There is a darkness lurking beneath the sunny beaches and smiling faces that make up Florida’s public facade. All that sunshine eventually blisters and burns, inspiring those left scarred to seek out a dimmer, more Stygian existence. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that a recently released digital compilation, spearheaded by the merry miscreants behind Satanik Recordings and which reads like a a who’s who of the Florida heavy metal underground, is called Swamp Abyss Sorcery. Think a semi-Satanic state of the union address, spewed forth from the bowels of hell — in other words, it’s wickedly good.
The eleven-song manifesto kicks off with the rockin’ rumble of Shroud Eater, a Miami-based raw power trio. Jean Saiz’s sometimes gruff, sometimes sultry vocals slink and slither over and under the burly, lumbering grooves, recalling a grittier Kylesa or female-fronted High on Fire. Here, there be doom: drummer Felipe Torres and bass-slinger Janette Valentine hold down the low end — way low. It’s no surprise to hear that their latest album was produced by Jonathan Nunez of Torche.
Their track “Pale Rider” bleeds easily into the distorted dirge of death/doom emissaries Druid Lord. Theirs is a creeping, crawling strain of horror doom, tortured by the looming specter of death and visions from the darkside, and echoing the decrepit genre blending of Loss and Hooded Menace without ignoring their Southern roots.
Fatal speed things up a bit, offering a glimpse into the past with four minutes of evil death/thrash metal: no mosh, no core, no fun, just viciously executed proto-death riffs and beastly roars from beyond the gates.
Hollow Leg’s “Warbeast” is a toothsome slab of sludgy, stoner-minded doom, graced with an outstanding drummer and a healthy appreciation for the underlying (bed)rock’n’roll beneath the monolith.
Miami mind-erasers Orbweaver, on the other hand, are a harder mouthful to swallow. “Those of Non-Being” is a dissonant, warped interpretation of technical death metal, spliced with sheer blasts of chaotic noise and a mangled black-metal influence that claws its way to the surface halfway through — throwing yet another log on this bonfire of musical vanity.
Flying Snakes tone things right back down, though, with a melodic, epic take on crust punk armed with hints of death and strangled vocals that twist and blacken.
With “Revenge Lust,” Gainesville Baphomet brigade Hot Graves rear up and hoist their middle fingers aloft with a frenzy of ballsy, blasphemous, black metal-baiting, thrashy d-beat. Then Party Time jack up the punk rock influences even more with a gravel-voiced, snotty blast of NY-style hardcore by way of D.R.I.
Extremely Rotten may very well be Florida’s premiere unintentional Dead Infection cover band, as they inhabit that shadowy realm between brutal death metal and goregrind, gurgling their way through seven (!) minutes of hideously lo-fi, bouncy, mostly mid-paced caveman slams.
Fire in the Cave contribute a more refined perspective with “Civilized Swamp,” a slow burning ember that builds into an explosive blackened crescendo. Atmospheric, melodic, and mournful in turn, this black/doom hybrid gracefully comprises eight of the best minutes on the whole album.
And Holly Hunt provide the rest of them. Counting Beatriz Monteavaro of Floor renown amidst their ranks, this blissed-out drone collective close out this compilation with a gorgeous swath of cyclical, hypnotic riffage, that swells and builds and ultimately collapses into itself like a freshly killed fox carcass swarming with maggots. A fitting end for a fine compilation.
This is the new age of Florida metal, bow down to the destroyers!
Download Swamp Abyss Sorcery for free on Bandcamp here.
Stream the album here: