Sifting Through Bandcamp – April 2016

Saturday, 30th April 2016

A big plus about these Bandcamp articles is being able to acknowledge even a single track that has been recently released. This month, there were five such deserving songs in addition to the usual quantities of EPs and full-lengths to check out. Another reason the Bandcamp site is worth looking into – the various ways that one can release new material. This month we check out Aesthetics of Creation, Aetherian, Amiensus, Architect of Dissonance, Black Soul Seraphim, Broken Glass Sanctuary, Dead Nexus, Erudite Stoner, Godsfarm, Grot, Kossuth, Sun of Gaia, and Under the Pledge of Secrecy.

Aesthetics of Creation – A Foreseen Demise
Release Date – February 2016
Location – Virginia, USA
Style – Melodic and technical death metal

Listening to A Foreseen Demise, it’s a tough call to truly place the album into a category other than that of death metal. There’s plenty of melody as you move into any given track, but it’s never too blatant, and there’s always some death metal to bite into. There’s also a lot of tasty guitar fireworks (see the end of “Undying Factor”) and some technically-driven riffs to balance things out and keep it interesting. There are some clean vocals, but not in large quantities, which suit the music at the given moments, and provide a nice balance from the usual death metal roars. All in all an excellent debut that sets the stage for even greater things to come.

Aetherian – The Rain
Release Date – April 2016
Location – Greece
Style – Melodic death metal

Previously featured at DR for their 2015 EP Tales of Our Times, “The Rain” is the latest single from this melodic death metal band. There has been a noticeable uptick in the production values, which give the track a more crisp feel than the preceding EP. It still captures the solid, old school melodic death metal essence the band has strived for, and the melodies within are just as gorgeous as one would hope. No clean vocals, no bells and whistles, just killer riffs from start to finish. Let’s hope for more material soon.

Amiensus – Reflections
Release Date – April 2016
Location – Minnesota, USA
Style – Melodic black metal

With last summer’s phenomenal Ascension (awarded a rare 10/10 score) still fresh to these ears, a new track comes with great anticipation. “Reflections” was intended to be released on the afore-mentioned album, but ended up being cut, bringing us to this single release. The track falls on the more melodic side of the band’s works, with some uplifting near-melodic death riffing going on in the latter half of the track and an emphasis on extremely hooky clean vocals. The clean vocals atop some blasting early in the track also serves as a highlight as you go through the song. No surprise to these ears that it’s a great tune, hitting the same (very) high marks as its predecessors. Amiensus have to be one of the strongest bands of this sound, and “Reflections” is another shining example of why.

Architect of Dissonance – Vile Mechanical Origin of Human Virulency
Release Date – April 2016
Location – Germany
Style – Slamming brutal death metal

Seems like every Bandcamp article lately features a heavy-weight slamming death metal band, and Architect of Dissonance certainly fits the bill. A two-part song “Genetic Extinction of Empathy” has everything you could want from the sound – plenty of groove and hooky riffs set to mid-tempo crushing (check out the end of part I), massive guttural vocals, and a few bursts of speed. That’s not to mention the pummeling slam section at the end of part II. The artwork is quite fitting and excellent as well – you’ve got the full package with Architect of Dissonance if death metal is your thing.

Black Soul Seraphim – The Persecution Hymns
Release Date – April 2016
Location – Massachussetts, USA
Style – Gothic and darkened doom

The bleak artwork of this album is what brought the initial draw, then reading over the description that the two songs presented here were based upon the Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls video games sealed the deal. The first song, “Sunsworn Knight,” has a feeling of Amorphis-esque melodies in the backdrop of some early ‘90s Peaceville doom. Some shouted vocals, gothic clean vocals, spoken narration, and some female accompaniment blend nicely with some melancholic and grandiose melodies that become all too addictive after hearing it the first time. The second track, “Pureblood Demon,” slows the pacing and really pulls from that ‘90s Peaceville doom mastery – the kind of thing that My Dying Bride and early Anathema fans should drop their jaw for. So much fantastic gothic-y doom riffage throughout – not the type of thing you hear from the US at this point (though Fin’Amor comes to mind).

Broken Glass Sanctuary – The Ruination of Perpetual Existence
Release Date – February 2016
Location – California, USA
Style – Progressive death metal

An interesting mix of different subgenres and influences on The Ruination of Perpetual Existence. If you listen to just the first track, “Embrace the Darkness,” you’ll hear some jazzy bass lines, visceral and groovy death metal riffs (and a real stomper), and a melodic break with clean vocals. Later on, you’ll find some galloping melodic riffs, dizzying blast beats, and more. You can go from the savage death metal energy of “Flesh Harvest,” which veers into even slamming territory, and immediately switch to a more melodic and progressive sense in “Rapture” without batting an eye. It’s an invigorating blend of familiar elements all twisted into something that feels fresh and primed to explode.

