I have a mixed bag for your perusal this week. Without further dipping into grammatical error and prose akin to a litany spilling from the mouth of a drunkard I give you…
Revenger – The New Mythology Vol. 1 (Canada)
Release – February/17/2018
One could easily be fooled into thinking that Revenger err on the side of speed or epic metal given the imagery the artwork of their newest EP conveys. Their style however is forged in the fires of thrash polished and honed utilizing tools often found in the deathmetal and hardcore arenas.
Following a recent quite significant lineup change (finding the drummer and vocalist replaced and the guitarist, founder JP Poulin, changing from guitar to bass duties) The New Mythology marks a slight change in direction for Revenger. The vocal style is now charged with a barking harsher feel and the music is slightly slower in tempo displaying more a technical stabbing attack than merely a fluid speed laden approach.
Hex is a nice introducton to the new Revenger, with my only complaint being that the vocals sound a tad strained in moments. Anti Life adds hardcore flavor to the proceedings with its Pro-Pain esque rhythms while also displaying diversity showing the band experiment with shifting passages and melody.
On a personal note I believe the album only truly kicks into high gear with the fourth track, The Man Who Shot God. The atmosphere and solo exchanges mid way through are exceptional and serve to break up a track that may well have fallen into forgettable territories.
The album climaxes with The Watcher. A fluid attack starts the track, perhaps the catchiest and ironically least technical of the album, then continues to transform to include interesting riffage and a slight middle Eastern vibe to make for a intriguing ending to an album that really didn’t do much, in all honesty, for me.
Some great moments, and interesting riffs but not nearly enough to lift the album from a vocal attack that gets slightly monotonous and a musical landscape that’s been covered extensively before.
An Argency – Eternal Legacy (Belarus, Minsk)
Release – February/16/2018
It shows initiative, and balls, for a band to reach out directly for comment. Anyone familiar with any media forum thread is of the understanding it’s a wicked place indeed home to the most vile of Troll and the lowest form of depravity splattered nonsensically in prose for all to ponder on in disbelief. To make a long story short, An Argency reached out to me in hopes that I might consider putting a ‘few words to paper’ on their newest release. After a little consideration I made my decision. Sure, why the hell not. After all I’m all about helping the Indy scene, the ‘little guy’, someone has to… right?
To start things off Eternal Legacy is a lil different and probably better suited for those who have an open mind and a willingness to dip their senses into unchartered territories from time to time. The genre phrasing in its description certainly indicates a release with a style off the beaten path sparking my initial interest. Seriously, what exactly is “Blackened Symphonic Deathcore”?
As it happens the death core part is rather self explanatory and evident throughout, blast beats interwoven by short guitar rhythms all executed with style and precision. Other factors, however, are new to me in relation to the aforementioned style. Atmosphere is provided as a complement, in symphonic form adding emotion ranging from anger to melancholic, and somber to depressing. In moments this stylisyic relationship works very well in others however, the whole equation sounds slightly muddy and more than a little chaotic.
The opening track, The Dol, is a fantastic opener introducing the listener to An Argency and their style. Dualling vocals (accompanied by an occasional gang technique) work very well within a prison of drum batteries and guitar rhythms somewhat reminiscent of melody heavy earlier material, not the more ‘poppier’ tunage, by Bring Me the Horizon. An ethereal vibe adds uniqueness to the package and the overall enjoyment of the track. Later tunes experiment more with the same formula. Detached is a great example that bears an exquisite array of vocal techniques as well a certain vibe that sets it apart from more traditional Deathcore material. Other tracks display Avant Garde qualities in their melodies, often overall structures stray far from what one might expect in the same genre. Perhaps a little too far in instances, although with that being said the overall effect somehow grows on you overtime, I can attest to this after several listens and I’ll also admit I’ll return for more.
Overall an album that may not fully appeal to the senses upon first encounter but much like any guilty pleasure it has that certain something that’s unfathomably hard to pinpoint and even harder to resist.
Shatter Brain – The Shatter Brain Demo 2018 (Australia)
Release – January/2018
This promo is another example of an act reaching out. Shatter Brain originate from Australia, so in essence this article has managed to span pretty much the entire globe. Ahh – the wonders of the World Wide Web and the undeniable allure of extreme music. Back to Shatter Brain.
The demo caresses the ears much unlike others, the production is crisp and the sound surprisingly impressive. The style comes off like east coast hardcore-meets-Pantera-meets-death metal. There’s an angst to the vocals that grabs the attention ‘right off the bat’ (there’s a Cricket analogy for those not of US origin) the cadence develops in an instant from a Phil Anselmo type growl (heard especially in the opening track, Dog’s Water) to an aggressive Punk/Grindcore strained scream. The rhythms are catchy, mid tempo but shift often like the attitude of crooked politicians when an easy dollar is up for grabs.
