Metal, Metal, everywhere as far as I can see…
Like immeasurable grain of sand metal have overrun my senses and consumed me wholly.
It’s early August as I pen this, a fiery orb is torching the heavens, spitting its fiery hatred of mankind upon the earth and I’m hoping, fingers crossed, that the miserable heat generated from its infernal disdain will wind down to merely a dull ache in the next few weeks. Admittedly I’m not a fan of this particular season, cursed as I am with an Irish complexion and a cunning penchant for avoiding any and all outdoor activities that involves perspiring to the point I look about ready to unceremoniously kiss the dirt at an alarming rate of speed. It’s horrid enough that I am forced to mow on occasion (did I not mention that I’m a lazy SOB) and somehow find myself competing in the neighborhood’s unwritten (but highly coveted) “Lawn War” shenanigans. An ages old global scale conflict uncovered by any dusty history tome but weighty with importance nevertheless. Where the height of one’s grass tells you a lot more about the household it borders than a controversial tell-all autobiography ever will. There’s a movie plot hidden in there someplace just waiting for an artsy individual with a huge wallet to pounce on the premise. Throw in a handful of gangsters, a love interest, a sprinkling of morals, strong accents and a flash or two of cleavage. And hey whammo! you have yourself a blockbuster.
Sigh. If only I could hoist a trophy for a frontage (“…Does this look like a well-maintained frontage to you?” – Dead Alive/Brain Dead. Sorry couldn’t resist) boasting the most ferocious and unkempt appearance, awash in random strain of weed. This might well be the only sport I would excel at, if given half the chance, it’s honestly as if ‘Triffids’ (British genre film reference for those ill-educated in such matters) are gearing up for global conquest utilizing my yard as the most primative of training arenas.
I digress, (those familiar with my previous works will attest that this happens more regularly than not) onwards to greener pastures – see what I did there – and this week’s fresh audio selection. Feast your eyes and ears upon this diverse collection as I tend to my burning blistery bits with the soothing caress of aloe.
Starting off with …
Limited edition comes as a gold coated disc with partial lacquer with a 6-panel digipack booklet
Evadne – A Mother Named Death (Spain)
Release – June/27/2017
Every once in a while, there comes along an album that so envelops you in awe (from the very first note onwards) that you are swept away, dumbfounded, to another plane entirely. Such is the case with Evadne’s A Mother Named Death. Striking in its deliverance and composition, majestic in its depth and boasting ‘spot on’ pacing (be it ponderous or a melodic near gallop) it places the listener in a melancholic trance seemingly with ease. This is not such an easy accomplishment, admittedly I’ve struggled through various doom/death releases that just don’t have ‘that’ vibe, as if the artists tried excessively hard to capture a texture/vibe that was just out of their collective reach.
Acts that immediately spring to mind while listening to Avadne are October Tide and Swallow the Sun, though mostly the former. Both have the death/funeral doom balancing precariously on black metal style tuned to a fine art. And both have the power to transfix their audience with their seamless transition from one avenue of emotion to the next. However, what makes A Mother Named Death especially gratifying is that it’s having such an impression on me from the very first listen, this is also my introduction to the band’s material. Previously Evadne have had success with The Shortest Way, their second full length.
With eight tracks spanning, a mere, sixty-four minutes the album is indicative of the genre but unlike many other releases in the same arena it doesn’t waffle on, or appear as if the tracks are lengthy merely for that purpose. Of the eight tracks on offer, Morningstar Song is the longest, barely short of the ten- minute mark, and the most impressive, but it’s by a very slim margin. The track traverses a range of emotions utilizing expertly placed melody and a multitude of vocal styles, from a slow tempo growl to an angelic female voice, to accentuate atmosphere and especially powerful passages making for a track that demands replaying in order that the listener can pick out additional intricacies each new time.
Another track that stands out, by virtue of the fact that it’s instrumental, is 88:6. It stands out on account of its classical feel and overall fascinating Gothic appeal, it could effortlessly be part of a score to a stunning short film when in fact it’s relevance is to a psalm that states You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep (English Standard Version) the composition is delivered in such a way to fit the implications of such a heady statement perfectly.
