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Well, another year in the books. Another year of excellent metal and another year scrambling to put together year end lists from the vast amount of quality music released in 2021.

Below is the finely crafted crème de la crème of year end lists from our dedicated staff, who strive to provide to the great daily content here at TeethoftheDivine, and their year end reward is to spout their opinions of what they liked, disliked and anticipate.

As usual feel free to add you own lists or comments and of course browse the site to find reviews of the contained material where we have it. But more importantly lets hope for a better and closer to normal year in 2022.

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Mars Budziszewski


LP’s (1-20)

  1. Laparotomy – Ascendancy Through Hypnagogic Thought Process (CDN)I wrote a whole review on why this psychedelic slam/brutal death album rules.  Try doing something truly unique within that genre…Laparotomy really did.  Try making brutal death metal ‘pretty’…Laparotomy really did.  I think you could successfully meditate to Laparotomy’s debut. Although the nice thing about his record is it bends the rules but isn’t purposely unapproachable.  But, If you’re looking for albums that feature a gynecological warzone as the cover art, this isn’t it.  These fellows do have other projects that more so draw within the lines of bdm if dreamy synth pads freak you out.  Darryn Palmer, the writer, guitar, bass player, also features in ongoing projects Perverse Imagry, Spilling Entrails, and was formerly in Slamophiliac, and $lutrot.  Drummer and vocalist Justin McNeil is or has been in a number of projects as well.  Seeing that they’ve had so many projects between them come and go my great fear is if this could be it. I really hope their Laparotomy project has a future.  Not destined to end up a distant entry on their Metal-Archives bio.  Brutal death metal needs a project like this to balance the unending torrent of frankly unessential records.
  2.  Krallice – Demonic Wealth (Self-release / P2 Loggia)In the last few years I’ve been very taken with this, I’ll call it the “Menegroth clique” of musicians, that include Colin Marston, Mick Barr, Nick McMaster and Lev Weinstein, and their various projects.  Historically I did not sweat Krallice.  They were a band I respected and appreciated, but didn’t reach for regularly.  However, after McMaster’s Edenic Past record transported a copy of my soul to the middle of the ritual fighting domes on the Predator home world, my attention was focused on what they are all up to.  I was primed for a new Krallice record and with great fortune it is their finest, most opulent, and ethereal work thus far.  I mean, the euphoric baptism of oceanic methane that is “Sapphire” alone compelled it’s inclusion as number 2.  The interplay of gauzy Vangelis synths, fractal guitar, undulating bass, and natural drumming (recorded on a god damn Iphone giving it a neat distance and room sound.  I wish I knew what other recording gear was used) is audio magick.  Remember the end scene of Blade Runner when Roy eludes that, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.”?  Demonic Wealth, in my mind, is chronicling this techno-corporate PR disaster of an event.  Dthis is singular music. (The cover art just doesn’t fit the music.  My only gripe, sorry).
  3. Kekht Arakh – Pale Swordsman (Livor Mortis)Bound to make many a year end list in 2021, Kekht Arakh (a one -lonely man- band) saw his profile rise quite quickly in underground black metal.  Making what I believe to be the most true-to-self, and unflinchingly genuine black metal active now.  With the utmost sincerity it is intensely human, and romantic.  As straight forward as most one man black metal tends to be, what sets it apart are earnest riffs that surely recall the style of chord progressions that are of eastern Europe musical root, but also for the broad-minded listener, those familiar with certain indie rock.  This goes as well for the keyboards, like the attached spirit of a sadly deceased lover they lilt behind, keeping a caring, watchful eye over their former partner of the barely living.  There being no better example than the albums lovely single “Thorns”. “Thorns” I think will go down as a warmly regarded and distinctly rare “single”,in the pop music definition, within black metal.  Best listened to in drafty, crumbling towers at the edge of crooked old towns.
  4. 200 Stab Wounds – Slave to the Scalpel (Maggot Stomp)[Fingers tap rapidly on desk surface]…Truth be told, I thought I’d have liked this record more.  I rarely allow myself to be impressed by the hype of a record but their ep had so much swagger and presence I was certain the full length would blow the doors off.  It’s been odd because each listen results in the repeated realization that it’s not as meat and potatoes as I keep thinking.  That it’s really well seasoned throughout with inventive writing details that keep the ears pricked up.  From the flashes of dizzy, wailing solo’s, the very pronounced yet tonally appropriate chamber reverb on the vocals, to the very tasteful VHS horror synth and sample segue.  Those go far in making for a fluid and cohesive album.  Grey goatee rocking “I saw Obituary in ’92” Dad’s AND 22 year old heavy hardcore fans now have a current death metal band they both can agree on besides… Obituary. Strange as it sounds, that I really did keep going back to it for evaluation and end another round proving that I enjoyed it again meant it had to make the list.  
