The Best Underground Metal of 2016

2016 is over. The funderground mentality continued spreading forth, infesting metal over the last year just the same as it had in the decades past the genre’s artistic high-point in the early nineties. Rehashes of past greats pandering to a lowest common denominator audience continue to dominate the release schedules of metal labels all too willing to please the lemmings with music fit to safely ignore during drunken socializing. Ever-flowing streams of posers are desperate to be rock stars, pumping out plagiarism, and paying their way to record deals. File sharing and streaming reducing the cost of hearing new music to essentially nothing has led fans to constantly consume whatever is new regardless of quality. However the purging is at last at hand. The day of doom is here. The filth who have lied and corrupted the underground must be cleansed while the commendable elite few will remain.

(more…)

145 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Serpent Ascending – Ananku (2016)

Ananku is a term from the Tamil language describing the otherworldly and awesome power of sublime natural places and objects to overwhelm mankind into submission to their will by merely the perception of them. Jarno Nurmi of Serpent Ascending accomplishes this musically on his album of the same name by composing harmonized heavy and black metal style leads atop a death metal rhythmic basic into occult blackened narratives. Riffs are phrased and repeat to numerologically unfold, revealing profound and novel melodic leads as if the petals of a flower gradually blooming into gnostic truth when bathed in unconquered light.

(more…)

24 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom (2016)

dead-congregation-sombre-doom

Sombre Doom is the new EP from Dead Congregation. The riffing is in the same Immolation and Incantation style with simple but effective variations as on their past releases while the production is a less compresssed version of Dead Congregation’s prior album, Promulgation of the Fall, some of The Best Underground Metal of 2014. Thankfully gone are the cheesy Kerry King style leads and guitarists AV and TK have markedly improved the song structure.

(more…)

4 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016)

metallica-hardwired-to-self-destruct
Review contributed to Death Metal Underground by the Peckerwood Boys. The audio review may be heard here.

Yep, just me here. A new Metallica album of all 45 rpms of pure American metal! 180 grams, limited to 500 copies. I’m gonna spin this bitch like NASCAR!

Lookin’ under the hood here, you got your Black Album riffs, you got your Pantera, and that sir, that’s gonna get you over to your cousin’s house faster than her boyfriend so you can propose to her. Now this album right here has really got me saying, “I’m glad, I’m glad it was Cliff!” That Master of Muppets there album had a lot on it I couldn’t understand in it. It was like tryin’ to make sense of one of them pieces of paper with scribbles on it, them black scribbles man.

(more…)

63 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Antaeus – Condemnation (2016)

antaeus-condemnation
Article contributed to Death Metal Underground by Max Bloodworth.

Prior releases from Antaeus displayed an alien weltschmerz like an outsider looking into the world and finding nothing of value. It had an air of royalty as well as an air of embarrassment in its simplicity. Intuitive destruction of an end-in-itself, the music delivered a perspicacious view of the bleakness embodied in the microcosm and macrocosm, with the nature of man clinging onto its pitiful existence. Ultimately the value of such an inquiry is in the unraveling of itself to the threshold of exhaustion, then being untoward to the world-as-it-is as its conclusion. Such bold statements of violence to humanity and to the self led to its unique logogenesis which thrusted them above most of their peers as a more realized and apt style of music like Von. Antaeus had the face of an outsider in a sea of complacent faces.

(more…)

37 Comments

Tags: , , , , ,

Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones (2016)

deathspell-omega-the-synarchy-of-molten-bones
Article by Lance Viggiano.

Deathspell Omega return with another uninspired and uninspiring record entitled The Synarchy of Molten Bones. Their last record, Paracletus, was built on a foundation of Voivod-lite chords executed with the alt metal sensibilities of The Dillinger Escape Plan. In an effort to build ambience, additional guitar tracks would attempt to produce a microtonal effect without actual production of microtones; just more dissonance. These techniques were then deployed over pop-leaning melodies which become pronounced should one decide to hum the otherwise atonal morass.

(more…)

94 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tarnkappe – Winterwaker (2016)

tarnkappe_-_winterwaker

Tarnkappe‘s Winterwaker (“Guardian of Winter” in English) is another Dutch black metal album aiming to extend the victories of the old forward into a modern world deluged with genericized and masqueraded jingle rock. Most modern black metal recordings consist of typical verse chorus verse hardcore punk songs with occasional tremolo-picked, hopefully minor key riffs and raspy vocals to differentiated it from the punks with their spiky hair and Sharpie-drawn straight edge Xs in the same way that modern opposing political parties mostly present two sides of the same leftist coin merely aiming the public towards financially catering to differing oligarchic leagues. Tarnkappe, a duo composed of members of Kaeck and Kjeld, aim to bury the bodies of the mainstream-media promoted black ‘n’ roll and “war metal” themed crossover thrash groups in an unmarked, shallow mass grave in the forest-tundra.

(more…)

22 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sodom – Decision Day (2016)

sodom-decision-day
Article by Anton Rudrick.

Now that a thorough overview of Sodom’s career has been completed, and a short analysis from that overview has provided us with new insights, we can be more confident in our evaluation of their new album, Decision Day, in a way that allows us to tentatively explain the origin of its strengths and faults. This becomes especially useful with an album displaying averageness on all levels, showing no prominent ideas that distinguish it neither in the abstract nor the actualized, and furthermore, certainly not being more than the sum of its parts. The situation is one in which all that remains are the references that these streamlined and pre-fabricated pieces meant in their original contexts, and how this commercial product attempts to play on them for maximizing revenue.

Sodom has earned a solid reputation among the metal crowd through the years. Most fans of the metal underground will probably have heard about Sodom, or that of Tom Angelripper, and will express respect at the mere mention of either name. Their newest album displays traits which one would associate with their own brand of speed metal (a.k.a. thrash metal, incorrectly dubbed), but these seem filtered through mannerisms borrowed from styles acquired over the last two decades and a half while Tom Angelripper explored the mainstream side of metal. Decision Day is catchy, and every step and turn is a hook optimized for comprehensibility and mass consumption.

(more…)

18 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sangreal Impressions

condor-sangreal-cover-art
Article by David Rosales.

Condor surprises us in their last album, Sangreal, with several different advances of stylistic explorations. While Duin constituted a formalization of the finding that was Nadia, we could expect that the next step to be taken should be precisely this expansion of a consciousness which had only recently become aware of itself. Even though Condor’s music projects a very traditional image, the final result has turned out unique, both in its character as it is shaped by consistent melodic preferences, and in its methodology, which enabled veritable compositions to come into existence from powerful riffs and inebriating tunes.

(more…)

9 Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Classic reviews:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z