Obscure Metal Roundup III

Desaster – The Oath of an Iron Ritual (Released 2016)

It’s always heartwarming when you first hear of a band that’s been toiling in obscurity for several decades. Desaster’s sound fits right in with that of most modern black metal bands, and according to Metal Archives, they’ve been together since 1988! Sort of, I guess they broke up for a couple years there, but you see what I’m saying. I’m used to metal bands aggressively showing their age, so to hear a bunch of dudes who must be pushing 50 at this point still get it done and trick me into thinking they must be younger is a pleasant enough surprise.

Anyway, these guys are definitely a black metal band. If a skeptical party inquired as to what black metal sounds like, you could do worse to introduce said person to the subgenre than by giving this album a spin. It’s fast but not speed or thrash fast, they got some blast beats, they got a singer who’s mostly screaming. This album strecthes out into some longer songs, which is where it really shines. Album closer At the Eclipse of Blades is a particular highlight.

Standout Tracks: Proclamation in Shadows, Haunting Siren, At the Eclipse of Blades

Inhuman Nature – Inhuman Nature (Released 2019)

(Special Thanks to Shreddit for introducing me to this one)

The most difficult part of writing this column is that, outside of my enthusiasm for metal, I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about. Metal taxonomy is more infinite and sprawling than regular taxonomy at this point, and metal music continues to fracture and reproduce into subgenres and microgenres at a rate that would make bacteria jealous. It would be impossible for me to keep up with, even if I were starting from a position of being fully caught up to a certain point, which is absolutely not my situation.

What’s the point of all this whining? I don’t know if Inhuman Nature count as ‘crossover thrash’ or not; they have a certain Slayer-but-more-primitive vibe going on, and a vaguely punkish energy, but is that enough to fall under this classification? Don’t you kind of need songs about drinking and partying and metal for metal’s sake in order to qualify? Because these guys don’t seem to have that. Anyway, this album is pretty decent, but the production could be a lot better (the guitar and bass needs more whallop to match the drums). Still, this is a promising full-length debut. I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys.

Standout Tracks: Taste of Steel, The Hangman Draws Near, Forgotten Tombs

High Spirits – Another Night (Released 2011)

Hey look, it’s Chicago on that album cover there! I know where that is, and I (mostly) like it, too! It’s a wonderful place to extremely drunk during daylight hours without anyone batting an eye, and there’s stuff to after dark, to boot!

But parts of Chicago suck. Vast swaths of the city have terrible taste – were it not for Chicago, the nation would have probably been spared those dark days when REO Speedwagon rose to prominence – and that seems to be the aspect of the city these guys are vibing on. It’s not all bad; there’s some very cool twin lead work and solo shredding from time to time, but the vocals are supremely annoying, and so are the hooks themselves, as a consequence. Reminds me of a party metal version of Helloween, another band that’s less than the sum of its parts.

Standout Track: Full Power

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