Review of Deathwomb Catechesis by Pseudogod

Band: Pseudogod
Album: Deathwomb Catechesis
Release Date: 24 April 2012
Record Label: KVLT
Performing at Maryland Deathfest XII: 3:40pm Sunday at Edison Lot B

Cover of Deathwomb Catechesis by Pseudogod

Here’s our second album review in our series highlighting some of the less famous, but must see, bands at Maryland Deathfest XII. These reviews feature more background about the bands than our normal album reviews and hopefully they’ll convince you to check these less known acts out at this year’s Deathfest. So read about Pseudogod, the final band added to the Maryland Deathfest XII line up (besides fill-in bands replacing cancellations) and be sure to stream their tracks at the end of the post to hear them for yourself.

The 2014 edition of Maryland Deathfest has no shortage of rare appearances by obscure metal bands from around the world. One of the more exotic bands this year is Pseudogod, a blackened death metal band from Russia. Unlike some of the (relatively) more famous Russian metal bands, such as Arkona and Korrozia Metalla, they don’t originate in the large city of Moscow. Pseudogod’s home is over 700 miles east in a city known as Perm located at the feet of the Ural Mountains. You may never get another chance in your lifetime to see a band from this region. So are they actually worth seeing at Maryland Deathfest? To put it bluntly, I think you’d be a fool to miss them if you’re going to be at Deathfest on Sunday.

Pseudogod was formed in 2004 but they had only released a demo and several splits until their only full length album, Deathwomb Catechesis, was released in 2012. The songs on Deathwomb Catechesis are punishing and exploding with riffs that will surely get the mosh pits at Deathfest moving. The band’s sound is a mix of black and death metal which makes some sense because half of their members come from a raw black metal band named Groth and the others from a brutal death metal band called Act Of God. Pseudogod’s guitar tone is certainly more black metal but the pummeling percussive aggression comes from death metal. The songs are almost relentless in their delivery of blast beats but several songs do have moments where they turn down the intensity and they show their range with slower, simple riffs that keep the setting dark but let you catch your breath. They make the most of these lulls by drawing you in with catchy rhythms only to have you jarred back into submission when the beating suddenly starts again.

The vocals throughout the album are coarse and guttural with thick reverb added to them in studio to make vocalist I.S.K.H.’s voice sound distant and haunting. Lyrically the songs are fairly standard Satanic fare focusing more on the mystical side of things such as prayers for “Malignant spears/To the womb of god!” The lyrics are primarily in English though one song on the album, “Encarnación del mal,” is written entirely in Spanish. You probably wouldn’t even notice this at first because of the growled vocals.

Pseudogod used to wear corpse paint during live performances but they seem to have stopped doing that at some point it appears, however they still wear upside down crosses and lots of leather on stage. Most of the live footage I’ve seen of them is at smaller bars and club venues, their performance at Maryland Deathfest might be one of the biggest stages they’ve ever played on. They go on fairly early Sunday, at 3:40pm on the Edison Lot’s outdoor stage B, but you should make time to catch them because you really don’t want to miss this rare chance to see them perform live.

Azazel:

Encarnación del mal:

The Seraphim Of Ultimate Void (live):

Nile ticket give away

Nile at the Baltimore SoundStage

If you like your death metal tinged with ancient Egyptian history then you don’t want to miss Nile when they play the Baltimore SoundStage on Tuesday, April 15th. And since April 15th is the day everyone’s taxes are due we thought we’d cut you a break by giving a pair of tickets to this show to one of you DCHM fans! To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me which song from Nile’s entire discography (see it here) you want them to play the most! At 5pm EST this Friday, April 11th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets right now for $16.50 from Ticket Fly here.

Now before you think this is just another Nile tour you should know that the band has stated (here) that they will be playing an extended set and will be performing several of their songs for the first time ever in front of a live audience! So tell me, what Nile song do you want to hear them play live at this sure to be epic show? And let’s not forget that while Nile isn’t touring with anyone there will be killer sets by three local bands: Metanium, March To Victory and Exemptus. Check out these classic Nile tunes and leave a comment telling me which Nile song you’d like to hear them play at this show!

