PICK OF THE WEEK: Glacial Tomb’s killer self-titled debut brings virulent death, smashing chaos

Photo by Alvino Salcedo

There used to be a time that when you’d get to the end of October/beginning to November, all the good releases already had come out, and all you had left for the remainder of the year was retread stuff. Luckily, that changed a few years ago, at least in metal, and with only 2.5 months left in the year, we still have a steamroller attack full of really good stuff, including the self-titled debut from Glacial Tombs.

That record officially arrives next Friday via Gilead Media, and it’s a destructive dose of death metal that is ugly, corrosive, and devastating. This debut full-length follows their 2017 EP “Cognitive Erosion” and a couple singles, including the scathing “Fuck Nazi Sympathy,” and it’s seven tracks of molten, noisy fury that add another heaving beast into death metal’s circles. Comprised of vocalist/bassist Connor Woods (Diseased Reason), guitarist/vocalist Ben Hutcherson (Khemmis), and drummer Michael Salazar (Cult of the Lost Cause), the band already has become a formidable live unit after only two years together, and this initial full-length effort should leave scrapes and bruises all over listeners’ bodies as they tangle with these tracks that show absolutely no mercy.

“Monolithes” starts the record with drums rolling into furious riffs, while the band chugs away and does quick bruising, as howled wails rampage over the chorus. This leads into brutal scrapes and vicious pounding, as the growls snarl, some techy guitar work shows up, and everything comes to a bludgeoning end. “Breath of Pestilence” trucks hard out of the gates, with black metal-style melodies bleeding, and vocals trade off as growls mix with shrieks. The band exacts a devastating crunch before slowing things down some, letting the leads glimmer over the smoke. Then the guitars light up again, harsh cries wound flesh, and everything bleeds its way into “Sunless Dawn” that is outright sludgy from the start. Barked vocals and melodic fire mix together, as the band cakes the walls with mud and then work on knocking them the fuck down. Later on, the track gets doomier, as crazed screams scramble brains, and the track comes to a vicious end.

“Witness” is dizzying when it starts before opening up and turning downright ugly. This is a nice mix of gruesome death and classic metal guitar work, as it gets monstrous and blistering, with growls slithering, and the track coming to a smashing end. “Flesh and Worship” pummels, with maniacal screams spilling out, mixing in with vicious shouts. Later on, some atmosphere rains down, but there’s no masking the hellacious intent of this cut. “Drowned” has guitars cascading before deep growls dig up mud. Melodies swirl, while the shouts have a hardcore feel, before the song starts trudging again. The playing gets menacing and bloodthirsty, as dual vocals shred, and the track echoes out. Closer “Shackled to the Burning Earth” begins slowly but heavily, pushing through the muck before the guitars ignite. The track has a different feel from what preceded it, as guitars ring out and burn your senses, and a proggy section works its way in, adding a brainy feel to such skullduggery. From there, the song gets violent and merciless again, ending the record on a blood-curdling note.

With nature decaying and the cold temperatures rolling in, it’s a great time to dive right into a molten, mean, nasty death metal record, and you’re hard pressed to find one this season quite as scathing as Glacial Tomb’s debut. It’s an impressive first record, a bruising introduction to what this trio does so well, and an absolute barnburner of an album. This is just the start for Glacial Tomb, and they’ve already unloaded with a bone-crushing haymaker of a shot that could knock you clear into the middle of the winter.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/glacialtomb

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/pre-orders

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

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Marsh Dweller divert metallic path toward fiery atmosphere on mesmerizing opus ‘Wanderer’

If you have a place that you can call home, even if that’s not a physical structure, you should consider yourself lucky. Some people never happen upon a place to put down roots and continually find their way to different places until their level of comfort subsides, and then it’s on the road again, looking for the next place to try to embrace.

