Yup, still playing catch up from last year. Oh well, so it goes. Outer Heaven is a quintet of Pennsylvanian boys who are all about the death metal. Formed in 2012, they recently signed to Relapse Records(!) and last year put out their first full length, Realms of Eternal Decay to much critical and fan acclaim. While not topping many year end lists, they usually ended up placing somewhere in those coveted 10 highest spots. There’s something to be said of the power of everybody thinking your album rules hard, especially considering most of these people listen to and review countless albums, and sift through even more crap.
We riding this OSDM train to the last fuckin’ station, fam. I’ve been listening to death metal for the past 48 hours straight it seems, so much so that Spotify is offering me up a Dinner With Friends playlist like it knows I’ve lied catatonic engulfed in a maelstrom of blastbeats and growling and that it really hopes I’m doing okay.
Obliteration is a Norwegian death metal band that’s been around for a hot minute, forming in 2001 and having four full lengths to their name. Cenotaph Obscure, their fourth album is the first I’ve heard of them since it seemed to climb the ranks of many peoples’ lists of the top albums of 2018. Now, we’ve already established that playing good, old fashioned death metal is fine as long as you’re ahead of the curve in some way. Necrot brought the riffs like nobody else, and Depravity were gut bustingly heavy enough to release albums that stood out among the enormous swathes of average, boring, and played out death metal albums that have been cropping up for literal decades now. Obliteration seems to have garnered praise for their fusing of traditional OSDM and the niche skronks and atmosphere of sci-fi leaning bands like Timeghoul (maybe the best band name ever) and Demilich (still awful, fight me), as well as their incorporation of black metal speed and tremolo picked riffs. Sounds like quite a cocktail, but I cannot stress how much of a dummy I am, so let’s see how these Norwegians stack up to these ears.
New year, same old shit. The world’s all jacked up, go listen to death metal.
Depravity (no, not that Depravity) are an Australian brutal death metal band who have been gestating down under until they hit the international underground scene this year with their debut full length Evil Upheaval. While having kind of a dopey name for their first album, Depravity do make the statement that “this is what Morbid Angel should have sounded like today”. Bold claim. I ain’t gonna defend Morbid Angel‘s subpar output as of late, but implying you’re going to be putting out a sequel to Covenant twenty-five years later is one hell of a flex. Could it be possible?
Apparently, this is just a death metal blog now. It isn’t, I’m just on a roll listening to music and have been falling further and further behind in my movie watching. Oops.
Necrot is a relatively new death metal band, having formed in 2011 with a handful of demos brought together into a compilation released in 2016. Last year, they finally released their first, bloody slab of a full length titled Blood Offerings on Tankcrimes Records. While they seemed to bubble under the surface of death metal for so many years, with Blood Offerings, they’ve emerged from the primitive swamp to lay one foot firmly into the headbanging public’s eyes.
I’ve been further outside the world of death metal this year than I’d like to be, and have kind of succumbed to the massive revival of OSDM (Old School Death Metal for you young metalheads, and Heavy Screamy Growly Cookie Monster Music for you normies) craze that has swept through everyone’s most spun metal records. Now, don’t get me wrong. OSDM fuckin’ rules, and many of the revival bands are killing it, just like their predecessors. One look at Toronto’s very own Tomb Mold and their unholy offering from this year, Manor of Infinite Forms, will tell you OSDM ain’t just for curmudgeony grandpas anymore. But alas, I’m not here right now to talk about OSDM, but new death metal. Music that doesn’t just rehash what happened in 1991, but builds on everything that’s happened to death metal in the past few decades and then pushes it forwards even more. And I’m not just talking about heaviness, technicality, and speed. Bands have already seen those to their mindbending apices. We’ve maxed out to nearly the human limit on those elements of heavy music and now in a post-maximal world of death metal, you can’t really objectively compare bands on speed, technicality, and heaviness.
All that’s left to push is songwriting and creativity. How exciting is that?