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.
Underground metal is a land of extremes. Bands playing so fast that a human drummer can’t keep up, bands playing so slow they make a glacier look speedy, bands trying to play the heaviest, the most technical, the most brutal, the most… ah, fuck it, you get the idea. What I’m attempting to get at is, there’s typically no such thing as subtlety in the circles we travel in. This is what makes Emptiness’ Nothing but the Whole such a refreshing album. Where other bands seek to crush your soul in the first thirty seconds, Emptiness would rather watch it slowly wither and die.
As much as I’ve championed brutal death metal here at THKD lately, I’d be remiss not to review the latest album from Cannibal Corpse, the proverbial granddaddies of ‘em all. I mean, I think we can all agree that this entire subset of death metal wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the boys from Tampa, who’ve now been at it for an unbelievable twenty-six years. A Skeletal Domain is the thirteenth album in their lengthy, storied career and even after only being out for a few weeks it has already garnered opinions ranging from “it’s the best thing they’ve done since 2006’s Kill” to “it sounds like Cannibal Corpse.”