Skelethal are a French duo whom I first encountered via their ripping Morbid Ovation demo, which was re-released earlier this year as a split cassette with Swedish death metal miscreants Inisans on Caligari Records, a label that seems to have a knack for digging up quality acts from across the spectrum of heavy metal. I was impressed by the savagery and exuberance of that tape, and looked forward to hearing more from this promising band; little did I know my wait would be such a short one. Only a few months after the split with Inisans, Skelethal is back with a proper EP in the form of Deathmanicvs Revelation, a release which both capitalizes on the promise shown on that aforementioned demo and ups the ante considerably.
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?
Leave it to Caligari Records to make waves with their first foray into full-on death metal by unearthing not one but two of the gnarliest demos out there and cramming them both onto one cassette. The label has already proven with just a few releases under its belt that it has a knack for digging up killer black metal, but this nasty little bastard of a tape proves they’re no one trick pony. In one corner, we have French horde Skelethal and in the other Swedish psychos Inisans; it’s an old school DM battle royal that sees them serving up four tracks each of blood, guts and buzzsaw riffs.
As an unfortunate byproduct of growing up in the asshole of the Midwest, I live in a city, but I’ve never truly experienced The City. I’ve spent pretty extensive amounts of time in places like Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis, but I’ve never fully immersed myself in the everyday chaos that is living in the clutches of of a wasteland dominated by skyscrapers and surrounded on all sides by unforgiving concrete and steel. I’ve never lived in that grotesque, hyper-active human funk that I imagine city life to be; I’ve only been a long-term guest at best, a lame-ass tourist at worst. Fortunately I can live vicariously through Diapsiquir’s A.N.T.I., an album that epitomizes what I imagine existence in the bowels of urban Hell to be.
2012 has been more stressful than a motherfucker; probably one of the most all-around stressful years of my life. Buying a house + assorted family and work-related issues that I wouldn’t even dream of getting into here managed to turn the year into a goddamn pressure-cooker. I’m pretty sure the only things that kept me alive were my wife’s unwavering love (and limitless patience) and an avalanche of incredible music. In 2011 I was feeling pretty jaded and dissatisfied with the state of heavy metal, this year I found myself feeling better about things than I have in years. That isn’t to say there weren’t great albums released in 2011, there were, but in 2012 I felt like there was so much greatness that I couldn’t possibly keep up with it all.
Aluk Todolo’s Occult Rock is one of the best albums you’ll hear this year; a monolithic double LP of blackened experimentation of the highest order. With help from the incomparable Nathan T. Birk, I contacted the band via e-mail to gain some insight into their instrumental alchemy. The following interrogation transpired…
I’ve been avoiding writing about Aosoth’s III for some time now. Why would I avoid writing about such an excellent album, you might ask? Well, to be perfectly blunt I was intimidated by it. Intimidated by the idea of attempting to translate its greatness into mere words. This is no bullshit hyperbole; I honestly believe that III is one of the most enthralling black metal albums of the last ten years; utterly devastating in its frightful, hypnotic magnificence.