And Bluntface Records do it again, thrusting the underground scene at the senses courtesy of another essential compilation of some of the most striking and potential drenched bands around. This time the US label is exploring the underground metal scene from New England, which on the evidence of 27 Tons of Metal New England, is simply writhing with great ravenous bands and sounds. The release is as diverse in styles as it is voracious in creativity and though with the amount of bands and metal subgenres involved personal tastes will obviously find a greater hunger for some over others, it is fair to say that the album from start to finish is a compelling treat with no weak spots, and all the more tastier for being completely free.
The encounter opens with Carnivora and a track taken from their outstanding EP, The Vision. Pessimist’s Tongue is the Danvers quintet at their full blistering best and weaving suggestive ambiences into subsequent tapestries of rabid vocals and rancorous intensity. Yet despite its almost cancerous intent and creative breath, there is anthemic energy and a web of searing adventure from the guitars involved, which in turn sparks addictively imaginative exploits from the band across the song’s corrosive landscape.
It is a scintillating start to the release pushed on by Alterius and their uncompromising melodic death metal trespass on the senses, A Citadel’s Demise. The song comes from the band’s latest EP Voyager, and merges classical overtones into its fluid brutal and seductive tempting. Like being serenaded whilst the beast tears your throat out, the track stalks ears and psyche setting in motion a keen appetite to know more, a success matched by Revere quartet Travel Amygdala and their aggressively smouldering Died by a Bullet. Entangling its inventive metal bred sound with progressive and grunge seeded imagination, the song aggressively crawls over the senses enticing and intimidating, especially as it builds in energy and tempestuous air. There is also a potent sludge feel to part of its character too, the thick prowls between forceful strides of creative and vocal drama carrying the strongest whiff, with ultimately everything uniting for one riveting proposition.
Bostonian black metal trio Ashen Wings comes next, the band’s raw and carnivorous sound a bracing magnetic scourge delivered to ears from Cancerous Bones. As insidious and ruinous as you can imagine, it also spawns a swing to its gait which only adds to the addictive proposal on offer before making way for the just as destructively virulent Scourge of the Hierophant from Sorrowseed. A blend of blackened death metal with a healthy vein of classic and melodic tenacity, the increasingly thrilling track smothers ears and appetite with pestilential persuasion whilst provoking the want to offer vocalist Lilith Astaroth some soothing for her surely shredded vocal chords.
Walk the Earth (No Longer) from sludge/doomers Conclave steps up next, the nine minute intrusion an accomplished and enthralling predation cast with rugged heavy riffs and heavily swiping rhythms, all lorded over by just as unpolished and alluring vocals. From their Breaking Ground EP, the song is as effective descending on ears in top gear or in crowding their walls with a lumbering and weighty provocation within a long but never less than thickly engaging incitement.
The same kind of hold is seized by Beneath The Burial next and their track In Memory, its fusion of hardcore ferocity and metal spawned sonic invention a fury of searing grooves, vocal animosity, and subsequently predatory imagination. As the album itself, there is a wealth of flavours emerging across the track musically and vocally, which only adds to the slow but fiercely burning persuasion of the song to inspire a want for more as it makes way for Skin Drone and God Complex. One of the few bands these ears had already come across and previously devoured, the duo of Bluntface Records founder Otto Kinzel and Erik Martin of Erik Dismembered and Critical Dismemberment unleash one of those examinations which you never know whether to fear or whole heartedly embrace, the latter always the chosen reaction of course. Like a sonic scavenger, the track vocally and musically spills its creative industrial/metal animus on to the senses within an evocative ambience which then inspires a melancholic exploration of emotive and creative expression. The song is a cauldron of inventive sound and emotional intensity, a rich picking for those with an avant-garde side to their preferred examinations.
The scorching designs and temperament of Dirty Birdy from metalcore furnace Don’t Cross the Streams is next; band and track a scarring addictiveness which without springing major surprises has ears and heavy enjoyment sealed from the first clutch of seconds. Their triumph is quickly backed by Stoughton power/progressive metallers Forevers Fallen Grace and Clarion of Regret, another song which needed warming to before its potent expanse of craft and enterprise became an inescapable hook, and after them Makavrah with the excellent Awakening The Ancients. The Peterborough hailing doomsters have a sound which is dangerously mesmeric, a senses meddling sonic bewitchment which as shown by its twelve minutes of evolving soundscape, is hex like in its ingeniously dramatic and creative exploration. With echoes of Show Of Bedlam to it, the track is one delicious incessant crawl.
