Triumvir Foul – Onslaught to Seraphim (Invictus/Vrasubatlat)
While the great Ash Borer remain dormant, two of the seminal black metal band’s members have gone on to create another foul entity in Triumvir Foul. Here, the focus shifts from atmospheric black metal to a polemic, proto-formed death metal. In their third full-length release, Triumvir Foul do not look to reinvent the wheel, focusing on perfecting their craft. To that end, they call upon the early death metal formations, oozing with schizoid solos and thrash-infused progressions in the likes of “Infected Virtue”.
This re-awakening of the past is a well-known recipe, which has led to an abundance of excellent acts like Grave Miasma and Black Curse. For Triumvir Foul the focus shifts more towards the infernal rather than the guttural. This goal is achieved through a very slight application of black metal, in the vein of Teitanblood. “Domini Befallen (To Doom)” sees this eerie touch adapting to the death metal onslaught, leading to excellent, gnarly hooks as in “Bašmu Enthralled, Horned Creations” and pungent anthems like “Slither of Corruption”. To top it all off, Triumvir Foul descent into a ritualistic subdomain, leveraging the mid-tempo groove for a grand manifestation. It is something that brings to mind the doom applications of Necros Christos, as the start of “Presage” and “Serpent’s Gnash for War” complete a bloody affair that spreads demise and devastation. – Spyros Stasis
Vidres a la Sang – Fragments de l’esdevenir (Abstract Emotions)
From the late 1970s up until his death in 2003, the poems of Catalan writer Miquel Martí i Pol became increasingly dark, seductive, and concerned with subjects of desire and death as if channeling Georges Bataille’s philosophy of erotism. Martí i Pol’s compatriots Vidres a la Sang take inspiration from his work, then infuse their amalgam of black and death metal with the sentiments they find in his poetry. The result is a faintly Agallochian, deeply poignant variation of black metal. Within it, each burst of sustained ambiance, grooving mid-tempo death metal, circling blackgaze, melodic flourishes, and abyssal growls seem to delicately breathe in and out an all-encompassing Weltschmerz, as weary of the present as it is of the future. Exquisite stuff. – Antonio Poscic
Wake – Thought From Descent (Metal Blade)
I would urge anyone that hasn’t yet experienced the music of Calgary, Alberta’s Wake to go back and explore their discography from the beginning. Start with 2011’s Leeches and listen to all the albums they have released since in sequence. For one, each of these evolutionary steps is quite excellent and very much worth the listen. Secondly, the group’s evolution from furious grindcore to the intricate, texturally, and rhythmically rich progressive blackened death metal they play on their latest release is itself a thing of beauty.
Make no mistake, even in isolation, Thought from Descent is an excellent album, but full appreciation comes from understanding its history. While the eight cuts here might appear as eclectic concoctions of styles from funeral doom to blackgaze, the sensations and narratives they trace are nigh magical. Take “Infinite Inward” whose riffs rise from death metal muck into a buzzing tremolo attack, only to then dissolve into gorgeously melodic leads and atmosphere. Or listen to the heavy chugging of “Swallow the Light” that gets propelled into a grindcore compression by see-sawing riffs and crushing cymbal rides, before “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead”) explodes with sludge-tinged brutality and voluminous growls. These, like many other passages, make Thought from Descent the crown jewel of Wake’s career thus far. – Antonio Poscic