Death-metal outfit Ossuary celebrates a new EP, with help from two other heavy Madison bands. Info
Madison-based trio Ossuary takes a grimy and enveloping journey through death metal on its second EP, Supreme Degradation, released earlier this month. Guitarist/vocalist Izzi Plunkett, bassist Matt Jacobs, and drummer Nick Johnson grasp this music's ability to capture both raw despair and fearsome tenacity. Like the band's previous EP, 2015's Cremation Ritual, this latest release has no use for flash or gimmicks, but instead focuses on building tension, with rhythms that drill and drag all at once. All of Supreme Degradation's four tracks exert a relentless pull, but "Bestial Triumph" shines in particular, with Plunkett and Jacobs slashing into low-end riffs that transition into a doomy bridge, and Johnson plowing his kick and toms into patterns that feel cathartic rather than mechanical. It's not really about sheer speed or technical prowess here, but Ossuary does build up to a good sustained pummeling on the EP's title track. Of course, it also takes vocals to make a death-metal outfit work, and Plunkett's give the whole sound a coat of cavernous phlegm. This is gruesome, cavernous stuff, drawing on death metal's extremes but also tapping into the humanity one can find in those extremes.
Even if Ossuary didn't have the EP to celebrate, this show would be just about an ideal trifecta of metal bands from Madison. Tubal Cain shares Ossuary's love of the fundamentals, in this case channeling the austere roots of black metal but also finding a great deal of fun, especially in the vocal pairing of drummer Kristine Drake and guitarist Alex Drake. After a few years as a duo, Tubal Cain brought on bassist Bo Chrome Bones in 2018, and he fits right into the band's viscerally satisfying live sets. Ruin Dweller debuted last year with Cryptic Ruin, an EP that shares a bit of Ossuary's gritty approach to death metal, but also finds room for minor-key guitar harmonies and atmospheric synths. —Scott Gordon