April 2014 Demo Tribunal

Wednesday, 30th April 2014

A bi-monthly event our Demo Tribunal has become (calling it an “event” might be a tad pretentious), which means rifling through the various submissions the site gets can be a difficult task. However, between Kyle McGinn’s lovely Bandcamp column and this, we should have the denziens of the unsigned covered properly. We hope. At any rate, up for the debate this month is Boddicker, Camion, Cognitive (pictured), Countess, Dead Birds, Meadows End, NightSlasher, Onoma, Pohl, and Triverse Massacre. Read on!

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Boddicker – False Flag
Parlaying the “criminal grind” tag (there’s a first) into some bouts of touring and a split 7″ released last year via Profane Existence, Boddicker are a Detroit-based ensemble with an obvious chip on their shoulder. Their sound is of the powerviolence/grind variety, so there’s ample spews from Pig Destroyer, Napalm Death, and the crustier of the crusty punk bands. Therefore, their False Flag EP rambles and rolls with little regard for its surroundings…just check out “Halo of Bullets” and “War Party.” – David E. Gehlke (Boddicker on Bandcamp)

Camion - Bulls






Camion – Bulls
A Swiss four-piece playing a relatively macho brand of hard(er) rock/metal, Camion fancy “meat, beers, girls, and balls,” things of prime importance to 99.9% of fraternity members in the United States. Sure enough, there’s some American swagger to the 44 minutes that make up Bulls, most of which rest upon the groove foundation of Lamb of God and Pantera. The hard rock quotient is filled via nods to Clutch and Down, but, Camion has more stones than that pair. Song title of the month? “Cunt Rodeo,” of course. Runner-up: The streak of songs that begin with “The.” – David E. Gehlke (Camion on Bandcamp)

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Cognitive – Cognitive
Certain to appeal to the NYDM fans, Cognitive prep the listener for quite a pummeling with their self-titled debut. Not to assume that this is a one trick pony, some tracks like “Willingness of the Weak” provide some catchy melodies mixed in with more stereotypical brutal riffing. “Blood Hungry” has some serious groove, and the slams in “Regurgitated Existence” are righteously punishing. Their varied use of death metal is an unexpected treat, ranging from technical to melodic and will certainly help elevate their status. A band to watch for within the brutal death metal sphere. – Kyle McGinn (Cognitive on Facebook)

Countess – Ancient Lies and Battle Cries






Countess – Ancient Lies and Battle Cries
Sounding more heavy metal than black metal, Countess does owe much of it’s sound to that of Venom, Bathory, and Hellhammer. An interesting combination to be sure, never really reaching too far in either direction and coupled with a production that makes it seem vintage without being sloppy. There are some nice melodies to be found within the tracks, though the raspy yet spoken word-like vocals may be a sticking point for many. Crazy to think these guys have been doing this since 1992 and haven’t really broken though; points for persistence! – Kyle McGinn (Countess on Facebook)

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Dead Birds – Dead Birds
Post-hardcore from the U.K. that utilizes a different vocal approach than most (i.e. they’re in a pitchy-scream manner), Dead Birds reveal in dissonance and unconventional song structures. Their 10-song self-titled album has its share of moments where the ruckus gets going, specifically on “What the Shepherd Said” and “I Bet You’re Wrong.” While not as metallic as one would think, the band’s ability to play loose and reckless should be their calling card, especially in the live arena. – David E. Gehlke (Dead Birds on Bandcamp)

Meadows End – The Sufferwell






Meadows End – The Sufferwell
Can’t go wrong with a little symphonic melodic death metal. The keys give a nice, larger than life, and epic feel to them and you can grasp some Hypocrisy and Dark Tranquillity similarities as you listen. Some tracks shift focus heavily to the keys (“Kings of Greed”) whereas others shift back to the guitars (“Devilspeed Loathekill”). There’s a good sense of groove (see “Reap”) to go along with the faster tracks (“Masses Flee,” “This Coming Nightmare”), and even an acoustic track with some female vocals (“Under a Canopy of Stars”), which keep things interesting. While it’s nothing particularly new, Meadows End does it well. – Kyle McGinn (Meadows End official site)

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NightSlasher – Spirit of Battle
Previously made mention of by our own Matt Coe in his February Dark Tranquillity/Omnium Gatherum show review, NightSlasher prove adept in the studio setting with Spirit of Battle. Formed in 2010, the band culls from vast influences such as Overkill to Dio to Megadeth to Destruction. While such a range would indicate the band is all over the place, their spry and technically-capable blend of extreme thrash has some merit, most notably on “Fight for Survival” and “Invisible Force (The Final Straw).” Production limitations might hinder a few of these tracks, but, the musicianship and energy is there. With more seasoning, NightSlasher should be on the up-and-up. – David E. Gehlke (NightSlasher Soundcloud page)

Onoma – All Things Change






Onoma – All Things Change
Much like the previously-mentioned Boddicker, Israeli’s Onoma are also an odd duck. Fully embracing the rarely-used alternative metal tag, the band (who formed in 2007) clearly have spent quite a bit of time honing their sound into the proper mixture of heaviness and accessibility. They even created a professional video for “Bug,” had James Murphy of Death, Obituary, and Testament fame to master the album, and, had Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of a Down) to mix. Not a band ensemble to help out with an album with a legitimate supply of dynamics and songwriting know-how. A band to watch. – David E. Gehlke (Onoma official site)

pohlII






Pohl – Pohl II
The pronunciation for Phol is “pole,” a band who found suit to call their debut EP Pholsmoker. What’s next? An album called Pohl Position? Nevertheless, this Bristol, U.K. outfit plays a mangy blend of stoner and doom, with slight tinges of hardcore. The band’s tunes – heavy and well-developed – do an admirable job of working around the general trappings of being so noise-based. Given the right opportunity, Pohl could work their way up to a reputable major. Plus, their name alone is good enough for a gander. – David E. Gehlke (Pohl on Bandcamp)

Triverse Massacre – With Bared Teeth and Truths






Triverse Massacre – With Bared Teeth and Truths
Coming across mostly as a more deathly Lamb of God, Triverse Massacre occasionally suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. Opener “Wolves at the Gates” is seeped in breakdowns, some effective and some not so much. “Exhale Betrayal” has more of a LoG vibe to it, and a much thrashier pace overall and is the clear highlight. “Bullets Kill Beasts” starts with a more mid-paced groove and returns to a heavier one later in the track alongside some catchy ending melodies. The bass sound in “Torn From the Throne” is massive and this track is full of groove. The songs are competent enough, but Triverse Massacre needs to buckle down and chose the type of material they want to play for maximum success (let’s home it’s the thrashy side). – Kyle McGinn (Triverse Massacre on Facebook)