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'Vexovoid' lives up to expectations of death metal lovers

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

‘Vexovoid'

Portal (Profound Lore)

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Scary, shrouded Australian death metal unit Portal have become a force in the underground metal scene, so much so that their fourth record “Vexovoid” is one of the most anticipated extreme music releases of 2013. As usual, they totally deliver. Death metal has been watered down so significantly that it's nearly impossible to find a band with a truly infernal, horrific vibe, but this band has it in spades, and their dizzying, suffocating style, complete with frontman The Curator's hissed growls, are so reality-defying, no one's been able to copy them. Everything on here is great, but high points on this 35-minute, seven-track album are “The Back Wards,” “Awryeon,” and blistering closer “Oblotten” that devastates you with panic and noise.

‘Honey'

Pissed Jeans (Sub Pop)

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“Honeys,” the fourth record from Allentown's Pissed Jeans is not a comedy album. But you'll probably smirk and guffaw through a great deal of this noise-drenched punk band's record, especially if you've been having one of those weeks. This album is one of the catchiest, most infectious of their collection, and frontman Matt Korvette is a total cerebral madman on this collection, howling about people embarrassingly crying in hallways and kitchens on “Bathroom Laughter,” trying to find a presentable side to himself on “Romanticize Me,” fretting over illness/cost of treatment on “Health Plan,” and gleefully celebrating the death of a coworker on “Cafeteria Food,” the crown jewel of the entire Pissed Jeans discography.

‘Hymns'

Godflesh (The End)

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Heavily influential and long-celebrated industrial metal gods Godflesh remain a band that's revered today, and their recent reunion shows have had near religious fervor attached to them (even if some have been marred by technical flaws). For those who perhaps missed out on the band's heyday, or for those who just want an updated copy, The End reissued the band's final record “Hymns,” one that led directly into Justin K. Broadrick's Jesu project.

“Hymns” has been remastered for this release, and attached are some added demo and remix goodies that are pretty cool to hear. Godflesh has a pretty strong run, demonstrated by this 13-track collection, and while this record might not live up to, say, “Streetcleaner,” it provides a lot of fire on oomph on “Deaf, Dumb, and Blind,” “Paralyzed,” and the bizarre closer “Jesu.” This is a must-have.

Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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