuff like Carcass, do not let this one slip by!
Ripper – Experiment of Existence
Death/Thrash Metal | Chile | Unspeakable Axe | Bandcamp
Apparently, the Chilean death/thrashers Ripper have been the fastest selling act on Unspeakable Axe records. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s listened to this LP – it’s absolutely furious! The classic South American sound that so many greats from Sepultura to Pentagram possessed is on full display here, with their bassist leading the charge of this thrashing masterpiece. This is an album that old school fans and newcomers alike will want to give repeated listens to.
Ruinous – Graves of Ceaseless Death
Death Metal | New Jersey | Dark Descent Records | Bandcamp
Ruinous are a band composed entirely of former members of Funebrarum (as well as Goraphobia, Incantation, and many others). With names like that, expectations were high about this album, and Ruinous has certainly delivered a a dynamic death metal record. Don’t expect cavernous death metal with this release, as this is definitely more in the death/thrash vein, but there are also moments utilizing punk beats and slower death/doom passages. If you’re craving some riffs, Ruinous will satisfy.
Scorched – Echoes of Dismemberment
Death Metal | Delaware | Unspeakable Axe | Bandcamp
Hailing from Delaware, Scorched combat the boredom of the state with no identity by combining their love for horror films and mid paced death metal. There’s a lot of things about this record that remind me of Bay Area starwalts Vastum, from the mid-tempo Bolt Thrower riffs right down to the vocal style. But these guys aren’t a rip of by any means, as they manage to change it up with all the slashser film themes scattered throughout the record.
Sewercide – Immortalized in Suffering
Death Metal | Melbourne, Australia | Unspeakable Axe | Bandcamp
Thrashing old school death metal right out of Australia, and another offering from Unspeakable Axe Records makes it on my list. These guys are absolutely savage and it’s a real treat to see their debut full length come out strong. Sewercide’s previous split 7 inches and EP held my interest, and this full length is an endless barrage of brutal riffs. Any fan of proper death metal will have plenty to sink their teeth into.
Soft Kill – Choke
Post-Punk | Portland, OR | Profound Lore | Bandcamp
Canadian metal label Profound Lore took a chance signing synthwave/post-punk act Soft Kill. All weirdness of that aside, this is a fantastic album full of lush dirges and dark waves of synthesized euphoria. Mark Burgess of the Chameleons even makes an appearance as a guest vocalist.
Spectres – Utopia
Post-Punk | Vancouver, BC | Deranged Records| Bandcamp
Vancouver post-punk titans Spectres released their third full length. They’ve expanded their sound to new heights compared to this album’s gloomy predecesor, “Nothing to Nowhere.” There’s more shades and colours present in the material here, and the vocal performance is better executed than ever. There are some massive hooks in the songs that will get stuck in your head for days.
Underpass – Red Reflection
Post-Punk | San Diego, CA | No Sun Recordings | Bandcamp
More new post-punk made its way into my listening habits with Underpass’ debut full length. They take a more minimalistic approach with their music (ie: the drums are literally a floor tom and a snare), but it allows for huge soundscapes in their guitar/bass work. Songs like “Whitest Light” and the title track are absolutely fantastic and the type of songs you’ll keep coming back to this album for.
WAKE – Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow
Grindcore | Calgary, AB | Nerve Altar | Bandcamp
Hatred oozes its way out of Calgary, AB in the form of Canadian grinders WAKE. Their third full length shows the band is stronger than ever, as they blast through 8 songs in a mere 20 minutes. WAKE stand out from the grindcore crowd by mixing equal parts of Nasum with unsettling chord work in the vein of Deathspell Omega.
Auroch/Mitochondrion – In Cronian Hour
Death Metal | Vancouver, BC | Dark Descent/Hellthrasher | Bandcamp
Auroch makes an appearance again on this list, this time on a split 7″ with their sister band Mitochondrion. Mitochondrion has been relatively silent in terms of new music since the release of “Parasignosis,” teasing us with another 7″ a few years ago. This is a great 7″ but it’s a shame it’s not a full 12″ collaboration as it’s apparent both bands are able to mesh well together.
