Local picks for Bandcamp Friday

I just thought that I’d throw together a list of some recent local metal releases for Bandcamp Friday (or whenever you’re reading this).


BorrachoPound Of Flesh
Release date: 6 August 2021
It’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years since DC’s best stoner metal band has released a full length but Pound of Flesh is finally here!


So Be ItLet The End Begin
Release date: 6 August 2021
So Be It is a death/thrash band based out of Silver Spring that is dropping their second full length today for Bandcamp Friday. Cathy riffs abound on these mosh pit friendly songs.


GrishkaDeath Throes Radio Vol 1. – Grishka Live Set
Release date: 6 August 2021
Grishka is a new extreme metal band that actually formed during the pandemic era of no concerts. They did live perform on a Death Throes Radio livestream event back in April and the audio from their entire 17 minute set is now up on Bandcamp. Be sure to check out their debut album (here) if you haven’t yet!


Misery IndexCoffin Up the Nails
Release date: 20 July 2021
This release by death/grind band Misery Index isn’t a proper album but a collection of covers and demo versions of other songs scattered among b-sides and such of previous releases. The Bolt Thrower and Sepultura covers are worth the price of admission alone though!


Spiral GraveLegacy of the Anointed
Release date: 16 July 2021
When Iron Man founding member Al Morris passed away in 2018 the remaining members of his band regrouped with Willy Rivera of Lord to form Spiral Grave. This is the doom band’s debut full length and while it has a freshness to it you still get that classic Maryland doom metal sound too.


Blunt Horse / Grilth – split
Release date: 16 July 2021
Blunt Horse is a proggy sludge band from DC and this split with Grilth (who are from upstate New York) includes three tracks of the band showing their wide range but always keeping it weird.


UnendlichParadox of a Broken World
Release date: 9 July 2021
Unendlich is a local one man black metal band that plays in a more aggressive style of the genre. This fourth full length album is the band’s first since the pandemic took hold in early 2020 and it was worth the wait!


Honey Spreader / Reeking Cross – split
Release date: 2 July 2021
Honey Spreader is a harsh noise duo consisting of Blake Harrison (Pig Destroyer, Zealot R.I.P.) and Alex Cha. This split with Reeking Cross, who is a more powerviolence/grind style band, is short but brutal and I think the Honey Spreader song titled “Cement Mixer of Emotion” sums up this release pretty well.

Bonus tracks! Here’s a couple of upcoming releases by local bands that you can preorder on Bandcamp right now.


Zealot R.I.P.The Extinction of You
Release date: 10 September 2021
Guitarist Mick Schleibaum (Darkest Hour), Blake Harrison (Pig Destroyer) and Jason Hamacher (Frodus) make up the core of Zealot R.I.P. which has a sound somewhere between DC hardcore and Entombed. This is their debut EP and it is sure to be a rager!


Full of HellGarden of Burning Apparitions
Release date: 1 October 2021
Ocean City based grind band Full of Hell have been getting more and more experimental with each release while keeping the heavy on full blast. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this upcoming release this fall.

New Metal Embassy episode about overcoming the murder of a band member

On this episode Metal Chris interviews Rodrigo Salguero of the Salvadorian death/thrash metal band Apes of God. The band’s vocalist was murdered on stage during a performance in 2019 and Rodrigo explains how the band managed to overcome this tragedy and continue on, even recording a new full length album that was just released in April. For some reason this story was never really covered much in the English press, until now!

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). We’re on Bandcamp now too!

Metal Embassy – 007 – Apes of God (El Salvador)

Metal Chris’ favorite death metal albums of 2020

It’s the end of the year so it’s time for my end of year album lists! I’m posting several lists, each for a different subgenre/category, and ordered by release date instead of ranking them. 2020 has been a unique year with unique challenges, to say the least, and I fully expect that to be reflected in my lists. This death metal list is my third of these lists and you can find my black metal list here and my stoner and doom list here.

Black CurseEndless Wound
Released on 2 April 2020 by Sepulchral Voice Records
I guess you could call Black Curse a Denver based “super group” since the band members are from bands like Blood Incantation, Khemmis, Primitive Man and Spectral Voice, but honestly they don’t sound like any of those bands. This blackened death is brutality combined with some great songwriting that keeps it from getting monotonous and boring.

