Hello and welcome to another episode of Death Metal Dossier! Unlike last time, Ryan did not make crepes. I’m not exactly mad about it but I’d be much happier with a light crepe filled with Ryan’s homemade jam and some of his freshly made ricotta. Instead of eating crepes (which would have been a perfect food to accompany the Tour de France) we’re sitting here in our cabin watching the Northern Lights. It’s funny because it’s not even the right season for them. Maybe aliens are trying to commune with us through a Pink Floyd-style light show! Wouldn’t that be something. I think Ryan would be mostly scared because he doesn’t like strangers as much as you might think. He’s a loyal friend and companion but not such a great watchdog. And that’s not only because he’s a beautiful human but he often fails to detect stranger danger as well as an Israeli-trained German Shepherd.
This month we have a few very choice offerings for you. Lately Craig has been running these incredible pieces entitled “In Crust We Trust” and he includes anywhere from thirty to forty thousand bands per article which puts a bit of pressure on us to include extra content. Thus, Ryan and I figured we could go a bit crazier and introduce you to even more amazing music that you might not have heard of. Thankfully, Ryan and I got the golden gift of time to just sit here in the cabin under a lovely bear fur and keep warm while stoking the fire of our passion. And I’m definitely referring to our passion for music. So, this week we expand to 3 (or maybe more) albums in honor of Craig Hayes.
Tristengrav – II – Nychavge: Shockingly clean production value combines with a death-leaning take on Greek black metal to make Triatengrav’s first official EP a thoroughly rocking listen. Using a helmet bunch of 1-2, 1-2 punk-style drum beats this little guy jumps out of the gate faster than Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte embarrassing himself, his career and his nation. Tracks like “Becoming” showcase Tristengrav’s garage sense of guitar distortion which hovers between Sonic Youth and Varathron. Guitar solos rip forth straight from the simpler times of rock and roll all while Tristengrav rides the blackened edge of a knife to victory. Mainly, this EP is a straight up winner. Bet on it to do a heck of a lot more than show because there’s a whole bunch more than just straight up black metal here. An interesting and altogether mesmerizing listen that will find you bobbing your head like a parrot, stomping your feet line a cheerleader and fist pumping like a bonafide cast member of The Jersey Shore. [MANNY-O-WAR]
Rotted – Dying to Rot: Rotted is a band we’ve talked about before around these parts. Firstly, we reviewed their killer debut LP Pestilent Tomb. Secondly, we raved about their label Maggot Stomp once (although we keep their brilliance flaming in our hearts on a daily basis). So, here in 2019, after the release of their LP the band is back to the ‘demo’ phase of life dropping their Grave-inspired brand of death metal via quatro-track recording. While Rotted’s LP suffered slightly from muffled production (obscuring their wickedly awesome compositions) their demo seemingly benefits with homegrown production pairing seamlessly with somewhat slower pacing and depthier (why can’t that be a word?) vocals. The demo opens with “Wounds” which offers a glimpse into the band’s new(ish) direction of doom-tinged death metal. Still, Rotted rely on festering riffs and airborne pathogens to connect with their listeners. The guitar is more forward, in both attack and tone, than their prior LP resulting in an overall louder production with gobs more head slamming. Basically, Rotted comes down to one fact: they fucking rule. Even the completely unexpected bass/drum solo on “Liquified” is perfect, radical and completely femur-shattering. Use this demo as a follow up to their LP or as an entry point to what is one of death metal’s most fun underground bands. [MANNY-O-WAR]
Sedimentum – Demo 2019: A late entry but perhaps the gem of the bunch. Hailing from Québec, these filth lords have bands like Outre-Tombe and Ültra Raptör on their curriculum vitae. With riffs so tough they’ll turn your tummy-control, contour-waisted trousers into super badass cut-off jorts in ten seconds flat. Why is it the gem of the bunch? For starters, these boys is polished shinier than your great granpappy’s spittoon. (The one he kept in the smoking lounge that grandma didn’t like.) stringed instruments functions as one; a quiver of swords battle-sharpened to reveal nicks and rust that are sure to tear and tend flesh in ways not ideal to wound recovery (free band name there). Their compositions curl forth eagerly the flames, bass often leading the way with its resounding slaps and thwaps – a comic book superhero chasing down a pack of rogue miscreants. The guitars follow spitting riffs and spiraling leads that complement and enhance, yet never impede, the main drive of each track. If your neck isn’t straight broken after the riffs dropped on “L’océan Encéphalique” then perhaps the guitar solo on “Momifié Dans La Vase” will ruin your brand-spanking new jorts. Either way, this album kicks ass and you should make crepes and sit down and enjoy it immediately. [MANNY-O-WAR]
