"Ear Hunters" - 10/26/2020

“The spirits of our dead are readying themselves for the Samhain crossover, and the living warriors infused with their souls are calling! Calling forth into the mystical night… hoping, searching, hunting… Hunting to be heard by the virgin ears of new, fanatical converts… Hark, and heed the call!”

· Sarcoptes

Hometown: Sacramento, California USA

Release: Plague Hymns EP

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records (October 2nd, 2020)

Genre: USBM

For Fans of: Dissection (early), Naglfar, Dark Funeral, Gaerea, Serene Dark

Like many artists required to lockdown and quarantine because of the pandemic, Sacramento, California’s Sarcoptes took advantage of the extra time and inspiration to lay down a germane new EP, Plague Hymns, available now from Transcending Obscurity Records.

Containing two protracted, melodically charged black metal offerings, “The Vertigo Soul” and “La Moria Grandissima” (or “The Great Death” in Italian), Plague Hymns brilliantly encapsulates the cold essence of calamity and confusion that we’ve all undeniably felt some semblance of since this horrible reality befell us. An all-around excellent effort that is pleasantly pithy, to the point, and poignant. Rating: 94 / 100 (A)

· Johansson & Speckmann

Hometown: International

Release: The Germs of Circumstance

Label: Soulseller Records (October 2nd, 2020)

Genre: Deathrash

For Fans of: Master, Abomination, Revolting, Ribspreader, Repuked, Troops of Doom

Forged as a bond between two of the most battle-tested and grizzled metal veterans that the world has ever known, Johansson & Speckmann have joined forces once again to release their fifth full-length collaboration, The Germs of Circumstance, available now from Soulseller Records.

Continuing in their long traditions of straddling the boundary between death and thrash, Rogga Johansson and Paul Speckmann each command their own auras of ultimate respect and prolific awe, and when they coalesce as a unit, the end results are almost always sonic gold.

Containing eight pacey new cuts that tear society and its faults apart limb from limb, The Germs of Circumstance’s only flaw is that the production is softer than one usually expects from these legends’ individual acts; but ultimately, the music is what’s most important, and the music of this album kicks some serious ass... and that fits perfectly with what we’ve all come to expect from Johansson & Speckmann. Ripping good shit (again) from some of the underground’s finest. Rating: 89 / 100 (B+)

· Empress

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia CAN

Release: Premonition

Label: Petrichor (October 9th, 2020)

Genre: Post Metal/Sludge

For Fans of: Elder, Seer, Snow Burial, Huntsmen, Loviatar, Scientist

Originally slated for independent release in late July, Premonition is the debut full-length as laid down by the new Vancouver collaboration between Craters’ drummer Chris Doyle and Seer guitarist Peter Sacco, christened Empress. Picked up by the new Dutch label Petrichor, Empress and the label pushed back the release in order to promote and back it properly, and now that October has finally arrived, so has Premonition it all its glamor and glory.

Well-produced and highly polished, Premonition will undoubtedly appeal to anyone who’s heard Craters or Seer, but with Sacco’s impressive vocals making the entire release sound so new and accessible, fresh fans from outside the bounds of its parent acts should also find Empress easily. Highly addictive stuff here, people. Rating: 94 / 100 (A)

· Goratory

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts USA

Release: Sour Grapes

Label: Everlasting Spew Records (October 16th, 2020)

Genre: Extreme Technical Death/Slam

For Fans of: Internal Bleeding, Suffocation, Gorgasm, Malignancy, Cognitive

What is one commonality that well-known acts such as Job for a Cowboy, Deeds of Flesh, and The Black Dahlia Murder all share? Why Goratory, of course! Formed in 2000, Goratory’s original lineup – whose average age at the time was fourteen – consists of Alan Glassman (Job for a Cowboy), Darren Cesca (Deeds of Flesh, Eschaton), and Max Lavelle (Black Dahlia Murder); and although Lavelle was replaced in 2003 by current bassist Zac Pappas, it is fair to say now, with the benefit of hindsight, that this once minor act’s members have made quite a major impact on American metal as a whole.

Now reformed and repurposed, Goratory have triumphantly returned to release their first LP in sixteen years, Sour Grapes, and it’s a fuckin’ gasser!

Paying respectful homage to the original, East Coast Slam sound while still placing their own technical spin upon it, Goratory’s Sour Grapes is eight new tracks worth of perverse, tongue-in-cheek death metal that absolutely kills. Rosy and kid-friendly titles such as “I Shit Your Pants” and “Evolutionary Wart” give you an idea of what you’re in for, but honestly, if the well-endowed album art doesn’t let you know just what kind of an listening experience you’re in for, then truly nothing else will. Hated One’s suggestion? Give Goratory your ears now, before they stuff something in them themselves... Rating: 93 / 100 (A-)

That wraps another edition of “Ear Hunters”. Thank you for reading, for listening, and for supporting the bands in any way that you can! Stay metal! \m/


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