Fun! Fun! Fun!
Let’s stay away from controversy, shall we? This month, the emphasis is on fun! And, what better way to have fun than to spin a new album from Korpiklaani?! Amidst your snorts of derision, Dave Pirtle braved the waters and actually listened to Noita so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for fun of a more serious nature, you can’t go wrong with the vinyl re-issue of the the debut full-length from Tyrant Goatgaldrakona on Blood Harvest Records, or with new albums from Entrails, Encyrcle, and Maruta.
TYRANT GOATGALDRAKONA –
HORNS IN THE DARK
Don’t be put off by the rather “Huh?” band name; this is death metal of a very high caliber. Tyrant Goatgaldrakona pile on the riffs and a very catchy, galloping pace to churn out one of the best pure death metal re-releases (it turns out) that I’ve heard all year. Tyrant Goatgaldrakona is a little less blurry and is a bit catchier than, say, Teitanblood, resulting in an accessible, yet very brutal, album. Besides Teitanblood, kindred souls include Vasaeleth and Antediluvian. Blood Harvest Records is reissuing Horns In The Dark, originally released in 2013, on vinyl and with new cover art.
ENTRAILS – OBLITERATION
First off, if there’s a more “rad-tastic” album cover in all of death metal in 2015, I’d like to see it… This fire-demon-amongst-raining-meteors motif is absolutely killer, and honestly, it’s truly the best part of the disc. That’s not to say that Obliteration is bad, because it’s certainly not, although it does feel a bit more tired than the previous few – still, Entrails has been consistent upon their resurrection, and Obliteration is more of what they do well, by-the-numbers Swedeath on point and well executed, if not at all original. Landing slightly below Raging Death, Obliteration still brings some buzzsaw bite in the Hanneman tribute “Leave No Cross Unturned,” the chugging “Epitome Of Death,” the melodic Dismember-ish guitars of the title track, and the crushing drive of “Bonestorm.” Insatiable fans of the Swedish scene will love this; others should take it for what it is, another solid death metal record.
You know that one internet comic about the monarch butterfly and speed metal? Well, this writer agrees—let’s bring that shit back. Encyrcle seems down with the proposition as well, and “nocturnal speed metal” is their assumed hybridized genre of choice on their self titled debut. They slice with a blackened edge that mostly comes by way of blastbeat, with highlights like “Bloodbasker” and “Black Dust” working drummer A Edalis into overdrive. The former also sports an infectious gang chorus, while the latter harnesses all the might of its 8:16 runtime, fully spending the first third on a leading instrumental replete with a plaintive piano onset that builds into a complex urgency of dueling axe work from S Kelm and S Rose. But man, it’s those vocals from N Hydra that really drive the album home. The young Dane is somewhat reminiscent of another Dane—Warrel, that is—if he were perhaps melded with Hansi Kürsch, yet has a certain quality to his timbre that rings fresh in the ears. Their logo needs to go on a diet and they could consider dialing back the intros/interludes, but honestly, this is as cohesive and confident as surprise debuts get.
KORPIKLAANI – NOITA
I remember a time not too long ago when a new Koripklaani album meant good times ahead. Their heavy, humppa-infused metal was just right for jigging. Now, I can’t even get Spotify to stream the new album, or even play my local promo. I’m not going to hold that against the Finnish forest dwellers, though. What I will hold against them is Noita’s complete lack of life, and electricity; of whatever it is that hooked me since Tales Along This Road. It starts off promising enough with “Viinamnen Mies”, but the descent into mediocrity from there is steep and fast. Spin it once because you’re into the idea; maybe spin it again to make sure you didn’t miss something. Anything after that and it becomes an exercise in diminished returns.
MARUTA – REMAIN DYSTOPIAN
Shortly after dropping their (brilliant) sophomore LP Forward Into Regression in 2011, Florida grindcore outfit Maruta called it quits amid some personal business. Then, shortly after that, they called it starts again and announced they were working on their third album, to be released on Relapse. Remain Dystopian leans into speedier and more technical territory than either of its predecessors, giving the album the feel of a short death metal album rather than a long grinder. It’s not a departure from anything they’ve done prior to this, however—it’s just more of it, and it’s executed a bit more precisely. There are two guest spots on the album (Tomas Lindberg and JR Hayes) that end up feeling flaccid and unnecessary, serving as needless distraction rather than padding the material. Beyond that, it’s something Maruta fans will certainly enjoy, as will most grindheads.