Let us be captured for a while by the dark and sometimes brutal atmosphere of Death Metal and let’s see whiche were the best albums published in the first two months of the year. Scrolling through this list we will discover that Death Metal today is basically a large family of musical sub-genres: we find in fact records with a declared melodic vein together with albums decidedly more extreme and ferocious.
My usual recommendation for those who arrived here via a search engine is the following: you may want to check if there are more recent posts for Death Metal. Visit the metal section of the blog and see if there are other newer charts or reviews. This list includes the best albums released between January and February of 2018. Enjoy!
#1) THE ORDER OF AMENTI by Crescent
(Blackened Death Metal / Egypt)
Crescent, from Egypt, represents a curious case of a band which is formally active since almost twenty years but which has a discography of only two LPs, the last one, The Order of Amenti, released on early 2018 and the debut LP, Pyramid Slaves, four years ago. In the wide timespan between their formation and the release of the first full-lenght work, these guys from Cairo worked hard to perfect and characterize their peculiar musical style, which today consists of an interesting blackened death metal with strong ethnic and folk influences from their homeland. The songs of their newest album are extremely interesting and fascinating, of course as a death metal song can be, and the band shows also remarkable technical skills. Maybe the experience of listening the entire LP in one single go highlights an excessive homogeneity among the tracks (meny of them seem to me played on the same musical scale), but it still remains a solid and valid collection of modern death metal.
#2) AVATAR COUNTRY by Avatar
(Melodic Death Metal / Sweden)
Avatar, from Sweden, have never used half measures and in this latest work, Avatar Country, they brought their mix of humor, melody and innovation a step further than the past, with songs that absorb influences spanning from thrash, blues and country. The musical style of Avatar, sincerely, makes no sense, but it’s incredibly intriguing and attractive. Everything is further seasoned with a spasmodic search of the surprise and the theatrical solution, occasionally at the expense of the overall enjoyability of the disc. But, as usual, it’s take it or leave it, there are no chances for compromise. The musical style of Avatar, sincerely, makes no sense, but it’s incredibly intriguing and attractive, although in the end the best tracks are those that are more properly “metal”. Everyone has that crazy friend that you’re a little ashamed of presenting to your parents but who’s damn funny to spend time with. Avatars are the equivalent of that friend in metal.
#3) CURRENTS by In Vain
(Progressive Death Metal / Norway)
In Vain, from Norway, is an extremely interesting metal band which has released in 2018 the fourth full-lenght album of their discography which arrives almost ten years after their debut LP. Since the beginning of their career the band has shown an ability to insert many different elements in their songs whilst still maintaining a good stylistic homogeneity through all the tracks of their albums. And their new LP, Currents, confirms the same approach with a combination of melodic and symphonic parts with more heavy and articulated sections. The balance, compared to the past, seems to hang a little on the soft side, with still good results but probably with an overall intensity that’s less incisive when compared to the previous albums works.
#4) NO EXCUSES FOR THE LIVING by Bombed Up
(Death Thrash / Canada)
Bombed Up, from Toronto, today are among the most interesting representatives of this particular musical genre that draws in equal parts from death and thrash metal. Their last album, No Excuses For The Living, is a very good record that manages to combine a noteworthy experimental vein with the ability to develop songs that are still accessible and – in average – enjoyable to listen. Because of the revolution in the line-up which occurred before the recording of the new album, the whole creative process was responsibility of Steve Pera, founder and guitarist, but we can for sure say that the final result was absolutely appreciable.
#5) REANIMATION by Bloodshot Dawn
(Melodic Death Metal / England)
When I listen to some band, sometimes I wonder what they could have done in their career if only their line-up was a little more stable over time. This is the case Bloodshot Dawn, an interesting melodic death band from England. Between 2012 to 2018 this group released three excellent records, the last one, named Reanimation, published at the beginning of January of 2018, but in such time-span they had to go through complicated reorganizations of the line-up and in practice today only one of the founders of the group – guitarist and singer Josh McMorran – is still playing in the band. Despite this situation, McMorran has managed to compose and refine a good album which highlights a great ability to mix different together influences and that also showcases the excellent technical expertise of the new musicians who recently joined the band.
#6) FEAST by Alterbeast
(Technical Death Metal / U.S.A.)
Alterbeast are a Death Metal band from Sacramento, California, in the U.S.. They are active since 2013 but went through a radical reshape of the line-up and today only guitarist Andrew Lamb remains among the original founders. The new formation of Alterbeast basically debuts with Feast, the second and latest LP from the band, which arrives four years after the band’s first work Immortal. The style of Alterbeast can be summarized in an obsessive search for speed and brutality. Where this extreme approach is combined with interesting riffs and original ideas, the result is positive. In some of the pieces, however, there is stille little more than the ferocity of the instruments, that are pushed to the limit of their technical possibilities.
If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested to see which were some good Death Metal albums released last year and reviewed in the blog.
In 2017 I also launched a series of Death Metal mixtapes, named TO FORGIVE IS TO SUFFER. There will soon be a new mix, but in the meantime you can enjoy the two interesting compilations that were produced last year.