Deathless Master, cover

Acephalix, Deathless Master

Acephalix’ last full-length was my no. 7 album of last year, so I was excited to hear this one.

It’s very similar to Black Breath’s newest, in that there’s a marriage of Entombed to New York City Hardcore– the difference here is that Acephalix are much closer to Entombed than the NYHC– they’re boldly detuned, and overall slower than BB.

“Tomb of Our Fathers” is the first standout, with its groovy, Asphyx-like riffing and completely unintelligible lyrics… “Raw Life” is a lurching, undead-Golem of a riff/song, and highlights one of the qualities of this record– it’s just as rawly-produced as its predecessor– you can hear absolutely every ambient sound during the recording, and (during the silences at least), it’s pretty fucking cool; it underscores the heavier riffs once they start back up, and “Raw Life” clearly shows this effect.

“Blood of Desire” roars out of the gate, blastbeats at first then D-beats, then, with a Zeus/ Odin-like bellow, hits what is arguably the most “memorable” of the tunes here….

Short version: they’re Entombed, got very fat and very pissed off– can’t move quickly at all, but weights 300 pounds (136 kilograms to my European brothers and sisters, 21 1/2 stone to my Irish homies) and would squash you without even thinking twice about it, though probably wheezing through the whole endeavor.

“In Arms of Nothing” intros with the same badass bass than Interminable Night started with….

Overall, there’s a very slight change (I hesitate to say “evolution”) from their previous record, and this consists in inching further down the death metal spectrum, ever-so-slightly away from the D-beat that characterized their previous record, Interminable Night. I can’t say it’s better or worse; just very slightly different.

To reuse a metaphor, it’s death metal Coca-Cola. It’s not new Coke, it’s not diet Coke, and it’s definitely not Cherry or Vanilla coke, what with their increased sweetness….

But how many Cokes have you drunk in your life so far? Hundreds to thousands, right? And they were all pretty good, yeah?

Deathless Master is your latest two-liter of D-beat-ish Death Metal.

If you love this very particular beverage, this is for you.



[Deathless Master is released officially worldwide on Southern Lord on April 10, 2012.]

Black Breath, Sentenced to Life

Sentenced to Life is pretty much an album of Entombed covering hardcore acts like Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Sick of It All, Discharge, and even Bad Religion. It’s on Southern Lord.

For most of you reading this, that’s pretty much all you need to know. I don’t even need to make a judgment call here; you’ve already decided if this if this is for you.

For the rest of you, it’s really. Goddamn. cool. (Oh, and for Monkey Defies Gravity (as if you didn’t know): I estimate this to be your new Holy Grail.)

It’s the detuned death metal Sunlight Sound from Sweden, interpreting the rage of NYHC.

Like Sons of Satan Praise the Lord (an Entombed covers album) or Slayer’s Undisputed Attitude, in other words.

Opener “Feast of the Damned,” is stupidly riff-tastic, and at 1:44 drops into a great sludge riff breakdown before taking off again….

This formula is maintained during the first four tunes, and is only broken on “Endless Corpse,” with its slow-burning building up over “The Small Hours”-esque chords.

That is, until 1:38– when shit just got real.

At this point, I actually feel bad for the drummer– this shit has been flying, all-out, at redicu-fast tempos– this guy’s hands have got to be shredded by now.

Ah, and there it is– about two minutes later we get the slow-down, into something like Overkill would’ve put on Horrorscope, particularly, well… “Horrorscope.”

Of course, the next tune, “Mother Abyss” flies even harder and faster than anything before it, like they’re suicidal geriatrics on a treadmill, determined to induce their own heart attack from sheer velocity… “Of Flesh” starts with a Left Hand Path trill riff that’s fucking sweet….

ANyhoo, prolly top 10 of 2012. Take that as you will….

[Sentenced to Life is released March 27, 2012.]
Acephalix, cover

Acephalix, Interminable Night

Inspired by Monkey Defies Gravity‘s love for the Southern Lord/ D beat/ crust punk/ death metal hybrids, I’d been listening to a ton of All Pigs Must Die, which, while quite awesome, suggested, nay, beckoned the similar-sounding, yet somehow heavier Acephalix….

[Sidenote: what the fuck is an Acephalix? Google doesn't know.]

Short version: Entombed, even further detuned, if they grew up on Agnostic Front, the Cro-Mags… and Candlemass and St. Vitus.

I have been listening to Interminable Night pretty much consistently for the last week. This is unusual, as I usually am not drawn back, here compelled, to an album. This one is already well up on my best of 2011 lists, I’ll be pleasantly amazed if this isn’t in the top 3 of the year.

And– as perhaps you know, I love the detuned slowness, i.e., doom/sludge/ stoner metal. I love the lowlowlow sounds, going… slow.

So– it’s even more of a glowing recommendation if I like an album that only marginally fits that description.

Here is some more writing about this San Francisco genre-bending extreme metal band:

Album opener, “Christ Hole” lets you know what you’re in for: simple, heavy, waaaaay low end riffs played with a raspy Baritone screamer. They’re only detuned to C (not that far by extreme metal standards) but the production/mix/whatever just crushes.

“Daemonic Sign” flies out of the gate at 220 bpm, playing as fast as humanly possible (no mean feat, I’d imagine, with the heavy strings they’d need to play that far detuned), and closer “Interminable Night,” the best of the bunch, opens with an open chord and a middle-eastern-sounding riff that’d do the Cliff Burton of “Creeping Death” proud. At 1:05, when it’s just the riff, and the bass comes in under it, it. Is. FUCKING. AWESOME.

So enough with me already! Go listen and see what you think? What am I, a clairvoyant…?

Microreview: Nails, Unsilent Death


+ Cro Mags… (or Agnostic Front…)


To The Point…!

“Sunlight studios” tone… with better engineering…

Southern Lord’s version of NYHC… it knows what it wants, and it knows how to get it….

breakdowns that work, and deserve to live…

…over in 15 very short minutes.


Cassette of the Week: Entombed, Left Hand Path

“Cassette of the Week” is a new column where I’m going to review an album that I actually purchased on cassette when it originally came out.

Yeah, I’m “old.” Suck it.

This week’s cassette is, as above indicated, Swedish Death Metal pioneers Entombed’s 1990 debut, Left Hand Path.


This debut album has held up really well.

I remember when it came out all the magazines (remember those?) like RIP and Metal Maniacs were touting this as the Next Big Thing. And they were right: death metal in 1990 was utterly new (and interestingly now seems old hat). Though I prefer Wolverine Blues overall (also possessing the cassette), I’ve been listening to this nearly every day the last few weeks. The buzzsaw “Sunlight Sound” (named for the Swedish studio where Entombed essentially maxed out all the knobs on their distortion pedals, tuned down to Drop C and, frankly, Rocked The Fuck Out) isn’t nearly as muddy as I remembered, and the songs are fast, heavy and (a sorely unused adjective in today’s music) short. To quote Eric in Killing Zoe, “We go in, we get what we want, we come out.”

Left Hand Path totally does that. Repeatedly. And well.

Though the lyrics (when they’re intelligible) are at best juvenile and at worst (speaking as a professional) suggestive of moderate to severe antisocial (or dissocial, if you’re European) personality disorder, Left Hand Path is a burner. 47 minutes of fast, confident fury.

I’ve been dozing off with it, lately. It’s so angry it’s relaxing, like having a friend rant about things you don’t have the energy to be angry about.

Because you’re old.