Dead Nexus – Conduit of Consumption
Release Date – March 2016
Location – Oregon, USA
Style – Death metal with hints of melody and technical influence

A new single from this Oregon based band follows up on a full-length album that was released last year. “Conduit of Consumption” flirts between pummeling death metal riffs with some underlying groove, to moments of explosive and technically-driven material, to an ending that moves more into melodic death territory, complete with a memorable lead and later clean vocals. There’s a lot of ground covered in one song, but it works. There’s promise to be had in the band’s ability to merge all this stuff together, and anyone with a taste for death metal would be wise to check these guys out.

Erudite Stoner – Erudite Stoner
Release Date – December 2015
Location – Brazil
Style – Acoustic and instrumental doom/shoegaze

Release the Long Ships’ Wilderness was a fantastic find a while back, providing an acoustic and instrumental shoegaze outlet that was stunning and powerful. The same two descriptors can be used to wax poetic about Erudite Stoner. Completely acoustic, and bit more bleak sounding that Release the Long Ships, Erudite Stoner provides a wonderful feeling of dreamlike longing. It’s soothing and atmospheric, but some tracks, such as “Waiting for the Storm” and “Alienist” also have a dark and doomy side to them that never fails to captivate. Wonder, desolation, and beauty from start to finish – perfect for a somber reflection at the end of the day.

Godsfarm – Citadel
Release Date – April 2016
Location – The Netherlands
Style – Atmospheric deathcore

Godsfarm quickly return after the recently released Solitude: Act I EP that was also covered here last month. The melancholic guitar tone remains one of the strongest features, along with the monstrously low vocals. But the track does evolve into some nicely done clean vocal territory that is quite tasteful and also dutifully atmospheric in tone. Despite the closeness to the EP, you can hear some evolution – things don’t get quite so heavy, and it retains an oppressive and bleak tone. With progression at this rate, Godsfarm is really going to spread its wings soon into a full-blown majestic and crushing entity.

Grot – Grot
Release Date – April 2016
Location – Ireland
Style – Blistering death thrash

Grot’s introductory EP is one that speed-freaks will devour. Plenty of old school thrash influences, shredding solo work (see “Eradicate the Virtuous”), and relentless brutality sum up Grot. There are some traces of black metal to be found as well, with the vocal approach and some of the riffing during the faster segments. It all rolls together well, with a fair bit of memorable riffs and groove eased in to the formula, along with some catchy vocal patterns (“Imposed Doctrine”). Hard to complain about the visceral rush you get with this one.

Kossuth – Paradise Awaits
Release Date – April 2016
Location – Indiana, USA
Style – Technical death metal

While Kossuth’s intriguing Mictlan EP somehow never made it to DR’s pages, it was a strong effort that should have easily pleased fans of Spawn of Possession and Beyond Creation. “Paradise Awaits” is their newest song, a teaser if you will, from their upcoming EP, Necronym. Some eerie synths open the track, which then spirals into tech death madness. What’s particularly great (outside of the lively bass parts) is how they shift tempos around and make the song into something that is standout from a technical standpoint but still retains the qualities of a “song.” The subtle melodies really enhance Kossuth’s vision, and this next EP should really bring some deserved attention their way.

Sun of Gaia – Corrode
Release Date – March 2016
Location – Australia
Style – Melodic death metal

Sun of Gaia doesn’t use symphonic elements in the way that many similar bands do – there are no over-the-top and bombastic orchestrations here. However, they do add a sense of urgency and elegance to a very melodically engaging and often heavy approach to the material when they get the chance. “Blinding Light” is a good example of what to expect in this regard – catchy leads, some real fistpumping riffs, and mid-range growls surrounded by some light keys. Other songs like “Haunted Eyes” eschew the keys and really hone in on the bludgeoning and tight riffs, while “Endless Wake” has a jazzy solo break in the middle. Real meat & potatoes melodic death metal stuff that isn’t afraid to branch out, and done very well and with a real knack for writing towards the song itself.

Under the Pledge of Secrecy – Black Hole Mass Evolution
Release Date – November 2014
Location – Germany
Style – Experimental grind metal

Merging the worlds of technical death metal with mathcore isn’t something that is easily accomplished. Though listening to Black Hole Mass Evolution would make it seem the opposite. You can hear the early Dillinger Escape Plan influences just as often as the frantic death metal ones and it makes for a fascinating contrast. Frequently going in unpredictable yet regimented directions, there’s plenty of energy and rage that appears in the songs. But there are also some equally fantastic melodies buried within, which bring you back for plenty of additional go-rounds despite the overall abrasion occurring all around it. An underappreciated gem, and with the 2014 release date, hopefully a new album isn’t too far off in the future.