Extremely Rotten – Zombification of the Masses (Gore House Productions, 2014)

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If you’re into brutality, Southern California’s Gore House Productions have been killing it in 2014, putting out a slew of excellent brutal death metal, slam and goregrind releases with no end in sight.  Among their latest is Zombification of the Masses, a quickie EP from Florida’s Extremely Rotten, featuring two tracks of slamming brutal death metal.  Clocking in at just five minutes, it is the very definition of all killer, no filler.

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Sons of Famine – Alcohol and Razor Blades (self-released, 2013)

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Just as I’ve started to settle into life on the West Coast, along comes a band from the Midwest to remind me that my home region can kick serious ass when it wants to.  That band is Chicago’s Sons of Famine, who’s stock-in-trade is pummeling oldschool death metal with a blackened edge.  Their debut demo, Alcohol and Razor Blades, is a musical battering ram of ungodly filth and fury that beats and bludgeons the living hell out of just about every other demo I’ve heard of late.

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My first show in Sacramento.

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When my wife and I first started talking seriously about moving to Sacramento, one of the main draws for me was the opportunity to take in a lot of live music.  Sure, metal shows do happen back home in Des Moines, but they are few and far between, seemingly getting more and more scarce by the year, so in this respect moving to the West Coast was a total no-brainer.  I started looking for shows well in advance of coming out here, and the one that immediately caught my eye was the sole Northern California date on Finnish black metallers Sargeist’s current US tour, w/ support coming from Killgasm, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis and Valdur.

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Across the Swarm – s/t (self-released, 2014)

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I’ve been covering quite a bit of brutal death metal of late, but Italy’s Across the Swarm stand out even among the standouts I’ve been touching on throughout 2014.  What makes the band so special, you ask?  First and foremost they write great songs, but what sealed the deal for me is the way in which they seamlessly integrate electronic elements into the brutal death metal framework.

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Street Sects – Broken Windows, Sunken Ceilings (self-released, 2014)

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2014 will be remembered as the year that actually got me excited about extreme music again.  I haven’t exactly been bored, but it seems like this year I’m finding so many exciting young bands that are doing something truly interesting within the genre paradigm.  One such band is Austin’s Street Sects, who are releasing the second part of their “serial album” in the form of Broken Windows, Sunken Ceilings.  The duo creates what can best be described as electronic hardcore; violent, jarring and noisy as hell, like a factory full of automated machinery going haywire and collapsing on itself, the machines still trying desperately to function however imperfectly amidst the burning wreckage.

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Sleeping Peonies – Opal (self released, 2014)

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At thirty-five, I don’t often have epiphanic moments while listening to music anymore. It’s typically more along the lines of “been there, done that, no alarms, no surprises, etc, etc.”  But when I stumbled upon the UK’s Sleeping Peonies during one of my increasingly frequent trawls through the depths of Bandcamp, it happened.  This was music I had been waiting my whole life to hear.  I realize this is already sounding like hyperbole to the nth degree, but the band’s mix of black metal, shoegaze, synthpop and noise really is as close to perfect as these ears have heard in what seems like forever.

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Immaculate Poison: A Profound Lore roundup.

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Trying to keep up with Profound Lore Records is no easy task.  Every year it seems that the label bombards us with more and more quality releases, and being a one man show here at THKD, I often find myself stretched incredibly thin as far as my ability to listen to and write about as many new albums as possible is concerned; some stuff inevitably slips through the cracks.  In an effort to prevent that from happening, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recent PL releases in one place.  What follows is a brief rundown of each one.

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