Funeral LeechDeath Meditation
Released 17 April 2020 by Carbonized Records
This debut full length from New York City based Funeral Leech takes that creeping cavernous death metal sound of bands like Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold and many others but slows it way down creating a death/doom sound with a big emphasis on the doom. Perfect music to listen to while relaxing after a long day of digging graves.

Ripped to Shreds – 亂 (Luan)
Released 17 April 2020 by Pulverised Records
Ripped to Shreds is based out of both California and Taiwan as band leader Andrew Lee has different line ups in each location. They play a death metal that has a strong Bay Area thrash element to it that keeps things both fun and brutal as Lee shreds away.

UlcerateStare into Death and Be Still
Released on 24 April 2020 by Debemur Morti Productions
The new Ulcerate has appeared on many year end lists and while I debated adding the newest Cytotoxin album as the tech-death entry on this year’s list, I simply couldn’t ignore just how killer this new direction for Ulcerate is. They have streamlined their sound to keep the heaviness intact while still giving (arguably the best drummer in metal) Jamie Saint Merat plenty of room to show off. Despite being an hour long Stare into Death and Be Still somehow manages to always end too soon.

DehumanautDust in the Giant’s Hand
Self-released on 21 May 2020
This is probably the most fun album on this list. Guitarist Katy Montgomerie has packed this album full of catchy riffs that are held together by an underlying groove that never comes across cheesy. I really can’t wait to see what this three piece from England does next after this killer debut.

BattlemasterGhastly, Graven & Grimoireless
Released on 26 June 2020 by Forcefield Records
Richmond’s Battlemaster is obsessed with the most brutal parts of combat in Dungeons & Dragons and their first release in five years is no different. The riffs are as catchy as ever but what is different is the production on this album is a lot better than their previous. This is a perfect album to play your favorite RPG to.

UndeathLesions of a Different Kind
Released 23 October 2020 by Prosthetic Records
Undeath from Rochester, New York, released one hell of a slamming death metal album here. Undeath’s debut full length blends elements of modern cavernous death metal with old school NYDM style grooves and perfectly balances those sounds.

Of Feather and BoneSulfuric Disintegration
Released 13 November 2020 by Profound Lore Records
This is the most brutal release on this list! High energy, intense and almost relentless pummeling best describe this third release by this Denver band. They’ve stepped up their game on Sulfuric Disintegration so if you’re into death metal (and why else would you be reading this post if you aren’t?) then don’t sleep on this one!

Glorious DepravityAgeless Violence
Released 27 November 2020 by Translation Loss Records
Based out of Brooklyn and featuring members of bands like Mutilation Rites, Woe and Pyrrhon, you knew Glorious Depravity was going to get some attention. Ageless Violence lives up to expectations and I’d dare say even exceeds them. The album is packed with sick riffs and some of the most mental lyrics on this entire list.

UndergangAldrig i livet
Released 4 December 2020 by Dark Descent Records
Danish death metal band Undergang returns with another filthy album of down tuned riffs and those infectious rhythms they have made a name for themselves doing. There’s nothing too unusual about this release compared to their earlier albums, but they’re perfecting that death metal from the sewer sound more and more with each release.

Darkest Hour benefit for the Black Cat

When the COVID-19 pandemic came to town in March it shut down all of the area’s live shows, including metal shows. However at 7pm this Saturday, September 26th, Darkest Hour will be streaming a performance that was just recorded at the Black Cat! The show itself won’t be live because there are many guest performers involved who had to be recorded playing from their own locations since it isn’t safe to fly them in right now. However there will be a live chat during the stream where fans can interact with the band and guest musicians in real time as everyone watches the stream. The audio has also been professionally mixed and mastered so the sound quality will be closer in quality to a live album than a regular livestream. On top of all that, everyone that buys a ticket will get an invite to the virtual afterparty on Zoom with Darkest Hour members and some of special guests after the performance ends!

Tickets to watch the stream (which includes access to the Zoom afterparty) are available from Veeps.com (here) for $10 or at the same link you can buy a bundle that comes with an exclusive shirt (shown below) made just for this performance for $35.

