Music of 2016

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.

Full Lengths

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.

Bölzer – Hero

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.


Godflesh – Streetcleaner

Genre: Industrial Metal | Label: Earache
Location: Birmingham, England| Listen: YouTube

Back in 1989, former Napalm Death guitarist Justin Broadrick released his debut full length with his new band, Godflesh. For those expecting an extension of his work with the seminal grind act, “Streetcleaner” would come as a surprise. However, for those who have followed the trajectory of Broadrick’s career, Godflesh’s sound comes as no surprise, as he had been involved in a couple of noisier experimental acts, Fall of Because and Head of David, that foreshadowed the industrial sound that Godflesh would be known for.

godflesh streetcleaner

“Streetcleaner” is an album made up of two recording sessions on the LP, with an additional session’s tracks added onto the CD version. As a result, the CD ends up being over an hour long, but kind of plays out like you’re listening to three distinct, yet cohesive EPs on one disc that adds up to the quintessential industrial metal album.

The first five tracks feature the line up of Justin Broadrick and his longtime collaborator, JC Green. These tracks are probably the most groove driven ones on the LP, but make no mistake, they are devastatingly heavy. The album starts off strong with one of Godflesh’s most well known tunes, “Like Rats,” which displays a ferocious groove with a noisy bridge section. Following that, we get “Christbait Rising,” which is arguably the grooviest track on the record, taking an old school hip hop influence on the main beat. As a side note, whenever people talk about how metal and hip-hop shouldn’t mix, I feel this track proves that sentiment wrong. Thankfully, Godflesh’s hip-hop influence is strictly seen in the beats, and there are no attempts at rapping. The vocals are aggressively shouted and drenched in reverb, which is as far as the Napalm Death connection goes in terms of the music.

The next five tracks are where things start to get cold and induce feelings of anxiety, isolation, and defeat. These tracks were recorded with a second guitarist, Paul Neville, who was also a member of Fall of Because with Broadrick and Green. In fact, the tracks “Mighty Trust Crusher,” “Devastator,” and “Life is Easy” can be traced back to this early incarnation of Godflesh. These tracks in particular have an approach that could be compared to early Swans. Due to the dual guitar attack of Broadrick and Neville, there’s emphasis on discordant lead work that bands like Pitchshifter would incorporate into their interpretation of industrial metal. The final track of this part of the album, “Locust Furnace,” is an excellent display of desolation and wraps things up nicely.

As I mentioned before, the CD has an additional third session worth of tracks from an unreleased EP known as “Tiny Tears.” These tracks were recorded between the recording of this LP and their debut eponymous EP. They are a little more riff based, just like the Godflesh EP is, and have more in common with the first side of the album (which may also have to do with the absence of Neville on these tracks as well). “Wound” is the standout track from this part of the CD, as it’s main riff is heavy enough to bring down a city block’s worth of buildings.

“Streetcleaner” makes one thing clear: Godflesh was carving a path for many industrial acts to follow, as well as quite the precursor to the rest of the band’s career. Later in their discography, Godflesh experimented with quite a variety of sounds outside of metal, including some more dance oriented EBM/trip-hop/etc sounds. None of that is really found here, as guitar/bass/drum machine is the main driving force here. There is a reason this album is seen as a classic, and anyone who’s wanting to hear proper industrial metal needs to have this in their collection.


Begrime Exemious “Eviscerating Pestilential Shrines of the West MMXVI” Tour

In support of our new full length, Begrime Exemious will be crossing the border once again to play a string of shows on the west coast US/Canada.


September 1 – Kamloops, BC @ The Office w/ Watchdog, Wormhold
September 2 – Vancouver BC @ Astoria w/ TBA
September 3 – Seattle, WA @ The Highline w/ Drawn & Quartered, Oxygen Destroyer
September 4 – Portland, OR @ The Panic Room w/ Petrifacation
September 5 – Salem, OR @ The Space
September 6 – Sacramento, CA @ The Starlight Lounge w/ Crawl
September 7 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Blue Lagoon w/ Gloam, Moirai
September 8 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick w/ Seraphic Disgust, Xantam
September 9 – Los Angeles, CA @ The 5 Star Bar
September 10 – Oakland, CA @ The Golden Bull
September 11 – Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s w/ Mortuary Drape, Predatory Light

Anticipated 2016 Releases

Here’s a list of upcoming releases for 2016 that I’m looking forward to hearing.  I’ll be updating this list periodically.

