<begin rant> WTF is it with the “intro” track? I skip over any first track that says Intro or is less than 2 minutes long. I’m sure other reviewers do this as well. It’s like a prologue in a book. Useless. If you can’t grab me with your first song, don’t tease me with something that has little to do with the rest of the album. Enlighten me in the comments.<end rant>
I.O.’s PICKs OF THE WEEK Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t decide on a winner, but that’s the only downside to having so many different subgenres of music in one genre. Metalheads are lucky because they can listen to just about anything in their music. On the flip-side, I could only find six submissions worthy of putting in my weekly review. I’ve heard more metal in the last 9 months than I’ve heard in the previous 44 years of my existence. My ears have lost all innocence and I crave originality as much as technical brilliance. Feed me.
INFESTUM Monuments of Exalted (Lacerated Enemy Records)
INFESTUM takes black metal and whips it to a froth with industrial influences. The result is a rich overlay without sacrificing the structure of old school death metal or the lo-fi grit of black metal. Their cover of VENOM’s “The Evil One” stays true to the original but adds an industrial twist that gives it a more modern feel. This is an album with all the vileness that black metal proclaims yet has a glittering appeal that illustrates why evil is so alluring. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ordo.infestum
IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS Merging In Light (Independent)
If you like gloom, then you need to listen to Merging in Light. With a nod to CROWBAR and a long soak in sludge and drone inspired metal, the result is a sleek, hot mess that will liquefy your eardrums. Loved the groove in “Breed, Consume, Die.” Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InTheCompanyOfSerpents
VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS
CRETIN Stranger (Relapse Records)
CRETIN are fucking geniuses. The indefatigable brutality of their timeless grindcore matches their stories of misanthropy. I read the lyrics and they aren’t twisted to purposefully shock. “She’d started to suspect that he’d been poisoning her meals.” No, they are stories that touch on the madness that whispers to us all and the disassociation of our modern age. Poetry set to grind. Evocative. Horrifying. You’ll love it. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cretanic
HUjjAï Self-Titled (Independent)
HUjjAï is elemental, like the coast of Brittany from where they hail. The groove guitar riffs pound at the cliffs of your ears like relentless surf while a black metal growl whispers just beneath the surface of sound. “The Dream” is melodically dissonant and the riffs are so heavy, they send shivers up the spine. “The Way” holds you on a leash and jerks you short if you stray too far. Your head will bob despite your jaded senses.
MYRKUR Self-Titled (Relapse Records)
I’ve just stumbled over the female Dave Grohl of black metal. Every instrument is played by Myrkur in bare-bone, classical black metal compositions that have a definitively feminine perspective. Myrkur is brutal and unique. I love the haunting choir opening of “Ravnens Banner” right before it explodes into blast beats and frantic tremolo picking. “Nattens Barn” gives us more of the sweet, female choir juxtaposed to a brutal metal outbreak without being repetitive. Take that, jaded senses! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myrkurmyrkur
DISSIDENTS Sleight of Hand (Independent)
I admit it. I have a soft spot for Metalcore. With all my snooty, blackened metal pretensions, I love the melodic voices of Metalcore. DISSIDENTS reminds me of a much heavier PEOPLE IN PLANES. Quirky lyrics and melodic arrangements lure you in .”Asylum” has an attack that is immediate and satisfying. “World Without End” has a definitely thrashier feel while vocally “Victory Song” reminds me of debut INCUBUS. Have a listen:
We are now on Round IV of the Heavy Metal Underground Battle of the Bands. Readers are encouraged to listen to the six I.O.’s Pick of the Week and vote for their favorite. Voting will close on December 30th at 06:44:59. As each set of I.O’s Picks are voted, the bands that garner the highest ratings will be featured in a Top Ten post of underground bands to watch in 2015. Keep in mind that labels, promoters, and other music industry professionals are taking note of our weekly Tuesday article. Vote HERE.
Submissions from bands are accepted HERE.
I.O. Kirkwood is METAL DESCENT’s Senior Live Music Editor. You can view her personal blog HERE.