I spoke with Darkest Hour guitarist and founding member Mike Schleibaum and he told me that this event ties in with the band’s 25th anniversary (which was on Wednesday, 9/23). Along with some of the band’s most popular songs, the setlist will include some of their oldest songs performed with guest appearances by former band members. Other performing guests include Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves, God Forbid), Mark Heylmun (Suicide Silence), Buz McGrath (Unearth), Fella Di Cicco (Dreamshade) and more! Mike Schleibaum went on to say, “all of the Darkest Hour parts were shot on the Black Cat stage with multiple cameras.” When pressed about exactly how much of the ticket price went to the venue, Mike said, “100% of ticket sales go to the Black Cat. So when you buy a $10 ticket they get all of the $10. There’s also going to be a donation feature while the performance is streaming so people watching can also donate that way.”

This isn’t a live stream but it sounds like they’ve really upped the production value for this using multiple cameras, top notch sound quality and out of area guest musicians to make this closer to something you’d see on a band’s live DVD release. And while I’ve watch several band live streams they do kind of all seem like you’re just watching a rehearsal with poor sound quality. This event sounds like a great way to do something bigger for the fans, celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary, and donate to one of Washington DC’s live music institutions. If you can’t watch it when it starts or you just want to replay the show, a ticket purchase will grant you access to it for 24 hours. You can check the event’s Facebook page here for info and once again you can get tickets here.

The Veeps stream layout with the chat shown on the right

Here’s some videos Darkest Hour put out that you can get even more info from:

Metal Chris’ Favorite Death Metal Albums of 2019

I made a list of my favorite black metal albums of 2019 (here) and a doom/stoner list (here) but right now I’m focused on the brutal, gory and morbid world of death metal in 2019! The albums are not ranked so they’re in order of release date. They’re not meant to be “the best albums of the year” but they are my personal favorites of the year, the ones I kept coming back to listen to again and again.

MusmahhuReign of the Odious
Released January 11, 2019 by Iron Bonehead Productions
Musmahhu is a Swedish death metal band but don’t think they’re some throwback using an HM-2 pedal to no end. Musmahhu uses many elements of black metal but they aren’t a typical blackened death metal band like Behemoth either. Their aggression is so high that despite the black metal elements this is still firmly a death metal album. Fans of Deicide and Belphegor will like the evil sounding death metal on Reign of the Odious.

EquipoiseDemiurgus
Released March 8, 2019 by The Artisan Era
Pittsburgh based Equipoise is the proggy/tech death entry on this list. The band been called a “super group” for including members of bands like Hate Eternal and Beyond Creation but pedigree aside this is some pretty solid tech death. Songs are composed in a way that is complex yet fairly easy to follow, making this release more palatable than similar bands with great technical skill but no ability to compose a proper song. The flamenco elements are unexpected but somehow work as well!

Venom PrisonSamsara
Released March 15, 2019 by Prosthetic Records
The Welsh band Venom Prison has been making waves in the world of death metal, a genre often focused on gory depictions of violence toward women, by taking a feminist approach to it without losing the anger. Vocalist Larissa Stupar’s lyrics in the song “Implementing the Metaphysics of Morals” are perfect example, full of spite for infamous rapist Brock Turner and his light sentence, showing again that the rage of death metal can be used for more than just slasher film style shock.

NucleusEntity
Released April 13, 2019 by Unspeakable Axe Records
Nucleus is a death metal band from Chicago that takes the sci-fi vibe from thrash bands like Vektor and Voivod and severely ups the brutality. This isn’t death/thrash, this is straight up death metal but with that eerie vibe of being lost in the outer reaches of space. Nucleus has good amount of technical skill and dynamic songwriting to keep it interesting throughout Entity.

Immortal BirdThrive On Neglect
Released July 5, 2019 by 20 Buck Spin
The second band on this list from Chicago, and second with a female vocalist, Immortal Bird released their best album yet this year in Thrive On Neglect. There’s a lot of aggression coupled with an underlying tension throughout the album while the band also blends elements of genres far outside of death metal. They aren’t following any trends, they’re just making unique, solid death metal songs with so much variation you will keep discovering new details upon repeat listens.

Tomb MoldPlanetary Clairvoyance
Released July 19, 2019 by 20 Buck Spin
This is the third Tomb Mold full length in 3 years and you may be getting tired of seeing the Toronto based cavernous death metal band appearing on year end lists but their incredible streak of releasing top notch material shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This time around it’s basically Tomb Mold In Space and while the sci-fi theme has definitely become a major trend in death metal lately, these songs are still full of all that raw aggression, nasty guitar tone and memorable riffage Tomb Mold is known for.