Abhomine – Larvae Offal Swine LP [New Pete Helmkamp project]
Absu – Apsu LP [The conclusion to the band’s latest trilogy of albums]
AHNA – Crimson Dawn LP [They get better with every release.]
Blood Incantation – Starspawn LP [Heard some of this right from the label, this will a monument of technical death metal]
Bloody Master/Sempiternal Dusk – Split LP [Pacific northwest death doom]
The Body – No One Deserves Happiness LP [Portland sludge that’s always pushing forward]
The Body & Full of Hell – One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache [The Body make great collab albums!]
Bone Sickness – Debut LP [Repulsion meets Autopsy from Washington State.]
Deceased – Ghostly White LP [It’s Deceased. Enough said.]
Destroyer 666 – Wildfire LP [New songs sound way better than the last LP already]
Funebrarum – Exhumation of the Ancient mLP [US Death metal with a new line up]
Gadget – The Great Destroyer LP [First LP in 10 years, Nasum style grind]
Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust EP [A single song from the masters of technical death metal.]
Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage mLP [Dark UK death metal]
Incantation – 10th LP [Favourite death metal band re-signs to Relapse, no question this will be heavy.]
Interment – Scent of the Buried LP [Swedish death metal boasting a huge low end]
Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed LP [diSEMBOWELMENT reborn.]
Knelt Rote – 4th LP [“Trespass” was incredible, high hopes for this black/grind fusion.]
Lantern – 2nd LP [Heard some directly from the label, heavy stuff.]
Massgrave – The Absuridty of Humanity LP [Canada’s crust/grind masters 3rd full length]
Neurosis – 11th Album [Do I need to say anything?]
Paroxsihzem – Abyss of Excruciating Vexes mLP [Preview track sounds like their most vicious work to date]
Putrescence – Voiding Upon the Pulverized LP [Heard a pre-mix, Canada’s goregrind/death metal masters will go out on top.]
Ritual Chamber – Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim) LP [Cavernous death metal]
Ritual Necromancy – 2nd LP [Buzzsaw tones, Incantation riffs, gotta hear this.]
Rude – 2nd LP [OSDM worship from the Bay Area.]
Rotten Sound – Abuse to Suffer LP [Finnish grind masters, first album in 5 years.]
Sect Pig – Crooked Backs EP [Abstract black metal]
Sect Pig – Praying Prey EP [Unable to pull away]
Veneficium – Demo [New Zealand band with members of prominent bands out there]
Venomous Concept – Kick Me Silly LP [Hardcore punk supergroup.]
Wake – Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow LP [Deathspell Omega meets Nasum. Sounds amazing.]
Weregoat – 2nd LP [Bestial metal from Portland, always delivers.]

Begrime Exemious – The Enslavement Conquest


The third Begrime Exemious album, “The Enslavement Conquest,” will be released this March on CD/LP/digital on Dark Descent Records. It features 9 brand new songs of savage thrashing death metal in addition to an Incantation cover. Listen to “Noose for a Monarch,” which is streaming online courtesy of Decibel Magazine. 

Begrime Exemious - The Enslavement Conquest

Track List:
1. Cradled in Our Hands
2. Overpowered (Under Siege)
3. Transcendence
4. Rat Amongst the Herd
5. Conscription Woes
6. Subconscious Nemesis
7. Noose for a Monarch
8. Impending Diabolical Conquest (Incantation cover)
9. Crusade Towards Self Devolution
10. When the Vultures Leave

D. Orthner – Vocals, Guitar
F. Thibaudeau – Guitar, Vocals
A. Rintoul – Bass
L. Norland – Drums

“The Enslavement Conquest” was recorded in the first half of 2015 by Lee Norland, mixed by Derek Orthner, mastered by Dan Lowndes at Resonance Sound Studio (UK), with artwork by Mark Riddick.

I’ve never been more proud of anything I’ve ever done, musically or otherwise. This is the first album we’ve done with myself handling lead vocals and penning all the lyrics. I was also responsible for all the mixing and the layouts for the CD/LP. The LP will be available in both black and gold wax. Shows in west Canada and a tour of the west coast US will be executed throughout 2016 in support of “The Enslavement Conquest.”

Cemetery Filth / Ectovoid / Sabbatory / Trenchrot – 4 Doors to Death

Genre: Death Metal | Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Location: Various| Listen: Bandcamp

Unspeakable Axe Records has been making quite a splash in the metal underground over the past few years. The Dark Descent sub-label has been releasing quality death and thrash metal in the old school vein since their inception. Their latest release, “4 Doors to Death,” features four ripping death metal bands across ten tracks that comes together as the first worthwhile release I’ve heard this year.

