Mastiff – Plague
The debut full-length from Kingston Upon Hull’s Mastiff, Plague, is nothing short of a battering and bruising good time. Armed with a bludgeoning low-end, anti-social guitar riffs, and royally pissed vocals, Mastiff‘s Plague is relentlessly crushing and absolutely miserable. For roughly 32 minutes, listeners are subjected to a brutal blend of aggressive, beatdown hardcore and sludge metal that delivers track after track of speaker-punishing heaviness. From the galloping chug-fest of “Hellcircle”, to the sprawling hate march of “Black Death”, Mastiff pull out all of the stops to ensure listeners don’t get out in one piece. Massive, ignorantly-heavy breakdowns are proudly put on display and tend to be the band’s most-used weapon in their arsenal. There are times when the tracks break away from this approach in favor of some nauseating, angular moments (“Bubonic”), dissonant doom (“Weep”), and stampeding sludge hardcore as well (“Brainbleed”). Overall the record is a solid collection of monstrous, ridiculously angry tracks that will curb-stomp their way into listeners’ hearts.
Release Date: February 1, 2019
Label: APF Records
Favorite Tracks: “Bubonic”, “Brainbleed” and “Vermin”
For Fans Of: Ledge, Weekend Nachos, Love Sex Machine, Spite and Armed for Apocalypse
Refusal – Epitome of Void
Buzzsaw guitar riffs and grinding fury collide on the newest full-length from Refusal, Epitome of Void. For 32 minutes this Finnish outfit cranks out nine crusty tunes of grind-infused death metal whose sound resides somewhere between Entombed and Napalm Death. Infectious grooves and steamrolling rhythms are delivered with seething ire and accentuated by vile, snarling vocals that sound like a mix between Napalm Death‘s Barney Greenway and Neurosis‘ Dave Edwardson. The record begins with the thrashing, galloping, and disemboweling “Suffocate” and its rampage just continues from there. Tracks like “Disregard” stampede out of the gate with throttling grooves before transitioning into full-on death metal assaults, while the high octane “Exploit” features one rapid-fire burst of face-melting grindcore after the next. The record doesn’t push any new boundaries as far as this particular style of death metal is concerned, but it is a fierce and solid record nonetheless. Refusal‘s Epitome of Void has a familiar sound, but it is executed better than most.
Release Date: January 11, 2019
Label: Great Dane Records
Favorite Tracks: “Suffocate”, “Disregard”, “Exploit” and “Void”
For Fans Of: Entombed, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death and Black Breath
Los Huaycos – Savage Monstrosities
The newest full-length from California’s Los Huaycos is hyperactive, eccentric, and endlessly fun. On Savage Monstrosities the Oakland quartet deliver 15 minutes of thrashing, oddball hardcore rife with elements of skate punk and noise rock and spearheaded by frantic vocal performances. Each of the album’s 11 tracks (all of which clock in under two minutes in length) are brimming with a classic punk sound that is marred by sudden bouts of grinding hardcore angst and psychedelic flourishes. D-beat laden, power chord mayhem erupts into jittery, angular weirdness reminiscent of the Amphetamine Reptile sound, albeit in a punk context (see “Monstruosidades Salvajes”, ” Igual que Hoy”). Other times the songs crank out quick jolts of dissonant, grimy punk that’ll rip listeners’ faces off (see “No Consegui Nada”). The record is simply catchy and unpredictable. Savage Monstrosities is a super brief release that leaves a lasting impression.
Release Date: February 8, 2019
Favorite Tracks: “Deforestation”, “Igual que Hoy”, “Monstruosidades Salvajes” and “Liar”
For Fans Of: FIDLAR, Gang Green, The Bronx and Cows
Helevorn – Aamamata
The third full-length record from Spanish melodic doom metallers Helevorn, Aamamata, is gorgeous, gloomy, and full of gargantuan riffs. Gothic metal melancholy, doom metal weight, and progressive metal grandiosity meld seamlessly across this sprawling, nearly 60-minute epic. From the thunderous and atmospheric “A Sail to Sanity”, to the doomy folk of “La Sibil-la”, Aamamata is an emotive sonic journey that benefits from solid song-writing jobs and a firm grasp on the genre. The songs are filled to the brim with massive guitars that conjure seismic sludge riffs that stomp atop barreling percussion. Glossy, serene melodies intertwine with the heavy instrumentation, as well as acoustic flourishes and symphonic elements, and push the record out of the typical death-doom domain. Additionally, stunning vocal performances assist the record in becoming the opus it set out to be. Helevorn‘s Aamamata is somber, triumphant, and one of the best of its kind.
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Label: Solitude Productions/BadMoonMan Music
Favorite Tracks: “A Sail to Sanity”, “Blackened Waves”, “Aurora” and “The Path to Puya”
For Fans Of: Swallow the Sun, Ahab, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost