Readers familiar with this particular scribe's listening patterns may note that, in the grand scheme, I am more often than not drawn to the doomier and gloomier end of the multifaceted metal spectrum. But! Unbeknownst to many, the sweet strains of melodic death metal make for a non-insignificant chunk of my musical diet. When I'm feeling down, there's nothing quite like a vibrant melody riding in on the back of a boisterous riff to raise spirits a little higher. And, while it may seem sparse praise given the small dent we've made in 2021, my most-enjoyed melodeath release of the year thusfar is Means To An End, Svn.Seeker's forthcoming debut.
This small-yet-mighty collection features tight musicianship, concise and compelling composition, and, perhaps most importantly, a whole lotta sick riffage. Svn.Seeker fuckin' knocked it out of the park with this beast. Needless to say, we're pleased and honored to premiere here today the title track and second single. Give "Means to an End" a listen below, and, as always, we'll catch ye on the other side.
As indicated by the general scope of our output this week, the name of the game as of late is brevity. Nobody has the time nor energy to stick through an arduous slog, and thus, we're embracing music that is over practically as soon as it begins. Case in point: today's band--and 48 second music video--in question.
Xeno Ooze, for those regrettably unfamiliar, are a sci-fi lovin' and death-grindin' unit out of Arizona. Their 2019 debut effort, the excellent Parasligm, was quite well received amongst the metal blog-o-sphere, and while I never did get around to penning a writeup myself, their brand of frenetically slam-imbued grind/powerviolence/crust left one hell of an impact. This was (and is) music for violent incidents in the cosmos, for obliteration at the hand of extraterrestrials. In other words: sign us up. Parasligm routinely receives airtime 'round these parts, and so when news of their followup effort breached our Village inbox, I was more than happy to do my part. We're honored to present here today the (animated!) music video for "Swillbirth," a standout track on their forthcoming Slimewave EP. Without further ado, cast yer earholes and eyeballs below.
Disillusioned as I am, this particular scribe simply won't consider a day complete unless it involves a good ol' depressive existential spiral. This routine harrowing glimpse into the bleakness of my future and the future of my future children requires, of course, an apt soundtrack, and I'm quite certain a sizable contingent of our readership would consider death doom a poor choice. In any case: the yard-long stare is engaged and the tears are primed to flow, so let's tuck in, shall we?
Today, we are pleased to premiere a bangin' single from The Encompassing Nothing, the debut EP of Arizona's foreboding one-man Thorn. Comprised solely of the guitarist from sci-fi grindcore oufit Xeno Ooze (a band we love 'round these parts) and GLITTERBOMB (a harsh noise project with which we were shamefully unfamiliar,) a little extremity is to be expected, albeit in a significantly more cavernous end of the musical spectrum. Thorn plays a hearty conglomerate of bituminous doom and paleolithic death--not the most original take, sure, but certainly a high-quality paragon of the style. It's low, slow, somber, menacing, and coated in a dank grotto patina--or, in lieu of adjectives, just imagine the sonic representation of the album artwork before ye.
Without further ado, check out "Fields Of Blight" below!
For those of ye unfamiliar with what we're about to drag, half-moldered, from an early grave, allow me to sum it up thusly: Some Dead Bodies play some certifiably nasty death metal. It's a brand equally informed by the stomping drive of OSDM; a distinctly forthright heft and aggression generally reserved for the more brutal end of the death metal spectrum; and a fetid respect for horror grotesquely. Now, over the course of two releases, this mysterious outfit has repeatedly demonstrated that their harsh 'n' raw delivery works...quite well indeed.
From both an aesthetic and thematic perspective, today's track premiere in question is a stellar representation of the forthcoming Infernal Death as a whole. Without further ado, then, we're happy and honored to premiere "Skinwalker" here today. Give it a listen below, and (provided you're still standing intact) we'll meet you on the other side!