  5. World Peace – Come and See (Twelve Gauge)World Peace make world weary grindcore for cynical, over-exposed youth aware they live in a declining empire.  Efficient, pissed, with the right placement and ration of groove.  Ain’t no half-steppin’ and each step is proper.  You’re either in, or you’re out and World Peace would rather be out but they keep getting pulled back in!  Every breakdown, every blasting part is played in desperation, for necessity.  The frustration of despising the world you must engage in is Come and See. 
  6. Frozen Soul – Crypt of Ice (Century Media) No other album in 2021, and likely most other years, had such a precision theme run from band name, album title, to production.  Hit play and you can hear how cold the electronics of the amp are, the wave forms of each chord coming from the cab sound as if they could freeze solid and smash to the floor, the ice build up on the snare, and eerily dense frozen fog of breathe wafting from the maw of Chad Green.  Crypt of Ice is HM-2 Merauder fronted by the Snow Miser (the Rankin/Bass claymation character, yes).  Some of the complaints I heard of the record were that it got a bit monotonous and could wash over you.  I’ll grant that to some extent, but would argue that in this case monotonous isn’t a negative.  It’s just the case that Frozen Soul has hypnotized you to their groove.  It’s the rare death metal record you can put on at a gathering and maintain the mood.  In a way, it shares this quality with certain trip-hop, or a Sean Price album.  A little heavier yet pleasantly head nod-able.  If that sounds like a long way of saying ‘background music’, the counter is this is also an album that has at least 3 unarguable hit tracks where most death metal bands are lucky to have one, if that.  “Arctic Stranglehold”, “Wraith of Death”, and , are for sure making the cut for metal playlist adds.  Snapping the necks of many a metalhead on their daily commutes.   
  7. Interminable Corruptions – Abysmal Revelation (Reality Fade).When I flippantly put on Abysmal Revelations one evening I didn’t expect to hear such sneaky refinement in an otherwise pummeling brutal death metal record. Like the truly big, tough kid in class trying to hide his appreciation of Miles Davis from his peers at all cost.  You’ll find a quick fan in me if your album boldly features busy bass prominently high in the mix. Well, Abysmal Revelations has a mechanical bass bee evasive maneuvering every which way, as played by Jorge Salgado, who operates under the incredible pseudonym… wait for it… Disjorge!  DisJorge himself being a brutal death renaissance man having played in, or session-ing for many bands across a dozen records which I’ll be digging into now.  Obviously this went along way in my enjoying the album, but the rest of the band isn’t just chugging mindlessly.  The guitar playing is similarly as deft, cork screwing right along side.  The production is a bit bright, following the color scheme of the album art, but still heavy and slamming; as is expected in the genre. Between the bass and general stop/start, reverse, slam into corkscrew flow it has a bit of a fun house maze of mirrors feel.  You’re not quite sure of where you are at any point or how to get out until the record abruptly ends.  
  8. Undeciphered Beneath the Gentle Smile (Amputated Vein)[long descending whistle] What just happened to me?  Am I dead?!  No, but I’m disoriented having just been struck in the head by a violent serial killer.  Of course, thematically, that is what Beneath the Gentle Smile covers: infamous serial killer Ed Kemper.  Like Edmund, this album is a towering, decisively violent assault of hyper-blasting, pipe to the stomach guttural vocals, with hefty guitars like a tarp wrapped body thudding upon the cement floor at the bottom of a flight of cellar steps.  Certainly the highest in the hierarchy of blasting sickness 2021 had to offer. 
  9. Gravesend – Methods of Human Disposal (20 Buck Spin).Gravesend is fed-the fuck-up of riding the subway.  Stained seats, daily harrasment by unchecked sufferers of mental illness, stepping on needles, …is that vomit?  FUUUUUUCK!  “Fear City” opens with the perfect early 80’s Maniac reminiscent synth piece to set the stage.  Not unlike World Peace, Gravesend are beyond cynical of the world.  Although, Gravesend feels particularly local where World Peace’s disenchantment seems broad.  Gravesend is a custodian, alienated in their own town about to turn midnight vigilante of the train to World Peace’s tirade after finishing a book on America’s history of it’s nefariously backed government coup’s and marionetting in the second world.  Musically, Gravesend is an aluminum shank of west coast bestial grind just waiting for reason. This is represented by sick, grooving crust-core parts (think Dystopia) that release into hammering bursts of heaving grind.  Vocals alternate between black rasps and gruff guttural yells drenched in natural subway terminal reverb.   Filled with tension, shaking with adrenaline on their trip back home through the city, craving to wipe all the scum off the street.  Gravesend are truly at the end of the line, mentally.
