SMR – Business As Usual


Ulcerate – “Stare Into Death And Be Still”
Riffless Death metal outfit Ulcerate have toned their typically dissonant approach in search of something more akin to Post-Rock as seen by many of the modern “black” metal bands. The shapes of the melodies remain virtually identical to their previous works with just the choice of notes changing to reflect this sudden change. Inquisition like tremolo effects form the “tails” of most of the melodies. While such effects have been used in metal to deliver great results (Iron Maiden – “22 Acacia Avenue”), here they just give the illusion that there is more than what is truly happening. In reality this is a compilation of random ideas shoved together that maintain a certain atmosphere without any actual composition.

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Oath of Cruelty – Summary Execution at Dawn (Dark Descent, 2019)

Guest Article by Belisario

Now that last year is already far behind, I would like to get back to a record featured on very few year-end lists and which, in this writer’s opinion, deserves to be highlighted. Summary Execution at Dawn is the debut album by Houston-based band Oath of Cruelty. Probably due to the fact of it being released in the last month of 2019, it didn’t get all the attention it is worthy of. Emerged from the fertile Texan underground scene and featuring members already seasoned in a broad number of bands, this battle-hardened act launched its first full-length after almost ten years of activity during which the band hasn’t manifestly been idle. The result is a compact and powerful album, which contrary to most modern death/thrash bands is not limited to a constant and simple aggression, choosing instead to develop different approaches and resources in songs that are incredibly varied and brief enough to eschew needless repetitions and excesses.

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The Curious Case of Testament and Alex Skolnick

Testament, famously known for being a bay area band not in the big four rather than through their own exploits. Though their first two records are entirely respectable affairs due to the melodic sensibilities of lead guitarist Alex Skolnick. Problems not related to their music and a lack of business savvy always kept them below their peers in terms of success and it is only in recent years have the band started to find a reasonable amount of success after a long career of constant disappointments and bizarre records.

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Svoid – To Never Return

Svoid are a Hungarian duo hailing from Budapest whose ten year existence has seen the band shift slowly from Black metal towards integrating more and more Rock influences until fully crossing over. While such an evolution is commonplace and the source for various dismal trends, Svoid on the other hand make their intentions clear that they are heavily informed from both genres since their inception and thus provide a combination that is honest and that unlike their peers seeks to integrate the Black metal elements into the heart of the composition rather using them for purely aesthetic reasons.

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