February 2014 Demo Tribunal

Friday, 28th February 2014

The first Demo Tribunal installment of 2014 sees all sorts odds and sods be examined. It’s certainly refreshing to know unsigned bands still feel the need to NOT copy metal’s top-tier acts, which was one of the main discoveries with this batch. Per the usual, some gems, some iffy choices, and a few forgettable ones. Such is life for the label-less. Up for debate this month: Eternus, Home, I Will Tear This World Apart, Loudrage, Neglektum, Ophidius (pictured above), Psygnosis, Sioux, Snakeeyes, and Sonus Mortis. Off we go…

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Eternus – Labyrinth of Reason
Taking the bold move of having a baritone vocalist instead of the normal ball-clutcher, Eternus instantly create separation from the power metal pack with their Labyrinth of Reason. Singer Omar Tabilo has an unorthodox, but very rich tenor, adding a unique blend to the band’s melodic, sporadically up-tempo numbers. It’s something that needs to be heard to be believed, especially for those who have been trained to hear more operatic singers. Fifteen cuts to be found here, meaning, there’s no shortage of high-wire, well-orchestrated cuts, as in, there’s plenty to go around for European bastions who may never get their fill of this stuff. – David E. Gehlke (Eternus Facebook)

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Home – Bound to Gravity
Aussie post-hardcore, whatever that entails, but for the simply-named Home (at least they didn’t go with something lame, like, “Home is Where the Heart Is.” Man, that would have spoiled matters!), their blunt, tightly wound endeavors have some snap on Bound to Gravity. This trio is mighty amplified for being just the three of them, so when the fuzzy sonic bubble of “No Way Out, My Friend” starts to go ala Unsane, it’s nigh time to strap in. Big ups for the sprawling closer “Dead City,” a song clearly pointed in the “departure” area for a band who has two-to-three-minute jams down pat. Pretty raucous. – David E. Gehlke (Home Bandcamp)

I Will Tear This World Apart






I Will Tear This World Apart – I Will Tear This World Apart
With the band name, the first thing that came to mind was the opening of Fit For An Autopsy’s “The Conqueror.” Not too far off actually (check the lyrics of “Amongst Enemies”), I Will Tear This World Apart (IWTTWA) play a very thrashy version of metalcore from Norway. Not to be polluted by the sing along melodies that plague most American bands within this genre, IWTTWA benefit by keeping things consistently heavy and bring the necessary groove to keep things memorable. While it may not cover much new ground, its more caustic approach should keep anyone looking for some more modern metal satiated. – Kyle McGinn (IWTTWA Facebook)

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Loudrage – Uglier than Thou
Not sure if one would rather be “Uglier Than Thou” or “Holier Than Thou,” (sorry had to go there), but Transylvania’s Loudrage are set to figure it out on their five-song effort. Playing mostly a modernized style 90’s death metal (read: they’re like a heavier Sepultura), the band’s sound is suitably simple, so buyer beware on some of the more grunt-simpleton action taking place on “Doomed” or “As Long As I Live.” However, the ominous pangs of “Suffo-Kate” (we see what you did!) get Loudrage moving into frog vocal territory, thereby amping up the brutality. – David E. Gehlke (Loudrage Facebook)

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Neglektum – Blasphemer
Comprised of the duo of Azargoth and Isedor, Sweden’s Neglektum play a hearty brand of sub-melodic black metal, not terribly removed from Naglfar at their most inspired, or even Watain during their less-frazzled moments. The band’s Blasphemer debut has the necessary dark ripple effect to convey the band’s tremolo-happy riffs, some of which go down pretty well, like on “Infernal Declaration of Hate” and “Begotten Son (Forgotten).” There’s even some dips in the variety pool with atmospheric segments, some of which do a proper job of finding that ever-difficult balance between the extreme and serene. Easily capable of hanging with a lot of the BM stuff that gets thrown our way on larger labels, Neglektum should hopefully have a smaller indie fishing around soon. – David E. Gehlke (Neglektum Facebook)

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Ophidius – The Throat of the World
Probably the pick of the month, New Jersey’s Ophidius manhandle technical death metal with ease on their four-song debut, The Throat of the World. No vocals to get in the way here, so it’s like any number of technically-able DM bands going at it without some annoying dude hemming and hawing his way through the runs of indecipherable-ville. The band doesn’t seem to have much of an issue handling shifty transitions (“The World Eater’s Eyrie”), and the flashy, harmonic happenings of “Where to Hang Your Enemy’s Head” make for some rather brutal moments, in a sort of Obscura-on-Suffocation way. A fantastic combo those two are…Ophidius help bring them to life. Excellent stuff. – David E. Gehlke (Ophidius Bandcamp)

Psygnosis–Human Be[ing]






Psygnosis – Human Be[ing]

Psygnosis play a form of death metal that takes atmosphere, industrial sounds and sampling, and plenty of progression. Most tracks reach past the 10-minute mark, yet the band manages to keep interest intact due to its diverse songwriting pool of material. The atmosphere, industrial, and death metal mesh considerably well and the only thing that seems to hold Psygnosis back are some inconsistent clean vocals. Some work very well (“Resurrection”) but other times (“Lost in Oblivion”) they don’t convey the same power. The album ends on a high note with “Hurricane,” which starts out with a blistering death metal assault, and alternates nicely back and forth between these sections, some lush atmospheric moments with some more solid clean vocals, and haunting sampling. All in all, if you want some new avant-garde death metal, give these guys a chance. – Kyle McGinn (Psygnosis Facebook)

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Sioux – The One and the Many
Display a richness and depth that usually doesn’t accompany some of their Portland peers, Sioux lay out the monolithic metal/rock on their debut effort, The One and the Many. A bit of a nod to Mastodon in the vocal department, but they’re discernible, and in control, whether it’s on the multi-layered opener “Let in the Night,” the crawling/ethereal “Ascension,” or bass-in-one’s-face “Scapegoat.” And because there’s more of a melodic tilt than expected, Sioux should have some broad horizons, not to mention a tight, ultra-professional package. – David E. Gehlke (Sioux Bandcamp)

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Snakeeyes – Welcome to the Snake Pit
Spanish traditional metal, superbly produced, maybe not too much of a hustle and bustle away from Primal Fear and specifically, Judas Priest would be Snakeeyes. We’ll leave their poor name at the door and focus on the immediate of some of these tunes, namely lead single “Shadow Warriors,” which is a cool call-to-arms, totally Euro-ready. Perhaps the real capper is “Riding the Sentinel into Hell,” a Judas Priest mash-up that takes “Riding on the Wind,” “The Sentinel” and “Burn in Hell” and thrusts each into one nice little sequence. Bonus points all around. Let’s see what’s going down for a full-length. – David E. Gehlke (Snakeeyes Facebook)

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Sonus Mortis – Propaganda Dream Sequence
The product of a singular entity, Kevin Byrne, Sonus Mortis are an industrial/death metal outfit, trending more toward the symphonic side of the fence thanks to blankets of effects and keyboards. The band’s Propaganda Dream Sequence is burdened slightly by a rather pronounced drum machine, making some of these cuts appear to be a bit too mechanical, but that could be the intended effect. Nevertheless, the heavier, more cinematic cuts like “To Lament, Mourn, and Regret” and “Automated Future” demonstrate the most promise. – David E. Gehlke (Sonus Mortis Facebook)