Get ready to scream, shriek, growl, and/or grunt for joy–another installment of Cheap Thrills is comin’ your way, straight from the underground. Here are five name-your-price releases for your consideration, hand picked and lovingly packaged by yours truly. We’ve got some downright unsanitary death-doom from Germany, wildly catchy black metal from Belarus, old-school screamo (or skramz, or whatever you want to call it) from an American/Canadian tag-team, and more.
As always, support the artists if you enjoy their work!
Abjeto – Dialética do Caos
January 18, 2023
I don’t know what I thought improvised atmospheric black metal was going to sound like, but I was pleasantly surprised by Dialética do Caos, Abjeto’s first full-length album (and first recording as a full band). Now contrary to what the name would imply, this is not necessarily some avant garde head-scratcher.
The songs here still have structure, but they possess a distinct ebb and flow that fits somewhere between post-metal and jazz fusion. Like all good improv (*insert joke here about the quality of most improv*), the participants feed off of each other’s energy, and transitions between movements emerge organically without feeling rushed or perfunctory. A track can seamlessly fade from a blackened maelstrom to a muted and contemplative bridge marked by overdriven guitar noodling and shuffling drums–right before the band plunges, shrieking, back into the abyss.
Morsch – Morsch
April 7, 2023
Morsch are a German death metal quintet whose first demo is a nasty little sampler of what’s to come, replete with murky riffs, ghoulish growls, and punishing percussion (seriously–you can feel the bass drum in your chest). Opener “Hands of Ted” kicks things off with a suffocating death-doom miasma before unleashing the hordes of ravenous zombies, and we’re not talking the dim, shambling kind, either. From there, the short but sickening demo revels in all sorts of old-school death metal goodness, including a menacingly meaty Mortician cover for you gorehounds out there.
Zhmach – Karyta Dzieda Platona
May 4, 2023
Technically self-released late last year, Zhmach’s second demo Karyta Dzieda Platona was recently given a signal boost and limited tape release by the fine folks over at Grime Stone Records. These six concise tracks* of synth-tinged melodic black metal deliver a constant stream of earworm riffs, and while much of the demo is fairly fast and furious, the more atmospheric and textured moments truly steal the show. On standouts like “Rybcy Railway Station” and “Weeping Willow Root,” the keys gently drape over the other instruments like a gossamer curtain, granting them an eerie, ghostly elegance.
*Note that the seventh track is the complete demo as single track.
Perfumed Saturnine Angels – Saccharine Curses Exhaled in the Wind
May 22, 2023
Initially conceived by–and dedicated to–the late Brandon Nurick, Perfumed Saturnine Angels are a deeply personal and poignant project orchestrated by Garry Brents of Cara Neir/Gonemage/et al. According to an interview with Mosh Pit Nation, Brents revealed that Nurick was a fan and a dear friend who approached him with ideas for a screamo album, so he set to work crafting a series of instrumentals that channeled the melody and fury of the early 2000’s scene.
Opening track “Trash Judgement” works itself into a frenzy, exploding with manic percussion and riffs that could sear your shadow right into the pavement; “Addiction Incision” juxtaposes huge sleazy power chords with warbling, slightly detuned leads, and the dynamic “Saccharine Winds” slowly morphs into a sizzling post-hardcore ballad complete with spoken word confessionals.
Dave Norman, best known as the owner of the legendary label Zegema Beach, was slated to join Nurick on vocals, but on Saccharine Curses Exhaled in the Wind, he screams enough for two, shredding his larynx on every track. The result of the duo’s efforts is both a finely-crafted hardcore album and a fitting memorial to a fallen friend.
The Mosaic Window – Plight of of Acceptance
June 9, 2023
You got your melodic death metal in my melodic black metal! You got your melodic black metal in my melodic death metal! Worry not, though, because The Mosaic Window’s debut album is an irresistible blend of extreme(ly catchy) metal styles that includes more than a few nods to classic Swedish bands. Solo musician Andrew Steven Brown crafts buzzsaw requiems with stabs of baroque grandeur–-imagine the sonic equivalent of sunlight shining through the shattered remnants of stained glass. And thanks in part to Damian Herring of Subterranean Watchtower Studios (and Horrendous) fame, Plight of Acceptance sounds absolutely massive, an epic and melancholic saga rendered in visceral detail.