Dead Congregation - Purifying Consecrated Ground (Enucleation, 2008)
I am indebted to Dead Congregation for two things: 1) Upping the number of Greek metal bands with which I am familiar to a grand total of three (they join Rotting Christ and Septicflesh) and 2) Pumping out a mega-solid debut in Purifying Consecrated Ground. Originally released in 2005, this EP owes a massive debt to early stuff by Incantation and Morbid Angel.
You won't hear me quibbling about lack of innovation though -- "Vomitchrist" and "Feasting Angelcunts" bring considerable craft and control to blastbeat-riddled speed trials, while "Lucid Curse" and "Auguring An Eternal War" ram down the blasphemy into slower groove machines that recall the lucid complexity of Immolation. Extra points for the deceptively poetic Christ-hating lyrics and creepy pencil-drawn cover.
Gravehill - Metal of Death / The Advocation of Murder and Suicide (Enucleation, 2008)
Right there in the liner notes, these SoCal throat-slitters announce "Gravehill play dated, uncompromising, and ugly music exclusively, everything else can eat its own cunt!" Well-stated. Prime blackened thrash and proto-death metal drip from the open gashes left by dueling slice 'n dice guitars and the caustic vocals of Mike Abominator. This stuff dates back to the era when thrash and hardcore could sit comfortably side by side, most noticeably on the Discharge-inspired punk pummel of "Ravager," gilded with guest vox by Massacre's Kam Lee and Jim D. of Cardiac Arrest.
Live, Abominator comes off as a pretty uncomfortable frontman -- bullet straps and fake blood scream "fuck all!" but his constant yelping of "get closer!" and "c'mon, start a pit, motherfuckers!" veer closer to "love me!" Dude should just shut up and let the tunes do the talking. Especially as harnessed by the massive pounding of Morgion/Keen of the Crow drummer Rhett Davis (aka Thorgrimm), this EP offers the same orgasmic pleasure as scratching a real nasty scab.
Sacrilegious Impalement - Sacrilegious Impalement (Enucleation, 2008)
Finnish trio Sacrilegious Impalement has that early Norwegian black metal sound staked. The muffled guitars, the darkened harmonies, gloriously sloppy blastbeats way prominent in the mix - many thanks, Mayhem! Even the ultra-grimmm cover depicts one of those memorable black metal nights spent cutting and pasting at the local Kinkos. I'm having trouble letting go of the image of cover model Impaler von Bastard as a miniature BM figurine standing in an Oslo deli, the angel-killing skewer he's holding as a toothpick freshly removed from a roast beef sandwich.
Perhaps the seriousness of Sacrilegious Impalement's anti-Christian (and, as revealed in "Prophet of Misanthropy," anti-Semitic) crusade is lost a bit in the obviousness of the band's sound, but there's a considerable variety of evilness on this four-song EP. Each one is another piece of chewy meat on a delicious black metal kebab. And mini-Impaler von Bastard holds the skewer.