Records From the Dark: Six Under-the-Radar Albums to Check Out Immediately! [Haunted Riffs]


Sub-columns in columns are a thing, right? Well whether they are or aren’t, I’m introducing Haunted RiffsRecords From the Dark.

From time to time, I’m going to highlight six records from bands you may not be aware of. For these six records featured on Records From the Dark, it’s my goal to help raise awareness of smaller bands who deserve recognition.

Links for all Bandcamp pages within audio players are below.

FULCI – Exhumed Information (Time To Kill Records)

Paying homage to the late Italian film director Lucio Fulci – FULCI captivates with a chilling death metal rush. Their records stand as creative interpretations of the director’s cult films, like Tropical Sun which is a nod to Zombi 2. On the band’s latest release, Exhumed Information (a tribute to Voice from Beyond), FULCI delivers ten cuts of theatrical devastation. Opener “Autopsy” kicks off a creepy audio segment from the film, all before “Voices” drops a sledgehammer of blast beats and vicious sounding riffs. The thick pounce of “Nightmare” meets a riveting guitar rhythm that feels like a descent into madness. The menace rides at a consistent high throughout the record, subsiding briefly for eerie moments of atmospheric lingering. Cuts like “Glass” and “Child” lay down haunting, yet mesmerizing synthesizer-fueled rhythms. FULCI live up to their name with this record, delivering a body of work that will haunt your soul (it’s a good kind of haunting, trust me).

Craven Idol – Forked Tongues (Dark Descent Records)

Take a tinge of black metal, a tinge of thrash, and a whole lot of death metal, and you have Craven Idol. On their third LP, Forked Tongues, the band take their metal craft to a new level of annihilation. With the briefest of build-ups in opener “Venomous Rites,” the instrumentation rips forth – bloodthirsty in its speed, a dirty lo-fi tone coming off the strings and drums. When I say this music sounds violent, I mean to say it sonically aims to shred your eardrums. “The Wrath of Typhon” carries forth wicked energy through bashing drums and bass, the guitar swirling about to establish an air of hysteria. The blast beats amplify to eleven, the vocals howling and screeching over the storm of instrumentation. Forked Tongues exudes a phenomenal air of brutality, the band never letting up in their death metal onslaught.

Hexorcist – Evil Reaping Death (Memento Mori)

The mayhem is far from over, for Hexorcist offers brutality hellbent on delivering instrumental devastation. The consistent beat of drums in “Exulting the Adversary” play underneath a spiraling guitar rhythm, demonic sounding vocals howling over everything. “Sentry at the Seven Gates” carries over the band’s savagery, the music giving off this sense that evil is descending upon the listener. “Proverbs of Pestilence” looms over with its ever-building drum clashing and maddening guitar rhythm. As if drawing from the vileness of hell itself, the band crafts songs that thrive off speed and aggression. Much like the old school death metal crowd of the ‘80s, Hexorcist plays to a thrilling presentation – Evil Reaping Death making for an experience that is relentless in its harrowing riffs and foul auras.

Froglord – The Mystic Toad (The Swamp Records)

Let’s slow things down just a tad (but keep all the heaviness intact). Blending that of doom, sludge, and stoner metal, Froglord is here to take over the mind of the human race. Well in the case of The Mystic Toad, the frogs have already taken over humankind, but now must deal with the threat of aliens from Saturn. In this psychedelic, frog-laden epic, Froglord offers a record built on rockin’ rhythms, thick with distortion, drone, and the slight chance of out-of-body experiences. The guitar tone on opener “They Came From Saturn” sets the stage for the record’s vibe – the distortion booming over all the other instrumentation. The vocals give off a surreal presence, as multiple vocals are played over each other. “Green Inferno” goes even deeper with the doom and stoner energy, the instrumentation not so much drawling, but bringing a greater heft to the song. Will the frogs win in the battle against the aliens? You’ll have to find out yourself by listening to The Mystic Toad.

FELLED – The Intimate Earth (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Taking elements of doom and folk music, FELLED presents a record that is brimming with haunting emotion. The Intimate Earth is both extreme in heavy instrumentation, while also providing a greater sense of somber energy throughout each song. Alongside the beating of drums and electric guitar, the use of violin and viola make for enchanting components. “The Rite of Passage” displays the drum work beating on as the guitar performance plays to a low, distortion roaming rhythm. During all of this, the other string work comes with a stark, yet effective impact – the strings and traditional metal instrumentation forming together to create a great dark atmosphere. From the gentle strum of strings to the electrifying riffs of guitar, to the tense moments of minimal instrumentation, “The Salt Binding” is a brilliant work of sonic variety. On The Intimate Earth, FELLED has crafted music that hits with rawness, extending a means for the listener to find a meditative quality within.

Overtoun – This Darkness Feels Alive (Independent)

I came across this band super recently, and wow what an awesome surprise. On This Darkness Feels Alive, Overtoun goes for the eardrums (and heartstrings) as they use their death-thrash to explore the darkness of life. With growling vocals roaring out, the guitar lets loose a vibrant, playful aggression – musical tones that are overwhelming with anger, but also catchy enough to mosh to. Cuts like “Humanity” offer exhilarating tempos, the guitar and drums speeding off like lighting. “White Wolf” throws in a little groove into its death metal madness, further establishing the band’s charm in crushing eardrums and instilling listeners with all-out rage. This Darkness Feels Alive is very much a banger, the technicality of each song promising nonstop action.

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