Engulf – Gold and Rust
New Jersey one-man death metal machine Engulf returns with the second installment in a trilogy of brutal EPs, Gold and Rust. Helmed by one Hal Microutsicos, Engulf‘s brand of chaotic death metal brims with eviscerating instrumentation that balances between dizzying complexity and bestial aggression. The three songs featured on this release come crashing in one after the other and each one proves to be heavier than the last. The guitars unleash churning, bulldozing riffs that weave together palm-muted beatdowns and dissonant chord shapes, all while volatile rhythms keep the songs flowing in unsuspecting direction. Hammering guitars often give way to frantic bursts of technicality or, conversely, sludgy crawls on the drop of the dime. Everything is then topped off by Microutsicos’ vile vocal performances and drumming that, while programmed, floors the listener. Engulf‘s Gold and Rust is a solid little EP that will appease fans of Hate Eternal, early Gorguts, and violence in general.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Label: Everlasting Spew Records
Favorite Tracks: “Sovereign to the Seven Underworlds”
For Fans Of: Hate Eternal, Dying Fetus, Decapitated and (early) Gorguts
Mordant Rapture – The Abnegation
San Jose technical death metal outfit Mordant Rapture deliver a blistering and infectiously melodic debut with The Abnegation. Combining the virtuosity and volatility of technical death metal with melodic death metal sensibilities and an array of ethereal, virtual string arrangements, Mordant Rapture‘s introductory EP is a symphonic and cinematic affair that shows a band with much promise. From the high octane Black Dahlia Murder-meets-Spawn of Possession assault of “Unsightly Beast”, to the ever-shifting, cathartic “Natal Trophies”, The Abnegation offers up an unyielding barrage of top-notch musicianship and riffs galore. Spiraling licks intertwine like mating serpents throughout these songs, weaving in-and-out of brief, angular beatdowns and face-melting solo work. Powerful and propulsive drumming provide as much sonic weight as the hellacious guitar work above it. Walls of synth strings and choral effects rise and fall at opportune moments to give the album’s more grandiose moments that much more of an epic feel. All-in-all, Mordant Rapture‘s debut is a well-crafted recording that will appease metalheads of all shapes and sizes.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Label: The Artisan Era
Favorite Tracks: “Unsightly Beast” and “Quell the Voiceless”
For Fans Of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Enfold Darkness, Spawn of Possession and Fleshgod Apocalypse
Pound – Pound
Staying true to their name, Pound‘s self-titled debut pounds listeners into dust with 30-minutes of abrasive, frenzied math metal. Featuring an unorthodox setup consisting of nine-string baritone guitar and two drum kits played as one, as well as a penchant for unbridled chaos, this Seattle-based instrumental duo deliver a sound that is unique as it is punishing. Throughout each of the record’s eight tracks, the band meld bludgeoning groove with off-kilter freakouts seamlessly. Aided by rhythmically-complex drumming, the songs will suddenly morph from sludgy assaults to seizure-like guitar acrobatics. The instrumentation slithers, wails, and grumbles tumultuously within each song as the band continuously unleashes its blend of sludge, mathcore, grind and hardcore. There are a few moments on the record where some musical nuance gets lost within the band’s frantic nature, but it is not enough of a negative to bring down the record. Overall, Pound carve out a unique niche for themselves and will pique the interest of fans of oddball metal and those with ADHD.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Label: Silent Pendulum Records
Favorite Tracks: “x..x..x..x..x..x..x” and “-xx.-.xxxx-xx.-.xxxx-xx.-.xx”
For Fans Of: Bangladefy, Loincloth, Don Caballero and Dysrhythmia
Trappist – Ancient Brewing Tactics
Comprised of current and former members of Spazz, Despise You, and Infest, and featuring guest appearances from members of Municipal Waste and Pig Destroyer, Trappist‘s Ancient Brewing Tactics is every hardcore fan’s wet dream. With its unyielding barrages of hardcore, crust, and powerviolence, Ancient Brewing Tactics delivers over 30 minutes of beer-soaked carnage that will have listeners stage diving with IPAs in hand. 21 hyperactive punk anthems breeze by in blurs of rambunctious riffs, hellacious drumming, and disdain for corporate brewing and the common beer consumer. Tracks like “No Soldier Left Behind”, “This Means Wort”, “No Corporate Beer”, and so on, set the standard for the album with an aggressive blend of d-beat and old school powerviolence. Longer cuts like “The Patron Saints” and “Giving the Boot to Reinheitsgebot” focus more on mid-paced, hammering groove, while closing track “Trappist-1: Final Gravity” is a full-on sludgy beast. Other standouts include the face-ripping crossover thrash jam “Hymn to Ninkasi” and the Motorhead-esque “Frank the Tank”, both of which make it clear that the band had no desire to create a typical hardcore record. Trappist‘s Ancient Brewing Tactics is fun, humorous, and is sure to leave some bruises. Get drunk.
