Welcome to the year two thousand and twenty the year of someone’s lord. Last Rites was kind enough to renew Death Metal Dossier for another season. Please be ensured that our agents are working tirelessly around the clock to secure a multi-year deal. Heck, Ryan and I are even willing to take a pay cut and reduce our list of “wants” while expanding our list of “can’t and won’t” to get the deal done. The point is that Ryan and I are committed to bringing you the very best in the underground of death metal (and related genres, sounds and stories). The brass around here have been somewhat receptive to our demands, but Ryan’s crepe recipes have lately grown more exotic and the ingredients are not easy to come by. I can’t lie, a few people have died in the quest for ever-increasingly bizarre spices. That said, we believe that our union representatives have our best interests in mind, and we are prepared to bring you top notch quality content for the rest of the calendar year.
Now that the formal announcements are out of the way, I motion that we chat about what’s bubbling to the surface these days. Seconded? Thank you, Martha. We’ve got your boy Ryan kicking you in the face with some tunes from Crypt Dagger; we’ve got some reissues from the unforgettable Boston black metal pilgrims Malleus (reissue and remaster those albums as much as possible and we will keep trying to get them heard by as many people as possible); and we’ve got some exciting swamptastic death metal from Muscipula (which must be a name for an instrument used in a transorbital lobotomy) being released by Caligari Records. (That label’s no stranger around these Death Metal Dossier parts.)
For now, just sit back, prop your feet up on a goat that you’ve fed ample amounts of benzodiazepines to keep it in place, fill that pipe with the highest quality Old Toby, and pop open a National Bohemian aka “Natty Boh” brewski—you’re about to get your face punched in with sonic superiority bred from metal’s anus.
Crypt Dagger – From Below (Dying Victims Productions, 3.27.2020): It is important to remember just how crucial Celtic Frost were to the development of extreme metal as a whole. Often discussed in the black metal context, the sphere of influence the Swiss speed metal band would go on to encompass delved well into the burgeoning death metal scene as well. Fast-forward almost 35 years later and the ripples of Celtic Frost are still being felt in metal, whether it’s blended into modern day Darkthrone or into more outright worship. Germany’s Crypt Dagger fall firmly into the latter category.
With their latest EP (or mini-album, seeing how it clocks in at twenty-four minutes), Crypt Dagger are driving their blade deep into the heart of To Mega Therion, and from the first track on the steel hits its target. “The God Fukk You” brandishes an earthy guitar tone with the grit and grim of grave dirt as it blasts into a punky d-beat. And while vocalist Poser Disposer may not quite be a dead ringer for Tom G. Warrior, he absolutely nails the stylistic delivery of the Ughmaster General, additionally sprinkling in a few well-placed falsetto shrieks that sound like the wailing souls of tortured spirits.
The riffs, while fairly simplistic, pack a wallop, with the sinister main riff of “Six Horned Pervertor” providing a backdrop for the summoning ancient evils or the slower, “Jewel Throne” groove on “The Cruel Reign.” The band close things off with their strongest number, referencing their name on “Blood For The Crypt Dagger.” As soon as Disposer utters these words, Crypt Dagger erupt into absolute speed metal mayhem, and I can’t help but think how much fun they would sound live. The true final cut is a cover, but rather than reaching for the more obvious choice of Hellhammer or Celtic Frost, Crypt Dagger pull more from the punk side of things with a thoroughly enjoyable rendition of Dead Moon’s “5440 Or Fight.” Crypt Dagger certainly aren’t trying anything new on From Below, keeping their creative juices firmly steeped in the 80s underground, keeping the true roots of metal alive from beyond the grave. [RYAN TYSINGER]
Muscipula – Little Chasm of Horrors (Caligari Records, 2.28.2020): Sometimes labels enjoy touting that a band is from the sewers or the swamps or whatever when they in fact hail from dry, arid climates that might not even have swamps. Even more often, said bands are from frigid zones that might have an arctic marsh, but they hardly behold ecosystems that would give birth to marsh or sewer-dwelling creatures that the previous description draws up. Muscipula are actually from the southeastern area of continental America, where all three of Archer’s greatest fears reside: alligators, crocodiles and brain aneurysms. It should be noted that “muscipula” is a fancy name for the Venus Flytrap, which can probably be lethal (see the title of this here EP).