4 doors front

The first three tracks are by Cemetery Filth, who have recently emerged out of Tennessee. Their songs are full of furious death/thrash riffs that stem out of the Morbid Angel school. I wasn’t really aware of these guys until this split was announced, and they only had a lone demo prior to this release. Needless to say, what these guys are doing is pretty exciting. The riffs are drenched in evil, and are sure to satisfy any old school death metal fan. Even the production sounds like Mike Browning era Morbid Angel. This is old school death metal to the bone, and Cemetery Filth will hopefully put out a full length if these songs are any indication of what to expect in the future.

4 doors cemetery filth

Coming next is Ectovoid, a dark death metal band from Alabama. They’ve put out a couple of albums, and much like Cemetery Filth, I was inclined to check some of their material out in anticipation of this split. The two tracks they present on the split are very dark, which becomes apparent within seconds. The first track will satisfy Incantation/Disciples of Mockery fans with it’s contrast of blasts and churning death/doom sections. Ectovoid’s second offering switching gears to a looser Autopsy feel, complete with infectiously evil melodies. These are probably the “rawest” sounding songs on the split, but by no means is that a negative. It fits the cavernous style these guys are going on, and helps muster up a suffocating atmosphere.

4 doors ectovoid

The main reason I was anticipating “4 Doors to Death” has to do with the next two bands. Sabbatory’s debut album was one of my favourites of 2014, as it was morbid journey of twisted riffs in the vein of Morgoth. These Canadians from Winnipeg return with a new track and a cover. The band hits full throttle with their first track, displaying more and more ferocity as the song goes on. Sabbatory’s riffs morph by way of rhythmic variety (punk beats, blasts, pummeling double kick work, etc), and are successful due to tight interplay between the drums and guitar picking.  The vocals sound more like Martin van Drunen than ever, and Asphyx/Pestilence also appear to have their influence in the riffs. Their Mortuary Drape cover is savage, and if you weren’t aware that it was a cover, you’d think this was one of their own songs. These are probably the best sounding tracks on the split, and the sheer energy of the performances makes it the highlight for me.

4 doors sabbatory

The final three songs belong to Philadelphia’s Trenchrot. Trenchrot obviously worship Bolt Thrower and various other death metal classics, and their 2014 album was another favourite from that year. Here we get more of the same, starting off with a slow riff that builds up into a warlike blitzkrieg of death metal. Plenty of midpaced grooves with double kick work break up the songs, and this is definitely where the Bolt Thrower influence is apparent. My only complaint about Trenchrot’s recording is that the kick drum sounds odd. On previous recordings, the drums have always been really loud, but here it just sounds overly compressed. That aside, these are some seriously solid slabs of death metal, complete with some top notch lead guitar and a Death cover to boot.

4 doors trenchrot

Label head Eric Musall really did a wonderful job putting together this split. Anyone who’s ever been involved in a split can tell you the potential for headaches in regards to coordinating more than one band for a release, and in this case, we have four bands that all managed to put forth quality material. If that doesn’t earn him any credit, you have to give it up to him for contributing artwork (the Sabbatory one in particular is incredible), layouts, and even some audio engineering. “4 Doors to Death” is home run, and it’s great to see a project of this scope come out so well.


Top Releases of 2015

Reminiscing and reflecting on events of the last year is always a common theme once December rolls around. In regards to music, there’s been plenty of great releases that I’ve come across from a variety of genres. Although mostly death metal, there have been some solid albums outside that style that have given me much enjoyment. So here is my list of my favourite 2015 releases, categorized by release type, and sorted alphabetically. Streaming links have been included.

Abyss – Heretical Anatomy [Death metal from Toronto, ON. 20 Buck Spin. Bandcamp]
In 20 minutes, these Canucks crank out some serious Swedish-style death metal with a clear crust foundation that sounds somewhere between Entombed and Repulsion.

Adversarial – Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism [Death metal from Toronto, ON. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Sophomore full length that sucks you into a pit of razors and reduces you to black bile. Album of the year.

Ares Kingdom – The Unburiable Dead [Death/thrash from Kansas City, MO. Nuclear War Now! Productions. Bandcamp]
Third full length effort by legendary midwest death thrashers. Epic songwriting and pounding riffs.

The Body & Thou – Release from Love / You, Whom I Always Have Hated [Sludge from Portland, OR & Baton Rouge, LA. Thrill Jockey Records. Bandcamp]
Neurosis inspired sludge by two bands coming together to create a really heavy record.

