Label Roundup: Grind to Death Records – Belarus Beaver, Eldprov, & Beyond the Catacombs (Reviews)

Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

In this edition of this column we’ll take a look at Swedish label Grind to Death Records. It’s not a label I’m familiar with, so how better to get a good look at what they do than this? Besides, how could I resist a grindcore album about beavers…

Belarus Beaver - Symphony of Fallen TreesBelarus Beaver – Symphony of Fallen Trees – Grindcore – Sweden

We’ll start with the album that I fully confess is the reason that I decided to do this article. Did you know that you needed a beaver-themed grindcore album in your life? I didn’t, but here we are. This is the band’s third album and they also contain a member of Pissboiler.

Before pressing play I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but it’s good stuff. Deep growls are the order of business vocally, augmented with harsh screams here and there. The music is packed with vicious blast beats, infectious groove, and murderous riffs.  These beavers know how to destroy as well as build, it seems. There’s even some dark melodies that worm their way into the music, and plenty of bass presence that I like a lot. There’s a strong whiff of Swedish death metal, in some places more than others, and also some surprises; the clean vocals in True Beaver of Death are sublime, for example.

Symphony of Fallen Trees is an above average release, and I’m very pleased with what it has to offer. With good songwriting, a good mix of blast and groove, (with some great riffs), and a deathgrind delivery that’s crushing, Belarus Beaver have impressed.

I, for one, welcome our new beaver overlords.

Eldprov - RiftEldprov – Rift – Melodic Death Metal – Sweden

Eldprov play a form of melodic death metal that incorporates elements of black and thrash metal into its sound. The end result is that Rift dips its toes in a few death/black/thrash subgenres and comes off the better for it every time.

The band are at their best when they’re playing fast and melodic, although this is not to say anything else they do has no worth – far from it. These songs are well-written and well-differentiated against each other. They also boast a few different creative ideas and sounds, such as epic chants and clean singing for a couple of vocal examples. Most importantly, in many ways at least, Eldprov have a good ear for melody, and these songs make the most of that.

I can hear everything from Dissection to Children of Bodom to Bathory to Rotting Christ to Hypocrisy, and more, in Eldprov’s sound. There are also guests from Dark Funeral and Kvaen on the album.

Rift is a good album that shapeshifts more than you might expect, but always delivers the goods. Eldprov have more than a small amount of talent. Make sure you check this out.

Beyond the Catacombs - Fatal ErrorBeyond the Catacombs – Fatal Error – Death Metal – Finland

Fatal Error is a sci-fi-themed death metal album that combines brutality and technicality well. The band can certainly play, but never let the technicality get in the way of their songcraft.

The songs are aggressive and dark, but not without melody or colour. There’s a definite progressive feel to the music, with rampant use of synths and other atypical elements such as clean singing, recalling elements of bands like Death, Cynic, and Atheist. Combine these last bands with a more technical and brutal, (including some slam), approach, and you’ll have a good idea of where Beyond the Catacombs are coming from.

Fatal Error is a quality and enjoyable slab of death metal.

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