From the first note to the last A Mother Named Death is utterly captivating, pungent in its atmospheric potency and an album that can be listened to on repeat without losing any of its initial allure. Without reservation, I’ll proclaim that this have ‘album of the year’ written all over it. And lucky you, there’s no need to wait as its already available to purchase. Break open that dusty piggy bank and make space in your collection!!
Deliverance – Chrst (France)
Release – December/5/2016
Deliverance – Chrst on bandcamp
To catalog Deliverance (and their sound) is a hard-enough feat, in and of itself, but to describe their style is harder still. Described as being as ‘blackened post rock/sludge’ (a term that most probably has a vastly different meaning each time you ask someone different to explain it) the release promises a listening experience far from the mundane and I’m glad to say the album and the band deliver.
Hung be the Heavens with Black is a stunner of an opening track that’s riff driven and diverse in its depth and overall approach yet aggressive and oddly infectious. Pierre Duneau rasps diabolic, in a manner not unlike that heard in traditional black metal, adding a certain aura of menace, a style that fits the doomy nature of the musical accompaniment perfectly.
The following track, Out of the Saddening Blank, though epic boasts more of a relaxed atmosphere, though that’s not to say that its intent is any less powerful, with its emphasis drenched in atmosphere and a suffocating dense slow galloping riff it offers fans who demand more from their tunage a great deal to sink their greedy little fangs into.
Black metal values collide with minimalist doom elements and shades of Djent in A Bone shall not be Broken (a wicked, oddly chaotic, concoction that plays out better than it sounds) add this to the impressive musical and creative talent the band have showcased thus far and it leaves the listener wondering what the band will experiment with next.
Across Gehenna closes the album out utilizing stabbing, choppy riffs that dissipate to nothingness as the track transforms in a gloomy atmospheric soundscape broken only by chaotic Gothic melodies and Pierre’s haunting wails. A fantastic finale to a collection of tracks that are anything but stereotypical of any one genre.
For those that enjoy a slice of diversity drenched in heaviness and shrouded in a melancholic nature this will satisfy the urges, for all others go into this with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.
Oracle – Beyond Omega (USA)
Release – July/28/2016
Oracle on bandcamp
Formed in Mobile Alabama (an area not usually noted for its addition to the rock and/or metal scene) in 2016 Oracle deliver a well-constructed blend of metal that is hard not to appreciate. Theirs is a style that thrives on melody and intricacy, with nods aplenty, mostly in the blast-beat drum department, to the technical death metal arena. Laden with atmosphere, courtesy of the blackened end of the extreme music spectrum, the album contains a certain depth which many in the same genre lack to make it stand out from a pack all with much the same M.O.
Within the collective tracks its easy to detect various diverse influence ranging from thrash through doom to death metal. Earlier era Arch Enemy comes to mind as to does At the Gates and even in moments Novembers Doom amongst other not quite so well-known acts (whose names presently escape me).
By the Hands of Aestrea is an early standout that boasts atmosphere and an infectious head nodding melody that I just can’t get enough of all combined in such a manner that its whole falls barely short, within spitting distance in fact, of brutal death and black territories. The Cleansing (not a cover of a Prong track) is another track that stands out. Majestic riffs, speed, groove and atmosphere combine for a 213 second limb twitchin’ extravaganza (yea I used basic math!).
I’m tempted to call this collection of tracks ‘death light’ (however, it’s not a beer, it doesn’t require a half-submerged wedge of lime to enjoy) but for fear of losing listeners I’ll refrain from using the phrase in excess as this release doesn’t, in any way, fail to deliver but rather excels in another light entirely, more so with melody utilizing clear mid-tempo riffage and excellent production values than celebrated brutality enshrouded in manipulated chaos.
Beyond Omega is an exciting example from a fresh new talent, an album that hints at further greatness, it has minor flaws though on the whole is an applaudable first outing chock full of unexpected technicality and riffs the listener will remember long after the albums complete.