The second record from Marsh Dweller, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist John Owen Kerr (Pyrithe, Noltem, Seidr), is called “Wanderer,” and it’s not by mistake. Kerr explores the idea of continually feeling one’s way through attempting to find a place that can be a true home, even as one travels from town to town, place to place looking for that ultimate warmth. On top of one’s home evolving over time, so has Kerr’s music. This is a much different record from 2016’s “The Weight of Sunlight,” as the songs are much longer, more atmospheric, and even quite beautiful in spots. It’s easy to get lost in this music and go on a journey with what you’re hearing, almost like a wayward soul moving from place to place. Everything here is played entirely by Kerr (there are backing vocals by Jason Walton and quest vocals by Michelle Bellucci), and it shows a dexterity of playing and a refusal to adhere to one style, which keeps this project open ended.

“Wanderer I” begins with charging riffs, rich atmosphere, and a forceful bark before we head into the body of the song. Leads swim over top the ambiance, while spacey keys wash over that, and the track begins to trudge again. Later, a new riff develops, feeling a little like Iron Maiden, before going clean for a stretch and then combusting again. Clean calls and wails mix, while the last moments wrench and trickle out. “Wanderer II” is the monster of the set, a 17:24 beast, a length unheard of from this project just last record. The track pulsates and goes on an extended build before tearing open with roared vocals arriving, and icy guitars dripping. The bulk of the song is mesmerizing even while it’s chewing away, as it’s not out of the question to feel locked in an area between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, as you observe. The vocals crush while the music feels damp and cold, merging in with cosmic keys. Wild cries burst, while sounds waft and simmer, twisting and turning into an alien structure before firing up again. The vocals cry out, electro blips mildly shock, and everything merges into the clouds. “Coalesce” breaks away from the main thread as noise buzzes and clean guitar lines trickle into the scene, before deep growls are launched and the pace rumbles. Later, the guitars pull back, and the drums echo, leaving some room for introspection. The track then comes back to life, feeling fluid and immersive, reminding me a bit of Rush.

“Fall” is utterly hammering at the front end, an aggressive assault that makes for some of the heaviest stuff on here. Riffs cascade and proverbially soak the ground, while gruff growls pelt the flesh, your blood is made to race, and sharp melodies cut through the darkness, dissolving in space. “Wanderer III” opens in a cosmic haze, with warm leads working into the coldness, and a dreamy tranquility settling over like a massive cloud coverage. Clean singing gives off hints of deathrock shadows, while Bellucci’s voice adds an otherworldly texture, like she’s a siren calling you into the sky. From there, the ugliness returns as growls splatter, melodic guitars weave into the fog, and Kerr wails, “Forever be astray!” The tempo picks up again and begins to mash, while the main riff returns a little faster, wild howls burst, and the track comes to a crushing end. “Wanderer IV” is a quick instrumental closer built with spacey keys, the feeling of a pre-dawn mist, and a buzz of sound that swirls overhead and gently fades away.

While some people always will be on a journey for a familial surrounding and true home in their lives, perhaps they can use “Wanderer” as a sort of companion. Kerr’s music under the Marsh Dweller umbrella continues to expand into the stratosphere, and while this remains heavy and volcanic, the added depth and hues go a long way toward making this beast more flexible. Both Marsh Dweller albums stand in stark contrast to each other musically, so there’s no telling where record three will take Kerr and the listeners.

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.eihwazrecordings.com/product/marsh-dweller-wanderer

For more on the label, go here: https://eihwazrecordings.com/

Pittsburgh’s Icarus Witch storm back with fiery energy, classic metal on ‘Goodbye Cruel World’

Recharging one’s batteries is something that’s absolutely essential to mental health, as trying to keep yourself working and pushing and struggling can burn you out and make your work and life suffer. Getting away and taking inventory of your situation, even if it’s just during a short vacation, can do great things for your creativity and productivity. That same thing can apply to heavy metal.

