We get so many promos emailed to us, it’s impossible to keep up. Even if we had fifteen active writers (which we don’t, so… shoot us an email if you’re interested), it would be difficult to cover all of the excellent music we get to hear. So, we’re going to try something new. Each week, we’ll cover five or six albums that have been keeping our brains busy and our emotions evenly spread. For this “Now Playing” feature, rather than full-on reviews, we’ll focus more on smaller snippets of random thought mixed in with jokes and interviews. Our aim here is to share music we’re currently listening to as a team, and hope you all get inspired to listen as well.
Band: Morgue Supplier
Release Date: May 13, 2022
Genre: Death Metal/Grindcore
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
I have been working on a review of Inevitability for fucking months. I started six or seven different times, but the album has a mind of its own. In September, I had its zombie chameleon ass chained up to a chair in my basement.
“Alright, you motherfucker,” I said, convinced my hulking figure and intimidating personality would scare it into responding. “First, you rampage through my brain for a week with those… barbed wire death-grind claws of yours. Then you turn around and crawl back up my ass like Pig Destroyer fucked Godflesh on repeat! What are you?!”
For weeks, it just sat there snarling at me, like Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket. Drool running down its chin, emitting a foul but irresistible aroma. Absolutely diabolical! Until finally…
“You know you want me,” it said. “And you know I will escape. It is… inevitable.”
Alas, help did not arrive on time. I was knocked unconscious and woke up with my left arm missing. On a nightstand next to my bed, there was a glass half full of gasoline and a single match taped to a bill for a colonoscopy. So, be warned. This frenetic sensorium of sound will hurt you as badly as it wants.
Jokes aside, Morgue Supplier plays death metal/grindcore on their own terms. Sprinkling in black metal and thrash influences that often happen in a flash, Inevitability is one of the most unique and memorable records of the year. Also – in regards to the album literally speaking to me – many thanks to guitarist/vocalist Paul Gillis for supplying a memorable quote.
Band: Mourning By Morning
Album: A Step Away From Light; A Step Into Abyss
Label: Flowing Downward
Release Date: June 25, 2022
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Location: Saint Clairsville, Ohio, USA
Flowing Downward is one of my favorite labels. Admittedly, I am still in an early exploratory stage as far as black metal goes, but for my money, there is no better place to discover greatness in the atmospheric side of the genre. This year, along with excellent releases by Raat and Nostalgia, there is A Step Away From Light; A Step Into Abyss by Mourning By Morning.
Caden Frankovich, the man behind the music, is from Saint Clairsville, Ohio, which is close to both West Virginia and Pennsylvania. A beautiful part of the United States. I wondered how deeply this landscape influenced these songs.
“Being from the Appalachian region,” he says. “I’ve been surrounded by woodland, rivers, mountains, and waterfalls my whole life. I’ve never been too much of a city type of guy, so I’ve always called the forests surrounding me my home. In short, the area surrounding me has GREATLY influenced my music.”
Caden is currently working on two other projects, each representative of a different aspect inspired by this environment. “Horrific Citadel,” he says, “is going to highlight the epic, medieval-sounding side, and Apoptosis will be the dark, more depressive side.” But you can hear both sides at work together in Mourning By Morning. He points to “Beyond the Gates,” which is track seven on the new album, as the best example of this.
“Lyrically,” he says, the song “is about the people who choose to destroy this world for their own monetary gain. And what it will look like to the next generation left to suffer in it.”
Step beyond the gates
see a new world, blackened with ash
open your eyes to this land of disgrace,
wretched and vile.
A Step Away From Light; A Step Into Abyss has been on my evening playlist since its release in June. It will, no doubt, remain on rotation and continue to be an album I recommend to anyone remotely interested in contrasts between radiance and outrage.
Band: Syn Ze Şase Tri
Album: Ultimu’ Lup
Label: Code666 Records
Release Date: September 30, 2022
Genre: Symphonic Pagan Black Metal
Location: Transylvania, Romania
Ultimu’ Lup is the fifth album by Syn Ze Şase Tri, and it’s perfect for year-round Halloween celebrations. Black metal turns up more for me during the fall, mainly due to the chillier production typically associated with it, but Syn Ze Şase Tri is from Transylvania so that puts the final nail in the coffin. Doesn’t bother me one bit!
Main man and multi-instrumentalist, Corb, started the band in 2010, “inspired by the bloody history and myths of his motherland.” Corb sang on Negură Bunget‘s album Vîrstele pāmîntului before starting Syn Ze Şase Tri, whose sound resembles Dimmu Borgir, Carach Angren, and Cradle of Filth.
With all of these examples, it seems to me more explanation may not be needed. Although it should be mentioned, Ultimu’ Lup is several times more terrifying than any of the above. It’s a masterful album that I can’t get enough of.
Band: Heads For The Dead
Album: The Great Conjuration
Release Date: September 2, 2022
Genre: Death Metal
Started by Ralf Hauber (Revel In Flesh) and Johnny Pettersson (Wombbath), Heads For The Dead has released three full-length albums and one EP with Transcending Obscurity since 2018. Matt Moliti (Sentient Horror) and Jon Rudin (Just Before Dawn) round out this death metal supergroup for The Great Conjuration, which is the band’s latest, and gnarliest of the bunch.
“The Beast,” “The Bloodline,” and “World Serpent Dominion” are my favorites today. Which is to say, by tomorrow, the ones that slap me in the face might be different. The album is full of dastardly horror-themed old-school death metal that doesn’t let up for a moment. The same could be said about their previous records, but The Great Conjuration seems a more realized full-band effort.
To see a band like Heads for the Dead steadily improve is a good feeling. Thinking back to Surpent’s Curse (2018), these guys have come a long way, expanding on an already extraordinarily fiendish sound.
Band: Coffin Torture
Label: Sludgelord Records
Release Date: October 7, 2022
Genre: Death Sludge
Location: Westminster, South Carolina, USA
Death sludge is a perfect genre description for Coffin Torture. Part Cannibal Corpse, part Primitive Man, Coffin Torture is one grizzly motherfucker. I asked TMW Obi-Wan The Great Mack what he thought of Blennoid, Coffin Torture’s second album. “It chugs along like some sort of prehistoric armored land tank,” he said, “I picture it eating everything and crushing anything around it with its immense ungodly girth!”
According to the band, they wanted the music to sound as nasty as the subject matter covered in the lyrics. With songs based on Stephen King stories (“Blennoid”), slithering body parts (“Crawling Spleen”), and a group of Russian hikers who were crushed by a slab avalanche in the 1950s (“Uhksen Uul”), one can imagine a lot of devastation. And just look at that cover art!
Coffin Torture vocalist/guitarist, Alex Thorfinn, is responsible for the artwork on each of the band’s releases, as well as a few other gory album covers. That makes Blennoid twice as effective as an example of epic monstrosity, and it could easily become an inspiration for someone else’s take on death-filled swampy repugnance. There are zero things wrong with this record.