How Dead Can You Get?Armagedon: Thanatology (2013)
3 out of 5 stars
It seems like every Polish death metal band is good. Armagedon [sic] is no exception. It also seems like the preponderance of death metal bands sound like Behemoth. Again, Armagedon is no exception. Especially the song "Black Seed." There is also a hint of Dethklok ("Self Destruction," many of the solos), which I can't say is a bad thing. Armagedon is really good, but they only rise a hair's width above the rest of their scene.
Manifesting: Descension Through the Seven Forbidden Seals (2013)
2 out of 5 stars
Manifesting plays some sepulchral, mostly doomy death metal. It's ugly-sounding, they have some nifty string bends or squeals to make it extra-raunchy, and they throw in fast parts to mix things up. But it's clearly missing something. They seem to check all the right boxes for the Incantation-following crowd, but it ultimately comes off as tiresome at best ("Asomatous Hubris"), actively awful at worst ("Archon of the Red Temple"). It's only slightly better than I made it sound.
Sheol: Sepulchral Ruins Below the Temple
3.5 out of 5 stars
This is a little more like it. Sheol apparently insist on rendering their name in Hebrew lettering, despite their UK origin, but regardless of that pretension they know how to play some filthy death metal. It's fast, confident, and coherent. They also use an ambient interlude (not unlike the kind Nile might use) to break up the pacing. This is the way it's done.