Another extreme review

A drummer playing on stage with green overtones and light shining down on them. The snare drum is from Tama and reads “”.
Your eardrums will not thank you for listening to these drums, but your mind, heart, and soul will! thelifeofdina via Pixabay

Death metal bands to start listening to, if you haven’t already!

by aurel dumont, contributor

Do your ears hurt? Do you want them to? Then read on, fellow knucklehead, because I have some recommendations for the newest and gnarliest caveman tunes to go deaf to. 

The first band I have to talk about is one of the most notable upcoming acts in death metal. Their name is hard to say, and their logo is impossible to read – I’m talking about Sanguisugabogg. I have to admit that I actually didn’t like Sanguisugabogg when I first heard them. I thought they were just another try-hard old-school death metal revival band using terrible production quality to seem authentic. But the more I listened to them – especially their latest album, Homicidal Ecstasy – I began to think my initial appraisal was wrong.  

I had the pleasure of seeing Sanguisugabogg live in Saskatoon recently and that confirmed my changed opinion: they’re as real as it gets. Each member is admirable in their own right, and together they make a band that feels like Cannibal Corpse in their prime – a death metal sensation. I feel like one day I’ll be able to brag about seeing them when they were still so new. 

Homicidal Ecstasy is Sanguisugabogg’s second album, released on February 3. The first thing you’ll notice if you listen to this album is that it sounds… different. Sanguisugabogg has no bass player; they have 2 guitar players, and one mixes their sound to be only low-end. Oh, and they tune very, very low. But another thing you’ll notice is Cody Davidson’s captivating drumming. He’s one of the most creative, expressive, and skilled drummers out there. He’s also the guitarist for another band I love, Volcano, and has a one-man-band side project called Putrid Stu. Talk about an overachiever. Vocalist Devin Swank has a commanding presence on stage and you can hear it on this album. Sticking mainly to traditional low death metal gutturals, he still employs the odd fry scream or inhale growl for dramatic effect – a remnant from their first album, Tortured Whole

Guitarists Cedrik Davis and Drew Arnold lay down some of the meanest and simultaneously grooviest riffs I’ve heard in a long time. Look no further than track two, “Face Ripped Off.” The tempo change at the beginning of the song still gets stuck in my head after months of listening to it. The groove continues through the first half of the album with songs like “Pissed” and “Testicular Rot,” then “Skin Cushion” and “Hungry For Your Insides” transition into the more serious death metal compositions in the latter half while still being catchy and concise. The second half of the album has longer, more complex songs like “Mortal Admonishment” and the closing track “Feening for Bloodshed” that really showcase the musical prowess they’re capable of. 

Homicidal Ecstasy has quickly become one of my favourite albums. Sanguisugabogg didn’t do it for me a first, but I get it now. I get the weird pitch-shifted guitar tone. I get the “ping” snare drum. I drank the Sanguisuga-aid and I’m loving it. The sound production of this album might not be for everyone, but the musicianship and creativity on display are undeniable. 

Another band that I didn’t like at first is Snuffed on Sight. Their instrumentation does hit all my preferences – tight, low, fast, and catchy guitar and groovy machine-gun drumming – but their vocalist, Seven Kane, performs exclusively inhaled vocals. This vocal style isn’t for many, due to its medically disgusting timbre and inability to articulate words, leaving the lyrics sounding like burps, frogs, or pig squeals. I will say that Seven’s inhales are some of the best I’ve heard – and the lyrics he writes, if you can find them, are genuinely hilarious and memorable. I’ve found stupid enjoyment in their first album, Smoke, released July 7. 

Yes, the inhaled vocals might turn you away. But I can promise you this: Snuffed on Sight sounds like no other band out there. Smoke is a weed-fueled sonic assault of the catchiest, hardest riffs dominated by inhuman growls and nuclear drumming. At only 15 minutes long with 8 songs, this is ADHD run through a distortion pedal. I dare you to listen to the album’s first single, “Time 2 Dip,” and tell me I’m wrong. Other songs from this album, like “Slippin’,” “Dummy,” and the title track, remain some of my most commonly rotated songs. It also helps that they seem like funny guys, if their Instagram is anything to go by. 

Up next is one of my new favourite bands, 10 to the Chest. When I first heard their 2022 single “Toxic Orphan,” I immediately kept my eye on this band. Their sound is sheer crunch. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a band with so much distortion and volume. The affronting violence of 10 to the Chest reaches its full form with their debut album, Split the Fuck Open, released July 21. 

Split the Fuck Open is 6 songs and just over 11 minutes long, getting in and out quick, while causing as much damage as possible. Three of the four members do vocals, and they make truly haunting harmonies to accompany their crackling riffs. This album feels like having a nightmare in a frying pan, making it a strong first full-length for the band. “Kadaver Kush” is one of the hardest songs I’ve ever heard, and “Hash Driveway” is a Trailer Park Boys-inspired explosion. 

The last act on my list is Bashed In. I’ve only recently started listening to them, but they’ve made a strong impression in that short time. Describing themselves as “homicidal slamming beatdown,” Bashed In lives up to those words with their second EP, Revenge, released April 14. 

Bashed In is the music your scary older brother listens to. “Oh, you listen to Slayer? That’s cute. I listen to actual murder.” 4 songs and 11 minutes is all Bashed In needs to leave their mark of brutality. The opening track, “Grevious Bodily Harm,” starts with a slow and menacing slam riff before breaking into a classic hardcore punk groove – albeit an octave lower than usual – covered by toilet bowl vocals. But vocalist Evan mostly employs his powerful, full-bodied gutturals to great effect on Revenge, and guest vocal spots from Cell’s Skyler Conder and Peelingflesh’s Damonteal Harris on the songs “My Revenge” and “God of Pain” respectively give a dimensionality and variety that elevates each of their performances. The punk clearly shines through at times on Revenge, but the overall chord that Bashed In strikes is one of lumbering lethality. 

Lastly, I’ll mention some bands with material set to release later this year. 200 Stab Wounds, probably the best proper old-school death metal band performing on the planet right now, is set to release their highly anticipated sophomore album sometime this year, following up their debut, Slave to the Scalpel, which released in 2021. You can check out their recent two-song EP Masters of Morbidity in the meanwhile. 

Moving onto more modern styles, Cell just released the single “Incarcerated by Flesh,” and if it’s a sign of things to come, I’ll be checking for more singles from them every morning. An album hasn’t officially been announced, but guitarist and master slamster Mychal Soto has hinted that fans can expect new material soon. 

Speaking of Mychal Soto, his other band, Peelingflesh, is set to drop Slamaholics Vol. 2 September 8. The album’s first single, “211/187,” dropped a couple of weeks ago, and I think I’ve listened to it at least once a day since. It starts with an audio sample of Ice T as Mack Daddy in Leprechaun 5: In the Hood. How can you not love that? 

With so much on the horizon, keep your eye on the a&c section for future ungu-bungacore recommendations. 


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