Nile – Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame

Nile – Lashed To The Slave Stick

Nile – Black Seeds Of Vengeance

Metal Show Of The Week: Obliteration

Who? Obliteration
When? Thursday, March 20th
Where? Metro Gallery (map) in Baltimore
How much? $14 cash at the door or $14.50 from Mission Tix

This week’s pick for Metal Show Of The Week goes to a gig up in Baltimore but if you’re down in DC or NoVA it’s definitely worth driving up for, even on a week night, and I’ll explain why. The headliner is a death metal band from Norway called Obliteration. They’re playing a string of shows while they’re in the US for SXSW and the Metro Gallery in Baltimore is going to be their only stop in our area. The chance to catch these guys live in the US is pretty rare, you might never get to see them on this side of the ocean ever again. And while Obliteration is from Norway they’re straight up death metal, not black metal, and not the breakdown laden slam-core style of death metal that has become so popular of late. No, Obliteration has an old school sound that isn’t far off from early recordings by bands like Darkthrone and Sepultura. Their raw, aggressive sound is surprisingly clean on their third album, Black Death Horizon, which was released by Relapse Records late last year. You can stream the entire album on Bandcamp here or just scroll down to the end of this post to check out the second track, “Goat Skull Crown.”

There’s more than just a rare chance to see a killer Norwegian death metal band in their prime at this show though. Also playing will be Northless, a heavy sludge band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that has a dark, foreboding sound not far off from bands like Rwake and Czar. They aren’t on tour with Obliteration, we’re just lucky that they’re both playing Baltimore the same night and their shows were combined. And let’s not forget the killer locals on this show including DC’s Ilsa, a crusty death/doom band that is heavy as fuck and always leaves the audience floored by the end of their sets. Baltimore’s own Cemetery Piss brings their blackened thrash to the stage as well and the opening band will be Putrisect, a death metal band from Baltimore. This is one hell of an all ages bill for under $15 at a venue with good sound and a solid beer selection too. Still not convinced? Then jam out to the following tunes by the bands playing and get ready to head out to the Metro Gallery this Thursday!

Obliteration – Goat Skull Crown:

Northless – Communion:

Ilsa – Frostthrower:

Cemetery Piss – Such The Vulture’s Love

Suffocation ticket give away

Suffocation at Metro Gallery

Death metal masters Suffocation are playing at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on Saturday, February 22nd and DCHM is giving you a chance at a free pair of tickets to the show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite death metal band is. Old or new, even broken up death metal bands count. At 5pm EST this Friday, February 21st, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $23.50 here.

Suffocation completely disrupted the world of death metal in 1991 when they released their classic debut album, Effigy Of The Forgotten. The album raised the bar on technicality in death metal while still being extremely brutal, and the band has never relented since then. This show is a special one off for Suffocation, not part of a tour, so they could end up playing almost anything from their intense back catalog. There’s also several locals on this show including Strong Intention, a band somewhere between thrash, grind and hardcore punk, as well as Visceral Disgorge, who always bring brutal slam-death beat downs. Other support acts include Demiz, March To Victory, Limb By Limb and Metanium, a band whose latest album was reviewed on DCHM here. Now check out these killer tunes by bands playing the show and tell me what your favorite death metal band is in the comments!

Suffocation – Infecting The Crypts

Suffocation – As Grace Descends

Strong Intention – 3rd Space Gorilla Generator

Visceral Disgorge – Skullfucking Neonatal Necrosis

Review of Galaxia Infinitum by Grethor

Band: Grethor
Album: Galaxia Infinitum
Release Date: 16 August 2013
Buy from Bandcamp for $4: Here

Cover of Galaxia Infinitum by Grethor

Grimy Grant is back with another album review for DCHeavyMetal.com. This time he’s reviewing the new EP by Northern Virginia death metal band Grethor. Give it a read and be sure to give a listen to one of the songs at the bottom of this post.

Back in college, I took a survey course in Science Fiction. The professor, being an admittedly avid weirdo and Sci-Fi geek, demonstrated how you can split the genre of Sci-Fi into two groups: Star Wars-esque Sci-Fi and Star Trek-esque Sci-Fi. Star Wars refers to all the campy, unbelievable stories that hold only a little grip on reality (Think Predator, Stargate, or any SyFy channel original movie). Star Trek, on the other hand, was a show dedicated to “real” science, even if it meant fringe science. In other words, everything in “hard” Sci-Fi can be defended or explained by your physicist friends. Hard Sci-Fi, then, can be understood to worship logical reasoning above everything else.

