Finland’s Archgoat have been spewing their patently barbaric brand of blackness since 1989 and are the very definition of a “cult band;” they’ve put out only three full length albums in their two-plus decades of existence including 2015’s The Apocalyptic Triumphator, which makes its release feel like a special event. But it’s not just special because it’s a rare occurrence; the simple fact of the matter is that Archgoat do this style of bestial black/death metal better than just about any other band in existence.
Of all the trends that have to come to prominence within the metal underground over the last several years, the murky/cavernous death metal thing is surely the least interesting (pro tip: if you really want to piss some people off, refer to this junk as “caverncore”). In fact, I’d say my interest in bands shitting out non-riffs from underneath a pile of wet blankets is exactly zero. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the mysterious Canadians known as Malsanctum have proven that there is something to be said for this sub sub genre with Metamorbid Fetishization, their debut(?) release on Germany’s ever-prolific Iron Bonehead Productions.
There’s no shortage of great shows happening in Sacramento every month, but the dregs of being a responsible adult often keep me from going to them. When you’re a corporate lackey that gets up for work bright and early at 6:45 AM, going to a show on a weeknight that doesn’t even start until 8:00 PM isn’t really in the cards. But there was no way I was going miss out on Incantation; the death metal legends are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a string of West Coast dates, and with Funerus, Mortuous and Plague Widow in tow, this one was guaranteed to be a rager.
In early December, I decided I wasn’t going to do a year end list. It isn’t that I’m all of the sudden anti-list; I still love lists, but this year I just wasn’t feeling it. I gotta be honest, after five years of doing THKD I’m fucking weary, and laboring over a list just felt like yet another metal writing chore. Besides, if you read the blog regularly and follow me on social media, you already know what I liked this year.
While Josh is away on a boring business trip, I have decided to hack into his account and give his readers something from his better half, me.
Just when I think I have Gore House Productions all figured out, they start throwing wicked curve balls late in the year. First came the oddly progressive debut full length from Swine Overlord, then the “party slam” of Party Cannon; now we’ve got Canada’s Cuff, who’ve unleashed what might be the be-all-end-all of goregrind whatthefuckery in the form of Transient Suffering Through the Ergosphere. I don’t typically expect a goregrind album to make me stop and ask myself what the hell I just listened to when its run-time is up, but that’s exactly what’s happened with my first exposure to Cuff.
Before I ever heard even a single note from Scotland’s Party Cannon, I loved their shtick. With their Toys ‘R’ Us-esque logo and song titles like “There’s a Reason You’re Single” and “Tyrone, You Put that Sugar Down,” everything about them seemed to fly in the face of slam’s established gore-drenched norms, and it was refreshing to see a band poking fun at the genre from within. One might argue that this approach could cause them to be labelled a “joke band,” but it only takes a few listens to Party Cannon’s debut EP Partied in Half to know that these Scotsmen are dead serious about their slam.