The industrial endeavour of Isolated Antagonist more than lives up to its offering’s title next, Infection a contagious causticity of sound and emotion with vocals to match as it worms under the skin and into the psyche with lingering rewards, whilst the following Composted bring a carnal presence and hostility into the equation with their track OB/GYN O.G. The band’s death metal onslaught has the voracity of thrash and swagger of groove metal to it, and as hungry hues only help to create an immense and irresistible corruption.
Both Charlestown sextet Untombed and Mike Kerr Band keep the riveting roar of the album going, the first with their groove and antagonism loaded death metal antipathy, Criminal Inception. Savage and violently catchy, the track is another which is maybe not gripped by original exploits but is one spilling a fresh venom which leaves a great many of fellow emerging genre bands in the shade whilst its successor is the title track from its creators recently released new album The Truth of the Lion and features Texan vocalist Adrienne Cowan and Jim Oliveira in its classic/melodic metal lure.
Power groove metal is on the agenda next through Before the Judge and their track Bobby D. With a highly agreeable nag of riffs and grooves lining its erosive blaze, the song stirs the blood whilst pouring more diversity into the compilation, variety further expanded by The Aberration and their track Bologna Skins are the Next Big Thing. The band consists of Travis O’Connell (guitar) and Jim Cole (drums), an instrumental duo creating, on the evidence of their contribution, compelling proposals of snarling progressive metal loaded with uncompromising attitude.
Melodic death metal quartet My Missing Half scars air and ears next with The Lives I’ve Ruined, a song with essences of The Black Dahlia Murder and At the Gates to it whilst finding its own magnetically inventive nature. The track leaves emotions and senses breathless but hungry for more as so many on the release, including Seeds of Negligence and their maelstrom of varied and inhospitable metal posing as The Reaper. The song is a bruising and vicious temptation of death, groove, thrash, and progressive strains of extreme metal, an incendiary incitement sparking a lust for further confrontation.
Dover trio Cactus Hag drags the listener back into a rich immersion of sludge and doom invasiveness with Grand Lodge of the Mirage, the track an insidious erosion snuffing out light and hope whilst sparking just as strong enjoyment. Its smothering rancor is contrasted by the brighter and superbly volatile adventure of G.O.G. from Side Effects May Include, the song another entwining a mass of different styles into its individual tempest of heavy rock and creatively rabid metal, and another only leaving the urge to go explore in their wake. Which is something which also applies to Pelham’s Epicenter and the thrash fuelled insurgency of See Through. With strands of alternative and groove metal to its robust and tenacious exploits, the track is as anthemic as it is strikingly inventive, and amongst admittedly many, an instinctive favourite.
Fog Wizard get body and passions inflamed again with Fear the Kraken, a rapacious prowling built like Sabbath meets Motorhead with the attitude of Stuck Mojo and the combined snarl of Slayer and Black Flag. One slab of real pleasure is replaced by another and the abrasive kaleidoscope of sound unveiled by Sonic Pulse through Defenders of the Good Time. A brawling festival of power and thrash metal with a flurry of heavy and classic metal hues for greater captivation, the track is a ferocious blaze equipped with drama, familiarity, and inescapable bait.
The heavy weight slab of talent is brought to an impressive end by a trio of bands to also keep a close eye on, starting with the bestial sound of extreme metallers Graveborn. Their mercilessly hellacious and skilled Leviathan is sheer sonic and rhythmic savagery with just as brutishly varied vocals, and another big enticement before heavy/thrash metal Verscythe prove their classic seeds in the richly magnetic Land of Shells.
Completed finally by Vacant Eyes and the melody sculpted funereal death/doom exploration that is The Dim Light of Introversion, a track thick in atmosphere and haunting trespasses for a darkly compelling seducing, 27 Tons of Metal New England is an intensive journey through the depths and expanses of New England’s underground metal scene. It is one of the most extensive and rewarding compilations in a long time which from start to finish, enthrals and assaults, entices and transgresses. If any metal fan does not come away from the encounter with at least a handful of new lusts we would be amazed. So no dawdling, go and get one of the biggest and best free treats of the year,
27 Tons of Metal New England is available for free download @ http://bluntfacerecords.com/27-tons-of-metal-new-england