Written by Kyle Messick

Here’s what I’ve been jamming over the last week, descriptions below!

Much love to Caligari Records for a few of these!

Deified Shreds – Overcoming the Fractal Deception (2021). This death metal EP out of Greece is easily one of my favorite releases of last year. There’s some serious early Sinister worship going on here, with some early US death metal influences thrown in too, and it absolutely rules.

Hexenhaus – A Tribute to Insanity (1988). Before Morbid Angel used Belgian artist Jean Delville’s 1894 painting “The Treasures of Satan” for their 1991 sophomore effort, Blessed are the Sick, Sweden’s Hexenhaus used it for their debut album. This is some great thrash metal with harsh vocals that make it a comfortable listen to death thrash fans. The songs are well constructed throughout, which should come as little surprise considering that guitarist Mike Wead also played in King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, and Candlemass. The solos are amazing too.

Excuse – Prophets from the Occultic Cosmos (2019). This is a great speed/thrash metal debut out of Finland. At times they sound like blackened Iron Maiden, at other times, a more melodeath Venom. It’s all really great stuff with some fantastic guitar playing. For those that enjoy more epic songs, the final jam on this album is over ten minutes in length.

Rude – Outer Reaches (2021). Early Pestilence and Asphyx vibes make the new EP from US death metallers Rude one that is simultaneously fresh and nostalgic. There are some big grooves on here. Two of out of the six tracks on here are instrumental, but they’re still pretty sick songs that add a lot to the album, reminding more of classic death metal instrumentals like ‘From Skin to Liquid’ more so than filler.

Cryptum – Vile Emergence (2022). After a great demo on Sewer Rot Records, Cryptum have returned with their debut EP on Caligari. These Illinois upstarts play great, raw death metal in the old style with plenty of variety. It’s killer, engaging stuff that is one of the best releases so far this year.

Shrieking Demons – Diabolical Regurgitations (2021). Italy’s Shrieking Demons play a style of death metal that reminds me a lot of stoner doom. They use tons of big, mid-paced to slow riffs that utilize drawn-out chords to great effect. It’s all about getting into each riff and just vibing. The great leadwork throughout helps the riding of each riff not get overly stale before they jump into the next passage. For those Cancer Spreading fans out there, Gabriele Rossi is the vocalist on this too.

Molder – Sonic Purulence (2018-2021). This great new compilation from Molder from Illinois includes a number of deep cuts that span demos, splits, and compilation tracks. It’s raw, catchy, old school death with a great, balanced live-sounding mixes.

Garbage Disposal – Reunion Carbide (1994-1999). This is some wild, weird, and intense brutal death out of the Czech Republic. It all makes sense when you realize the guitarist/frontman is from Intervalle Bizzarre and the drummer is from Lykathea Aflame, two of my favorite bands ever that always pushed the boundaries of extreme music. The prominence of the bass on this is awesome too.  

Apostle of Solitude – Until the Darkness Goes (2021). Apostle of Solitude are heroes in my home state of Indiana. They’re one of the best and most consistent modern doom metal bands that exist. This is traditional doom of the clean vocal variety, so you won’t find any gutturals here, but you will find plenty of soul-crushing sorrow. Cheers to the band for signing this for me!

Monstrosity – Enslaving the Masses (1990-1994). This compilation from the Floridian death metal masters includes alternate Imperial Doom mixes, demos, and live recordings. Corpsegrinder sounds especially fierce on these early Monstrosity recordings. There’s a ton of quality stuff on here that is well worth spinning.

Obtruncation – Sanctum Disruption, Sphere of the Rotting (1991-1992). Although the debut of this death metal band from The Netherlands was a mixed bag, this demo collection of the stuff they released prior is great stuff. The lofi mix just adds to how feral and angry the Sanctum Disruption demo sounds. The Sphere of the Rotting demo is thicker but doesn’t win me over as easily. They slowed it down a bit on that one, whereas Sanctum sounded almost blackened and feral.     

Vulgar Degenerate – My Worst Enemy (2000). This was the only full length that this German band put out, despite being around for seven years prior. It’s kind of weird, because although it is unquestionably death metal, a lot of the riffs are straight-up rock and roll. It doesn’t sound like Entombed or Xysma, rather, this is pretty old school sounding death with a lot of riffs, leads, and solos that take clear inspiration from rock. It’s pretty cool and something different.

Just Before Dawn – On The History of Destruction (2017). / Tides of Blood (2018) / An Army at Dawn (2020). Sometimes you just want to listen to Bolt Thrower worship, and that’s okay. Sweden’s Just Before Dawn will check that box for you.