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Monday, 30 March 2020

Reviews: Live Burial, Unholy Desecration, Wvrm, zhOra (Rich & Paul H)

Live Burial: Unending Futility (Transcending Obscurity Records) [Rich Oliver]

Unending Futility is the second album from Newcastle death metallers Live Burial. Live Burial are a band I have heard plenty of good things about but until now I hadn’t got round to checking them out. Well I’ve given myself a smack on the wrist for taking my time about it as Live Burial are completely 100% my thing. Live Burial are pure old school death metal worship with Unending Futility sounding like it was released in the early 90’s rather than in 2020. Pummelling grisly death metal with plenty of nods to thrash it is seven songs of grizzled ferocity from the chaos of Condemned To The Boats, neck wrecking ferocity of Cemetery Fog and the unbridled rage of Rotting On The Rope this is essential listening for old school death metal fans. The only oddity on the album is Winds Of Solace which is an instrumental acoustic piece. Unending Futility offers nothing new to the world of death metal but pays homage to the glory days of death metal with nods to bands such as Death, Massacre, Asphyx and Malevolent Creation. Death metal may be a constantly evolving subgenre but you still can’t beat a bit of old school filth and Live Burial delivery the rotting goods. 8/10

Unholy Desecration: Unholy Horde (Confused Records) [Paul Hutchings]

The follow up to 2018’s Born Of Evil EP, it would be fair to say that Texas blackened death metal outfit Unholy Desecration’s raison d’etre is to level everything their sound touches. The sonic maelstrom that you find yourself directly engulfed by as opener Praise My Hell crashes in soars to new levels of brutality that few bands can match. The entire album is a pummelling fist to the face; crushing riffs, down tuned frantic guitars and a drum/bass division that could push through the Western front it’s so feisty. With a sound that is closer to the blacked metal of bands such as Behemoth, Immortal, Belphegor and Dissection, it’s only when you realise that the band are from the cartel-infested region of the Texas-Mexico border that things become clear. This is music born out of necessity against a backdrop of unrest and punishment. Reflected in their sound, the barking roar of vocalist Fremitus Diaboli and his five band members doesn’t allow for any escape. It’s a bludgeoning assault which hurts from start to finish. Tracks such as Born Of Evil and As She Walks contain sinister overtones. It’s not a comfortable listen but then I doubt that Unholy Desecration would want it any other way. 7/10

WVRM: Colony Collapse (Prosthetic Records) [Rich Oliver]

Colony Collapse is the third album from South Carolina grindcore band WVRM. There are a legion of grindcore bands out there I am completely unfamiliar with and WVRM fall into that category and so Colony Collapse is my first exposure to the band. Grindcore is generally a very single minded subgenre of extreme music and on the whole you know what you are going to get on a grind album. Short songs, blast beats, socio-political lyrics and extremely violent music. WVRM tick all these boxes very much displaying their influences from some of the prolific grindcore bands such as Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Wormrot and Rotten Sound. The same can be said for a lot of grind bands and whilst WVRM do what they do really well there’s not a whole lot here that particularly stood out for me. Colony Collapse is a decent grind album but I’ve heard better. Saying that I’ve also heard a lot worse. Colony Collapse isn’t a bad grind album, just a bit of an uninspired one. Great for a short sharp blast of violence down your earholes but not one I will be rushing to listen to again in a hurry. 6/10

zhOra: Mortals (Hostile Media) [Paul Hutchings]

Whilst this brutally heavy driven outfit from County Tipperary have been pounding eardrums for the best part of a decade, I’d not come across them before. This is their fourth release, and it’s a bit of a nasty bastard. Ferociously aggressive, angry and hostile, it’s overall style ranges from the sludgy mania of early Mastodon and Neurosis through the metal country to the technically industrial slant of Gojira. The main theme behind the album is frustration, mainly caused by numerous worlds colliding around their previous release and some unfortunate personal situations (their original bass player had to leave due to a brain tumour). Fortunately, the band appear to have channelled those frustrations into a piledriver of an album that explodes with blistering ferocity on Coke Vulture.

Things get even more feisty on Hellfire, with the music written in 90 minutes according to Drummer Tom Woodlock. Punishing to the point of extremity, the haunting roars summarize the sheer angst that threads throughout this album. With connections about the pointlessness of life linking the tracks, Mortals is not a happy record. But the rage that has been released is undoubtedly cathartic for the band. Demotivator captures the vibe within the album, angry and belligerent, references to the meaning of life and suicide are ideal subject matter for such dark sounds. As Woodlock says, “the song has the message of ‘Yes, life is absolutely pointless; don’t worry about it too much’.” It’s evident that zhOra have drawn deeply on personal experiences. The result is 30 minutes of bludgeoning thick heavy riffing and raging which ultimately is healthy for body and mind. 7/10

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