A good example of this is Pittsburgh’s long-running metal band Icarus Witch that not only has been making noise locally for the past 15 years but also has taken them around the world. But we haven’t heard from the band since 2012’s “Rise,” and their creative clip had been much more regular over the course of their first five albums. But things were going behind the scenes as names in the band were changing (not a rarity for Icarus Witch), members were reconnecting with their past, and a major switch at singer would give this group a whole new look and sound. That’s all come to fruition on “Goodbye Cruel World,” the band’s sixth effort and arguably their strongest album to date. Long-running bassist Jason Myers and guitarist Quinn Lukas lured vocalist Andrew D’Cagna (Coldfells, Nechochwen, Ironflame, Obsequiae) to the fold, and his powerful pipes give these 10 songs a sharper edge and a beefier attitude, which does wonders for the band’s sound (drummer Jon Rice is behind the kit on the album). On top of this, the band dug back to their classic metal roots (and Myers re-immersed himself in his witchcraft background) and came up with a ripper of an album that’s glorious and pulverizing.

The title track opens the record, and it’s an ideal first shot packed with powerful riffs, a trucking pace, and D’Cagna’s swelling vocals, as over the chorus he wails, “Paradise is ours to find.” While the song talks of sailing off to conquer new worlds, you can’t help but have your adrenaline and blood surge. “Misfortune Teller” is scathing and raucous, as D’Cagna jabs, “Delusion seller, prey upon our darkest fears.” A tremendous solo blares into the storm, while the driving pace gives the track every tenet of classic heavy metal. “Lightning Strikes” has riffs riveting, melodies welling up and pushing, with D’Cagna calling, “You set the night on fire when your lightning strikes.” The soloing erupts and soars, and the return to the chorus brings the track to a smothering end. “Mirage” is a quick interlude that’s eerie and built on Middle Eastern-style sounds, and then it’s into “Through Your Eyes” that has killer, storming guitar work before it pulls back to a calculated pace. Sitars drizzle, while the guitars catch fire, and the ambiance is both mesmerizing and heavy as hell.

“The Flood” is a pulsating instrumental with the bass line leading and the pace of the song being torn open. The melodies lap and move the story, rushing through, injecting power and might, and coming to a blazing finish. “Silence of the Siren” has guitars ripping into flesh, with D’Cagna warning, “Danger, the signals are there.” The song builds nicely to the chorus, another strong one, as the playing blasts its jets as it ends. “Possessed By You” is the most different of the bunch, with guitars buzzing and D’Cagna’s singing pulled back and deeper. It’s about a poisoned relationship, with the admission, “You’re obsessed with me, but I’m possessed by you,” powering the chorus. “Antivenom” is a duet between D’Cagna and Katharine Blake (Mediæval Bæbes, Miranda Sex Garden), a dark ballad pitting each side against each other. It has an Alice Cooper vibe lyrically, with D’Cagna wailing, “I’ve been bitten so many times, my hands no longer tremble,” as the two singers pull each other’s strings during this battle of wills. Closer “Until the Bitter End” a pointed track with the riffs ripping hard, and the track taking on a vintage Dokken feel. “I wait patiently, my friend,” D’Cagna calls, while the track trudges to a fiery end.

It’s been some time since Icarus Witch has delivered new music, but it’s clear that the extended time away refreshed their creativity and made them an even hungrier band. “Goodbye Cruel World” is a tremendous album that sounds big, delivers with riffs and hooks, and reasserts the band back into their role as one of heavy metal’s true revivalists. With a new voice and a reinvigorated spirit, Icarus Witch re-emerge a stronger, heavier band, and we’re all better for it.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/icaruswitch

To buy the album, go here: https://cleorecs.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://cleorecs.com/

Thrawsunblat dig into spirit of homeland, reveal folkier sound with ‘IV: Great Brunswick Forest’

This site talks a lot about records and bands that take you on journeys somewhere and aren’t just a collection of news song. It’s a sort of escape, and not every band and/or record does that, nor do they all intend to do that. The ones that do happen to have a different feeling and relationship with me than ones that are just here to be brutal, man.