  10. Frozen Flesh Order – Extraterrestrial Terrorism (Tour de Garde) Aliens and black metal do not often find themselves in the company of each other, but I for one welcome our interplanetary overlords and their musical influence.  Extraterrestrial Terrorism has all the vibes I imagine surround being abducted;  cold, foggy, thin yet widely spread production that obscures like the faint memory abductees tend to have of their experience.  The guitars buzz like their violating medical instruments.  Synth melodies reverberating off of the exotic metal clad interior of the craft.  The vocals are most menacing of all: a heavily used alien, shimmering tremolo effect that will haunt your memories in the depth of sleep.  I encourage the use of vocal effects in extreme metal and welcome the variation so I’m glad that Frozen Flesh Order took the fuck all risk and leans into it.  Unveil your telepathic channels and commune. 
  11. Reveal! – Doppelherz (Sepulchral Voice) Check out my review for all the details but Reveal! have really found their sound on Doppelherz.  Noise rock, classic doom, and black metal are catalyzed into a seamless new sound of it’s own.  Ever seen somebody rock a single-breasted overcoat with studs and a well placed Blue Oyster Cult symbol patch.  There’s one, and it’s a guy in Reveal! (probably).  
  12. Sijjin – Sumarian Promises (Sepulchral Voice) I ranked Sijjin’s 2020 ep on my list last year so this was expected.  Sijjin’s sarcophagus smashing death thrash has the advantage of featuring the famous throat of Malte Gericke, who gave Necros Christos it’s unique edge.  I must say that the ep length focused the bands aggression where the full length does stretch the charm a bit thin.  A good 45 minute album could be a blazing 30 minute album. Still though, that charm is more potent that 95% of bands in this lane or those adjacent.  The guitar solos are outstanding, and distributed such that you can’t wait until they crop up again.  Smartly, never wanking into oblivion. The guitars are tighter and the production a bit crisper than I expected, but then again, perhaps they wanted this band to differentiate from Necros Christos’ cobwebbed, musty, cellar dwelling metal of death style.
  13. Gauntlet Ring – Upon the Wings of the Black Eagle (Blood and Crescent) I’m not active on any black metal messageboards to have known about this release at the second it was available so I’ll likely never own a copy.  This is my lane of uncomplicated, barren, efficient style of black metal.    I’ve said it many times that I’m usually looking for records that remind of Genocide Kommando and/or Graveland Thousand Swords. This is the closest I encountered in 2021. 
  14. Dead & Dripping – Miasmic Eulogies Predicating an Eternal Nocturne (Frozen Screams) More weirdo death metal, and one of the few bands to remind me of Mortal Decay Forensic, albeit not so Carcass-y. 
  15. Occulsed – Crepitation of Phlegethon (Everlasting Spew) Sounds like a re-mixed, remastered forgotten 90’s atmospheric death metal crush-a-thon.  The 4th member of this band is the reverb bouncing off of th e living cave it was recorded in.  Another Justin Stubbs joint (Father Befouled, Encoffination, Infestment, …). 
  16. .357 Homicide – Executed on Site (Vile Tapes) UK slam brutal death metal.  The production is lo-fi and weirdly condensed, but It slams with the best and just has the right elements for my taste to have been more enjoyable than most slam I checked out in 2021.  (Not feeling the logo redesign though).  Good record to bob my head along toiling through office work.
  17. Jarhead Fertilizer – Product Of My Environment (Closed Casket Activities) Urban assault death metal/grind/heavy hardcore power house.  Strictly for the babies that came out feet first, and maybe had junkie parents. 
  18. Decortication – My Knife is Still In Good Order (Pathologically Explicit) Icky international brutal death metal.  Reminiscent of Condemned Realms of the Ungodly.  A ‘super-group’ of sort.  Between the members you could spend an afternoon trying to sample each of their respective projects (including Undeciphered).  No brain cells, only kill.
  19. Effluence – Psychocephalic Spawning (P2 Loggia) I only got one real listen in but I would regret not including it come 2022.  See the ep blurb, now with tighter production and 10% more weirdness.  It’s a lot, and some will be tempted to compare it to Encenathrakh, but Effluence is more listenable. Let your freak flag fly.
  20. Sociopathic Behavior – Hunting Humans (Acid Redux) Bleak grind from Brazil.  Each track dedicated to a world infamous serial killer.  Excellent album art.  Programmed drums but I really couldn’t tell.