While steeped in Some Dead Bodies' trademark application of lo-fi brutality, "Skinwalker" is defined in my mind by the back half--a somber, haunting, and otherwise spine-tingling atmospheric affair. Haunted house organs. Undiscernable noises. Gasping sobs in empty spaces. In a word: eerie. The balance here with the churning assault demonstrated in the track's first few minutes makes for a complete story, a moment of near-narrative transition that often goes amiss in the world of death metal, and OSDM in particular. This dynamic quality only makes sense; indeed, the veritable auteur Nobody (also ofvide infamy) possesses an undeniable sense of drama when it comes to leading--or dragging?--a listener through a track.
Of particular note here are the drums, which crash and roll with a furious abandon. Meanwhile, the vocals, which exist largely as howls and tormented shrieks, are as horrific (in the best sense of the word) as you might expect. There's a tension and simultaneous compromise between the simple churning riff and the caustically anguished vocals that Some Dead Bodies continue to nail. All told? I'm a big fan of this track--and a bigger fan of the release as a whole entity, because some things are best experienced in the context of the overall package. If Infernal Death is like unto a rotten cadaver pulled from a mildew'd coffin, "Skinwalker" is a tantalizing glimpse at that visceral visage.
Some Dead Bodies - Infernal Death will be released July 31st, and will see a cassette release from Blood Moon Productions and a vinyl release from Jems Label.
I also highly recommend you check out that vinyl preorder!
Some time back, we slumbering scribes reviewed Continuance, the forthcoming full-length from Fermentor, San Diego's (presumably) finest instrumental death metal duo. After writing said review, I've kept the album in question in heavy rotation, and am honored to premiere a track here today within our humble halls--the raucous "Stage V."
By way of intro, I'll blatantly self-plagiarize: "Whereas most groups would be significantly hindered by the lack of bass, vocals, and other such (seemingly necessary) fluff, Fermentor give "scarcity" a fresh coat of paint...whether flitting over thrashy pastures, sliding into smoky jazz-lounge-from-hell apparel, or stomping over the line where the technicality and unpredictability hits a level of proficiency that practically qualifies it the mathcore leagues, Continuance qualifies as an unpredictable ride no matter how you slice it." Before we get too far into the analysis, however, I highly recommend you give "Stage V" a listen here:
As if to prove a point, nearly all of the aforementioned genre and sonic descriptors apply in the context of this track. While the bulk is defined by a distinctly thrashy forward momentum--indeed, that militaristic drumming and the balls-to-the-wall guitar wouldn't feel out of place with some Angelripper shrieks over the top--there's also a sense of nuance that permeates Fermentor's work. Halfway through, for example, we're treated to a groovy-yet-proggy riff that sounds something like, I dunno, Pantera briefly covering Primus? The outro, in contrast, leans into a bluesier motif, which stands adjacent to the ceaseless and furious percussion.
Of course, the lack of vocals creates, by necessity, an increased focus on the instrumentation that exists in the confines of Fermentor's world, and "Stage V" feels like a solid argument for why the band succeeds without the standard accouterments. Regardless of motifs on display from moment to moment, the technical adeptness of this dastardly duo is something to behold. Otherwise, there's a drive to this track that prevents stagnation--rather than just repeating the same riff over the course, they keep things pleasingly varied. Bottom line: if you're a fan of heavy music that strives to switch up the game and try something new in the face of genre convention, you'll undoubtedly find something to enjoy lurking herein.
Fermentor - Continuance will be released August 14th. You've still got some time before this bad boy is released, but in the meantime, you can spin "Stage V" above as many times as ye please.
Here's a question: where exactly does one go after successfully nailing a death metal cover of Haddaway's "What Is Love?" If you're Zimbabwean one-man outfit Nuclear Winter, the answer is obvious: you pull out all the stops. You really go for it.