Headcrusher – Death Comes with Silence (USA by way of Columbia)
Release – July/28/2017
Many familiar with a classic from the vintage era of Sepultura will be struck by this album’s introduction. Classical and intricate Ignis Fatuus brandishes an ominous nature and powerful aura that’s apocalyptic in scope. With the listeners attention enrapt Headcrusher mercilessly pounce on the senses. Brutality is the engine that drives their attack, a siege machine that crushes all those that dare step in its path.
Commanding the vehicle are orders barked from the cast iron throat of Kike Valderrama. His is a voice that demands respect and whips heads to the vivid sound of vertebra snapping. The engine of this collective follows a beat of its own design and not by any march originating from under death or black banners. An aggression helmed by a maelstrom of brutal riffs and a pummeling battery assault that chooses to follow no predictable path but rather a trail carved of its own volition incorporating a handful of themes and styles prevalent in the more extreme genres of the metal spectrum mixed with the dedication and mind-numbing precision of a mad scientist.
To break down every track is a taxing labor in and of itself, as each track varies dramatically, it’s easier therefore, to comment on the album as a whole. Blanketed with a wholly unpredictable nature Death Comes with Silence still manages to enthrall its audience as it leapfrogs from one genre categorization to another, all without missing a beat or losing its rhythm or sense of brutality.
Fans of Gojira, Mastadon, Meshuggah and those with an occasional interest in the death, black and hardcore realms should all find passages and elements within each track to peak their excitement, then want to return for another immediate listen to pick up on other intricacies they may have missed the first time around.
An amazing release to sate those who have yet to find their area of especial interest in the universe of all that encompasses metal.
And I’m not done yet…
Rithiya Henry Khiev – The Finite Cycle (EP) (US)
Release – March/1/2017
In my ongoing quest to introduce new acts to the DrunkinaGraveyard readership (all three of you) and cover most things of a metal nature I would be remiss if I didn’t attempt to cover an album within a genre that admittedly isn’t anywhere to be found in my own library.
The Finite Cycle is primarily the brainchild of one man (whose name appears front and center on this release), with help from various other musicians, including a drummer, vocalist and several other guitarists. Boasting five tracks, two of which are instrumental but all very much progressive in nature this promises a journey the likes of which I don’t ‘enjoy’ very often.
Industrial Demise opens the album in stunning fashion, a hybrid of technical brutality and progressive tones somewhat Blotted Science in feel with a touch of Yngwie J. Malmsteen to mix things up. Technical and delivered with flair, passion and precision this has grabbed my attention immediately, if truth be told this isn’t what I had initially imagined but rather a soundscape rich in emotion, atmosphere that drips immeasurable talent.
The second track is the first to sport vocals, courtesy of Jeff DeMarco (Excrecor, Rhadamanthys and Solium Fatalis) which are both gruff and surprisingly decipherable. But what makes it especially impressive is the unexpected atmosphere. The album continues to open my mind to a genre I will admit to not exploring as much as perhaps I should. Maelstrom of War is top notch and much like the track before it recalls a Rings of Saturn technical vibe topped by catchy melodies and progressive elements.
The Finite Cycle climaxes with For all Mankind, chugging in nature in part it has an aura about it that brings vintage Gorguts releases to memory. But then does a double take whisking the listener away to a melodic wilderness more akin to Satriani (spelling!?) and Malmsteen transforming again in the blink of an eye to something more experimental still. A true testament to the musicianship on display throughout this short but utterly sweet EP that I whole heartedly recommend even based on my aforementioned discrimination.
Eye opening and truly stunning this is an EP deserved of exploration and a place in any open-minded metal fans collection.
Perkulatory – Chronic Caffeine Dependence (Sweden)
Release – July/7/2017
Finally, an album entirely dedicated to the wonderful world of the overconsumption of coffee. But in all seriousness, much like the initial track, Scalding Coffee Enema, suggests this collection of tracks, albeit short and sweet (incidentally the exact way I prefer my ‘cuppa’, with lots of cream, sugar and served by an overly-enthusiastic vertically challenged person) precisely hits the spot.
