Written by: Slammey Stanley
Dwelling within the bowels of Maggot Stomp trucker-bros and old-school thrashers lies Technical Death Metal’s most tired and abused insult: it isn’t brutal. These folks could admit the talent behind a minor-7-diminished-13th-whatever-the-fuck arpeggio being played at 300 BPM, but where’s the core of the brutality? Where’s the connection to the very heart, gore, and soul of the genre? Despite their arguably bland position as a staple motif, there’s an undeniable power to caveman riffs that isn’t present in a flurry of notes, or at the least, not in the same regard. Looking past the subgenre itself, the majority of modern, cutting edge Death Metal is bound to contain some extent of Technical prowess; to deliberately avoid the technical element would be to shut oneself off to most of the genre. But what about a perfect conjunction of Brutal Death Metal and Technical Death Metal? Odious Mortem have proven it to be a possibility on their past two records, and with a thirteen-year gap between Synesthesia and Cryptic Implosion, one would think that the Tech-Death titans would only strengthen that bond. And so the question remains: do they?
Written by: Bane Ov Silence
The Artisan Era is a label that has put out some of the best tech death releases of the past three years. Bands such as Equipoise, Mordant Rapture, and Aethereus have established themselves as some of the most interesting and talented groups in extreme metal today. That is why I had very high expectations for this Warforged release, particularly since the band has been working on this record for the past five years.
Sadly, when the first single came out, "We’ve Been Here Before," I realized that the album was probably going to be a disappointment. While the song has its high points, particularly the solo that reminds me of something Inferi would have written for Path of Apotheosis, it is mostly disappointing and forgettable. The piano interlude halfway through the song was unnecessary and broke all the song’s momentum. Most bands on The Artisan Era have very clear production, where every note and drum hit can be easily heard, which is why I was surprised that Warforged opted for a much more disorganized and chaotic mix. While this works for many other bands, it ends up muddying Warforged’s sound, and hinders certain aspects of this record.
Guest Post: Carcassbomb (of Noob Heavy)
Experimentation is my magic word… and my safe word. It’s an approach that can really go anywhere, including some dumb places, but Rat King challenge song writing conventions in a far more subtle way that makes for an interesting listen without alienating fans of experimented genre in anyway. Previously with their 2016 debut LP Garbage Island they had a similarly experimental take on sludge so it’s interesting to see they have taken their approach into the realm of death/grind, a completely different arena. Here’s the thing though, they fucking pulled it off and in my opinion this release is both a better album and a better representation of their signature craft. There’s been an evolution here that I respect and admire. Vicious Inhumanity will be released Jan 17th via their very own label Within The Mind Records, CD, Vinyl and cassette, so dig in mother fuckers. They’re also giving away CDs to two lucky people, entries close on release day so there’s time.
If medical waste is unceremoniously disposed, as I like to imagine, in a dumpster out back behind the hospital, San Jose's Aseptic is the resulting viscera stew that oozes from bio-hazard bags and pools in the bottom. Not sure what I mean? Just imbibe in the sluicing juices and slimy riffage of Cascading Fluids' "Intro." If you're still having trouble painting said picture--and god help you if that's the case--it may help to take note of the irrefutable fact that this EP legitimately sounds like it was recorded in a dumpster.
Hyperbole aside, this is good stuff. If you happen to be familiar with Aseptic’s stellar Senses Decay EP, just know that this is an entirely different kind of beast. Same killer riffs, but the aesthetic is stripped to the goddamn bone.
If necessity is the mother of invention, nostalgia is the mother of stagnation. And, like pond scum in a scummy pond, the revitalization of old school death metal--with the Portland scene being a particularly prolific example--revels in nostalgia. Normally a bad thing, sure. But in the case of OSDM, the best and the brightest revel (righteously so) in the worship of legacy genre motifs. And, unlike many genres under the sun, I would argue that these backward-looking outfits--bands that don’t strive to make strides--can indeed be responsible for some of the most unabashedly fun heavy music available. Enter Coffin Rot, with their debut album in tow.
I was first impressed by these guys when they first put out an EP with a gnarly logo and gnarlier riffs. Then they dropped a split EP with fellow OSDMites Molder, and I was sold, fully and completely. In my review of the latter, I stated these “Oregonian underground plague merchants display an instant maturity...as they dig up bodies with a steam shovel.” Here, I’m pleased to report that A Monument to the Dead is more of the same--if you were to take the same, that is, and crank it up about, erm, 11 notches. Any and all ample promise these corpse-lickers displayed last year is amplified tenfold here. The result? Easily the best straight OSDM worship released in 2019, in this particular scribes’ inflated opinion.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.