Eps (1-5)

  1. Stabbing – Ravenous Psychotic Onslaught (Comatose) TXDM proper in the vein of oft forgotten Sect of Execration.  Ahem, whoever controls the  Sect of Execration masters needs to chill out and do it for the culture.  It’s brutal death metal for Christ’s sake, nobody is making thousands even.  Alas, at least we have Stabbing bringing it.  Every member is firing at peak on this ep.  I know it’s uncouth to draw special attention when a metal band features women, but Bridget Lynch and Meryl Martinez bring the goddamn ruckus.  Watching the bands rehearsal videos get me so hyped for death metal.  Anonymous all black everything attire, hair bouncing in sync with each other.  Its “a whole vibe” as some would say.  Musically, Bridget’s vocals are perfectly droning gutturals, the guitar and bass chug with just the right blend of classical dark gritted tone to maximize the jud-judding, and squealing razor wire harmonics.  To drummer Rene Martinez I shower with accolades for dialing in the best, most cutting snare sound that I’ve heard in a long time, much less in 2021.  Barrages of kamikaze snare rolls are a welcome style signature that push the material to the precipice.  Stabbing gets me excited about brutal death metal.  Texas might still be king.
  2. Effluence – Ballistic Bloodspray (Self-release) It’s wild, it’s mad, it has ancillary percussion like rototoms, bells, and the devil only knows what else.  Effluence dropped an LP at the tail end of the year but I just hadn’t been able to listen to it in time for this list.  Ballistic Bloodspray (if ever there was an apt title for this) was my introduction to the most deadly serious zany band in death metal.  On first hearing Effluence you’ll chuckle at the first oddball percussion roll, sure, but that smirk doesn’t last as their violent death jazz offensive extirpates your expectations into jelly.  It’s like Gorguts Obscura sans regard for tradition.  Listening made me think of one of my favorite free jazz records, Burning Tree’s Lammergyer. Which sounds like a planetary assault, but it’s just a saxophone and drums battering each other for supremacy.  This is the same effect, except, Effluence is…yeah…one solitary man.  It’s stunning, and you will feel dizzy, but not so much that you’re nauseous because he, Matt, does a good job breaking things up as the music rapidly shifts from all of the layers at once to an 8 count percussion fill over xylophone to brutal death metal chug breather, then careening back into a string tapping and snare blasting overdose.  Never a dull moment.  …Does your RNA feel rewritten?  Because mine does.
  3. Dyskinsia – Micturating Deposits of Grit Through the Urinary Tract (Fix My Face / New Standard Elite) Straight up Molesting The Decapitated worship done exactly right by essentially the guys from Sanguisugabogg. 
  4. Nauseatic Expulsion – Autopsia Cadaverum (Rectal Purulence) Well, it’s maybe 3.5 minutes of music but it stuck.  Nauseatic Expulsion is maybe the closest we’ll get to a County Medical Examiners follow up.  And I do hope they’re more productive in 2022.  Top shelf goregrind.
  5. Vulvificus – Innomination (Self-release) The spirit of Matti Way era Disgorge has gripped Vulvificus and acts through them.  Raw and authentically 99/2000 in sound.


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