We get so much stuff through that we do struggle to make a dent in the massive pile of great new releases, so here’s a review round-up featuring a trio of recent sludge and post-metal albums with a smattering of hardcore and grindcore for good measure.
LETHVM – This Fall Shall Cease
Having been active since 2015 Belgian post-metallers LETHVM have just released their debut album This Fall Shall Cease.
After building tension through the atmospheric one-minute intro “Impetus” there are instant shades of Cult Of Luna from the opening moments of second track “Wandering At Dawn” and on first listen I was concerned that This Fall Shall Cease was just going to be a post-metal-by-numbers album but LETHVM are at least treading carefully next to a well-worn path rather than blazing their own trail. The crushingly heavy finish to “Wandering At Dawn” is a particular highlight and the switch in tempo and tone is one of many peppered throughout The Fall Shall Cease with LETHVM drawing from sludge, black and doom metal at various points.
Not as devastating as Amenra or as elaborate as Cult Of Luna, much of The Fall Shall Cease sticks with the same strategy of melding sub-genres and another highlight, “Winter’s Journey”, has a bit of a blacker feel to it. Especially dark is the mid-song break of melodic guitar work and the vocalist’s pained screaming, and the bleak closing refrains over a choral backing are quite haunting.
Nothing groundbreaking in terms of post-metal, This Fall Shall Cease is a solid debut effort from LETHVM that fans of the genre should give a spin.
For fans of: The Atlas Moth, Cult Of Luna, Amenra
This Fall Shall Cease is out now
Erdve – Vaitojimas
Erdve, a sludge/hardcore quartet from Vilnius in Lithuania, were recently signed to Season of Mist Records on the strength of a single demo tape distributed within the local scene. Getting signed to Season of Mist for a debut release is big news and Erdve have clearly approached this self-recorded album with a savage, grim point to prove. And they make no bones about ramming that point into the listener’s ears with the instantly punishing self-titled opener.
Vocalist/guitarist Vaidotas Darulis’ harsh howl bursts ‘Vaitojimas’ into monstrous being and there’s barely a moment where Erdve let up during the 5 tracks that make up the rest of Vaitojimas. There are a few sections that allow some breathing space (the intro to the excellent instrumental track ‘Apverktis’) and these do cleverly bolster the impact of the aural abuses that precede and follow them. Hopefully, these are ideas that Erdve can further explore and develop to add a bit more depth to future releases, but for now, I’m happy losing myself to Vaitojimas‘ cathartic energy.
Laced throughout with a viscous, oozing slab of sludge influences and unrelenting in its heaviness, Vaitojimas is not for the faint-hearted. This is (obviously) meant as a huge compliment, as that’s exactly how this form of hideous blackened hardcore should sound. Definite ones to watch.
For fans of: The Ocean, Celeste, Amenra
Vaitojimas is out now
Greber – Cemetery Preston
There are some great bass and drum duos within the heavy music scene and Greber probably rank amongst the noisiest. The Canadian duo, comprised of drummer Steve Vargas (The Great Sabatini) and bassist Marc Bourgon (Fuck The Facts), draw on countless influences to create a strange, dirty amalgam of noise-rock, grindcore, doom and sludge on their third album, Cemetery Preston.
Working with Brad Boatright on mastering duties Greber have captured a raw Albini-sludge-grind sound that is primal but in no way primitive on Cemetery Preston. The hardcore style vocal duties are shared between the two members and their combination of rumbling, feedback-drenched bass and pounding drums works well to create an energetic, filthy and violent sound.
Cemetery Preston is a challenging, rewarding album that is at times fast and vicious with bouts of blast beats (“Backhanded Interest”, “Prophetic”), and at other points slow and viscous (“The Closer We Got”, also “Prophetic”). Finishing off Cemetery Preston the eight-minute long and doom-laden “The Closer We Got” ends with over a minute of screeching feedback, daring the listener to see the whole album out to the end.
For fans of: Corrupt Moral Altar, Helpless, Lightning Bolt
Cemetery Preston is out now