Released five years after their well received ‘Realm I: Affection’ EP, Canadian death metallers Hatred Reigns’ ‘Awaken The Ancients’ is a full length, full throttle, intensive slab of brutality that genre fans won’t want to miss. In a little over half an hour, the band shares a speed driven approach that shares strong DNA with a few of the greats. Drawing from the pioneering works of Suffocation and Death, through to the more technical aspects of bands like Imperium, and even taking in the death/thrash crossover sound of early Sepultura in a few places, the eleven tracks convey a huge sound that reminds the listener why well played death remains so vital. However, beneath the relentless rhythmic assault and oppressive vocal stance, you’ll also experience musicianship which explores deep textures and tautly played solos that rank among some of the underground’s best.
In September 2021, right at the point the UK found itself between two pandemic lockdowns, extreme metal band Cult Burial released their ‘Oblivion’ EP. A genuine musical onslaught, its three tracks combined elements of thrash metal, technical death metal and hardcore to create an absolutely punishing listen – in the best possible way. For lovers of such extremity, it was a pure joy – an example of a band taking familiar traits and pushing forward into new, complex musical landscapes. If you could bend your ears past the noisiest elements, each of the arrangements showcased a real sense of adventure, proving these musicians were more than a cut above your average death metal band.
In terms of heavy split releases, this shared venture between Philadelphia’s Mothman & The Thunderbirds and Ontario’s World Eaters will take some beating. Each band shares a very different kind of riff-based anger, but at the same time, their uncompromising sounds share a vision that, together, makes them a great fit. With just two songs apiece, it’s enough to make the listener aware of two underground bands that stand a chance of either thrilling or scaring the unwary. Either way, they’ve gained a reaction, so it’s all good.
Canadian duo Crown of Madness released their debut EP in March 2022, and for those paying close attention to the metal underground, it introduced a band with an interesting approach to an extreme sound. Their harsh combination of old school death metal and a sheet of black metal coldness would be enough to please a lot of genre fans, but occasional nods to goth and doom lent their more brutal aspects a little balance via some strangely mournful riffs.
This debut from American death metal band Throat Locust might only present three tracks, but in terms of being an effective CV, ‘Dragged Through Glass’ suggests immediate greatness. Taking elements of a classic death metal sound derived from Entombed, Bolt Thrower and Death, and fusing that with some of the heaviest groove metal touches ever, they have the subtlety of a truck, but in extreme metal terms, they could be the best band to emerge since Eaten By Sharks released their debut in a pre-pandemic 2019. Considering the release claims to be only a demo recording, that says a lot about how strong they already sound.