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A death-metal educa-TION

Three similarly named legacy acts hit NYC, each toting a fierce new full-length.

Photograph: Courtesy Clawhammer PR


Edification: This Johnstown, PA, crew is famous in the death-metal demimonde for constant lineup shuffling—guitarist-vocalist John McEntee has been the only consistent member throughout its 24-year history—and an ultradense sound, which contrasts rapid-fire flurries with tar pits of sludgy groove.

Latest declaration: Vanquish in Vengeance, Incantation’s eighth LP, snuck out quietly this past fall. The band’s early efforts are death-metal cornerstones, but Vanquish’s savage clarity and relentless vigor make it one of McEntee & Co.’s finest.

Get Incantated: March 30 at Saint Vitus

Photograph: Scott Kinkade


Edification: Formed on Long Island in 1988, Suffocation has spawned an entire school of death metal with its hypertechnical riff labyrinths and mosh-fueling breakdowns.

Latest declaration: The aptly named Pinnacle of Bedlam, unleashed this past February, is all but flawless, brimming with taut, memorable songs. In light of turmoil in the Suffocation ranks—longtime drummer Mike Smith exited last year, and Frank Mullen, the band’s iconic bellower, recently announced that he’d be touring only part-time—few expected an LP anywhere near this strong.

Get Suffocated: April 5 at Saint Vitus


Photograph: Courtesy Nuclear Blast


Edification: Part of a surprisingly vital Yonkers scene that also includes Mortician and Malignancy, this underground favorite has issued a steady stream of quality product since its 1988 origin.

Latest declaration: Kingdom of Conspiracy, out May 14—in time for the local stop on the Decibel Magazine Tour, which teams Immolation with fellow old-schoolers Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death—continues in the vein of 2010’s outstanding Majesty and Decay. The focus remains on guitarist Robert Vigna, whose signature chug-then-squeal inventions lend the new set a winningly off-kilter funkiness.

Get Immolated: June 5 at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Follow Hank Shteamer on Twitter: @DarkForcesSwing

Buy on iTunes:
Incantation: Vanquish in Vengeance
Suffocation: Pinnacle of Bedlam
Immolation: Majesty and Decay