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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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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Fuoco Fatuo – The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of what Remains (Caligari Records, 2014)

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When I reviewed Fuoco Fatuo’s suffocatingly heavy EP compilation late last year, I stated that we’d likely have an absolute beast on our hands whenever the band got around to releasing a full length.  I hate to say I told you so, but it turns out this is one of those extremely rare occasions where I was right; the Italian trio have at last unleashed The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of what Remains, and you can rest assured that this crawling king snake of an album is every bit the monster you’d expect it to be.

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Weightlessness – Of Lachrymose Grief (Graceless Recordings, 2014)

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What’s in a name?  I’ll tell you what’s in a name, or rather, what’s not in a name in the case of California doom mongers Weightlessness.  After listening extensively to the band’s Of Lachrymose Grief, I’ve decided that their chosen moniker couldn’t possibly be any more of a misnomer.  You see, “weightlessness” indicates an absence of weight, but this debut EP wields enough down-tuned heft to sink their entire home state into the sea and then some.

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Vampire – s/t (Century Media, 2014)

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With a name like Vampire, you might expect this mysterious Swedish quartet to be some kind of sappy, quasi-gothic nonsense, but fortunately for you, dear headbanger, nothing could be further from the truth, as evidenced by the gritty, greasy metal of their self-titled Century Media debut. Indeed, the infernal racket found here recalls the likes of Venom, Bathory and perhaps Darkthrone’s more recent work, but the vamps instill the tunes with enough of their own punky, garage-rocking fervor to distinguish themselves from the retro-metal hordes.  Imagine Cronos, Tom G. Warrior and Fenriz jamming in said garage and you’re getting pretty damn close to the hellbound underground sound of Vampire.

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DISMEMBERMENT GIVEAWAY!!!

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It’s been a far too long since THKD has done a giveaway, so I’m excited to announce that we’ve partnered with up-and-coming black/death/thrash metal band Dismemberment, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions and Dewar PR to give one lucky reader the mad hookups!

Dismemberment is giving away a t-shirt and CD of their killer new album Embrace the Dark to a THKD reader who will be chosen at random.  All you have to do to enter is go to the THKD Facebook page and find our post about the contest, “like” and “share” the post and you will be entered for a chance to win!  You can also go to the THKD Twitter page and find our tweet about the contest. “Favorite” and “re-tweet” our contest tweet there and you will also be entered!  The contest will run from 3/31/14 to 4/7/14, at which time a winner will be chosen at random.  You can check out the album at the link below!

http://dismemberment.bandcamp.com/album/embrace-the-dark

Good luck and thanks for entering!

Behemoth – The Satanist (Metal Blade, 2014)

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I hadn’t intended to review The Satanist; Behemoth has long been a favorite band of mine and I had planned to enjoy their first new recording in five years purely as a fan. Sometimes it’s good to just kick back and blast an album at top volume without having to analyze its every nook and cranny, and I was looking forward to doing just that.  But the thing is, while I certainly didn’t expect Behemoth to disappoint, I also didn’t expect them to take such a stunning turn, releasing one of their best albums to date a full twenty-three years deep into their career.

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Oodles of Brutals III: Tech Death and Other Delights

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It’s been quite a while since I did one of these (over a year, to be slightly more precise), but frankly there hasn’t been a whole lot of new stuff on the brutality front that’s really tripped my trigger of late.  In fact, it’s only been within the past month or so that enough gory goodies have piled up to make it worth doing. The initial two installments of Oodles of Brutals were all about slam and brutal death metal, but this time around we’ll mostly be focusing on tech death.  I’m pretty darn picky about this stuff, as there is an extremely fine line between mind-bending technicality and “Hey, look what we can do!” fret-wankery, so it’s a bit of a surprise that so much of this stuff has been able to grab me, but it’s a neck-snappingly pleasant one.  Let’s dive in…

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Benighted – Carnivore Sublime (Season of Mist, 2014)

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There are brutal death metal bands, and then there’s Benighted.  The French five-piece do everything they possibly can to shit all over the subgenre’s rule book by crafting catchy songs that you can actually tell apart, utilizing highly eclectic vocals and injecting their music with a classiness that other bands just flat-out lack, and yet somehow they come out the other end sounding even more devastating because of it. What’s more brutal, a beating that you can recall nearly every bone-snapping minute of, or one that goes by in an unmemorable blur?

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