Cannibal Ox – Blade of the Ronin [Hip Hop from Brooklyn, NY. iHipHop Distribution. Soundcloud]
My only hip-hop choice that I was really into this year, Can Ox return with their follow up to 2001’s “Cold Vein.”

Cruciamentum – Charnel Passages [Death metal from England. Profound Lore Records. Stream]
Incantation inspired death metal that sounds cavernous but was recorded by extremely competent hands. Perfect balance of tones.

Crypt Sermon – Out of the Garden [Doom metal from Philadelphia, PA. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Members of Trenchrot/Unrest playing heavy doom metal with a good dose of Dio/Tony Martin era Sabbath. Big hooks ahead.

G.O.D. – Body Horror [Goregrind from Peterborough, ON. Blastasfuk Grindcore. Bandcamp]
Taking influence from the best old school death metal, grindcore, and crust bands, these gore-mongers really grind hard.

Goatsnake – Black Age Blues [Stoner doom metal from Los Angeles, CA. Southern Lord Records. Bandcamp]
Goatsnake’s comeback album proves to be more upbeat than some of their previous material but it’s very infectious with it’s blues driven riffage.

Grave Ritual – Morbid Throne [Death metal from New Orleans, LA. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Fat-free death metal that gets down to business with sinfully catchy riffs. This follow up LP is a set up from their already excellent debut.

Gruesome – Savage Land [Death metal from California/Florida. Relapse Records. Bandcamp]
Fans of late 80’s/early 90’s Death have to hear this record. Matt Harvey of Exhumed and friends pay tribute to the founding death metal act.

Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth [Death metal from Finland. Relapse Records. Bandcamp]
This band never seems to let up on putting out quality death doom. I don’t think they’ll ever top the debut, but their approach of combining Candlemass melodies over heavy death/doom proves golden.

Horrendous – Anareta [Death metal from Philadelphia, PA/Columbia, SC. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Following up their highly acclaimed sophomore album from last year, Horrendous unleashes another slab of death metal that utilizes a lot of melody (reminding me of “Testimony of the Ancients”). I didn’t like the last one that much, but this one is definitely more on point. A+ production as well.

Iskra – Ruins [Black metal from Victoria, BC. Black Raven Records. Bandcamp]
The third LP from this modern classic Canadian band is some of their best work. They’ve pretty much crossed over to a full on Scandi-black metal sound, and I’m a fan.

Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat [Grindcore from England. Century Media. Youtube]
Some of the most dynamic Napalm Death in years, these grindcore legends keep it fresh by injecting a lot of dirge driven desolation into their 15th full length.

Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious [Death metal from Tampa, FL. Hells Headbangers Records. Bandcamp]
The best thing that Gene Palubicki has done since Angelcorpse’s “The Inexorable.” Having a full line up really helped this record stand out among the crap he’s released in the last 10 years.

Pissgrave – Suicide Euphoria [Death metal from Philadelphia, PA. Profound Lore Records. Bandcamp]
The artwork sums this record up well – fucking disgusting. Real blasty and filthy death metal with Deicide-esque vocals.

Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection [Black metal from Edmonton, AB. Season of Mist. Soundcloud]
Edmonton’s own Revenge has certainly made themselves a cult classic, and their fifth album continues down the savage path of war metal that was first traveled under the Conqueror banner.

Rhythm of Cruelty – Saturated [Post-Punk/Industrial from Edmonton, AB. Mass Media Records. Bandcamp]
After releasing their excellent debut “Dysphoria” last year, these dirge-y post-punkers have pushed their music to even more mature territories. Absolutely love it.

Scaphe – Long Way Down [Hardcore/Alt Rock from Minneapolis, MN. Insides Music. Bandcamp]
Taking influence from a variety of bands, such as Dinosaur Jr. and their local legends Husker Du, Scaphe’s sophomore record is a dynamic journey of sonic brilliance.

Shroud of the Heretic – Unorthodox Equilibrium [Death metal from Portland, OR. Iron Bonehead Productions. Bandcamp]
Four tracks of creepy death metal from the Pacific Northwest. They conjure up a similar feel to Deathspell Omega but with a more death metal aesthetic.

Suffering Mind – Wastefarm [Grindcore from Poland. 365 Thrashcore. Bandcamp]
Suffering Mind just doesn’t stop putting out quality grindcore. These Polish grinders have a frantic pace to their music that outdoes most of their peers.

