“Album Of The Day” is a Last Rites Facebook feature we started whose purpose is quite straight-forward: highlight one album per day and say a few words about it. Understanding that not everyone chooses to participate in the booking of faces, we thought it might be nice to toss in a feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of June 2nd — June 8th.
Sunday, June 2nd
Swallow the Sun – Hope (2007)
Finland’s Swallow the Sun is a band that has done incredibly well to stake its claim as a serious contender within the beautifully depressing doom / death genre. Hope is an album that seethes with the same mouth-watering ingredients that have been present on the band’s previous albums—effortless yet chunky riffs that pave the way for disheartening guitar melodies, somber atmospheric keys that paint the ideal dismal and murky background, and boisterous gutturals peppered ever so lightly with solemnly sung clean interludes (Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse and Amorphis’ Tomi Joutsen each make a guest vocal appearance). The clean vocals are much more prevalent than has been the case in the past, showing not only a vast improvement in range and smoother choice of melody, but also a searing sense of confidence and maturity in the overall delivery. Also more noticeable on the album are the attention grabbing choruses that are far catchier and more prominent here, as heard on songs like the serene “The Justice of Suffering”, the single “Don’t Fall Asleep (Horror Pt. 2)” and the alarmingly tranquil “Too Cold for Tears”. What some may call a slight attempt at writing more digestible songs for the sake of gaining a broader fan base, I simply call more cohesive songwriting and an ability to write more noteworthy hooks, yet the band still manages to retain their integrity as a group. While songs like the opening title track and “The Empty Skies” lurch and mope along blissfully, other tracks like the slightly up tempo “These Hours of Despair” and the luminous “No Light, No Hope” and “Doomed to Walk the Earth” flourish with riffs of deepened girth sprinkled with some of the gravest melodies I’ve heard from the group. [John Eardley]
Monday, June 3rd
Immolation – Dawn Of Possession (1991)
A great concept is nothing without masterful execution. On Dawn of Possession, the former is perfectly supported by the latter. While Immolation had not yet reached the heights of technicality present on later albums, the musicianship on this disc is impressive—not just in comparison to the other albums that were coming out at the time, but also when weighed against contemporary death metal. It was on this release that Ross Dolan proved himself one of the best vocalists in the genre, and though it is true that he made many advancements as a lyricist following this release, it is also true that he was already a great frontman on Dawn of Possession. The production fits the release perfectly—raw enough to convey the band’s power, but clean enough to highlight the skilled playing.
Whether you prefer the style present here or the jarring, off-kilter approach that the band would later favor, it is obvious that this is no test run. When listening to Dawn of Possession, one does not hear a fledgling band still honing their sound. While critics and fans like to talk about the “hints of brilliance” that they detect on any given band’s early, sub-par material, there are no hints of brilliance here–this is brilliance, through and through. Compared to the other death metal that was coming out in 1991, I can only imagine how intense this must have seemed. There were already other bands in the scene that were more technical (Atheist, Pestilence) or more brutal (Impetigo), but one would probably have difficulty naming any pre-Dawn of Possession album that married the two criteria so flawlessly. One of the best ever. [Ian Duncan-Brown]
Tuesday, June 4th
Azarath – Diabolic Impious Evil (2006)
Do you like Sadistic Intent? How about Krisiun and Hacavitz? Does Hate Eternal’s one-speed attack leave you desiring something more? Enter stage right: Azarath’s third album, Diabolic Impious Evil, and I hope for your sake you emptied your bowels, because these four sick Polish bastards are gonna’ knock the living shit out of you.
Azarath display a hideously effective talent for assembling groove, aggression, and outright insanity on the short and to-the-point Diabolic Impious Evil. Technically arresting and classy for the genre, yet bloodthirsty as all fuck, these guys have captured my full, undivided attention. [Jim Brandon]
Wednesday, June 5th
Necrot – The Labyrinth (2016)
In truth, it’s difficult to come up with original ways to describe metal that’s…well, as brutal as what Necrot delivers, just as I’m sure it’s difficult to come up with original ways to play the kind of death metal Necrot chooses to play. But as it’s been expounded upon ad nauseam, particularly by me within these very halls, originality ain’t always the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow—sometimes you just want death metal to kick ye where the good Lard split ye, and that’s precisely what’s on tap for the duration of The Labyrinth’s 33 minutes. [Captain]
Thursday, June 6th
Last Rites’ Album of the Day // HAIKU EDITION
Rhapsody Of Fire – Power of the Dragonflame (2002)
Rhapsody Of Fire?
Or just Rhapsody alone?
GIVE ME ALL OF IT
Friday, June 7th
Phobia – Lifeless God (2017)
Twenty-seven years in, and almost as many line-ups, and this one delivers the goods as well as Phobia ever has. Lifeless God feels like the culmination thusfar of the band’s aesthetic, very likely the greatest crust-grinder they’ve released, and an absolute beast of a disc that anyone with a taste for grindcore should absolutely love.
These are times for good pissed-off political grind. [Andrew Edmunds]
Saturday, June 8th
Last Rites’ Album of the Day // HAIKU EDITION
Nekromantheon – Rise, Vulcan Spectre (2012)
Faster than Rigor Mortis?
Blink and you’ll miss them
See you next week.