Canadian black metal band Thrawsunblat is one that always had a way of transforming their music from something you’re simply meant to hear to one that conjures dramatic imagery and sets you on the pathway to somewhere different. On their fourth release “Thrawsunblat IV: Great Brunswick Forest,” the band quite literally is trying to transport you to vocalist/guitarist Joel Violette’s home in the province of New Brunswick. He attempted to write songs that let his listeners visit, in their minds, his home on the Canadian Atlantic coast, and the music very quickly takes you there, into woodsy terrain where you can practically hear damp sticks and leaves break beneath your feet. But there’s something else about this record that makes it noteworthy, and it might cause some longtime followers to tremble. This is not an extreme metal record. Not even close. Instead, Violette and the rest of the band—drummer Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird) and fiddle player Keegan MC—craft songs that are rooted in rustic acoustic and folk music as well as dashes of dark rock for an eight-track effort that is rousing and thoroughly from the heart. It’s also the first time the band recorded together in the same place (the photo above illustrates that), and it does have a live, emotional bend that is palpable.

“Green Man of East Canada” starts the record with acoustic guitars rushing and Violette’s deep clean singing, which fits the mood of this and the other songs pretty well. The track has a bit of a 1980s feel to it, and the track ends with Violette imploring, “Strange man, can you teach us of your ways?” “Here I Am a Fortress” is spirited and pushy, a catchy track that gets in your blood in short order. The build to the chorus is powerful, and while it’s fairly simple, a recitation of the song title, it’s effective as hell. “Against the weight, I chose to carry,” Violette calls, while the final moments of the song are delivered in a capella. “Via Canadensis” has picked guitars, an infectious pace, and even some moments of calm. There are repeated cries of, “On we go!” you might find yourself calling back, while the track gains momentum and has a huge ending. “Song of the Summit” has some electric guitars buzzing into the woodsy atmosphere, and there even are heavier moments that get things moving. Strong melodies and heartfelt expression work to make this song instantly memorable and one of the strongest cuts here.

“Thus Spoke the Wind” is darker and more foreboding, though the tempo still kicks up with energy, and the fiddle quivers and sends jolts. That, along with the acoustic jangling sets fire to the track, roaring and gushing deep into the night. The title track has a heavy folk start, as the vocals are treated with heavy echo, with Violette vowing, “We will withstand time and the immortal wind.” The fiddle playing jars your spinal column, sending scraping waves over the top and giving the song a chilly ambiance that reminds of deep fall. “Singer of Ageless Times” feels like a track that should play when you’re downing a mead, as Violette’s singing bellows and echoes, and after an acoustic-driven first half, the electric elements come alive and start to bury you. The energy is drunken and surging, the fiddle dances off, and Violette wails, “Let me bring you tides from the Maritimes.” “Dark Sky Sanctuary” closes the album starting off with ominous tones, as the acoustics trickle, and then everything gets a big push. The chorus is punchy and catchy, while the band throws all of its energy into making this track a grand finale that ends the album on a vivacious note.

This record might take some adjustment for listeners who have been along for the entire ride, but there’s not an ounce of “Thrawsunblat IV: Great Brunswick Forest” that isn’t dripping with heart and genuine storytelling. I don’t know if this new approach is permanent or just something that moved them for this album, but it wouldn’t be unwelcomed to hear more of this in the future, even if further woven into their chaotic metal. This is an ideal album for the finally arrived autumn, as forays into forests all over the United States and Canada reveal a kaleidoscope of earthy colors and chilled adventures.

For more on the band, go here: https://thrawsunblat.ca/

To buy the album, go here: https://thrawsunblat.bandcamp.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Miserable’s EP ‘Loverboy’ takes bloody aim at disrespect, body objectification

A personal glitch I have, which I’m not super proud of, is my inability to deal with unexpected problems and changes. Like, OK, let’s say I get three graphs of this story written, I forget to hit save, the battery dies, and I lose everything. I’m not one to just rip back open the laptop, get in the same headspace, and go at it all over again. Come to think of it, let me just hit save on this.