My point is, Grethor is Star Trek. Even the name “Grethor” refers to the Star Trek Universe: it’s the Klingon word for Hell (i.e. Gre’Thor). Their new five-track EP, Galaxia Infinitum, solidifies their footing in the science fiction world but also proves that hard sci-fi can be curiously eerie and terrifying at the same time. Space by itself is a frightening concept as brought to mind in the album’s intro where we hear the astrophysicist Neil Dygrasse Tyson talking about “the importance of looking up”:

“Looking up … is the most humbling thing you can do … to contemplate the cosmos”

This is soon followed by the sounds of a spaceship crashing and exploding followed by the roars of some futuristic animal ready to tear us apart. It felt as if Grethor wanted me to learn a bit about the importance of physics and then leave me in the bleak yet gorgeous void as shown on the album art.

That sense of being lost didn’t last long. The first song, “Anomoly X”, set the tone and the message for the rest of the album in my mind. After a slow intro, singer Marcus Lawrence preaches the word of astronomy: “We look to the skies; Inward we look for the vastness of connection”. Marcus begs us to give up the hope of “false exhalations” that mankind comes from godhood. We are simple creatures making vague notions of what is real until we “choose the gift of enlightenment” and become truly free in knowing our part in the universe. It’s definitely a humbling message that repeats back the quote from the intro.

Good death metal often looks under the skin directly into the vilest, goriest, most unspeakable parts of humanity. In Galaxia humans are ugliest when they reject science. “Hypatia,” the fourth track on the album, gives this idea a direct metaphor. One of the first recorded women in science, Hypatia lived during the Roman empire and established many ground-breaking facts about the universe and the way our solar system is constructed. That was up until a group of Christians raped and tore her apart in the streets for publicizing her discoveries. Grethor puts it into lyrics with:

“Men will kill to preserve conformity/ … Men see no profit in peace/For the more rational are weak/In the eyes of their priests”

The point that comes across here in the lyrics is black and white. That Grethor is talking about how “The inferiority of self” coming from learning about the cosmos – or anything bigger than us – causes some in society to take devastating action – even if it’s against the actual greater good. Or as it is poetically growled in the song: “Men arrogantly justify killing one/Who seeks truth, and they call it heresy”.

Guitarists Robert Lute, Andy McComas, and bassist Nick Rothe don’t flex a lot of guitar muscle in this album. Instead, they allow the sound to swell and compress over and over again – going from a black metal-style harmony to crushing, quickened riffs. “Anomoly X” starts with a beautiful and steady rhythm that then dissolves into a slow guitar melody. It made me think back to the cover art featuring the nebula and stars colliding together. Everything in the song “Anomoly X” crashes yet seemingly blends together, which was hard to get into at first but gets me more and more hooked after each listen. “Tenebrous” and “Hypatia” feature elements that I love about the album: symphonic harmony that starts after the end of the song and provides a kind of psychotic break. It serves as a strange pause between “Tenebrous” and the pounding rhythm of “Hypatia”.

Galaxia does suffer from it’s technical issues. It’s mentioned in the liner notes that come with the album that all parts of the album except the last song were mixed in Maryland, while the final song, “Alternate Lexicon,” was done in Virginia. However it happened, the mix on “Anomoly X” as well as “Tenebrous”, seems way too rough. At some points in “Anomoly X” the guitars almost seem to be coming from the back of the room whilst Lawrence is jamming his voice straight into the mic. I’m still able to get into the song but the levels and rough edges of the mix tend to get in the way of really enjoying it sometimes. The mix gets significantly better in “Hypatia”, where the vocals mix well with the rest of the band, coming to the fore right at the moment of the breakdown. As a finale “Alternate Lexicon” weaves together some beautiful guitar work with amazing drums from Anthony Rouse, despite the difference in moving locations for recording. Maybe this all is a result of something that happened organically in the sound mixing booth, but the final product is rough at the beginning which could turn some people off from listening to the rest.

Science fiction is about the fear not only of our future but our present. Galaxia Infinitum dazzles with moments of echoing guitars, drums, and robot voices – all things both future and present. The digital album came with a lyrics sheet of the liner notes, which is something I appreciated. Grethor’s lyrics in this album create a world beyond the expansive noise – something that is better read sometimes than heard. Despite the rough edges, and there are some rough parts, there is a lot of story and great points brought out. Interestingly, I could say the same for Star Trek: rough around the edges but chock full of deadly surprises and decent science worship. But there is no living long and prospering in Galaxia Infinitum; just sharp, precise death metal that chills the soul.

