Written by: Bane Ov Silence
Usually when I think of places known for producing great black metal, I think of Scandinavia, particularly Norway, parts of the United States, and random countries in central Europe. Obviously, there are plenty of bands who are exceptions to this rule, but I think if you ask your average metal fan where their favorite black metal band is from, their answer will be one of the aforementioned places. Today however, we are talking about a band from a country not very well known for exporting music, much less black metal, 殞煞Vengeful Spectre, from China.
The first thing the listener will notice about 殞煞Vengeful Spectre is that they wear their Asian heritage on their sleeve. They have everything one would expect from a black metal band, such as tremolo picked riffs and blast beats, but they also set themselves apart by incorporating traditional Chinese instruments, making for an amazing mix of Asian folk music and traditional European black metal. The album sounds like a soundtrack to a gritty retelling of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Every song invokes imagery of two massive armies clashing in an open field.
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.
After long last, we slumbering peasantry arise from Rip Van Winkle-hood, back with another edition of our neglected Sleeping Village Sampler.
For those of you not in the know, this is our (regrettably infrequent) column wherein we review, in brief, two of the bands that have escaped the clutches of a full length writeup. Usually there is an underlying current, a theme connecting the two. In other words, a method behind the madness. This time, however, all I’ve got is this: both bands featured here today have the word “Serpent” in their name, and they both requested a review on the same damn day. That’s simply too coincidental to neglect, and so here we are. Pull off your boots, pull up a chair, and stay awhile. You may want to check your boots for snakes later on, but that's life.
Written by: Izzy
What does anxiety feel like to you? When your chest tightens up and breathing becomes heavy? Sweat dripping down your neck and your heart beating like a kick drum? Being paralyzed with fear, unable to move, your back becoming heavy and the air around you turning into a thick sludge you can barely drag yourself through? For me, it’s all of the above, because anxiety feels to me like how Body Void sounds.
This Californian drone-punk-sludge-metal-death-crust-doom-core trio creates some of the most viscerally disgusting and hideous sludge in existence, and I have loved them since the second I first heard them. I could go on for hours about my infatuation with their music. However, I would be remiss for not mentioning Keeper as well, despite my unfamiliarity with them. These Cali contemporaries provide the perfect companionship to Body Void here, and are one of the few bands with a comparable style, except with an extra blackened edge, partnering flawlessly with Body Void by adding their own flavour to the split.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.