First up on this sickening feature is Australia’s Backyard Mortuary with their debut full length ‘Lure of the Occult’. A thick atmosphere of doom and disease immediately greets all who push play on this album, darkening the path into the dank tomb. Riffs rip left and right, death grooves are abundant and vocals intone dark incantations inside a reverberant hollow. I was impressed by the lack of brevity on some of the tracks; most of the songs on ‘Lure…’ weigh in at over 5 minutes and a few even push past 7. I find this to be both a blessing and a curse as with my first listen, it seems the band was afraid to edit themselves and consolidate their ideas, providing more filler than killer. However, album closer, ‘Demon Blood’ is a perfect example of how well the band works together and provides enough time for each member to abuse their instrument. A debut that is both suffocating and solid. Beware the ‘Lure of the Occult’!

I was quickly impressed by Canada’s Burialkult. It seems the digital promo I received had the first and second track in reverse order. Instead of the somber organ intro greeting me, I was immediately assaulted by a trashing guitar and blasting snare drum in a lo-fi production setting, a suitable sound for ‘A Call From Beyond the Grave”. Distorted vocals make this recording that much more infectious and although the recording quality is harsh, it is still quite listenable. What you hear sounds like a band in their practice space or live on a stage in the roughest part of the city. I am tired of over-produced bullshit recorded in immaculate studios trying to pass for real death metal. Burialkult is the answer to my prayers. Keep tracks like ‘Throne of Disease’ and ‘Desecrate the Temple’ close at hand in case of a poser metal emergency.

Lately, I have been getting my ass kicked by a handful of French death metal bands, namely of the more technical sort, but here we examine a darker and more foreboding breed of France’s death metal legion. Originally released on cassette by Impious Desecration Records, Cadaveric Fumes’ ‘Macabre Exaltation’ is a ritual in 5 parts showcasing a plethora of solid musicianship, understanding and appreciation for all things death. A grim atmosphere is present, no doubt created by the band bashing these songs out in a fast and furious recording to retain all the blood and guts that went into writing these 5 incantations. ‘Knowledge of the Ancient Ones’ stomps and kicks at everything with reach before switching to a ethereal passage that rolls like a sea where dead things lie dreaming. Buried in reverb, drenched in blood and bile, this release packs a punch and should be used as reference when checking one’s own progress in attaining all things heavy and horrid.

Mexico’s Necroccultus has been providing unspeakable atrocities for nearly a decade now. With their new release, ‘Solemnelohim, Bringer of Death’, we find that Necroccultus is at their peak, making a mockery of all things humble and holy. ‘Aeons of Spectral Morbidity’ is a furious storm of rumbling bass, razor-ripping guitars and venomous vocals. The pounding of the rhythm section is the most punishing of all I have encountered in this feature, while the structure of the songs is no less impressive. ‘Equinox of the Unburied Ones’ is a real motherfucker of a track, pushing the album over the edge right at its close. I can’t help but want more from this horde, a mere four songs is barely enough to satiate my thirst, let alone my appetite! From a band with 10 years under their belt, I hope to find a second full length in their discography soon as opposed to another split or EP, which they have a number of.