Death ticket give away

Death To All at the Fillmore Silver Spring

“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

–Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

Today is April 15th, the dreaded day taxes are due and along with taxes comes the certainty of death. I’d like to make certain that one of you DCHeavyMetal.com readers gets the chance to experience Death when they come to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, April 26th! This incarnation of the band will be playing songs from the first four Death albums, Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, Spiritual Healing and Human.
To enter this contest leave a comment on this post telling me which Death song from any of those four albums you want to hear them play the most at this show. You can click their names to see their track listings if you need a refresher. At 5pm EST on Friday, April 19th I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win a free pair of tickets to this show. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you when you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If the contest is over when you read this or you simply can’t wait to find out if you win the contest you can buy tickets from Live Nation for $28 here.

The Death To All Tour is a tribute to the the life and music of Chuck Schuldiner, lead guitarist and vocalist of the highly influential band Death. This version of the band is made up of former Death Human-era members Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert (both are members of Cynic) and Steve DiGiorgio (of Sadus and countless other bands). The vocals will be performed by Max Phelps of the Maryland based band Exist. There will probably be some surprise guests who come out for a song or two as well. They will be performing only material from the first four Death albums on this tour so this might be your last chance to ever hear some of those old classics from the early albums played live. In addition, part of the proceeds will be going to benefit Sweet Relief, which is a foundation that helps musicians that are struggling with health issues and their costs. The opening band is going to be Anciients, a new band from Vancouver who just put out their debut full length album, Heart Of Oak, this month. Now listen to some classic Death songs below, along with a new track from openers Anciients, as you decide which song you want to pick to enter the contest. Good luck and keep it heavy everyone!

Death – Zombie Ritual – 1987 from Scream Bloody Gore

Death – Pull The Plug – 1988 from Leprosy

Death – Suicide Machine – 1991 from Human

Anciients – Giants – 2013 from Heart Of Oak

Cannibal Corpse Ticket Give Away

Cannibal Corpse is one of the most infamous death metal bands in history and this Saturday, the 1st of December, they will be playing at the Rock And Roll Hotel in Washington DC! Because this show is going to be absolutely brutal DCHeavyMetal.com is going to give away a free pair of Cannibal Corpse at the Rock & Roll Hoteltickets to one of you readers. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment at the end of this post telling me which Cannibal Corpse song is your favorite (you can see their discography here, just click on an album to see the songs on it). Cannibal Corpse is known for having some of the most gory, disgusting, violent and downright offensive song titles in all of metal so I hope to see some interesting entries! On Friday, November 30th at 5pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the free pair of tickets to the show. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours then I’ll pick another winner to get the tickets. Please don’t enter if you cannot attend. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If you simply can’t wait to see if you win the contest you can get tickets from Ticket Alternative for $20 here.

Cannibal Corpse originally formed in Buffalo, New York, but moved to Tampa, Florida to join in the growing death metal scene there. They’ve long been a center of controversy with their brutal lyrics and album covers, setting the bar of shock for countless death metal bands to strive to match. While metal fans tend to look at them, and death metal in general, as the musical equivalent of splatter horror films, politicians like Bob Dole and Joe Lieberman have tried to censor the band and in the 90s Germany and Australia both actually banned their albums from being sold. Despite this the band still continues on and their music has actually gotten faster and more brutal over the years, including on their latest release, Torture, which was released in March of this year. Also on this tour is Misery Index. The band was formed when several members of Dying Fetus left that band however only Jason Netherton remains from the Fetus days. The band has carved out its own sound since then and is one of the best live metal bands you’ll ever see, they absolutely destroy audiences live! Hour Of Penance is an Italian death metal band that is pretty similar in sound to Behemoth actually. Needless to say, they’re pretty damn brutal and should be a perfect opener for this show. You can listen to each of the bands playing in the videos I posted below while you decide which song you want to enter with. Keep it brutal everyone, cause this concert definitely will!

Cannibal Corpse – Encased In Concrete

Misery Index – The Spectator

Hour Of Penance – Sedition Through Scorn