In other words, you make like Weezer and cover the greatest soft rock track the 80's had the honor of conceiving: Toto's "Africa." Did this timeless track with it's nonsensical lyrics and disgustingly hooky melody need a death metal cover? Probably not. But does Nuclear Winter knock it out of the park in a manner we've only come to expect? Absolutely. Thus: without further ado, we're inordinately pleased to present a premiere of the cover in question. Listen below!
You know what death metal, as an institution, needs more of? Saxophone. Don't get me wrong: I don't think every death metal band should have three or four saxophones. In most cases, just one really talented saxophonist would do just fine. Obviously being a tad facetious, but I am firmly of the mind that a little exploration and innovation in the brassy department can only stand to benefit death metal as it continues to grow outside the mold established (and stoically defended) by the tenets of OSDM. Imagine my pleasure at discovering that Dystopia A.D., today's tech-by-way-of-prog death metal duo in question, subscribes to this notion as well. Yes, dear readers: saxophone does indeed make a delightful appearance in the (excellent) track we're premiering here today.
For your viewing pleasure, the Sleeping Village is pleased to present the music video for "Plaguebringers," ripped, still-beating, from the chest of Rise of the Merciless, Dystopia A.D.'s forthcoming sophomoric album. It's a killer track and a well-constructed DIY-style video, and, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I wholeheartedly recommend you watch for yourself:
Hello, dear readers. Thank you for joining us here today as we witness the oddest of musical concoctions: Nuclear Winter, a Zimbabwean one-man death metal band, covering Haddaway's (seemingly immortal) "What Is Love," in collaboration with Chris Van, the vocalist from Dividing the Element. Let me be the first to say that this isn't how I expected my Thursday morning to go either.
But here we are. Random circumstances and bold creative endeavors breed opportunity. As such, we're honored to be presenting the death metalized version of "What Is Love" that, unbeknownst to us all, was sorely missing from our lives. Give it a well-deserved listen here:
I don't know about you, dear reader, but on any given Friday, I inevitably need a little bit of that death metal juice to get me in the fightin' spirit. Y'know, the good stuff. And, on this particularly gloomy and ill-tempered morning, the Midwest's own Death On Fire have graciously lent ye olde haggard scribe a helping hand. As evidenced by my bruised eardrums: Ghost Songs, the forthcoming album from these modern death metal peddlers, makes for a righteously invigorating experience.
But let's cut to the chase, shall we? Today, it's our pleasure to present "Architects"--a track which feels, genuinely, like an accurate encapsulation of the album as a whole. As any good single should. In the words of the Death On Fire themselves, this track "embodies this next album: focused, aggressive, and made to destroy. Singing the song of our slow and ignorant death. Nothing ever changes. We are the arbiters of our own demise." And, as an outsider, I'm here to declare that they ain't wrong. Before we get too far absorbed in the details, however, check out the excellent video for "Architects" here:
Feeling fired up? Good, 'cuz I'm chompin' at the bit and there's a lot here worth praising. Take the initial buildup, which launches into full-tilt aggression with explosive aplomb. Or the simple-yet-jubilant chorus--the rhythmic delivery of which incites bouts of headbanging at its own volition. Or the understated solo that lands, smack-dab, in the midst of crunchy combat-boot stomping riffage. Or, lest it be neglected, the undeniably gritty veneer that coats the track with a markedly abrasive punkish swagger.
Notably, while it is (typically) a quality I have beef with, the pseudo-muffled quality of the vocal delivery lends the entire affair a menacing edge. And when one deals--as Death On Fire obviously do--in riff-fueled braggadocio, a healthy dose of heartfelt menace is an arguably necessary ingredient. Without that bite, modern death metal all-too-oft falls flat; an unfortunate victim of its own pomp and polish. Not so here. The gloss and sheen herein feels appropriately rooted in death metal's trademark aggression. "Architect" is gloriously muddied up, and all the better for it.
In short? Death On Fire do modern death metal right. If "Architects" is your speed, be on the lookout for Ghost Songs, set for release on March 20th. In the meantime, give that video another whirl.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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