To assess Gojira's latest offering, two Village-dwellers took up the pen, making for a rare double review 'round these parts. Enjoy! - Ed.
Written by: Izzy
I think for many metalheads, Gojira is a very nostalgic name. I personally got into them very early on in my exploration of extreme metal and they have remained a band I look to very fondly, even if in recent years they’ve departed from their death metal roots and taken a more accessible, straightforward prog/groove/alt metal sound. I still think the material put forth on their previous two excursions, L’Enfant Sauvage and Magma, while not their best, still had their own appeal that kept me returning to them.
But there was a palpable feeling that as they stripped away their extreme metal leanings and got softer and included more clean(ish) singing, they’d eventually morph into just another mediocre alt metal band, and I feel this concept has reached its logical conclusion with Fortitude, having scrubbed away almost any remnants of death metal in their sound and leaning harder and harder on creating hooks and choruses rather than the vast odysseys of From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh. I think we’ve reached a point where I truly can’t find a reason to look forward to a new Gojira album after this.
Every Friday, a wagon arrives at the Sleeping Village’s rusted palisade, stuffed to the brim with musical sustenance. Today is the day we must offload this week's new and noteworthy music, and so, in the process, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our choice picks from this veritable mass of fresh meat. This is what we’ll be listening to today at the Village HQ. We hope you join us in doing so!
On the docket for today, April 9th, 2021:
Gangrened, Heavy Feather, Onward We March, and Sublation
Written by: Izzy
Deathcore as a genre is very prone to stagnation. While I’m entirely in support of moshable bro-core that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but still delivers something fun and full of energy, the genre had been going through a period of staleness. After the golden MySpace years had died out things started going downhill, and suddenly there was a gap to be filled by adventurous deathcore that is willing to experiment and do something new. Many of those deathcore albums that broke out of the mold and made bold new statements are ones I still remember extremely fondly today.
Humanity’s Last Breath are fairly new blood, and while I had briefly enjoyed their music before in the occasions I had listened to them, I could tell Välde was gonna be something special after hearing the singles "Earthless" and "Vittring." Their strange and progressive approach to deathcore songwriting filled with unique guitar effects and off kilter winding passages entranced me and left me excitedly anticipating if the final product would deliver, and it did. Välde is one of the most refreshing pieces of deathcore in recent memory.
Written by: The Administrator
In lieu of the typical rambling introduction, I'll spare you all and jump straight to my conclusions regarding Nostophobia, the debut full length from Portland's Sea Sleeper. In sum, then: this is a wonderfully chaotic album filled to the brim with the kind of untethered energy that practically demands listener engagement. However, it is also a confusingly chaotic album that would benefit significantly from some spit and polish.
Sea Sleeper bill themselves as a bit of a genre-jumping anomaly, frequently folding in elements of post-metal, deathcore, sludge, avant-garde, metallic hardcore, and even a lil' angsty grunge into their bubbling cauldron o' progressive death. Needless to say, this is a complex conglomerate of sights 'n' sounds, and makes for an experience that is borderline confounding across the breadth. As a fan of boundary-pushing and rule-breaking in music as a general rule, that quality is a clarion call of sorts--provided the intrinsic weirdness sticks the landing.
Written by: Lord Hsrah
Torture, pain, cannibalism, gore, evisceration, murderous psychopaths are all entities done, brushed, bruised and dusted in death metal and all its various derivative forms over the years. But Pune, India based trio Dead Exaltation bring forth their debut album, Despondent, in progressive/technical death metal flavors, and with it an interesting story of innocent civilians picked off the streets straight into prison, for no rhyme or reason (well, that's a rhyme), left at the mercy of a psychopathic jail warden and his sadistic, cannibal guards who show them what it feels like being hell's very own citizens living in God's created world.
Dead Exaltation took birth in 2015 as a five-piece band, but flowing in the daily course of the river of life, bassist Anish Poulose and second guitarist Sourjya Mukherjee separated as tributaries, leaving vocalist Satyajit Gargori, guitarist Mradul Singhal (who also recorded the bass, now deceased, R.I.P), and drummer Aditya Oke to record this since-long composed concept album.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
For a while, I had a hard time grasping Carcinoid and their bone-crunching style of doom/death. Released on my birthday in 2019, we’re about a year and a half past Metastatic Declination’s release, and it has since grown on me. Here, the Aussies boast a brooding and freezing brand of the style meant to hold you underground as long as it can, giving the sensation of a cold, desolate wasteland covering endless decay. Seeing that that’s how the current weather in the Northeast has me feeling, there’s no better time to talk about this.
The selling point is the brutally intense layering of the bass against the guitars, allowing both of them to act as the leads. Explosive outbursts from the latter act like a massive gust of wind meant to blow over the listener, bringing the sheer heaviness to peak levels. On the other hand, the guitar parts are so raw and abrasive that they sand away some of the thickness and give off small hints of rhythmic consistency. Together, they’re pretty unstoppable, and while not atypical of this style, I have yet to encounter a band that does it better.
Written by: Beaston Lane
2020 was my first year delving into the obscure and current side of heavy metal, leading me to listen to a seemingly infinite amount of artists including critical darlings like Haken and Imperial Triumphant. However, one band that seemed to fly under the radar far too often--Black Crown Initiate--endlessly commanded my attention with their third album, Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape.
Having dropped on August 7th, this magnum opus has steadily gained momentum through the beginning of 2021, but I’m here to put it in the spotlight again. Artists who released albums during 2020 took a big risk with touring on hiatus, and they deserve all the attention they can get. Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape is my favorite album of the year--intoxicating, refreshing, poignant, and above all, beautiful.
Let it be know: Sleeping Village stalwart Izzy doesn't skimp when it comes to year end lists. As such, we'll be publishing, over the course of the next few days, a series of genre-specific Top 20 lists proudly bearing the Izzy stamp of approval. As "death" in and of itself tends to be a broad descriptor the assorted sub-genres existing under the umbrella have been labeled for yer convenience.
Says Izzy in regards to this list: "A summary of 2020's death metal to me is "everyone else liked it but I don't get it", very few of the years most popular releases clicked with me, so while I don't think any of my picks here are controversial, I think there is more underground-ish releases. Enjoy!"
Written by: Volt Thrower
Hailing from Milan, Italy, is the lone and sole cosmic black death metal unit Cosmic Putrefaction. The mysteriously monikered G.G. is back to provide all vocals and instruments on the second full length release for this project, The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers, on I, Voidhanger Records, out May 22nd. There has been some considerable hype surrounding this album in the metal twittersphere, and it absolutely crushes expectations. I feel truly blessed to have been given a sneak peek at an album sure to crack many end of year lists. So far it has been a brutal blackhole of a year, but the metal releases have been solid and consistent, somehow managing to escape the devastation of the shitty supernova known as 2020. Cosmic Putrefaction manages to put their name straight to top of the list with this scathing, six song symphony of destruction.
As someone who spends a lot of time listening to over-the-top music, the notion of scarcity is one that I admire--even if that means gazing longingly from across the vast expanse of the promo pit’s turbulent waters. And so, my ears a-buzz from that which came before, I cast about looking for something that doesn’t dwell in complexity. A band that breaks their craft down to the basic elements. To this end, a two-piece instrumental death metal band seemed like it would do the trick--guitar, drums, and nothing else to complicate the matter. And so, without reading any biographical info beyond that, I fired up Fermentor, expecting some straightforward death tunes, sans vocals. In other words, the “lo-fi beats to chill to” of the death metal ecosystem.
...And man, was I ever wrong.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!