Undercover Spotlight: Hadal Maw, Aeternam, and Primal Attack

Hadal Maw - Olm
Label: EVP Recordings
Runtime: 46 Minutes
Released: February 5th, 2017

Atmospheric Death, Tech and Groove Influences

Hadal Maw's sophomore release, Olm, sees quite a few changes to what was once another 'me too!' in a sea of tech-death metal bands. Three years and one new vocalist later they've gone darker and slower, sacrificing much of their technical wankery on the altar of atmosphere and rhythmic groove. The Meshuggah influence is strong here, and while it's not overpowering, it shows through in composition, guitar tone, and even occasionally in new vocalist Sam Dillon's varied screams. The album should resonate with fans of slow to mid-paced atmospheric death metal, while fans of a more speedy tech death would do well to give the band's previous album Senium a spin or two.

MORE BEHIND THE CUT! Aeternam's Ruins of Empires and Primal Attack's Heartless Oppressor

Aeternam - Ruins of Empires
Label: Independent
Runtime: 43 Minutes 
Released: Feburary 10th, 2017

Middle-Eastern-Influenced Symphonic Death Metal

After a successful crowd-funding campaign, Canada's Aeternam have returned with their third album of middle-eastern inspired symphonic death metal. Ruins of Empires continues along the trajectory set by Aeternam's well-received second album 'Moongod', which saw the band splitting with Metal Blade Records for what were hopefully greener pastures. Vocalist Achraf Loudiy truly shines on this record, from his deep throaty growls to lofty layered clean vocals; nothing ever feels out of place or wears out its welcome. The middle-eastern influence is front and center on several tracks, most notably on 'Nightfall in Numidia', a beautiful sweeping atmospheric piece filled with haunting melodies, traditional instruments, and percussion. Ruins of Empiers is a must-listen for fans of symphonic death metal and middle-eastern melodies.

Primal Attack - Heartless Oppressor
Label: Rastilho Records
Runtime: 39 Minutes
Released: Feburary 10th, 2017 

Death-Thrash and Groove Metal

This album has riffs and groove in spades, all delivered with a 'no quarter asked' fuck you attitude that would give Pantera a run for their money back in the day. Primal Attack takes a The Haunted influence and runs with it, adding a dash of hardcore here, groove metal there, and cranking up the thrash at just the right time to keep things tight and focused. Lead guitars are absolutely brilliant during the moments they're allowed to break out in a blistering solo, breaking up the groove enough to leave songs feeling fresh and intense. Unfortunately, the album is not without production issues, and is the latest victim of the loudness war. (along with far too many metal releases these days) But if you're a metal fan you've probably either gotten used to it by now or you're a lot more picky about production than most people out there. Your mileage may vary.

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