Issues far more frustrating got in Kristina Esfandiari’s way when writing new music for her solo project Miserable, namely the material got torched when her hard drive caught on fire. That would be enough to discourage most people after they got all of these songs saved and seemingly secure, but that didn’t deter Esfandiari. The material she created during her residency in Brooklyn flowed from her mysteriously and generously, as she put together the four songs that make up her new EP “Loverboy,” that’s also packaged with a reissue of her hard-to-find 2014 EP “Dog Days.” The music on “Loverboy” is dark, cathartic, and pained, even amid the sometimes bright sheen of these songs that always seem to eventually spill into the shadows. It’s about the frustration of women being objectified and disrespected in society, a punch back to the faces of those who aim to keep them in that position. This paired with “Dog Days” shows a strange contrast from where she was a few years ago with Miserable (those were her first stab at pop songs and have a dark haze like Beach House, Slowdive, and Best Coast) and where she is now (where the songs are more in your face, blunt, and bloody). It also stands far apart from the work Esfandiari does fronting King Woman, so if you’re new to Miserable (they do have four EPs and an LP), you’ll need to adjust.

The title track kicks off the collection, a murky, breathy song that digs its claws right into its prey. “You make me sick, let’s call it what it is, a disappointment,” Esfandiari jabs over the chorus, making her feelings abundantly clear while the song bubbles down dark tributaries, ending with her ensuring you know, “I am not a toy.” “Gasoline” travels over a damaged relationship, though it sparkles and gives off a misleading exuberance.  “Oh, I love you, and you love me too, what are we gonna do?” she posits over the chorus, as the song rumbles into the shadows, letting off chills and coming to a rush at the end. This is my personal favorite of the collection. “Cheap Ring” has guitars churning in the shadows, as the sounds rumble in the dark, the drums kick in, and Esfandiari opens up with, “Hard headed, difficult person, I’m sought after I guess, couldn’t care less.” The song keeps rushing and trembling, as Esfandiari pushes past undesirable people, leaving them marked as they should be. “Pain Farm” is one of her bloodiest and, considering we just put a potential sexual assaulter on SCOTUS, most painfully relevant. Starting in a post-punk haze, Esfandiari blasts, “Remember that one time? You felt so inclined, invite yourself to stay the night, with someone who’s blackout drunk, I guess I’ve got all the luck, say I’m pretty when I puke, I can’t even stand up.” The chorus rushes while Esfandiari’s voice quivers and stabs, later wailing out in the haze, bruised but defiant, wishing she could forget what a vile individual did to her.

The “Dog Days” material starts with “Hotel” that is moody and hazy, feeling like you’re trying to see through glazy morning eyes. Guitars swim in dark shadows, as Esfandiari confesses, “Staring at your perfect mouth, oh how closed off I’ve become, I can’t look you in the eyes.” “Fever” is immersed in pop murk, with a dreamy haze wafting, softer singing, and a numbing but rumbling vibe. The track settles into the darkness, as Esfandiari’s singing takes a jazzy turn as the song bleeds away. “High” feels a little more upbeat, yet it’s noise marred as well, with the singing cutting underneath the surface. “Swallow me alive, I’m so high,” she calls, while the music turns into a vortex before getting iced off. Closer “Kiss” drives into noiry territory, as the song takes on the vibe of a numbing torch bearer. “Need to touch you, oh I wanna feel the warm, could this be for real, are you just make believe?” Esfandiari sings, as everything delivers a strange nostalgic vibe. Deep clouds and rain swell, as the keys smear, the ambiance delivers shadows, and the music trickles away into the unknown.