The four tracks on offer ooze with groove but aren’t without their fair share of melody either. Invisible War is rather the contradiction, the vocals are venonous yet the rhythms are somewhat relaxing in contrast to the remainder of the material on offer.
Discard is the final track up and it’s a perfect mixture of both hardcore and punk showcasing passages that plunge deep into the former arena with muscle cramping groove and reckless abandon.
If this demo is any indication of the material that Shatter Brain are brewing for a full length they shpuld be watched closely. Impressive stuff indeed!
All this and I didn’t say Koala, Kangaroo, Rippa, Down Under and toss s shrimp on the barbie once. Whoops!
Angerot – The Splendid iniquity USA
Black Market Metal
Exploding onto the scene with their debut Angerot (from South Dakota) ironically feature members who’ve matured alongside the genre itself. It’s no wonder then, that they’ve chosen to stick with what’s historically been proven to work. Mixed at the legendary Sunlight Studios by Tomas Skogsberg the albums sound, a fuzz like tone engineered by a smoothly operating bonesaw, is pleasingly familiar bringing to bear obvious influences (Grave, Carnage, Entombed) created from the depths of the very same studio. Guest vocalists/musicians such as LG Petrov and James Murphy make the same familiarity reach near unbearably exquisite heights and the album that much more harder to resist. The beats are there a menacing mid to swift pouncing tempo, the groove (slathered in velvet catacomb darkness) is undeniable, the rhythm spine shatteringly delicous and the vocal style, especially heard in Under the Calm but then also without the help of the aforementioned guests combine as if the nineties had never really ended (and dare I say Wolverine Blues never saw the light of day – yea I went there!) A concoction of such lofty calibre a long time metal fanatics wet dream would be embarrassed to wake up to the mess ‘it’ created overnight.
There are, though those amongst us who would prefer to look past the music itself to comment on its style. Surely a thing of the past, where’s the creativity and ingenuity? They might argue. The argument exists (the band themselves even comment that theirs is a style they’ve tried keeping ‘on point’ rather than copy) but there’s no denying that if this album, were it released back in the day, would stand comfortably alongside others whose landmark position and indelible impression is heralded even to this day, compared to modern classics of the genre in fact. But then this is only my opinion. I know what I like and to be brutally honest I’m not a slavering fan of every Dismember and/or Grave album released.
There you have it.
The Splendid Iniquity, in my opinion, is one of the finest hours in the resurgence of the ‘Gothenburg’ scene as if I haven’t already said this before now using different words.
Naturally this would be a lower score if my rating system took into account “originality” parameters. Homage..? Sure, especially in the final track that twists the Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells/Phantasm theme into another melody that’s still recognizable, but then I’d argue that it doesn’t sound at all out of place. A release in this vein cannot be faulted for including a lil’ something as a tip of the hat if you will to the ‘gods’ who molded the scene. Call this album what you will but it’s still damn good and utterly deserved of prsise and at least a few listens.
Toxikull – The Nightraiser (Portugal)
Release – March/23/2018
On a cursory glance one might mistakenly think Iron Maiden and the legendary Life After Death album, admittedly vivid green phosphorus and splitting fissures in the earth has the power to do strange things to the retinas. On closer inspection however, Eddy is nowhere in sight. Do I still have your attention? Good, as this EP and the music therein are well worth sticking around for.
Toxikull play as if it were over thirty years ago when Exodus (headed by Paul Baloff), Anthrax (Fistful of Metal era) and a myriad of others mixing melody, attitude and face melting riffs were having a blast entertaining a fanbase demanding more than what traditional heavy metal offered.
Conjuring a speed thrash mixture incorporating breakneck melodies that would topple Granma from her walker this denim jacket donning Portugese foursome manage to evoke stylistic memories of Helloween, Exciter and even in instances Mercyful Fate. Of course Lex Thunder’s exquisite range (falsetto highs and a stunning mix of traditional singing attributes) is largely to blame coupled with raucous Killed by Death esque thunderous climaxes (often opening the track itself) and rhythms exceedly difficult not to appreciate this six track release grabs you by the throat and rarely let’s up.
Nightraiser should come with a warning as its dangerously addictive from the very first note making for plenty of lost time if the listener isn’t playing attention which is more than likely going to be the case.
That’s about it for this installment folks.
Your slave to audio depraved, disgusting, lightning quick and dripping in unadulterated groove.
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