Venom – From the Very Depths (Spinefarm, 2015)

Layout 1Yes friends, I realize that hating on any Venom album that isn’t Welcome to Hell, Black Metal or At War with Satan is the cool kid thing to do.  But, I’ve never been one of the cool kids, and as such I’ve found much to enjoy amidst Venom’s latter-day discography; even if those albums aren’t as ground-breaking as the first three, that doesn’t mean they aren’t entertaining.  From the Very Depths is Cronos and Co.’s thirteenth full length, and although it’s by no means perfect, it’s certainly as enjoyable a slab of throwback heavy metal as you’re likely to encounter in 2015.

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Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (Debemur Morti, 2015)

DMP0117_1000x1000-150dpiFinland’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.

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Weeping Rat – Tar (Handmade Birds, 2015)

1526659_825951394136465_8729640222783617169_nSacramento was positively drenched with rain last weekend.  The meteorologists called it an “atmospheric river;” I called it a great time to wallow in some seriously depressing music to match the shitty weather. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better band in 2015 to accompany overcast skies and sheets of (probably toxic) precipitation than Australia’s Weeping Rat.  The band is set to drop their debut album Tar via the mighty Handmade Birds, and it’s a deliciously dismal listen, to say the very least.

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Malsanctum – Metamorbid Fetishization (Iron Bonehead, 2015)

malsanctum - coverOf 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.

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White Spot – Father Songs. (self-released, 2015)

a1772135258_10I’ve been listening to various forms of heavy music for a long time, and as the years go on, my attention span gets shorter and shorter, especially when it comes to choosing bands to write about.  Basically, if your band can’t pique my interest within the first thirty seconds of the first song (excluding intros), consider yourselves SOL.  This has made it increasingly difficult to discover new acts to cover, as it seems that much of the scene is currently plagued by a complete and total lack of ability to self-edit.

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Incantation / Funerus / Mortuous / Plague Widow @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA, 01/12/2015

1658248_10154919648200389_4327905701464784151_oThere’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.

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Dark Rituals: A Psalm 88 roundup

0003364467_100It’s been a while since I’ve discovered anything particularly worthy of coverage via Bandcamp, but just when I was about to give up hope, I stumbled upon Psalm 88, a sub-label of Berkeley’s Acephale Winter Productions that’s dedicated to producing limited edition C20 cassettes featuring black metal’s rawest of the raw.  The fledgling venture has already cranked out four releases in just a year of existence, all available on tape or for pay-what-you-want download.  All four releases are well worth your time, and you guys know I’m not a fan of lengthy intros, so let’s dive right in.

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