Each year brings joy and tragedy, of different heights. 2020, was mostly tragic, as it was riddled with disease. Possibly many more awaits, however, as it has always been and will always be – music and literature, becomes the liberating factor. Following ten releases with their discrete quality, strength and aura, became my personal sources of liberation throughout the whole year.No doubt, my memory will recall each of them for many more sessions, beyond 2020.
10. Kurnugia ‘Forlorn And Forsaken’
Forlorn And Forsaken by Ohio’s Kurnugia is an album for all devotees of moldy death metal that stinks of old age and pressed with Mark Cooper‘s evoking cover art, altogether embodies a record of pure death metal atrocity, made to enlighten desolate paths and invite forlorn spirits.
Label: Memento Mori Records
9. Entera ‘Hate Factory’
Entera play thrash metal that’s characterised by effortless playing with an abundance of energy and solid tackling of socially critical topics. They’ve been active for over twenty years and defying the mainstream with their unforgiving thrash sound constructed by a solid discography of three EP and three full lengths – most notably, all released independently! Founded at the beginning of the 90s, the thrashers of Nuremberg stayed honest and straightforward in their style, and recently, celebrated their 30th anniversary and released their fourth full length and seventh independently – Hate Factory. Again, they delivered what they’re capable of – old school thrash metal and performed like its being played live.
8. Black Curse ‘Endless Wound’
Altogether, in less than 40 minutes, Endless Wound is a source of primordial screams revolving around destructive forces, with the evocative cover artwork by Denis Forkas (Behemoth, Grave Miasma) and layout design by Patrick Tauch (Venenum), Black Curse explore the darker aspects of mind and humanity, impacting each soul exposed to this prolific creation.
Label: Sepulchral Voice Records
7. Exhumation ‘Eleventh Formulae’
Exhumation’s Metal of Death style, reminds of elder gods in the great tradition of the early 90s and the demolition of pears. Upholding that tradition, they created each release with a spirited essence, both in terms of sound and. Likewise, in this record, malevolent riffs played in a straight forward approach, with bewildering speed and tempo variations, supported by growls, clear and distorted screams, held together with three engrossing instrumentals. The Indonesians remain true from the first, to the last stroke, and dig their way through forty minutes.
Label: Pulverised Records
6. The Wizar’d ‘Subterranean Exile’
Bobby Liebling, might be at the gallows end to leave the professorship of doomed insanity; but with high spirit and sheer confidence it can be uttered that his apprentice arrived in full form. And, that is, Will ‘Ol’ Rusty Vintage Wizard Master’ Fried; about whom fervent followers may well be fully aware of his growing in the Tasmanian land and his realm of The Wizar’d. Subterranean Exile carries six tales of arcane dread and destruction, forged by the combination of Ol’ Rusty’s distinctive vocals, NWOBHM tunes, doom riffs bonded by necromantic melodies and astute percussion creating a whole mystical atmosphere, and shines on the band’s bawdy approach to occultism.
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
5. Evil Whiplash ‘Ancient Magic Spells’
Ancient Magic Spells is the third full length from Evil Whiplash. Throughout its eight tracks, the experience of practicing, and thus spreading mysterious magic spells will be evident, which might have even evoked on their landscapes during ancient times as the Colombian trio, in someway received those magic and spells, and conveyed them with their very own form of crust and the evilest speed thrash metal, in quintessential and forever enticing, energetic and spirited South American style.
4. Raven ‘Metal City’
Here comes the Raven again. After ExtermiNation released in 2015, the band took only five years to present the 13th Full-Length Metal City. Ten songs can be found on it and ten times there is classic heavy metal without compromise. With Mark Gallagher’s fretboard fireworks and John Gallagher’s slick and astounding bass lines, coupled with the high-pitched yelps and screams; will make you enter the METAL CITY!!!
3. Cursed Blood ‘Taker Of Life’
Curseed Blood‘s Taker Of Life offers a mixture of death metal and crust, which is straight to the point, crushing and damaging. This debut EP will surely produce some ripple in the deep underground and let’s hope that these Greek maniacs don’t just stay with the Taker Of Life.
Label: War Anthem Records
2. Gangrena ‘Oscuro Tormento’
By no means newcomers in the forever erupting underground as Gangrena have been maturing their death metal for 15 years. Their latest, Oscuro Tormento, translates to ‘Dark Torment’, follows the similar imprint of their previous releases, where the quartet performs death metal spewed out in a Spanish dialect, with influences from the bestial and sadistic old school legends, with a brutal and direct presentation that vibrated through the traditional playing style of these South Americans.
Label: Australis Records
1. Depression ‘Ära Der Finsternis’
Depression aren’t a typical death/grind act, they’ve forged a special sound that stands the test of time. On the first day of September 2020, they crossed the 30-year benchmark and choose to celebrate with a jubilee-full-length-album Ära Der Finsternis, where 30 songs, in exactly 70 minutes beholds the pure music of Depression, including a cover of the song Master from the band Master, plus the Ein Hauch Von Moder Part II EP re-recorded as bonus tracks, with guest-vocals from Marc Grewe (ex Morgoth). Again, sound wise, they showed themselves varied as ever; in addition to classic grind eruptions, groovy mid-tempo smashers and crust elements.
Label: Rotten Roll Rex
Scribed by: Randolph Whateley