Release Date: August 17, 2018
Label: Relapse Records
Favorite Tracks: “This Means Wort”, “Tesguino”, “Hymn to Ninkasi”, “Swignorant”, “No Corporate Beer” and “Frank the Tank”
For Fans Of: Spazz, Despise You, Discharge, Iron Reagan, Coke Bust and Dropdead
Soul Attrition – Vashon Rain
Chicago’s Soul Attrition channel gloomy 90s alternative on its debut full-length, Vashon Rain. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist Josh Parlette (also of Escape Is Not Freedom), Soul Attrition pays homage to the darker, more introspective side of old school post-grunge and alternative rock, with a dash of post-metal sensibility for added textural flair. The songs across this 40-minute effort feature slow-burning, sludge-infused riffs that are rife with heavy rock groove and haunting melodies, often injecting atmospheric elements for good measure as well. Brooding and muscular cuts like “Sinking” and “Thirteen” call the sludgier and more doom-laden material in Alice in Chains‘ discography to mind, while the closing track “Euclid” nods to fuzzy, shoegaze-esque bands like Hum and Cloakroom. It’s always an admirable feat when newer acts give their own spin on classic 90s sounds, and Soul Attrition is no different. However, Vashon Rain‘s share of repetitive song structures and occasional uninspired vocal performances leave something to be desired. The record begins rather strong only to run out of steam before its conclusion. Soul Attrition‘s Vashon Rain is a step in the right direction, but it definitely has its share of growing pains.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Thirteen” and “Remission”
For Fans Of: Alice in Chains, Hum and A Perfect Circle
Marriage + Cancer – Marriage + Cancer
Portland’s Marriage + Cancer craft some delightfully disgusting and seedy noise rock on their debut, self-titled record. Drawing influence from Amphetamine Reptile alumni as well as no-wave acts like Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Marriage + Cancer‘s sound is both familiar and unique. For nearly 32 minutes, the listener will be bombarded with obtuse, dissonant guitars, nauseating rhythms and grimy vocals, all of which work together to ensure that no one leaves unscathed. Bellowing basslines and jangly guitars collide with one another to create walls of abrasive, off-kilter sound throughout the album’s nine tracks. The guitars construct various types of oddball riffs not limited to discombobulating, intertwining pseudo-melodies (“Command + Comply”), disfigured punk assaults (“Honour, on Our Knees”), and slimy, angular lurches (“God Is Tan”). The drumming keeps everything tight and steady, while also employing subtle changes in rhythm to maintain the album’s seasick feeling. Then the vile vocal work, which ranges from drunken droning to throat-searing rasps, ties this gross package all together. Marriage + Cancer‘s debut is an absolutely fantastic and disturbing noise rock record and fans of the genre would be doing themselves a great disservice by not listening.
Release Date: February 9, 2018
Label: Self Sabotage Records
Favorite Tracks: “God Is Tan”, “Honour, on Our Knees”, “Gound” and “View from a Cross”
For Fans Of: The Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Plaque Marks, Virus and Daughters