Book of Black Earth

While Gojira’s The Way of All Flesh and All That Remains Overcome (and possibly Light This City’s swansong, Stormchaser) are arguably Prosthetic’s bread and butter in 2008, the fact remains; Withered’s Folie Circulaire and now the second album from Seattle’s Book of Black Earth are simply Prosthetics best releases of 2008 so far, and shows Prosthetic as one of the very best and varied American labels around right now.

Featuring members of Skarp, Iamthethorn, and Teen Cthulu, Book of Black Earth are much like label mates Withered, in that they are deeply rooted in Stockholm styled death metal, but where Withered have heavy black metal, and post rock injections, BoBE are a pure death metal act with maybe a hint of crusty sludge and pure old school heavy metal a la Lair of The Minotaur. The end result is easily one of the better examples of an American band plying old school death metal ever to grace these ears.

No clicky, triggered drums, or processed vocals, or clinical sound; just a primal, cavernous rumble, replete with old school synth intros, towering grooves and restrained, tasteful blast beats laced with rough, fierce vocals. As much as I’d like to breakdown each track, the fact is, each of the eleven tracks, including intro “2160” are simply kickass numbers that revel in crusty, throwback riffs and lumbering, ominous builds and grimy slow downs. That being said, the longer more developed tracks like “Horoskripture”, “Cult of Dagon”, “Funeral of Peace” (which would have been right at home on Folie Circulaire), “The Darkest Age” and epic closing duo of “From Heaven” and doomy 9 minute “Christ Pantheon”, are sheer, lurch and blast filled bliss. Not that shorter rumblers like “Death of the Sun”, “Total Control”, “The Great Year” and “God of War” aren’t pure asskickery-they are. Throw in a perfectly gritty and primal Chris Common (Mouth of The Architect, These Arms Are Snakes) production and Horoskopus is an album that every metal head should hear and old scholl metal heads will love.

If you think American death metal is simply become blast filled, overproduced, core based, forced brutality and banality and you enjoyed releases from Hail of Bullets, Grave, Unleashed and Withered in 2008, do yourself a favor and pick this gem of an album up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 9th, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    good band but dude The Funeral Pyre’s new album was a good prosthetic release as well.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yes it was. Just not nearly as good as Withered and this.

  3. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Really like this band. Great album, although new Gojira will probably consume everything in it’s path and become a favorite for year-end lists.

  4. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    ive got the Gojira-its not as good as mars to Sirius IMO

  5. Commented by: ceno

    Sounds very interesting. I’ll try not to fotget about this.

  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Really, Erik? I hope I’m not disappointed with their new one. From Mars To Sirius is an amazing record.

  7. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Teen Cthulhu was cool (along with one of the best band names ever), shame they didn’t push that further.

  8. Commented by: axiom

    I didn’t want to spoil anything, but I’ve heard the new Gojira and was less than impressed.

  9. Commented by: sandwiches

    stormchaser is light this city’s last record. they’ve already posted stuff about it

  10. Commented by: Staylow

    I didn’t think I was gonna like this a whole lot, but I’m listening now and it’s kicking my ass. Much more than I expected. Good job Big E.

  11. Commented by: Deepsend Records

    I saw this band with Watain and they bit ass big time. Reminded me of Bleeding Through attempting to play something more extreme. It was a trainwreck of noise and annoying keyboards played by a bunch of smelly dudes who were probably jocking the fashioncore genre before the black metal trend that seems to be taking the spotlight lately.

  12. Commented by: Deepsend Records

    ps… The Funeral Pyre “Wounds” is in the top 5 best prosthetic releases to date. That new Withered didn’t strike me the first few times through. But after seeing them absolutely crush live with almost unparalleled heaviness, I revisited the new Withered and actually enjoy the album quite a bit. Hands down Gojira “From Mars” is the best release from prosthetic even though it was licensed from Listenable, so that has to say something. But on that note, the new Gojira leaves a lot to be desired. I think a lot of people have given them more than the benefit of the doubt with this new album. I think the new one has some of the most uninspired borderline numetal type songs I can recall. Also, the increased heaviness they kept refering to in pre-press is nowhere to be found. In fact there’s hardly a true heavy moment on this record in the true sense of the word. I think it’s hard to have a true heavy record that’s compressed and overproduced to death as this is.

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