Heavy Prescription : The Search for Quarantine’s Anodyne

We are forced to reckon and perhaps rethink the idea of ‘space’, its rather unique capacity for confinement and ‘bruise-heavy’ mental skirmishes that comes pre-packaged when its employed under all things quarantine. The cause for quarantining should be respected, yes, but sometimes we need a few salves to soothe those rather unruly ‘side effects’ that comes with living long in a certain space. Getting stuck in our homes for this long and being asked to enjoy enforced solitude is by no means easy. Our mental health, both individually and collectively, is put to the test. Sometimes it may only be a crack away from revealing its rather mushy interior.

And in times like these – with metal’s penchant for all things dystopian/pandemic – album titles and their lyrics can move from being prophetic to being just plain ludicrous (I still love it though).

Regardless. it’s important to keep listening, to keep that conversation with music alive and kicking!

Drown out those sorrows you say? Let’s listen to…

Artwork by Nightjar Illustrations/Adam Burke

1. Drown – Subaqueous

Tchornobog (“Black god” in Ukranian) was an interesting death doom debut to say the least. Markov, the sole person behind the project takes a turn for the benthic with his comparatively older band called Drown. Funeral Doom with a melodicism that is teasing at best but alluring nonetheless. Even Poseidon would have a few godly facial muscles sagging.


2. 200 Stab Wounds – Piles of Festering Decomposition EP (Maggot Stomp)

Now some prodding with sharp objects to get you out of that ‘eternal wallowing’ in despair. Short, crisp and all things caveman pummeling.  This is a fine death metal EP that fits into this emergent American clique of grimier death metal bands that’ve come out on the Maggot Stomp label (think Frozen Soul and Malignant Altar).

Artwork by Artem Demura

3. Macbeth – Gedankenwächter (Massacre Records)

A band that has a long and storied history, replete with a few run-ins with the Stasi, and one of the first bands from the erstwhile German Democratic Republic. What I love about this particular release are those lovely anthemic/cathartic choruses (Krieger/In sienem namen). Cool as fuck.


Artwork by Nightjar Illustrations/Adam Burke

4. Solothus – Realm of Ash and Blood (20 Buck Spin)

First encountered these guys with their last release on Doomentia Records which was surprisingly good to begin with. This is Finnish death metal painted over with that now infamous sheen of gloomy atmospherics that saddles both death and doom metal. This is no different, but for me the high point of the release is when they go into those melodic soloing modes. Think Mithras, albeit much slower, darker and with adequate breathing space to sink in.


5. Beggar – Compelled to Repeat (APF Records)

Initial listens would suggest that they’d fall squarely into the category of those more grimier, uglier and altars of debauchery-spinoffs of Electric Wizard. I’m here talking about the sludge that bands like Dopethrone and Demonic Death Judge sort of espouse.  They are definitely in that league and a breath of fresh air in a niche that has gone increasingly stale over the years in terms of memorability.


Artwork by CT Nelson

6. Sutrah – Aletheia EP (The Artisan Era)

This is death metal philosophical discourse 101. Trying to capture Ancient Greek philosophical concepts such as ‘lethe’     (meaning ‘oblivion) and it’s opposite, Aletheia (or ‘disclosure’) is a grand exercise unto itself. But something which metal is not new to (here, here and here). Regardless something as concept heavy as this requires a treatment that is nothing short of grandiose. And yet that is something Sutrah does in style and I mean you could literally hope for nothing less from members of a band that have connections to the whole Canadian circle of proggy tech death that includes the likes of Chthe’ilist, Serocs, and Zealotry. You must check out the debut too if you end up digging this.


7. Vredehammer – Viperous (Indie Recordings)

I end this list with the 3rd album from Vredehammer. Fitting I’d say. It’s a jolt of unrelenting blackened death with the death metal aspects having a heightened presence throughout. Now this is probably because of the beefier tone that they use – but here you do begin to grasp a thread or two the close attention to the riff that bands like Desaster and Destroyer 666 employ. And while on a similar vein, it’s not yet traded for a frenetic full frontal assault.

P.S. And oh fuck! Those synth passages are to look out for! Remember the first time you listened to, say Quartz’s Charlie Snow????

P.P.S. Now if this is all TLDR for you then I’d recommend tuning into my little playlist of sorts, that focuses on some of the best tracks (not necessarily best albums) for 2020 in IMHO.

Hardcore Punk’s Ire – A List by Rohit Chaoji

Given that we are well over the first quarter of the year, here’s some new music for you. Rohit Chaoji compiles an interesting bunch of Hardcore Punk releases.

So far, 2020 has been a bit slow. At least on my end, so to speed things up a bit, I resorted to listening to some hardcore punk. These are 10 hardcore-adjacent records I have heard this year. Hardcore-adjacent means everything that has been influenced or derived by the genre, so this includes something as heavy and abrasive as noisecore to something as melodically rich as post-rock influenced screamo. This is because I’m also trying to simultaneously represent lesser-known subsets of the genre. Since I have listened to 10 records encompassing these genres, it was easy to rank them.