Esfandiari is a unique human whose voice instantly is recognizable and whose slurry haze never fails to capture you in a murky daydream. “Loverboy” may sound exuberant at times, but the music bleeds pain and disappointment, which Esfandiari conveys so perfectly. This along with “Dog Days” make for an intoxicating eight-track listen that demonstrates different sides of this compelling artist.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/miserablegrl

To buy the album, go here: https://www.hellomerch.com/collections/miserable

For more on the label, go here: https://sargenthouse.com/

Ragana, Thou smash together like-minded ideals, smother you on ‘Let Our Names Be Forgotten’

It’s an important time for music that carries messages that are here to push up those in society who aren’t, and never have been, treated the way they should. It’s all well and good to have escapism in metal or shit about everyday anger and war, and whatnot, but it’s a high time for fighting back against the oppressors, those who would bury our hopes at every turn.

It’s also fitting two like-minded bands would come together for a split effort “Let Our Names Be Forgotten” that’s one of the most intense and timely of the entire year. In one corner, you have the awesome Ragana, a trio that hails from Olympia, Wash., and have spent the past several years touring and making music that fights back against bullshit societal forces that hold people down. They’re wildly and proudly feminist and anarchist, also taking up arms on LGBTQ issues and railing against racism (the label putting this out, An Out Recordings, also proudly stands up for these beliefs). On the other side is Thou, a band we’ve long written about, one of the great units in heavy music who also have used their platform to rail against capitalism and support those with different sexual identities, among other things. There couldn’t be a more perfect union in all of heavy music, and this record is a triumph and galvanizing point for those who also are under the boot of oppression and for those who are helping in the fight. If you’re not fired up as fuck when these five songs are over, you may need to reconsider where you stand.

Ragana

Ragana’s side begins with “Inviolate,” as things get off to a clean start before Maria’s singing wafts over the noise, and the track takes on an indie rock feel that digs its teeth into the ’90s and ’00s sections of your brain. Harsh cries break the calm before the track rolls back to cleaner tones, and then the gateway breaks as fierce shrieks mix with shoegazey sounds. A disorienting sheen is dashed over the song as it hangs in the air and then fades. “The Void” is somber and slowly storming, coming off like a scuffed-up blues song as Maria repeats each verse line four times before a chorus that draws blood. “I hear your voice, and I know you want to follow me,” Maria starts, as the track dips into grungy waters, drawing filth and gaining heaviness. The track wells up intensity, as guitars build, Nicole’s drums pound, and Maria wails, “I know you’ll spend your whole life staring back at me!” By the way, I know Maria and Nicole switch off roles, so if I attributed stuff to the wrong member, comment and yell at me.  “The Sun” ends Ragana’s portion as guitars trickle and a buzzing builds before harsh shrieks tear down the walls, and the emotion blasts you in the chest. “We die together!” Maria howls, while the track gains speed, the channeled burning keeps you off balance, and the track ends in a pile of ash. Just an awesome display.

Photo by Craig Mulcahy

Thou’s end opens with “The Fool Who Thought He Was King,” which is apropos of right fucking now. It starts clean and calm before Bryan Funck’s vocals take hold, with guitarist Matthew Thudium’s clean singing hanging behind the cloud of noise. Sorrowful leads slither and bring pain, and about halfway through, everything seems to come to a head, with the music ringing out and stinging your ears. The leads then begin to twist, gashing your heart for every feeling, as sadness envelops the land, darkness falls, and it all ends harshly. Closer “Death to the King and All His Loyal Subjects” (again, just a cosmic title there) mashes your senses, as the vocals march, and the music laps in thick waves. The track is devastating and, in true Thou fashion, utterly blunt, unloading sooty torture, as Funck accuses, “Oh you treacherous swine, self-entitled scum,” before following with the nail in the coffin, “We are so very worthless, everything we do is meaningless,” that jams a dagger into your heart and hopes.

“Let Our Names Be Forgotten” is noteworthy and special for two reasons: First, we get more music from Thou, who have been quite prolific this year, and the awesome Ragana hopefully will find their way to more ears and minds. These are two very well paired bands philosophically, and sonically, they could not be more different yet still fit. This is a tremendous record you should snag while physical copies last.