Voimaton – Demo: I know. You’re shocked to see yet another demo here at Death Metal Dossier. But aren’t demos the perfect first look at a band? As this episode of DMD winds down its fitting that we close with Voimaton. Focused on riffs that slide sideways into slow grooves this little three-song demo is a pure rump shaker. Sure, there are times where the band has taken a charcoal pencil and sketched in some way of school elements with pace and fire but, for the most part, these three ditties trudge ever onward in pursuit of the groove that will ignite the fires of doom-tinged death metal in your derier. The albums close, “Apotheia,” is the slowest of the bunch with softly tapped double bass and painstakingly cut and composed riffs that feel always ready to lurch to the next note as of written with a plethora of dotted quarter and eight notes; a hesitation here and an anticipation there. The opener, “Primal,” is exactly that. Wasting no time Voimaton drop directly into a groove wider than that infected cut on the back of your thigh. Their fuzzy guitars prickle your neck and get you feet a-tapping before you’ve yet to climb out of bed. A thoroughly promising demo that could predict Voimaton headed in a few directions with more crystalline production or (hopefully) remaining a fuzzed-out, grungy amalgamation of doom death and old school grooves. [MANNY-O-WAR]
Swarn – Black Flame Order: In honor of Craig and his love for all things crust, it would be a grave oversight to not include the d-beat fueled Estonian death machine that is Swarn on this installment of Death Metal Dossier. While not reinventing the wheel by any means, Swarn’s debut, Black Flame Order, incorporates pre-existing genre staples in a unique blend of Dismember-style, hardcore influenced death metal, plenty of driving, crusty rhythms, black metal tremelo leads, and a willingness to fluctuate with tempos bordering from thrashy upbeats to doom-laden breakdowns. What results is a concoction that goes down just as easy as Manny’s reliable handle of Old Grandad bourbon.
The first two tracks waste no time in amping up the listener with a barrage of hooky punk beats that morph into Johnny Cage-worthy running kicks that boost the energy levels to overdrive. The simplicity of the riffing makes for an easily digestible listen, but there is more that’s going on here than simply HM-2 death metal worship. While hints of Swarn’s versatility are shown on these first two tracks, the third and fourth really open up the band’s toolbox and show what they’re working with.
The shift to mid-tempo black metal on “Emptied And Silence” allows the wet growl of the vocals space to shine over the reverb-infused black metal riffing before the tempo drops to an ominous breakdown. The black metal continues into the intro of “The Otherness” before blending over the return of the crust that drives the core of the band as they round out their sound. The recording itself sounds modern, but without losing the edge and grit that we love so much here at Death Metal Dossier. It compliments the band’s seamless blending of the rougher edges of metal well, while still delivering the goods in an energetic manner that refuses to sacrifice depth of songwriting for good hooks and fist pumping rage. [RYAN TYSINGER]
Encoffinate – Cimmerian Corpse Dungeon: It’s been a while since we’ve updated the Dossier, so for this one we’re hopping in the Not-So-Wayback Machine to February of this year to check out the first demo from Vancouver, BC’s Encoffinate. No, not Encoffination from Atlanta, no, not Encoffinized from Huntington Beach – Encoffinate from British Columbia. All three bands in the encoffining game bring a different breed of brutality to the wide world of death metal, and Encoffinate are upping the death/doom side on Cimmerian Corpse Dungeon.
Seeping with festering gore, Encoffinate kick things off at a crawl. The distant pattering of the bass drums lazily trudge along until they find their groove beneath the fetid fuzz of the guitar riffs. Noisey soloing cuts through the grime, adding a layer of reverberated psychedelic terror over the growing power of “Man Eater.” These particular Encoffin-ers earn their ‘-ate’ suffix as the song is swallowed into a slow drowning of guitar and hollowed out growls.
The Hellhammer influence comes in strongly on “Autointerment,” both in the riff construction and pacing. Even the vocal delivery is just as much reflecting the punchiness of Tom G. Warrior as the brutality of John Tardy and low rumbles of Ross Dolan. The blood-curdling shriek towards the end of the track drives through the heart like a razor-pointed icicle. The anguish admonished on the sludgier “Black Skies of Terror” only further demonstrates the vocal dexterity behind Encoffinate’s grimey style of death doom. Cimmerian Corpse Dungeon rounds off with the band’s most energetic track, “Beneath The Wheels Of The Blade,’ marking a noted climax for the noteworthy demo, currently available via the consistently reliable Caligari Records. [RYAN TYSINGER]
Thanks for joining us. We will see you all next month(ish). Have any suggestions? Feel free to drop them in the comments!