Death metal may be capable of vile, disgusting sounds and mind-boggling technical displays, but there is something refreshing about bands that stick to the original, heavier-than-thrash metal energy of the genre. Using the term 'old school' to refer to bands like Italy's Thulsa Doom doesn't even really cover it—rather than buying up HM-2s and dialing in meat-and-potatoes death metal, Thulsa Doom takes a step further back and bases their sound in the swirling chaos of the genre's first emergence. Synthesis, not basic imitation: their debut record A Fate Worse Than Death yokes elements of thrash and doom metal under a unifying, unmistakable banner: the grim sigil of death metal.

Where A Fate Worse Than Death does separate itself from the past is in its concept, an esoteric rendering of fantasy-inspired darkness that helps spark one's imagination rather than rehash overused tropes. One such example: "Tomb of the Serpent Cult," in which serpentine riffs and twisted melodies evoke a dingy barrow ripe for occult happenings--listen below.

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A Fate Worse Than Death releases September 30th via Invictus Productions.

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