Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade Records, 2014)

cannibal corpse - a skeletal domainAs 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.”

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Compelling Natural Force: A Caligari Records round-up (Heavydeath, Act of Impalement, Ellorsith).

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As Caligari Records continues to pick up steam, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the avalanche of quality cassettes.  Fifteen releases deep and not a single dud in the bunch is a hell of a track record, and you can pretty much rest assured at this point that anything Caligari puts its name to is going to be excellent.  Case in point: the label’s three latest releases are all very different from one another, but all well worth your time.  So without further ado, let us investigate the latest from Caligari’s cabinet…

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A word on brutality.

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Brutal death metal bands often get accused of promoting misogyny and violence.  I was thinking about this the other day while listening to Abusing Dismembered Beauties, the third and most recent album from Italian slammers Vulvectomy.  Here I am, enjoying an album adorned with cover art that features a variety of gruesomely murdered/mutilated women and song titles such as “Deformed Tits Collection” and “Orgasmic Sensation Through Fecal Ingestion.”  I guess at this point my fondness for slam and brutal death metal is no secret, but surely many fellow metalheads would call it in extremely poor taste, ignorant, hateful, misogynistic or some combination thereof.

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Swine Overlord – Parables of Umbral Transcendence (Gore House Productions, 2014)

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“Mature” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of brutal death metal, hell it probably isn’t the five-hundredth word one thinks of.  But I’ll be damned if Parables of Umbral Transcendence, the debut full-length from NY/FL-based project Swine Overlord isn’t a shockingly mature slab of BDM.  The band has largely shed the slam leanings and cartoonish visual imagery of their earlier recordings in favor of a more pure brutal death metal sound accompanied by science fiction-influenced artwork, and as a result have released one of the genre’s best albums of 2014.

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Dispirit and the art of total immersion.

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As a heavy metal fan, I’ve seen dozens of amazing shows.  But I can probably count on one hand the number of shows that fully immersed me, the ones that made real life and all the horrific mundanity that goes with it melt away completely, the ones that made me feel like I was alone in the universe with nothing but the band and the music.  Dispirit’s headlining set at the Starlite Lounge last Sunday night was one of them.

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Ace Frehley – Space Invader (eOne Music, 2014)

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I’ve only talked about it a few times here on THKD, but those of you that know me personally and/or follow me on social media are no doubt aware of my unabashed love of all things KISS.  As such, I couldn’t help but be a little excited when I heard that my favorite original member, lead guitarist Ace Frehley, had signed a deal with eOne Music and a new solo album was on the horizon.  Frehley’s last effort, 2009’s Anomaly, was a solid slab of rock and the guitarist seemed poised to succeed where Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley had failed with the abysmal pair of recent faux-KISS records, Sonic Boom and Monster.  After all, Frehley’s 1978 solo record was the last great KISS album, and is quite frankly more enjoyable front-to-back than many of the full-band KISS albums from the quartet’s classic era.  Sure, 1978 was a long time ago, but considering the potential shown on Anomaly and the fact that Frehley was on-point when I saw him live a few years back, there was reason to be hopeful.

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Dropdead / Full of Hell / Noisem / Plague Widow / RAD @ Midtown Barfly, Sacramento, CA 08/24/14

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My second show in Sacramento was in some ways a throwback to my younger years in Des Moines; I used to walk down to Hairy Mary’s by myself to see shows because my sorry ass didn’t have a car and to make matters worse I didn’t know anyone else who gave a shit about the underground.  Not being much of a grindcore fan, my wife decided to sit out Sunday’s matinee at the Midtown Barfly, and as a result I found myself flying solo once again, which is always a delightfully awkward experience given that I’m not exactly the most outgoing person out there.  Also, many of those shows I hoofed it to back in the day were heavy on grindcore bands such as Black Market Fetus, Strong Intention, Catheter, Entrails Massacre and Phobia, to name but a few, so I was excited to experience a show in a similar vein in my new city.  A complete and utter lack of social skills doesn’t matter much when you’re being pummeled at a million miles an hour by some of the most vicious and unrelenting music out there.

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