  1. Demersal – Less (screamo)

Black metal has always been a fascination for screamo bands, especially because of their similarity when it comes to expressing misery or creating dark atmospheres. Demersal is among the modern bands who play a combination of the two, but the screamo pretty much dominates here. The closest comparison I can think of is Respire.

  1. Internal Rot – Grieving Birth (grindcore)

Australian grindcore band that blasts away with a rather old school fury. Their approach is almost like bands such as Excruciating Terror or Brutal Truth. There are certain aspects of this album that make it obvious that it belongs to the current era, though, such as the production.

  1. Envy – The Fallen Crimson (screamo/post-rock)

Screamo legends Envy actually surprised me with this album, considering how not impressed I was by Atheist’s Cornea. That wasn’t a bad album, just a rather uneventful one, especially compared to The Fallen Crimson, which is probably Envy at their most melodic

  1. Raspeberry Bulbs – Before the Age of Mirrors (hardcore punk/noise rock/black metal)

Raspberry Bulbs is actually rooted in black metal but always played with heavy influence from hardcore punk. With this album, they  find themselves straying further from black metal and moving more into punk and noise rock territory and they seem quite comfortable being uncomfortable there.

  1. Mammock – Itch (noise rock/math rock)

This album sounds like it was written when the band members decided to watch The Jesus Lizard on acid. It also has finely-placed jazzy breaks that remind me of NoMeansNo and some sections that call back to Unwound and Slint. I’d recommend it to fans of 90s post-hardcore.

  1. Eye Flys – Tub of Lard (noise rock/post-hardcore)

Quite like the Mammock record on this list, this is heavy noise rock inspired by bands from the 90s such as The Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Shellac, etc. Their rather metallic quality separates them from the aforementioned band, and they also lack the math rock and jazz sections. This puts Eye Flys in the same league as KEN Mode and Blacklisters.

  1. Decacy – Non Cambiera (screamo/emoviolence)

This is some fast, urgent and somewhat melodic burst of energy. They only ever let up the pace to treat us with beautiful emo guitar noodles only to return to their loud and restless selves very quickly, and seamlessly switch between the two.

  1. 44.caliberloveletter – A Hedgehog’s Dilemma (emoviolence)

The variation in mood present in this album is uncommon, though not unusual. This record smoothly moves between faintly nostalgic melodies and vocal lines to short-lasting, but effective, frantic and chaotic sections where everybody plays in almost-freeform and yet in a highly controlled manner. This is peppered with spoken, prose-like lyrics that gives it a personality of its own.

  1. Fucked – Hypersomnia (grindcore/emoviolence/noisecore)

Very abrasive, rather blackened grindcore with heavy emoviolence leanings. Fucked seem to not express their weeb-grind themes here and in the other EPs they released this year. This is of course not straight-forward grindcore and has some unexpected melodic elements thanks to the black metal and emoviolence presence.

  1. Serpent Column – Endless Detainment (black metal/mathcore)

A black metal record at heart, Endless Detainment is Serpent Column’s fourth offering, encompassing both LP and EP length releases. This album sounds heavily inspired by the likes of Jesuit, Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The way Serpent Column has combined the two genres is interesting, with a good part of its melodic base coming from black metal, while mathcore is more or less present in the rhythmic aspect of the music, with prominent breakdowns and massive, percussive chords.

Gautham Khandige’s Top 20 of 2018

Gautham Khandige writes about his favorite releases of 2018.


It’s been a really good year for music. Discovered a lot of new stuff and some old favorites turned in great albums. Here’s my Top 20 favourite metal albums from 2018 in order of preference.


20 – Usurpress – Interegnum (Agonia Records)

This Swedish band started with a crusty sludgy death metal sound but over the course of 4 albums have transformed into a different beast. This is progressive, heavy, melodic and filled with great songwriting.


19 – Morgengrau – Blood Oracle (Unspeakable Axe)

2nd album from this american death metal band. Erika Morgengrau sounds like an extreme version of Martin Walkyier and the songs are quite memorable. Solid death metal slightly let down by a muffled production that doesnt really do the riffs justice.


18 – Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth (Dark Descent)

This one blew my head off. More excellent death metal this year.


17 – Revororum Ib Malacht – Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas innoble (Annapurna Prod.)

I don’t know if the whole catholic black metal thing is for real or just a gimmick but Revororum’s music continues to captivate me. Noise, ambient and black metal clash to make some powerful music.

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Rohit Chaoji’s Top 10 albums of 2018

Rohit Chaoji comes up with his favorite releases of 2018.

In this day and age of high speed internet, there exists an abundance of streamable music, such that it makes creating this list a much harder task than it would have been a few years ago – unless you were an avid record collector.

A personal top 10 albums list would have been dominated by extreme metal a few years ago, but I will try to keep this varied so that anyone reading this would get a chance to treat their ears to different sounds.

1. Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain)

Genre: psychedelic rock

The Japanese psychedelic rock band, Kikagaku Moyo is relatively new, but has been releasing albums and EPs consistently since 2013. Their latest release has them carry forward their established sound of lush guitar leads with an accompaniment of electric sitar and fairly tight krautrock jams a la Can, as heard in the songs Fluffy Komisch and Majupose. Kikagaku Moyo is among the rare modern psychedelic rock bands that focus on songwriting before drowning them in effects.

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