Coffee Grinder, Java Lord and Unexpected Guest, and the air of mystery that surrounds their true personalities, supply the groove, riffs, grunts, humorous references and beat to keep this album flowing and the limbs fueled by whatever beverage incites energy moving. A hybrid of styles comprises their sound. Imagine if you will, old school Gothenburg (Entombed, Dismember, Grave) tainted by death rock n roll with the occasional nod to more familiar acts’ sound tossed in for good measure. For example, Macabre lyrical traits are prevalent in Mocca Master, Pleasure of Percolation has a choppy feel and speeding rhythm riff breakdown that reminds me of Massacre. The albums final track in part boasts more of a mid-tempo melodic aura reminiscent of Insomnium but then picks up to sound more akin to classic God Dethroned.
Whatever your pleasure, an injection of expresso, no nonsense straight to the point black, with no cream or sugar or atmospheric, cloudy with the inclusion of milk this album will serve to open your eyes to how much fun a concept album can be when its delivered with the same unmistakable sense of glee and knowledge of the scene that this talented trio possesses.
Limber up before you give this a spin, its surprisingly impressive for a themed album and demands more attention than one might at first think.
Just when you thought it was all over…
ABYSSPHERE – Na Puti K Zabveniyu (Russia)
(2CD limited Ed. Digibook)
Released – June/12/2017
Grand Sounds PR
Endless Depression Productions
Upon a cursory listen, two things immediately struck me. Firstly, this is an album steeped in musical precision, depth, emotion and atmosphere and B (excuse my pathetic attempts at humor) the lyrics are sang entirely in another language – Russian.
The rhythm and melody found in Abyssphere’s composition is mesmerizingly melancholic with the enthralling influence to pull the listener from their daily woes into another plane entirely. The lyrical cadence, and seamless switching back and forth from a traditional clean style to more of a gruffer one, more than hints at themes soaked in sadness, loss and depression though I can only guess at best as my mastery of the Russian dialect is beyond pitiful. This element sadly, might be the only thing that hinders the bands progress and overall appeal, admittedly many fans don’t wish to step outside of their comfort zone, although in my opinion the fact that they prefer to sing in their own dialect only adds another layer to my own curiosity and interest.
Odd then is Abysspheres’ similarity to early Moonspell material (namely Wolfheart) in both composition and gothic feel. Moonspell are Portuguese (to my knowledge) before now I’ve not noticed the two languages sounding alike, perhaps it’s just me? Mix in other factors like the occasional Opeth and Amorphis vibe, which I find very relaxing, and you have all the makings of an album that has an awful lot going for it. I only hope the amassed metal hordes will be able open their collective minds to something other than their own native tongue in the vocal department as this album really does have a lot to offer within its epic length, fantastic value for anyone’s coin at over an hour and a half.
For excellently executed emotional doom that boasts more than enough majesty to propel it far and beyond the death/doom moniker this is an ideal location to submerge your senses.
Something from the Vaults…
Ditchcreeper – Rotting Repugnancy (UK)
Release – September/2009
Pathologically Explicit Recordings
Dragged out of the depths of grotesquely carved natural caverns knee deep in offal and human waste I give you Ditchcreeper. I’m proud to state that this album pulls no punches whatsoever. With a vomit inducing introduction narrated with such nonchalance as if an old lady is reciting a grocery list the stage is set. Boasting lyrical content on the same wavelength as early Carcass and track titles similar to vintage Cannibal Corpse there’s no wonder that they also appear in the bands stylistic influence.
The album chugs along at a decent pace, displaying the bands penchant for proficiency at a dizzying speed, catchy hooks, technical drumming and impromptu whirlwind riffage ala Dying Fetus.
Kane Corvus serves as an amazing accompaniment and supplies the vocal chops, impressive emanations that range from the occasional bree bree bree to a rapid dialogue issuance that Dan Lilker (SOD, Brutal Truth and Nuclear Assault) would approve of. Noteworthy, and slightly off topic, is that Kane now fronts a band named Rotting Repugnancy. In homage or not is anyone’s guess but one things for certain this is an album that shouldn’t be left to gather dust.
Sadly, Ditchcreeper have since disbanded. But for brutalities sake pick this gem up, and wallow in the best of British Grind/Slam/Technical death or whatever the F- you wish to call it.
You can thank me later.
-Cult (@Cultmetalflix on twitter)