Unrest – Grindcore [Grindcore from Philadelphia, PA. Unspeakable Axe Records. Bandcamp]
A project of Trenchrot/Crypt Sermon members that took its time to see the light of day. Fans of Nasum will love this record for it’s varied approach and big hooks.

Vastum – Hole Below [Death metal from San Francisco, CA. 20 Buck Spin. Bandcamp]
Bay area death metallers Vastum have returned with their third full length of suffocating death metal. They have yet to disappoint.

Weed – Running Back [Alt rock/grunge from Vancouver, BC. Lefse Records. Bandcamp]
This Vancouver based/Wisconsin born band bangs out some grungy tunes in the vein of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. This is a really chill record and it has a lot of replay value.

The Weir – Calmness of Resolve [Sludge/doom metal from Calgary, AB. Bandcamp]
Taking the Neurosis/Isis sound, The Weir produces some earth trembling heaviness drenched in melancholy.

AHNA – Perpetual Warfare [Death metal/crust from Vancouver, BC. Choking Hazard/Neanderthal Stench. Bandcamp]
The stench of death that AHNA has unleashed on this mLP is unreal. Crusty Bolt Thrower worship that has it’s own unique voice. My favourite short release of the year.

Autopsy – Skull Grinder [Death metal from Oakland, CA. Peaceville. Youtube]
Death metal legends Autopsy have been going strong since reforming. 2015 sees their new mLP spill forth filth and doom, just as you’d expect from Autopsy.

Besieged – s/t 7” [Death/thrash from Winnipeg, MB. Unspeakable Axe Records. Bandcamp]
After forging a relationship with Unspeakable Axe records to properly release the “Victims Beyond All Help” album, the altar of Sepultura is further worshiped with two new tracks from these Winnipeg death thrashers.

Blood Incantation – Interdimensional Extinction [Death metal from Colorado. Dark Descent Records. Bandcamp]
Proper technical death metal should have hooks, and Blood Incantation do that just right with their sci-fi themed death metal. Fans of Demilich and Timeghoul have to hear this.

Languid – 4 Tracks Live [D-beat from Edmonton, AB. Self Released. Bandcamp]
I recorded this demo, so I’m totally bias, but I love how it turned out despite the fact that it was done in just a matter of days from recording to mastering. Fans of Green Beret, Warcry, and Discharge in general should take note of these Edmonton crusties.

Messiahlator – Demo 2015 [Death metal/Crust from Edmonton, AB. Self Released. Bandcamp]
Another demo I’m totally biased about as I handled all the audio work for it, but again I’m very pleased with the final results. Perfect combination of Swedish death metal and crust with a pinch of sludge. Certainly some of the finest in Edmonton.

Spectral Voice – Necrotic Doom [Death/doom metal from Colorado. Self released. Bandcamp]
Members of Blood Incantation also play in a death/doom band that will satisfy anyone who’s into stuff like diSEMBOWELMENT or Winter.

Trenchgrinder – Demo 2015 [Death metal from Brooklyn, NY. Self released. Bandcamp]
Savage Bolt Thrower worship out of NYC, Trenchgrinder returns with a second demo that’ll convince you to drive a tank into your neighbour’s house.

Witchrist – Vritra [Death metal from New Zealand. Iron Bonehead Productions. Bandcamp]
Easily their best material since “Beheaded Ouroboros,” these Kiwis churned out a cross between Pestilence and Bolt Thrower to make a solid three track EP.

Black Witchery/Revenge – Holocaustic Death March to Humanity’s Doom [Black metal from Florida/Edmonton, AB. Nuclear War Now! Productions. Bandcamp]
This is like the sequel to the Black Witchery/Conqueror split, with years of experience behind it. Savage war metal pairing, and was a great way to get hyped for the new Revenge LP.

Blood Incantation/Spectral Voice 7″ [Death metal from Colorado. Bleak Environment/Woodsmoke. BI side, SV side]
These two bands made the list already with their EP/demos, so of course this split 7″ is also fantastic.

Vassafor/Temple Nightside – Call of the Maelstrom [Black/death metal from New Zealand/Australia. Iron Bonehead Productions. Bandcamp]
A pairing of oceanic black/death metal, and likely the best material from both bands.

Witchrist/Antediluvian 7″ [Death metal from New Zealand/Edmonton, AB. Martyrdoom Productions. A side]
This split was planned years ago, as the Antediluvian side was recorded at the time of the “Revelations in Excrement” EP, but the Witchrist side was only recorded recently alongside the aforementioned “Vritra” EP.