Mitochondrion > Parasignosis
Mitochondrion play a strange type of death metal. If you’ve listened to bands like Demilich and Portal, you know it well that it’s tough to describe the music these kind of bands play. Bizarre? Alien? Strange? Mitochondrion’s style combines those extra-terrestrial elements and crafts the oddity. It even leans till black metallic melodies, superficially, and with subtle ambience, the whole sound shaped is so eerie yet beautiful. “Parasignosis” offers more amount of experimentation than in their debut album “Archaeaeon” maintaining the unorthodox complexity in music and song-structures. This is an epitome of what experimentation and technicality merge to procreate. This is other-worldly! This is atmospheric death metal at its pinnacle!
Check out: “Plague Evockation”
Disma > Towards the Megalith
Disma is the brainchild of former Incantation throat Bill Venner and comprises of members from massive underground legions as Funebrarum and Goreaphobia as well. This record however sets the music differently than these bands, in a way it is more doom/sludge ridden and tries out some diverse riffing techniques altogether. The rhythm is thick and heavy, and the tempo is mostly kept in a glacial speed, while the atmosphere is truly lethal. And beside the predictable similarity in style with those of the aforementioned bands, there are clues of Immolation and Autopsy as well. On the whole, “Towards the Megalith” is presented in a primitive and unadulterated way, and this could probably be the heaviest in death metal this year.
Check out: “Lost in the Burial Fog”
Cannabis Corpse > Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise
I have always loved this band for their cunning play on Cannibal Corpse song-titles and this time, they’ve turned their weedy improvisation over Deicide and Morbid Angel, and well, that’s great. Especially the catchy-as-fuck guitar work is truly genius here, which is the highlight throughout the whole album, the riffing being real crunchy and enjoyable. The band has obviously discovered their own signature sound by now, leaving behind the Cannibal Corpse traces in the beginning years. The sick humour and tongue-in-cheek words behind such serious music is definitely a plus point. Overall, a sick, twisted death metal fun, the best Cannabis Corpse work till date if you ask me.
Check out: “Lunatic of Pot’s Creation”
Ulcerate > The Destroyer of All
This is one peculiar album! And it won’t be wrong to declare by now that “The Destroyer of All” is one of the most original in death metal in recent years. And while Ulcerate‘s last release “Everything is Fire” had all those sparks of experimentation, this one takes it a step further. With bazarre guitar work and atmosphere, the overall sound is made subtly unique, inheriting the mix of Gorguts, Mitochondrion and Portal. This is what it would sound if Deathspell Omega had gone death metal. Relying on the stylistic backbone presented in their previous album, Ulcerate have worked out well to make their sound even more absurd and abstract!
Check out: “Burning Skies”
Antediluvian > Through the Cervix of Hawwah…
Another album that picks up the traditional death metal influences and produces something refined and non-generic. Antediluvian sound dirty, heavy and wicked, and full of ideas. Bringing in the dirtiness of Portal and Mitochondrion in the sound, the band, similarly as Incantation, utilizes the unrelenting atmosphere as a vicious weapon. The song-structures are quite complex and progressive, which vary from slow but monstrous doom/sludge segments to fast paced chug-drives, and while not much technicality is showcased, simplicity is what has proceeded the brutality.
Check out: “Luminous Harvest”
Vader > Welcome to the Morbid Reich
Vader has been one of the most consistent bands in death metal – nearly three decades in the run and this is the ninth full-length in their name, and which is still competent to be their best work. Although their style has relatively been unchanged since a long time now, they’ve been ceaselessly offering their music in top-notch quality and that’s commendable. “Welcome to the Morbid Reich” is intense, fast, full of climax and a collection and presentation of splendid and persevered songwriting. While their previous work “Necropolis” was still a solid release for me, this album comes out as yet another testament for the greatness that Vader is. Seeing them live in October was a dream come true!
Check out: “Come and See My Sacrifice”
Sonne Adam > Transformation
The duo, Sonne Adam hail from Israel and these guys play murky doom-laden death metal conjuring up a strong, disgusting and ritualistic atmospheric backbone, sometimes recalling the sludgy Morbid Angel meets Incantation. The songwriter of the band, Davidov (who plays everything except singing) has reportedly stated that MA’s “God of Emptiness” is a huge influence on his writing, and you could predict what has come your way. This isn’t a new formula at all, but “Transformation” has been crafted and executed solidly. Full of brilliant riffs, the songs are constructed with real finesse and drama, and I just love the guitar tone.