Cemetery Filth/Ectovoid/Sabbatory/Trenchrot – 4 Doors to Death
Death Metal | USA/Canada | Unspeakable Axe | Bandcamp
I gave high praises to this 4 way split earlier this year, and it’s still holding up well. Each of these bands play a convincing style of death metal influenced by the classics, and compliment each other well over the duration of this split. Hats of to Unspeakable Axe for doing such a bang up job for such an ambitious release.
Drawn & Quartered – Proliferation of Disease
Death Metal | Seattle, WA | Self Released | Bandcamp
Seattle’s own cavernous death metal masters Drawn & Quartered haven’t put out anything since their 2012 album, which I’m sure has a lot to do with getting a new drummer. That being said, they’ve certainly struck gold with the latest addition to the band, and this demo proves just that. This is essentially a full length but it’s got a charming demo quality to it.
Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
Death Metal | Montreal, QC | Season of Mist | Bandcamp
Canada’s masters of avantgarde death metal have followed up their reunion album with a single song, 30 minute EP. There are clearly peaks and valleys with definite movements within, much like Edge of Sanity’s single song Crimson albums. The band seems to be locked in with the addition of Patrice Hamelin behind the drum kit (who took over for John Longstreth during the touring for “Colored Sands”).
Gruesome – Dimensions of Horror
Death Metal |Arroyo Grande, CA/Miami, FL | Relapse Records | Bandcamp
Matt Harvey and company return with another 6 songs of Death-worshipping metal. While their debut LP “Savage Land” was shameless in its approach of regurgitating classic Death songs, “Dimensions of Horror” has a little more of its own identity and proves to be a fun and disgusting listen. If you just can’t get enough Death in you life, Gruesome is there for you.
Messiahlator – Doom Forever
Death Metal/Crust | Edmonton, AB | Self Released | Bandcamp
Full discolsure: I recorded these tracks for Messiahlator a couple years ago as part of a larger session, and finally they have been pressed on a 7″ released by the band. They are one of the strongest metal acts in Edmonton, perfectly blending their crust and Eyehategod influences into their Swedish death metal fandom.
Necrosic – Putrid Decimation
Death Metal | Oakland, CA | Nuclear War Now! Productions | Bandcamp
Necrosic is a supergroup from the Bay Area featuring members of Autopsy, Impaled, Scolex, Funebrarum, Gravehill, etc. There’s not much here that will surprise anyone, as it sounds like Autopsy and friends making quality death metal. The four songs on this mLP cut deep, and one can only hope a full length is next on Necrosic’s radar.
Paroxsihzem – Abyss of Excruciating Hexes
Black/Death Metal | Toronto, ON | Hellthrasher Productions | Bandcamp
Toronto’s black/death entity known as Paroxsihzem have certainly been coming into their own over the last few years. After releasing a full length in 2012, the band struck back with even stronger material on a split with fellow Toronto act Adversarial. They’ve upped the ante once again with a new mLP, performed by the band’s new full line up. The Akhon Infaustus cover at the end wraps things up suitably.
Spectral Voice/Phrenelith split 7″
Death/Doom Metal | Denver, CO/Denmark | Iron Bonehead | Bandcamp
Spectral Voice is a death/doom band featuring most members of Blood Incantation, and Phrenelith is a Danish death/doom act with members of Undergang. Do I need to explain things further? This 7″ is a solid slab of wax, and it’s increasing my hunger for a full length from Spectral Voice.
Teitanblood – Accursed Skin
Black/Death Metal | Spain | Norma Evangelium Diaboli | Bandcamp
Spain’s most menacing death duo returns with a new EP that features a new 14 minute track alongside a previously released CD-only track. So there’s not much new here, but it is a damn fine piece of filthy death metal. More importantly, this confirms the band is working towards another LP, and this is a fine way to tide over fans in the meantime.