So, musically, let’s take Bolt Thrower and some of the angular, creeping Finnish death metal bands and drop those 45RPM records on down to 33RPM—let those guitars just sliiiiiiiiiiiide into a slimy down-tuned demolition hammer of swampy death. Like an airboat that’s blown an engine, the tunes slowly knife through milky water; vines from overhang slapping the blade as dank water slowly leaks in. This music crawls—about as slowly as your great-grandfather trying to get out of his favorite La-Z-Boy after one too many boxes of Ensure. Sure, compare this band to some of the greats, but they are actually doing something quite their own, thanks to production values centering around a putrid vocal delivery.
For the pacing, the songs are actually rather short. Given the knuckle-dragging measure of the rhythms, you’d expect these tunes to drag on for eight or more minutes, but Muscipula is in and out about as quick as an alligator’s acidic tum-tum could digest a freshly hatched duckling. The second track even provides bendy riffs, like guitars intermittently sawing through a carcass as different parts of a body are slipped quietly into the gator-infested waters for disposal. Fans of Undergang, Rottrevore, and Slugathor should probably put the bong down for fifteen minutes and get to ordering this here cassette tape. And also, get some more of that Sweet Galenas. [MANNY-O-WAR]
Malleus – Storm of Witchcraft (Remastered – Armageddon Label, 2.14.2020): There’s probably no real reason to spend much time on this one. Storm of Witchcraft has been released and re-released and remastered and remixed time and time again, from independent multi-format release to Blood Harvest proudly dropping an LP edition, followed by a limited edition gatefold LP, and now Armageddon Records stepping-the-fuck-up (as always) and delivering a fully remastered 12” EP just in time for Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t yet heard Malleus this is a fine place to start. Just as fine a place as the other EP discussed below.
I’d say “as always,” but Malleus has such an unfortunately thin collection of recorded work that I can only say that it’s to be expected that Malleus will mix galloping rhythms with downtempo bass riffs to reach a timeless expression of black metal fury. What’s notable is that the band was a trio for this recording, with The Channeler handling both bass and vocal duty. Not that it makes a huge difference to the following EP, particularly on wax, but the fury of a power trio is on display for their debut.
Malleus knows how to let things breathe and how to create an unsettling intro that will induce fever dreams before the beat drops. Expect to sweat off those extra few pounds you bloated up on while consuming that third lunch burrito. Maybe take your socks off so your feet can let the steam waft up into your neighbors apartment. Maybe they’ll think something died in your place. They wouldn’t be wrong. If you’re not catatonic while listening to Malleus, then you’re not doing it properly. Trance. Trance. Trance. [MANNY-O-WAR]
Malleus – Night Raids (Armageddon Label, 2.14.2020): The sounds of war are upon us! Nothing new for Boston, a city that has been embroiled in war with indigenous people and Europeans since forever ago (at least in relation to America’s brief history). It’s not often a spot for black metal, let alone great black metal, and that’s exactly what Malleus is: absolutely great black metal with thrash woven and inter-spliced. Thrashened black metal? It doesn’t matter. Sure, this album first came out in 2018 via Atomic Force records, but it’s never been given the treatment and release it truly deserves. Thankfully, Armageddon Records, a label and shop that has so often saved the youth of New England, have graciously taken a stab at a proper release. Much like the original, Armageddon will be releasing this here two-track, sixteen-minute EP as a 12” (meaning the superior audio quality of 45 RPM will still be in play).
Night Raids takes no prisoners in a sort of “Thin Lizzy at their most rebellious” type of way. The tracks slice and gallop, leaving the anarchist press offices of Harvard University shaking on their foundations. Recording as a quartet for the EP, the production is not only generally superior to their debut, but it suits their sound by putting an emphasis on both the “cock” and the “rock” in cock rock. If ever a black metal band deserved a studded codpiece it would be Malleus. This little ripper will transport you back to the glory days of the early 90s when mom and dad paid for all your snacks and there was unlimited hot water. Life was good back then, and that left you ample time to get evil. Well, now you have a new ruler, and that ruler is Malleus, and they want you to learn to get evil more often. At least when you’re not at work. [MANNY-O-WAR]
And there you have it, folks. That’s what we have for you in this fine February month. The shortest month of the year providing some of the most important lessons. And this is the rarest February of all—the leap year. Enjoy these twenty-nine days and be sure to hug your friends and loved ones, especially if they are a drummer. Seems like we’re losing far too many people far too quickly these days.
“Love, Peace and Nappiness.” Lost Boyz (RIP Tahliq Raymond Rogers aka Freaky Tah)