The conclusion of last decade is far from over, despite my inability to release these posts with any sort of frequency. Either way, 2014 brought a whole gauntlet of releases that remain relevant in my life even now. This is a great opportunity to honor them.
Gridlink – Longhena
Another unfortunate final album in this round-up. Gridlink was a technical grindcore force featuring legends of the genre such as Jon Chang, Bryan Fajardo and Takafumi Matsubara. The latter of which was also the reason the band split, as they didn’t want to continue without Matsubara when he was dealing with health issues. Over the course of their decade-spanning existence, Gridlink released three full-length albums with Longhena being the last.
Longhena is a 21 minute assault of grindcore of the highest caliber. More than that, Gridlink completely blow the rest of the genre out of the water in terms of technicality and melody. Where the band’s previous albums were benchmarks of over the top, high-intensity music, Longhena transfers the concept over into a more high-quality context. Much like the bands older material, Longhena is tear-inducingly intense.
Morbus Chron – Sweven
Sweven is the second album by now defunct Morbus Chron. After a debut that was airing on the more traditional side of swedish death metal, Morbus Chron first showed their true colors on the A Saunter Through the Shroud EP in 2012. Merely a taste of what was to come, Sweven fully realized the band’s psych rock and death metal fusion.
Sweven is a murky exploration of mortality that blends surreal psychedelic influences with the gruesome aesthetics of death metal. The atmosphere on this album is certainly one of its most remarkable aspects. The sound of Sweven is anything but metal, rather it’s very organic and retro. Coupled with brooding, cinematic songwriting, a damp and cold otherworldliness emerges.
The result is a passionate feverdream journey that spans from enigmatic conception to liberating demise. Though Sweven has more in common with Pink Floyd than it does with Entombed it’s a prime example of the capabilities of progressive death metal. To capture abstract matter, unify unequal parts and forge real artistry.
Vermin Womb – Permanence
Just when I thought I had more gravedigging to do my research for this entry turned out that Vermin Womb reunited in 2019. Either way, the release I chose for this part of Conclusion of the Decade is their debut EP Permanence. Since Vermin Womb features Primitive Man front Ethan Lee McCarthy there is a certain similarity in sound. Vermin Womb however are pummeling, thundering, punishing deathgrind as opposed to the tectonic churn of Primitive Man.
By now it should also become apparent why I chose this project over a Primitive Man release. Permanence is a high-intensity shot of concentrated hatred. Guitars strung with steel wire plow through shrapnel-laden waves of concrete as they come to punch you right in the fucking teeth. Right from the start tracks like You Know Nothing sweep you clean off your feet and knock the air out of your lungs. If you’re lucky, you might get a hold of yourself just in time to catch that sick groove section at the end of Bitterness. The sheer density of the sound is overwhelming. There are simply no other bands that match Vermin Womb’s combination of bonecrushing heaviness and caustic intensity.
Anti Ritual – Anti Ritual
Up next is another debut EP. Anti Ritual is a danish hardcore punk outfit that went almost completely unnoticed. Their self-titled debut was co-released by danish Indisciplinarian and german Vendetta Records. In less than 20 minutes, Anti Ritual clean up with modern society. The earth we disregard, the privileges we don’t acknowledge, the ideals we toss aside all too readily. Anti Ritual is a biting, eye-opening hardcore manifesto delivered through crunchy riffs and crusty drums.
Slugdge – Gastronomicon
Up next is the best british metal band of the last decade. There, I said it. Slugdge have been a mainstay of Noise Vortex since the release of their second album, Gastronomicon. The “joke gone band” that despite the best efforts of music critics all across the blogosphere only recently made their real breakthrough with Esoteric Malacology. In fact, any of their albums could’ve made it into this round-up, considering the consistent quality and improvements the band delivered.
On Gastronomicon, Slugdge put the rest of the death metal genre to shame once again. Thick riffs buzz from ooze-covered guitars as slick tremolo melodies slither and wind along the programmed drums that you could never identify as such. The lyrics are the real crux, despite their epic storytelling. The Slugdge cosmos revolves all around omniscient slugs that invade our world from the vast reaches of outer space. Looking past the premise though, Slugdge are among the most original death metal acts currently active. Built on a death metal foundation, the band interweaves influences from progressive metal, technical death metal and grindcore into an unmistakable sound. Now a full band with drummer Alan Cassidy of The Black Dahlia Murder and Matt Lowe on bass, the band’s future glistens like a slime trail in the sun.
Trudger – Dormiveglia
Yet more island metal awaits for the last entry of today. After an EP in 2012, sludge metal youngsters Trudger made a crushing debut with Dormiveglia. Imagine Thou meets Leviathan-era Mastodon and you might have an idea of what this is like. Dormiveglia is a depressive sludge barrage fronted by a furious vocal duo that hammers into you the hopeless reality of Trudger’s world. From the fiery riffs of Into the Abysmal Future to the cleansing climax of Morgued. Trudger prove competent at crafting viscerally bleak and badass sludge on a debut that went unnoticed by way too many. With the band supposedly still active, there might yet be hope for a follow-up.