Written by: Loveloth
George Carlin was a genius. A philosopher in comedian's cloth, an astute social commentator and a dude who was way ahead of his time. His ability to confront people with difficult-to-stomach facts in a hilarious way remains to be topped. Among all his numerous (and brilliant) bits, a few stuck with me, so today I will showcase a quote from his “Saving the planet” bit--which, like most Carlin routines, is even more relevant today:
“We’re so self-important, so self-important. Everybody’s gonna save something now: “Save the trees! Save the bees! Save the whales! Save those snails!” and the greatest arrogance of all: “Save the planet!” What?! Are these fucking people kidding me?! Save the planet?! We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet! We haven’t learned how to care for one another and we’re gonna save the fucking planet?!”
Keep in mind he said this in 1992, in a time where grunge was becoming a serious deal, and way before Al Gore, Kyoto's convention and the whole “Save the Earth” hype that is cool today. Now, as a the filthy palaeontology nerd that I am, and to have as smooth of a transition as possible, it is my duty to showcase you any band that decides to tackle such matters. The Ocean do it, Endolith does it, and now Thecodontion do it on their debut Supercontinent.
For the uninitiated, this Rome-based death metal duo explored a very "metal" yet rarely touched upon topic: our planet's tectonic drifts. You see, before us pesky humans arrived and started polluting the atmosphere, Earth has already seen five massive extinctions, one of which was so dire that more than 95% of all life disappeared. This lasted for MILLIONS of years. Admittedly, tectonic shifts may not be as flashy as massive extinctions, but the band approaches this eons-old and on-going occurrence in a very interesting manner.
Namely, they use...bass. Two of them, to be more precise. In fact, they use so much bass that the trusty electric guitar only appears in one solo. The band wanted to simulate the the slow movement of THICC tectonic plates, and it works. So Supercontinent's heaviness should come as no surprise. Shit really do be heavy, and when paired with the tribal-esque atmosphere and legitimately cool instrumental interludes, Supercontinent should please most death metal fans, particularly those with a penchant for caverncore bands like Antediluvian, Grave Upheaval, Grave Miasma, and of course Incantation, who laid the foundation for the murkiest ov metal. Which is is why I shall label this album as geologycore. Creative and hilarious, I know, but fret not, dear reader, because there is more.
Apart from their clear death metal influences, Thecodontion also utilize black metal's viciousness and speed. With almost each track varying between these extremes a problem arises in shape of our ancient foe--monotony. The one-note approach to vocals doesn't help their case as well, but unlike most OSDM-centric bands, Thecondotion actually provide variety in shape of those cool interludes I mentioned. My personal favorite is “Tethys” because of how much it reminds me of Celtic Frost's “A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh.” The record's outro “Panthalassa” is also pretty cool and in these instances, I found myself enjoying more than I expected. Not only because this is new to the band but how it showcases their full potential, at least in my eyes. That and how jaded I am with OSDM-like releases that dominated these last few years. Most of you know this already so I'll spare you the details. What does make Thecodontion stand out a bit is how they sound when we reach the fifth gear. The basses often intertwine and form this massive, vibrating blob of dense reverb and while this could be strange to some, you get used to it fairly quickly but where these guys excel the most is during the more doomier passages where both basses have enough space. “Nuna” and “Pangaea” both have prolonged moments of thiccness™ and even melody. These were the songs that stuck with me the most. Oh, and “Lerova” transitioning into “Nuna” always gets the old blood pumping.
Yet I still cannot shake this feeling that the band is on the cusp of something really interesting, which is why I gravitated towards the more diverse tracks and of course those instrumental bits. Not only would the additional breaks do good to break the monotony, but they would also go hand in hand with the plate movement. There were long periods of time where a supercontinent would just “chill” before gradually splitting and causing slow-burning havoc. Here you could put a really aggressive section or an extremely heavy one to catch your listeners off guard and emphasize the impact this shift had. G.E.F. and G.D. both did A LOT of research and it definitely shows in the lyrical department. One could definitely use them when studying geology--or just growl how terrestrial pteridophytes colonized rapidly, that also works.
For this particular reviewer, Supercontinent isn't bad--far from it. I am just at a point where I am really picky with my death and black metal. Although I cannot guarantee you'll love this record, I guarantee it will be one of the more unique ones you heard this year, and I am positive this duo will continue expanding their sound into something truly special. So: the next time you think about “saving” the Earth, 'member George Carlin and 'member Thecodontion.
Thecodontion - Supercontinent was released June 26th, 2020 from I, Voidhanger Records and Repose Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!