Temple of Abandonment – From Outer Spheres… Death
Doom Metal | Vancovuer, BC | Self Released | Bandcamp
Temple of Abandonment took the underground by storm this year with this single track, 30 minute demo. The Vancouver quartet features members of some of my favourite acts in that city (AHNA, Chapel, etc) playing some of the most desolate death/doom I’ve heard in years. Sounds of mourning, anguish, and sorrow cut through in slow, pummeling waves. It’s no wonder this tape sold out immediately.
Genre: Black/Death | Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Location: Zurich, Switzerland | Listen: YouTube
The Swiss-based duo known as Bölzer have certainly been making waves over the last few years thanks to the strength of their 2013 EP, “Aura.” Their demo and follow-up EP also have helped create quite a lot of hype for the band. With performances across the globe, the question still remained: could Bölzer capture the magic of their shorter releases and create a full length worthy of the hype? Fans have spent the last two years longing to hear this black/death metal’s massive riffage take over with a long playing format, but ultimately, they were not able to meet their goal.
First, let’s discuss the production here: it’s a very professional sounding recording that’s well balanced, giving space to all the instruments, especially giving the drums room to resonate and a gnarly tone to the guitars. This wasn’t a huge surprise for me, although I’m sure some fans will dislike the cleaner approach compared to the EPs.
The reason Bölzer’s EPs got so hyped is really simple: their riffs are colossally heavy. There are some moments of that here on “Hero,” however, a lot of these riffs fall short of the standard the band gave us initially. Instead, the band’s writing has shifted from stellar riffs to making the vocals the focal point. To me, this is what separates metal/punk/extreme music in general from pop music, and Bölzer have done themselves a huge disservice with this approach. Throughout this record, I found myself cringing at the clean singing. This isn’t to say I think clean singing has no place in extreme music. Bands like Paradise Lost or even more recent acts like Vastum have managed to utilize interesting types of clean vocals that are dark and add so much more to their music. Perhaps Bölzer could’ve got away with what they’ve done here if they added more delay/reverb to these parts, but I think more importantly, the riffs aren’t there to support such experimentation in the vocal department.
Indeed, the first couple tracks, “Archer” and “Hero,” did not give me much hope for this record. Both songs are pretty mid-paced and meander around with their choruses sounding like fingernails on chalkboard. Some may feel the singing to be out of tune/key, but most will agree it’s strange either way. In fact, these two songs make the clean singing on the album’s initial premiere track, “I Am III” sound not so ridiculous. At least that track has some interesting riffage, where as these first two songs do not.
“Phosphor” is by far the best track on this album, and it’s no coincidence it doesn’t feature any off-kilter vocals at all. In fact, it’s pretty minimal on the vocals (which are mostly aggressively shouted). The tempo of this song is more lively too which lends to my enjoyment of it. “Spiritual Athleticism” is the next best track on this album, and again, it has to do with the quicker pace, and the clean vocals on this track are probably the best ones on the album.
So just as this album starts to feel like it’s not a total let down, it teases the listener by saving the worst song for last, “Chlorophyllia.” The song does start off promising by having the only blast beat on the record. But right away, it descends into just down right silliness with an “OOH-AH!” chorus over some pretty stale riffing. Just before you start thinking that the song couldn’t get worse, it does, with some generic “see you on the other side” lyrics and the cringiest clean singing on the whole album.
I really wanted to like “Hero.” A lot of fans wrote the album off after hearing the first single, but I didn’t want that kind of hive mind to keep me away from the full album. However, after hearing it the first time, I was let down, and subsequent listens have been a chore and ultimately an undesirable listening experience. Honestly, after reviewing this LP, I don’t think I’ll be listening to it again. Bölzer came up short here, and you’re better off sticking to their EPs/demo. I’m not normally the kind of person who gets turned off by vocal experimentation when it comes to metal, but when that’s the focus of the record and the riffs take the backseat, that’s the result. Maybe Bölzer can redeem themselves in the future, whether they stick to short formats or by taking more time when it comes to a full length.