For the very first time, Cardiac Arrest’s Haven for the Insane is coming soon on vinyl! Pre-sale up today, release on 04/23. Very stoked to have this as Nameless Grave Records’ first vinyl release!
Formed originally in Chicago in 1997, Cardiac Arrest have been terrifying audiences since before half of the current wave of death metal bands were alive, always as stalwartly untrendy as they were fierce and uncompromising. Haven for the Insane in particular should appeal to fans of Autopsy, Funebrarum, Impetigo, and Master. I am a big fan of this record in particular, so I’m to be a part of the Cardiac Arrest legacy in even this very small way.
This week we will be talking about one of the most promising newer bands out of France, Herzel. Herzel are an epic heavy metal band that formed nearly a decade ago now, but until this year only had a single powerful demo out, 2015’s Unis dans la gloire. That one demo was strong enough to set the underground ablaze, and years of buzz prior to their new album had reached a boiling point by the time that Le dernier rempart was announced as a Gates of Hell Records release, finally releasing last week.
Thirty years ago to this day, one of the ultimate landmarks of death/doom metal dropped. Coming only a scant year after Paradise Lost’s debut album, Lost Paradise, Gothic represented a reverberating shift through the burgeoning genre and made waves that are still being felt today. It also stands unique within the band’s discography as a transitional work between their early days playing death metal and their long mid period where they shied away from it (with repeated mentions in places like 1993’s Chamber of Sorrow Zine #4 about all of the issues that they had with the record after the honeymoon period had worn off after its release). Gothic was their last death metal record for almost two decades until they more recently began slowly re-integrating that sound with In Requiem, and, though of course it’s worth checking out all of their material, Gothic is the one that was the most influential and special of their early works.
StarGazer has a lot of history, and with that, a lot of high hopes whenever they drop new material. As one of Australia’s longest-running extreme metal bands and one of their best, fans are always ravenous for more. Though StarGazer’s lineup certainly keeps a lot of new music flowing via side projects, full length releases under the StarGazer name are a relative scarcity, and Psychic Secretions comes some seven years after the band’s last full length back in 2014.
It’s a rare demo that hits with the force of a good album, but it’s not the biggest shock that an experienced talent such as Reuben Storey, who is best known for his time with Christian Mistress, Funerot, and Quayde LaHüe, would be the first one in 2021 to make a big impression. Dropping with no buildup and in an age of online-only promotion, it’s easy for an independent demo like this to get lost, but Iron Exile is already making waves with the strength of its spirit and passion in its heart.
Obscene are pretty much everything that death metal should be. They don’t care about trends, they don’t care about fitting in, and they don’t compromise. The band formed back in 2016 in Indiana under the name “Blood Chasm,” but after just a year they changed to Obscene, independently dropped a killer demo that was successful enough to get a repress on Blood Harvest Records, and set about writing their full length.
Switzerland isn’t known for having a strong modern heavy metal scene, both traditional and overall, but Megaton Sword are aiming to change that. Though they only formed in 2018, the band put out an excellent EP on Dying Victims Productions soon after and a debut album Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire late last year, putting them on a prolific path to glory that will hopefully continue with more releases in the near future.
Deiquisitor has always been a tiny bit of a mystery. An ancient band in a modern age, they formed in Denmark in 2013 and largely kept off the internet until very recently, which always made it hard to promote their music or recommend them to friends. This shroud of olde occultism that surrounded the band was not necessarily ideal for their overall popularity, but lent itself to a certain air of wonder and secrecy that just doesn’t exist often in the internet age.
Is there a void in your life somewhere in between Cannibal Holocaust and Planet of the Apes? Did you ever think Impetigo wasn’t quite primitive enough lyrically? Well, Dipygus will probably hit pretty hard—and certainly does that anyway even completely ignoring their delightfully regressive aesthetic. Hailing from Northern California, these primordial pre-cavemen clearly have a hankering for the earliest days of gore and death from when Autopsy and Impetigo ruled the world, but do it their way; Bushmeat, their new album, is no lame rehash of Horror of the Zombies and more than rules on its own merits.
For the first edition of this column, I thought it’d be fitting to talk about the brilliant Eurynomos, a black/thrash band from Germany that demands your attention. This devastating, archaic beast was formed a few years ago pretty much entirely to convince Desaster’s classic vocalist, Okkulto, to come back to metal. After three excellent 7″ releases on cult underground label Iron Pegasus Records (best known for releasing music from bands like Mortem, Sadistic Intent, and Pentacle) Eurynomos finally dropped their debut album, From the Valleys of Hades, on the same label in 2020.