SHROUDED INFINITY – THROUGH CAVERNS UNKNOWN [US, Death] (2022)

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Transylvanian Recordings | 4-1-22

Here we go. I guess the caps are just from the Bandcamp page, but I feel for this band, I will leave it all as exclamatory. It is unsurprising Shrouded Infinity is getting accolades. Despite this two piece having their debut EP released through Transylvanian Recordings, the power and efficacy of rhythm heavy death metal which echoes bands like Incantation and Autopsy combined with some esoteric lyrical material is a recipe for a splattered success. Everyone loves death metal with guitar solos which skate on top of heavy riffs which makes one fist curl tighter and teeth clench to a grinding level. With a tape cover that looks like it was buried in a car footwell and a sound that could be from anytime between 2019 and 2025, Through Caverns Unknown is an unmitigated triumph that I am sure will make more rounds before the end of the year.

Through Caverns Unknown by Shrouded Infinity

Corroder – Tombs of Terror [Norway, Thrash] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-14-22

Corroder is when thrash metal rediscovers its punk roots. This is mad, this is pissed, this is angry. Tombs of Terror is five tracks that takes the three-chords-and-the-truth aesthetic of punk rock and rolls with all the punches and glass bottles one can take. It’s like Morbid Saint had a really bad day (and decided their drummer could scream) – a boilingly bad day, like the kind that opens up Falling Down. “At One with Chaos” drops plenty of f-bombs for any punkier take on thrash metal in lyrics as well as sound, and the tupa-tupa beats of “Death Throes” are a great match to the air siren lead guitar. The rhythm guitar cycles through simple yet effectively destroying compositions, with each vocal invective sending a new arrow in the heart. This is a hard listen, as if thrash metal decided to go back into the deepest CBGB underground rather than pivot to so much post-grunge alt-rock in the early 90s. “Kicking, squirming, dying” indeed.

Tombs of Terror by Corroder

Nailwalker – The Gutted Trout of Dear Life [US, Post Black / Crust] (2022)

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Self Released | 3-10-22

If anything can be said about this group from Texas, is they are unexpected. While the cover for the band’s third release and first EP for 2022 looks like dark hardcore / crust, only part of that remains true. Nailwalker carefully weaves together elements of chaotic crust with more introspective and abstract post black which results in a mindbending journey into emotional ruin. From the black/punk opener “A Shocking Display of Nepotism” to the three part elongated closer “The Horn of Empty I-III,” this band holds nothing back and flings everything out like switchblades. Not everything lands perfectly but there is some elegance in broken bones and Nailwaker rides the entire way on gut feeling.

The Gutted Trout of Dear Life by Nailwalker

Pale Shroud – In Sight O the Bog [UK, Raw Black] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-29-22

Oh frequency illusion, have heart! Bands with “shroud” in their name keep popping up in raw black metaldom. For us today, it’s In Sight O the Bog – the second demo from the anonymous Pale Shroud. In my raw black metal listenings, there exists the “Paysage threshold” of emotional resonance – a moment like in Paysage d’Hiver’s self-titled album where the violin soars through the ice-cracking tremolo. Well, In Sight O the Bog has one of those moments – it’s on “VII” where the synth briefly soars through the punky rhythms. Those little moments of “oh wow” are what elevates exceptional melodic raw black metal from the fray of so many Darkthrone worshippers – moments where the hair on my arms stands up just a bit. Pale Shroud also stands out by how punky it is; though the whisper-raps might put off, the crashing stilted percussion works (again, “VII” stands out). Alright Kap, your move on the raw black game.

In Sight O The Bog (Demo II) by Pale Shroud

Dødskvad – Krønike II [Norway, Death] (2022)

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Horses gallop into the maw of battle… therein lies Dødskvad. I hesitate to compare this to the two most over-compared bands in death metal, but to my ears, Krønike II blends Bolt Thrower and Timeghoul. Of the former, we have the chunky riffs and bass-heavy production – plus a warfare-hardened aesthetic. From Timeghoul, it’s all in the vocals: bassist/keyboardist Erlend Rønning has this strikingly enunciated roar-bellow that’s a dead ringer for “Coda Infinity”. Come to think of it, the band also has the middle-fidelity production that calls to mind NVNM – but I digress in analogies. This demo is hard but not harsh; at no points does it lapse into noise or black metal. There’s a deep aggressiveness that’s most demonstrated on “Etterlatt Til Ulver”, where Rønning uses his voice as an additional layer of percussion in the trotting guitars and dashing kick drums. The slight technical-yet-thrashy edge on “Jakten” leads into an absolute FUKK moment where guitar squelches become a veritable compositional element that culminates in Rønning’s demented laughter. Absolute must-grab.

Krønike II by DøDSKVAD