Nocturnal Breed – Napalm Nights (Agonia Records, 2014)

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I’ll always consider myself a student of heavy metal rather than an expert, but sometimes I’m still boggled by the bands that manage to fly below my radar.  Case in point; I was entirely unfamiliar with Norwegian blackened thrash outfit Nocturnal Breed until the fine folks at Fresno Media put them right under my nose.  Surprising considering my fondness for this type of thing, but better late than never, because their latest album Napalm Nights totally rips.

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Crowhurst – Everyone is Guilty (Sol y Nieve, 2014)

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When I think of noise, I tend to think of it as the apex of extremity; pure sound so harsh it’s going to melt my brain and cause it to come oozing out of my ears.  Granted, my introduction to the genre was the ultra-abrasive works of Relapse-era Merzbow (Venereology, Pulse Demon, etc) and Masonna (Inner Mind Mystique); ungodly endurance tests which I later came to appreciate for their ability to make even the most abrasive extreme metal seem like child’s play.  Noise certainly has the power to obliterate, but I’ve come to learn that it also has the power to soothe, as evidenced by Crowhurst’s Everyone is Guilty.

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Sun Splitter – Live on WFMU (Sol y Nieve, 2014)

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Longtime readers of THKD know that I’m typically not big on live recordings. But, I am big on Sol y Nieve; the upstart Idaho-based label has already released two of this year’s finest slabs of black metal in the form of Nemorensis’ The Lady in the Lake and Hellebore’s Anouof Thwo, so if they deem a live release to be worthy of the same treatment, then I’ll sure as hell give it a listen.  I’m glad I did, because Sun Splitter’s Live on WFMU is a sonic nightmare of ultra-corrosive industrial metal that’s more than managed to win me over in spite of my admitted prejudice towards live material.

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Destruction / Krisiun / Exmortus @ Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA 04/09/14

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When it comes to metal shows in Des Moines, it’s either feast or famine.  The month of April is proving to be quite the feast, boasting tour stops from genre luminaries such as Broken Hope, The Lurking Corpses and Embryonic Devourment.  But the show I’ve probably been looking forward to the most was a three-headed beast; a headlining set from legendary German thrashers Destruction, supported by Brazilian brutal death metal trio Krisiun and SoCal up-and-comers Exmortus.

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Demon Head – Demo 2014 (Caligari Records, 2014)

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When traditional/proto-doom is done right, there are few things finer, and few if any bands are doing it better than Demon Head.  The Copenhagen-dwelling quintet recently had a demo tape released by the venerable Caligari Records, and it’s a slow-burning scorcher that quite frankly blows recent big-name practitioners of the style such as Kadavar and Orchid out of the water.  It really is that damn good.

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Bandcamp Band Crap #2: Bandcamp Slamcamp

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I have a growing obsession with slamming death metal.  Yes, I know its visual and lyrical imagery tends to be crude, tactless and in all-around poor taste.  Yes, I know much of the metal community considers it to be the lowest common denominator of death metal.  But there is good stuff here amongst the flying limbs and bodily fluids, and the good stuff is just so goddamn heavy.

Here’s the thing, slam appeals to me because it features two things I love: gore and groove.  I’ve always liked slow and heavy more than fast and heavy, and when these bands slow down to a dying man’s crawl and bring forth the slams for which their chosen genre gets its name, there’s absolutely nothing heavier.  As for the gore, like lots of metalheads I’m a horror film freak, and I have to admit to still getting a childish kick out of the ol’ blood ‘n’ guts as seen in the various slasher and zombie films that make up a good chunk of my DVD collection.  Slam is the best of both worlds; the heaviest parts of death metal and the gross-outs of a good splatter flick.

Compared to other subgenres, there isn’t a ton of slam on Bandcamp.  But there is some of that aforementioned “good stuff” floating around out there, and some of it is even free.  So let’s dive on into the gore, shall we?

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Broken Hope @ Vaudeville Mews, 04/03/2014

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Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to finally check a few bands off my old school death metal bucket list.  The likes of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Grave (I sadly missed Deicide and Suffocation when they were here :( ) have violated the asshole of the Midwest with their unholy presence, and it’s always gratifying to finally experience these bands in the live setting after having coveted their studio albums for all this time.  On a cold, rainy Thursday night in Des Moines, I was happy to add Chicago’s original overlords of brutal death metal Broken Hope to that list, and goddamn if they didn’t deliver the goods and then some.

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