Claws / Grave Wax
Pestilent Formation

Full of pain and despair, ‘Pestilent Formation’ is nothing short of devastating death metal, pure and simple. Finnish one-man murderer Lasse Pyykkö (Phlegethon, Hooded Menace) delivers a fine performance on ‘Reaching for the Rotten’ with thundering drum assaults and guitars that cut like a knife. Echoing through haunted tombs, the dark vocals speak of undying torment in a shadow world from across the void. Grave Wax, being a debut collaboration from the Brothers Riddick, Kam Lee and Brian Forman, could not have done better, offering up a powerful sound full of blasting brutality and churning death grooves. The sound is instantly full of venomous vocals and crushing guitar savagery, pinning the listener under six feet of vomit and gore. Lee’s layered vocals are spot on, the guitar is diverse with its attack, the bass makes its precense felt while the drums destroy at any tempo necessary. Get this split CD with a killer poster by Riddick while supplies last!

Druid Lord / Skeletal Spectre
Split 7″ Inch

USDM bastards Druid Lord adds another killer split to their fast-growing discography just in time for Halloween, this time in a spooky purple 7″ with female fronted Skeletal Spectre. The slow-to-mid tempo of Druid Lord’s ‘Dark Age Sorcery’ looms in a dark, bluesy haze, creating a vision not unlike what must have Black Sabbath beheld when first witnessing their proverbial ‘figure in black’. A tale of a betrayed wizard exacting his revenge upon an unjust ruler is told here with agonizing vocals over the top of a grooving and churning rhythm section and guitar harmonies without error or excuse. Skeletal Spectre adds another dimension to this two track terror titled ‘Malevolent Patricide’, with a direct and driving rhythm section and saturated guitar tone, this Swedish/American monstrosity begs for posers to give them shit, spitting fucking blood and stabbing recklessly in all directions. A slamming breakdown (fuck off haircut kid) incites a riot with its bottom end bass and soaring guitar harmony, creating an experience that is not to be forgotten! Don’t forget to read the lyrics on the insert and feast your eyes on the classic death cover art!

The Beyond / The Lurking Corpses
Gross Encounters of the Sacrificial Rite

USBM maniacs The Beyond bring their crusty-punk power chords and over the top black fucking atmosphere to the slaughter with two new tracks on this 7″ sacrifice. Opening with the driving  dominance of ‘Total Genocide’, the fist-fight swings easily between 2/4 pit inducing rhythms, suffocating ambient blasting, noisy blues rock solos and gang vocal breakdowns all under 4 minutes! ‘The Sacrificial Whores of Satan’ follows suit but slightly trumps the previous rituals with a powerful, black metal aesthetic of unyielding blasting and full-throttle vocal violence. I am not being biased either because my main man Nate drew the cover to ‘The Pussy Warlock’ either, their next EP release…just saying…you should check it out here. Midwest motherfuckers The Lurking Corpses deliver the goods with their two tracks, a new monstrosity titled ‘Midnight Munging’ and a solid cover of Grim Reaper’s classic, ‘See You In Hell’. Deep and deathly vocals spit venom on top of thick guitars and devastating drums while the occasional vocal sample asks us ‘Hey, you wanna see something really disgusting?’. This is easily one of the better splits I have heard recently due to the diversity of the tracks and the ability of the artists to do more with less on each song. Turn it up and get in the pit!

Mountain Grave – The Ancient Disease

Solid guitar aggression and pounding drum delivery are immediately felt of ‘The Ancient Disease’, an EP from Indiana’s Mountain Grave that is overflowing with genres, musicianship and re-listen value. The technical attack of the title track / album opener shows the technical prowess of songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Brian Rush and delivers the one-two punch for making a good impression early in the fight. Immediately following is the relentless atmosphere of ‘Attract – Collapse’; black, smothering hatred engulfs the listener in deep dark night before a galloping rhythm section snaps their headbanging necks in two. From what I understand of the lyrics and press info, the lyrical matter tells us of an ‘ancient disease’, traveling through space for millennia before settling on Earth giving rise to a zombie apocalypse…that is fucking cool! If any one impression stands out on ‘The Ancient Disease, it would have to be the amount of diversification that one may hear on such a short release. Including the 8 minute horror movie, ‘Overture of the Dead’, the 6 tracks total a mere 33 minutes but manage to squeeze in thrash punishment, black blasting, classical guitar melodrama, vomit vocals and a heap of technical guitar and songwriting wizardry. Although I was less than impressed with the DIY zombie movie (pop culture has no place in death metal…right?!?!), I was at least satisfied that the music bed was well placed and delivered during the flick.

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