Friday, May 3, 2024

Bandcamp Friday Picks [May 2024]

Today is the 40th Bandcamp Friday, so here's an extra-large selection of new and upcoming releases to filthy lucre. Support independent artists and labels!

With Tzompantli, Xibalba guitarist Brian Ortiz gets to indulge his interests in Mesoamerican culture and doomy death metal. The band's second album Beating The Drums Of Ancestral Force layers traditional pre-Columbian percussion under huge riffs and eerie melodies.

With Altar of Gore, New Jersey's Tom Warrior (formerly of DoC faves Deathfortress) takes a deep dive into the muck and filth of early death metal. Litanies of the Unceasing Agonies, the project's second full-length, is a dingy throwback to the genre's unvarnished primordial days, when reverb was about all the production you could hope for.

Get out the beans and toast for UNEARTHLY RITES and their crusty style of death metal. The chunky riffs on their debut full-length Ecdysis hearken back to the more measured approach of British bands like Bolt Thrower and Benediction.

Chennai's Moral Putrefaction represent a burgeoning Indian scene - one that only recently started getting attention from the wider metal world. Their eponymous debut shows that the band have spent time at the Immolation school for churning riffs.

Ritalin was invented for bands like Japan's Impending Annihilation. The two songs on Idiopathic Osteonecrosis of the Femoral Head will make your head spin with their frenetic speed and constant tempo changes, packing a lot into the three and a half minute run time.

Apparently a dozen other death, doom, and black metal bands weren't enough for Danish multi-instrumentalist Michael Huhle, who gets his old school jollies out with MORBID GRAVE. Originally released in 2022, The Slime Crawlers will be reissued by HPGD with the band's previous EP Pandemic Mutations for close to an hour of filth and rot.

Very few black metal bands have embodied the Satanic tenet of "non-serviam" like Rotting Christ; in their 35 year career, they've rarely catered to anyone else's notions of what the style should be, and cultivated their own doomy, symphonic style that owes as much to Christian Death as it does to Celtic Frost.

Canadian veterans The Blood of Christ are back with a new EP, which serves as a teaser for their upcoming full-length. The three songs on The Sworn Trilogy show the band integrating post-punk and goth rock influences into their distinctive mix of blast and melody, which the band has dubbed "epic dark metal". [An interview with BoC is in the works - watch this space.]

Over a decade ago, Poland's Blaze of Perdition suffered a touring mishap that resulted in the death of one of their bandmates; now, they're signed to one of the biggest metal labels in the world. Upharsin, their second album for Metal Blade (and sixth overall), makes the band's veteran status clear with songs that are slow in sections, discordant throughout, and agnostic to anyone else's opinions of what death and black metal should be.

Is the point of "suicidal black metal" to make someone else want to kill themselves? That was my thought when hearing the truly out-there shrieking of Cincinnati's Nobody. Beyond the unhinged vocals, their first album Despair Is Where My Thoughts Swim owes as much to early Katatonia as it does to bands like Beyond Dawn and Ved Buens Ende who used black metal primarily as a vehicle for their own oddball proclivities.

Brucia Records owner Giorgio Barroccu (who is also the mastermind behind the excellent black metal project Derhead) furthers with Ultio. While his label is known for its avant and experimental sensibilities, Cor is a straight-forward black metal affair, importing frigid Scandinavian riffs to his Mediterranean locale.

Raspy vocals aside, Bergen's Vestindien are more black light poster than black metal. Their second album Verdande is a throwback to Seventies space rock and psychedelia, with some cheeky cribs from Diamond Head and Zep thrown in for good measure.

Expect nothing less than ludicrous speed, elite musicianship, and melody from Finland's NIGHT SHALL DRAPE US, the brainchild of Horna drummer Lauri Rytkönen. For the most part a revelry in second wave black metal tropes, Lunatic Choir is at its best when it integrates classic metal melodies into its blistering speed.

If Deadguy's reunion (and subsequent touring) proved anything, it's that the chaotic hardcore scene they helped create 30 years ago isn't just alive, it's more popular than ever. Finnish crew RATS WILL FEAST are further down the family tree, and add more than a touch of post-rock ambience to their songs; but the discordance and throat-shredding vocals on their latest release, Hellhole, shows that style isn't going away anytime soon.

True workhorses of the grindcore/power violence scene, Full of Hell seemingly only take a break from their gruelling tour schedule to release a new album. Coagulated Bliss, their fifth full-length, continues on the path set by the band's collaborations with Merzbow and The Body by mining the terrain between grindcore, sludge, and harsh noise.

Prolific Canadian troublemakers DOPETHRONE have long used their brand of sludge metal (or "slutch" as they refer to it) as a vehicle for subversive humour. BROKE SABBATH, the sixth album in their extremely entertaining discography, is a grimey tribute to trudging riffs and poorly thought out life choices.

New Zealand's reputation for cheeky humour is on full display in the name Borer chose for themselves. Self-effacing puns aside, there's little to laugh at on their full-length debut Bag Seeker which weaves sampled dialogue into the band's suffocating sludge, before veering into Pink Floyd territory on the mammoth closing track.

Italian trio UFOMAMMUT's have spent years honing their own version of psychedelic sludge. Hidden is the second album the band has released since their recent line-up change, and it may be the best album that they've released, packed from beginning to end with memorable riffs and hypnotic grooves.

They may hail from "the black metal capital of Norway", but Bergen's Bismarck head in the opposite direction of the churchburners (presumably) down the street. Their third album Vourukashah pairs gloomy chords with ambient sections that get downright pretty at times.

Every day is halloween, and every year is 1984 for Austin horror punks MoonKill. Their self-titled debut is a rough and tumble post-punk/deathrock throwback that struts like Glen Danzig picking up a box of Count Chocula.