Check out: “We Who Worship the Black”
Autopsy > Macabre Eternal
After a rather good comeback EP last year, Autopsy have followed it up with an impressive full-length this time. After all these years, beside some renewed elements in their sound, it still maintains its affiliance to the classic “Severed Survival” or “Mental Funeral” era sound, only recorded with modern tools and technologies now. For that matter, the production is excellent here, and musically it’s a solid deal of death, doom, sludge, grind and melody mixed up in a morbid fashion. They’ve even been able to add versatility in these slower manifestatations, and one could even notice the elongation of their songs, like the eleven minutes epic “Sadistic Gratification”.
Check out: “Dirty Gore Whore”
Blaspherian > Infernal Warriors of Death
After several demos, splits and EP, “Infernal Warriors of Death” comes out as the first full-length by Blaspherian. These guys play old-school death metal much in style of atmospheric Incantation, but refined with noticeable original elements. The sound is adorned by the dirty distortions, ultra-low gutturals, dreary ambiance and easy but chaotic riffing presented in complex song-structures that transform from full-paced chugs to slow, evil, doom segments, portraying evil and death in the most morbid way, musically. And while they’ve been able to ‘stay true’ to their roots, they have still worked out to create something new out of it. Great album on the whole.
Check out: “Infernal Warriors of Death”
Azarath > Blasphemers’ Maledictions
Another blower from Poland, Azarath have demonstrated their fast, evil and raw as fuck death metal similar in style with the fellow countrymen Behemoth, Vader or Hate. Among past releases of theirs, I’m only familiar with “Diabolic Impious Evil”, which was a monster in itself, and this is another stronger one. The album is driven with unbridled hatred and fury throughout, and brutality caressed with the primitive, barbarian approach. For those who didn’t know, the drumming is done by Inferno (of Behemoth fame) who’s the only remaining original member of the group. All in all, albums like this and Vader’s new are what make it up after Decapitated‘s weak return, to put forward what Polish death metal really stands for… and these are the fastest two in my list as well.
Check out: “Supreme Reign of Tiamat”
Morbus Chron – “Sleepers in the Rift”: Swedish death metal refined with elements coming from early Autopsy and “Leprosy”-era Death. A sheer balance of speed, brutality, melody and technicality. Awesome pick for the OSDM fans.
Exhumed – “All Guts, No Glory”: Sick, putrid deathgrind with spark of old-school death metal.
Immolation – “Providence” (EP): Nothing new on the table with this EP, but Immolation’s use of unique sounds to enhance the depth of their music is commendable in itself. Heavy, complex and executed excellently, these guys never fail to impress.
Nader Sadek – “In the Flesh”: The supergroup consists of Blasphemer, Flo Mounier, Steve Tucker and Marcin Nowak “Novy” in the line-up. Interesting enough, eh? And they’ve done it in style. This is what the new Morbid Angel should have sounded like.
Goreaphobia – “Apocalyptic Necromancy”: Thrashy, primitive death metal with a new-school vibe also present – fast, sinister and demonic, and with careful songwriting, offering lots of moments.
Obscura – “Omnivium”: Technical death metal that isn’t exhausting! Chock-full of hypnotic riffs, marvelous arpeggios and neo-classical lead solos in here. Forget about Necrofagist not releasing anything new, for this destroyer has come out. Best in technical death metal this year? I assume so!
Necros Christos – “Doom of the Occult”: Doom-laden occult death metal, conjuring a rich ritualistic atmosphere and riding a simplistic approach, enhancing the depth and heaviness of music. Certainly, here is more than death metal, and half of the tracks are exotic instrumentals, ambients and interludes, acquiring influence from Mesopotamian/Persian/Indian grounds. Some riffs are quite bleak which make a slight hitch.
Abysmal Dawn – “Leveling the Plane of Existence”: Fast, furious and technical, with decent songwriting depicting Hate Eternal or the likes.
Macabre – “Grim Scary Tales”: I adore Macabre for their wicked attempt at humour and amusement, and fun-filled play – thrashy death metal with lots of out-of-the-box, exceptional elements put in. I wouldn’t consider this their best work, but it’s good for an open ear… like any of their previous.
Benighted – “Asylum Cave”: Modern deathgrind with intelligent and varied riffing.