For more on Ragana, go here: https://www.facebook.com/raganaband

For more on Thou, go here: http://noladiy.org/thou.html

To buy the album, go here: http://anout.storenvy.com/

For more on the label (or for a digital version), go here: https://anout.bandcamp.com/

Vancouver bruisers Erosion rip into humanity, turn ax toward world with ‘Maximum Suffering’

Photo by Taylor Ferguson

It always amazes me how many really great metal bands we have here in Pittsburgh that so many people around the world never have heard about before. Yes, bands such as Lady Beast, Heartless, Deathwhite, and Complete Failure have released well-received and crushing records on a worldwide level, but there is so much more underneath the surface.

This is not a story about Pittsburgh. Instead, I use my hometown as an example of how a city can have a treasure trove of good metal bands that people don’t know about, but it happens everywhere. Take, for example, Vancouver-based crushers Erosion that boasts members of noteworthy groups such as Baptists, 3 Inches of Blood, Tobeatic, and Hard Rippers, a band that’s been around for several years now, but outside their native stomping grounds, they haven’t made much headway. That should change with the release of their molten debut full-length “Maximum Suffering” on the recently revived Hydra Head, a label I have missed with all missed with all my heart and soul during their absence. This record is hard to classify, as there are elements of noise, punk, metal, sludge, you name it, as they combine every element they can find to make this raucous shit. The band—vocalist Jamie Hooper, guitarists Nick Yacyshyn and Rick O’Dell, bassist Andrew Drury, and drummer Danny Marshall—brings the noise and vitriol for the rest of humankind and dumps it into this thunderous 13-track assault.

“Maximum Suffering” is the longest track on the record at 5:40, and it arrives bleeding in before the bludgeoning occurs. Guitars scrape as the riffs rumble hard, and wild growls hammer your face. Sinewy guitars take it from there, as the pace gallops, the song fades for a second, and then drums storm again to the finish. “Everything Is Fucked,” which is true, starts the barnstorming, as the songs fly by in a hurry. This is steamrolling chaos that bruises and delivers hellish growls. “Need for Death” is sludgy, heavy, and crushing, a short blast that levels you. “Human Error” is pummeling as the guitars corrode, with the pace speeding up before a chunky, deranged dose of thrashing, going out with noise hanging in the air. “Serpent Lust” is speedy and violent, with Hooper wailing, “You had it all, but now it’s gone!” The track keeps going for the throat, delivering a monstrous finish and moving into “The Crone” that has a smothering groove with gurgling growls and huge blasts. “Deep in Hell” is crunchy and ugly, as its intensity builds and threatens. The guitars go off and burn, while the track comes to a clubbing close.

“We Have Failed Us,” which we have, is speedy and clobbering, going full on to decimate everything in front of it. The guitars steamroll, with the track getting even more vicious, as Hooper howls, “We! Have! Failed! Us!” “Scorched Earth” is both punishing and cavernous, as the vocals come in roared growls, the riffs shift, and the back end of the track is a total ass kicking. “Black Waves” charges up, as the guitars take on a black metal sheen in spots, and then we’re headed into a blinding mashing, where you’re forced to duck wild haymakers. “Storm of Steel” has a punk feel to it, getting melodic and sludgy as it goes on, with Hooper’s throaty growls digging away. The track has a super heavy underbelly, with the final moments blasting out. “Dusted” is a quick one, delivering murky bass, slow grinding, gross vocals, and a smudgy finish. “Consumed” closes shop, immediately going lightning fast and smashing fingers, with the vocals getting ultra-violent. The track goes into sweltering doom, with the vocals charring, the band slowly mauling, and the record burning out.

Maybe people didn’t know much about Erosion before now, but let’s smarten you up. “Maximum Suffering” is a record that fits nicely in Hydra Head’s pleasingly noisy catalog and also offers an ample beating for anyone who has been lulled to sleep. This band isn’t about to embrace and coddle you. You’re part of the problem, and they’re here to eliminate you.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/EROSION-518582734847757/

To buy the album, go here: https://hydrahead.merchtable.com

For more on the label, go here: http://www.hydrahead.com/