Anhedonist - Netherwards, and Emptiness - Error

There is so much great music being put out by Dark Descent these days that it's really hard to keep up. Whether your penchant is for black, death, doom or anything else in the realm of metal, you can practically be guaranteed to find something to your liking here. Two the more impressive releases that they've recently put out are these killer albums from Seattle's Anhedonist and Belgium's Emptiness.

Anhedonist may as well be crowned the kings of American Doom. Though a young band, they've quickly established themselves as one of the heaviest bands on the planet. Their down-tuned, super slow-motion approach, coupled with their more-than-memorable riffs provide the foundation for songs that ebb and flow from bleak, hopeless melodies to crushing aural devastation. The crawling but brutal intensity of the rhythm section and the morbid, monolithic vocals have Anhedonist walking the line between doom and death metal, and there is no way better for the band to bring you its torment. Netherwards is composed of four songs and about 40 minutes of miserable, downtrodden, and depressive doom of the absolute highest caliber. The lengthy songs (only one of which is less than 9 and a half minutes long) see the band fighting through their own sorrows and regrets, and it will be near impossible for you to not join them on the journey. These are well-written epic tirades of sorrow and despair that will drag you through the darkness. And once you hear it, you will agree that it should not, and could not, be any other way. If there is any justice in the world, this will come to be recognized as a classic doom album. Highest possible recommendation.

And then there is Emptiness and their third full-length album Error. I admit that before hearing this, I was completely unfamiliar with this Belgian black/death metal brigade. And right away, just a minute or so into the first song, I was well aware of the error (no pun intended) of my ignorance. This album absolutely rips.This is more death metal than black, which would generally turn me away, but the sonic greatness of this album cannot be denied. The songs are brutal and punishing but as catchy as anything. The band finds its groove really quick, and keeps it there for the duration of the album. After the first time through the album, I had to play it again right away. And then again for a third time. Just blown away by everything about this album. With so much emphasis being placed on death metal sounding "old-school" these days, it's refreshing to hear a band that is well-rooted in the history of death metal without being beholden to any sort of formula or sound. They know their roots, but they're doing their own thing, and doing it really well.

Both of these albums are available now in CD format from Dark Descent Records (here and here) along with a slew of other awesome releases from the likes of Timeghoul (Discography CD that is absolutely essential, and nearly sold out), Anguish, Ritual Necromancy, Mitochondrion (Archaeaeon released for the first time on vinyl as a killer gatefold double LP), Begrime Exemious, Cianide, Uncanny (a discography 2xCD), and others. Also a great distro. Like I said before, there is always something awesome to be had from Dark Descent. Total, undying support.

NOTE: The two newest releases from The Crypt (a Centinex 2xLP and the N.M. E. 3xLP) are also available to pre-order in the Dark Descent shop; if you are buying other things there, you should really consider grabbing these as well. They'll be ready next month, and if the past tells us anything, it's that The Crypt's vinyls always sell out. Get them while you can, if you have the dough. They're pricey but always worth it - Ted does a great job with his vinyl every single time.

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