SanguisugaboggPornographic Seizures
Released July 26, 2019 by Maggot Stomp
Maggot Stomp has certainly become a trendy record label in the world of ugly, underground death metal and this 4 song demo that is only about 11 minutes long was their best release of 2019. There’s not a lot of build up on a release this short, it’s very straight to the point and full of some of the most ignorant caveman death metal riffs you’ve ever heard, combined with a psychedelic haze you’d expect of a band more like Electric Wizard. This release is fun as hell to listen to and even more fun to mosh to.

01101111011101100110111001101001SDSS J0333​+​0651
Released August 9, 2019 by Amputated Vein Records
01101111011101100110111001101001, also known as Ovni, (which is Spanish for UFO and what their name means when converted from binary code to ASCII) is obsessed with two things, aliens and brutal slam riffs. The album SDSS J0333​+​0651 is named for a distant galaxy cluster and the songs are all technical name designations for various stars, galaxies and other objects in outer space. The Argentinian band is known to dress up as aliens on stage too. The songs are sick and the album is only 23 minutes long, short enough that your interest doesn’t wane before it closes with a quote from Stephen Hawking.

Cerebral RotOdious Descent Into Decay
Released August 16, 2019 by 20 Buck Spin
Slimy, festering and rancid are all good descriptions of this surprise instant classic by Seattle based Cerebral Rot. This is death metal from the sewer in its purist form but what makes it special is just how many hooks they crammed into this release. The riffs are catchy and distinct from each other, yet keeping that beautifully repulsive sound constant throughout. This album is as fun as a splash fight in a septic tank!

MortiferumDisgorged from Psychotic Depths
Released October 11, 2019 by Profound Lore Records
Fans of that creeping death/doom pioneered by Incantation are going to absolutely love this debut album by Olympia, Washington, based Mortiferum. They have faster blasting segments that are contrasted perfectly with the almost funeral doom slow segments that will leave you feeling completely crushed under their weight. There’s a lot of bands attempting this style of death metal these days but nobody did it better in 2019 than Mortiferum.

Unfathomable RuinationEnraged & Unbound
Released November 22, 2019 by Willowtip Records
The London, England based Unfathomable Ruination put out one hell of an album this year in Enraged & Unbound. Relentless pacing and brutal intensity lay the foundation that the abrasive time changes and killer riffs that are built on. Fans of Psycroptic, Origin and old school Cryptopsy are going to love peeling the layers back with repeated listens of this album.

Blood IncantationHidden History of the Human Race
Released November 22, 2019 by Dark Descent Records
This was certainly the most hyped death metal release this year, it was even given Decibel magazine’s top spot on their list of 2019’s best albums. I’m not sure I’d go that far but it really is a great album, though I think I like their debut a bit better still. Regardless, the Denver based band has put out another album weaving crushingly heavy riffs with complex songwriting and this is in no way a sophomore slump release. Plus we got some cute Baby Yoda memes from that album cover art.

Zealot R.I.P. beer release show

Extinction Of Brew

Just a quick post today but I wanted to remind everyone that this Saturday, November 23rd, at Haydee’s in Mt. Pleasant, there’s a killer show with Zealot R.I.P. (featuring members of Pig Destroyer and Darkest Hour), the Loud Boyz (wild party punk rock) and Neolithic (death/grind from Baltimore). That’s a great local metal show for sure but what makes this one special is that Champion Brewing will be releasing their Extinction Of Brew lager, the official beer for Zealot R.I.P.! That’s the tentacley can art up above, and you can see the show flyer below. More info is available at the show’s Facebook event page here.

The venue is a Mexican restaurant on Mt. Pleasant Street, basically just across the street from The Raven bar. It’s walking distance from the Columbia Heights metro station. And remember that the vocalist for Neolithic is Evan Harting, one of the guys that runs Maryland Deathfest. Be sure to get there early so you can ask him why your band wasn’t invited to play Maryland Deathfest, I hear he loves that. But seriously, this is a great line up from top to bottom and it’s always cool when a local metal band gets their own beer. Be sure to stream some tunes to check the bands out at the bottom of this post.

Zealot RIP beer release show