The year 2017 is proving to be very good for Death Metal. There have been a number of excellent releases so far both from heavy metal veterans and a couple of newcomers in the genre.
Let’s start with a quick chart of the Top Ten Death Metal albums of the year (so far):
- God Dethroned: The World Ablaze
- Memoriam: For the Fallen
- Vallenfyre: Fear Those Who Fear Him
- Infernäl Mäjesty: No God
- Novembers Doom: Hamartia
- The Project Hate MCMXCIX: Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures
- Obituary: S/T
- Ashes Of Mankind: A Scene In Hell
- King of Asgard: Taudr
- Evocation: The Shadow Archetype
A number of tracks from the above albums have been used to populate a new mixtape (Death by Manipulation) which is accessible through the following widget. A commentary of the selected playlist is provided in the following.
The first band to be included in the playlist is the Swedish death-metal quintet Evocation. The band released on last March the the fifth long play of their career, which they named The Shadow Archetype. Since the band reunited in 2005, th guys from Borås found evident difficulties in crafting a specific and unique recipe and their previous works were somehow replicating the sound of other Death metal icons. After years of affination and tuning their onw style, this last album is finally showing the band with a more characteristic and consolidated style, that’s very nice to hear and which reaches a few emotional peaks sparse inside the album. I’ve selected for the playlist the first two tracks of the album, namely the instrumental intro Into Ruins and the beautiful Condemned to the Grave, which is maybe one of the best songs of the entire disc.
An album that I was wating with high expectation is Fear Those Who Fear Him by UK death metal supergroup Vallenfyre. The group was founded seven years ago by Paradise’s Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh as a tribute of his father deaths. The band is today a trio and features Scottish My Dying Bride’s guitarist Hamish Glencross and Paradise’s lost session drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (the group also includes Sam Wallace and Chris Casket who play bass and guitar in the live gigs). Vallenfyre provides the talented Gregor Mackintos with the possibility to challenge himself with different sounds and atmospheres with respect to his band of choice (the gothic masters Paradise Lost), and today his project arrived to the third studio album, a result that probably was not so out of the question 6 years ago, i.e. when the first (beautiful) album came out from the band (A Fragile King). The songs I’ve selected from the latest Fear Those Who Fear Him are the tracks named Messiah and Degeneration. You will hear how the album contains very nice and enjoyable pieces of death metal. Expectations have been confirmed, definitely.
The following 2 tracks of the compliation come from the Canadian metal veterans Infernäl Mäjesty, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary but – as a matter of fact – have released only 4 full lenght in their career. No God, the fourth and last album from the band, interrupts a period of silence of 13 years. As expected after such long period of silence, the band went through some lineup changes before the new work was recorded. Despite the premises, however, the album is strong and solid and shows the Canadians playing an excellent blend of death and thrash with no fear of putting vibrant melodies within the riffes. The songs I’ve selected for the compilation are Enter The World Of The Undead and In God You Trust, the latter appearing already in a number of metal compilations appeared recently on this site.
The central part of the mixtape is focused on one of the most recent nice surprises in metal, which is the debut work from Baltimore’s death/thrash trio Ashes of Mankind. The album, named A Scene in Hell, was released on early May 2017 and contains 8 devastating tracks of fierce death metal, occasionally embellished by a few thrash cavalcades. The sound that the guys gave to this record is dirty, gnashing and without concessions to the violence of their musical impact. From a musical point of view their style is somehow resembling the first works by Carcass, but with a definitely more complex architecture of the songs. A very good debut album, that’s a band to track. The songs that appear in the playlist are Mask of Lies and Downfall, but many other songs of the album could have been included in the mixtape.
I feel that in the recent times, here in this blog, I have almost ignored what remains as one of the greatest death metal bands ever. I’m talking of Obituary, the living metal legends from Florida, who have returned this year with their self-titled 10th studio album. The last few years have been intense enough for the band. In a bunch of years they have been involved in the release of a couple of full lenght studio works, a live album, and of course the long tours around the world. The results have been generally good, but with this latest record, to be honest, I begin to perceive some signs of fatigue. Along with two or three tracks of absolute value (one of which, however, already released last year for supporting the live album), I found a number of songs quite anonymous, unimaginative, that’s quite a strange thing given the quality of almost all the songs of their long and influential musical production. I will continue to love this band passionately, there is no doubt, and it is definitely acceptable to observe a small setback in such a long and unique career. The two songs from the album which appear in the mixtape are Sentence Day (one of the singles of the album) and the vigorous and fierce End it Now, which is at the moment my favourite track of the album.
The compilation is concluded with two tracks from Of Chaos and Carnal Pleasures, which is the last album published by The Project Hate MCMXCIX, i.e. the experimental and death metal project created by the elusive and mysterious Swedish musician kwown as Lord K Philipson (there is no actual band Beyond Mr. Philipson, since different musicians are brought in with each and every album). As the followers of this blog already know, the album achieved since its publication in January 2017 quite a good consideration here in this pages. The albums contains in fact a few but (very) long and articulated progressive death metal tracks, each one including an irregular and dynamic sequence of musical segments which alternate violent moments with melodic and expressive pieces. I’ve included in the playlist a few excerpts from two tracks of the album, namely, Suplhur and Perversion, both of them partially re-edited by myself for making them more fitting within the context of an on-line mixtape. I am aware that if one day the great Lord Philipson will notice what I did to his masterpieces, he will want to inflict a terrible punishment on me. But at least I can admit that when I go running with his music in my music player I am 100% happy to hear his works without the inglorious cuts which I was forced to do only for reasons of homogeneity with the rest of the compilation.