Sifting Through Bandcamp – April 2018

Sunday, 29th April 2018

Spring North American tours are beginning to pick up speed now that we’ve successfully left another cold winter behind us. As far as Bandcamp is concerned, it’s par for the course that as the year begins to accelerate, as does the number of quality new offerings available. So we’ve jumped into another batch – this time investigating A Perfect Being, April Weeps, The Begotten, Coburg, Dogmathica, Exlimitir, Invicta, Lavinium, Mesarthim, Oak Pantheon, Orbit Culture, Unknowing, Vicery, and Vivisepulture.

A Perfect Being – Alchemy
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Nevada, USA
Style – Progressive metalcore/deathcore

A tough act to nail down, A Perfect Being fuse quite a bit into their sound. It’s undoubtedly American in tone, with influences from all sorts of ‘core (deathcore, metalcore, hardcore) all blended together in a slurry that is more technical than you might expect. There’s also some flowing leadwork and intricate riffing as you listen to the songs, which can veer into rather heavy territory or reel it in for a more melodic moment at the drop of a hat (with versatile vocals that easily fit the demands of each track). Despite the switch-ups in sound it all feels fluid in tone, and marks A Perfect Being as an act to follow.

April Weeps – Comma
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Slovakia
Style – Symphonic/gothic metal

A sweeping gothic tone sets the stage for April Weeps, a 7-member act who seem to be able to design grandiose and larger than life tracks without sacrificing emotion. Comma uses driving riffs atop of intense growls, melodic lead guitarwork, atmospheric synths, and female vocals to express a variety of feelings. Each track, at 6-7 minutes, has much to say but it’s all effectively sewn together as they hit ethereal moments alongside darker ones. In fact, the songs never encounter a dull moment and do a good job of changing things up to avoid some of the usual gothic stereotypes (such as the beauty/beast vocals). A compelling listen that should justly give the band a much wider audience.

The Begotten – Secret Smile
Release Date – April 2018
Location – New York, USA
Style – Melodic death/thrash

“Designed specifically for torturous face breaking” as described on the band’s Bandcamp page, The Begotten do a good job of living up to said advertising. Though they can be somewhat melodic on occasion, it’s all funneled through a death/thrash pump that is quite destructive in sound. Heavy riffs, brutal vocals that range from rasp to roar, and an excess of energy can be found in each of the tracks. There’s some notable European influence to their approach (despite the New York locale), and even though it’s a bit on the short side, Secret Smile is a promising beginning. Plenty of appeal for those looking for something with a fusion of volatile and melodic.

Coburg – Forbidden Realms
Release Date – April 2018
Location – United Kingdom
Style – Gothic/symphonic metal

“Forbidden Realms” is the latest song from the Anastasia Coburg (vocals, guitar, synths) led act and sees this particular track pushed into 4 different territories. Upbeat, catchy gothic and symphonic metal sounds combine with a more immediate rock catchiness (particularly in the chorus) in a way that feels dramatic yet grounded. The type of sound that can have some real crossover appeal outside the metal realm while still maintaining integrity. While some may snub their noses at the remixes available, they offer a nice twist on the formula (and remixes aren’t nearly as prevalent as they used to be) and showcases how the song can be manipulated and still work nicely.

Dogmathica – Start Becoming Nothing
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Italy
Style – Groovy, progressive metal

The first thing that stands out with Dogmathica (other than the intriguing name) is that of their hypnotic grooves. A real standout in each track, it’s hard not to be pulled in on the strength of these riffs alone. The combination of the headbangable riffs with harsh shouts on their own is a definite plus, but they are wise not to rely on them entirely. Instead, more progressive moments litter the landscape, offering some melodic balance to counter and allowing the songs a bit of needed breathing time. All of which makes Start Becoming Nothing a pleasant mix of visceral and nuance.

Exlimitir – It Weighed Itself in Silver
Release Date – February 2018
Location – Antarctica
Style – Lovecraftian death metal

Nightmarish in their overall approach, Exlimitir stir up some bleak, desolate, and often terrifying vibes in their brand of death metal. Very bass intensive (a major treat for extreme fans in its execution), the crazed and schizophrenic riffing takes an unexpected turn more often than not. But underneath all of the chaos, there’s a lot of high-level musicianship occurring, which will lead those who dig it to really investigate and dissect it with future listens after the creepy vibes start to wear off. There’s something to be said for the lyrics as well, which also carry a more unique feel to them. Fans of ‘out there’ death metal will find this to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Invicta – The Executioner
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Canada
Style – Death/thrash metal

Riff-forward with plenty of intensity, the thrashy death metal hybrid of Invicta is never at a loss for much of anything. Frantic tempos, some ripping solos, heavy grooves, and snarling vocals seem to sum up the experience, which still ends up feeling more melodic than what might be expected. Not that it takes away from the heaviness, but rather seems in unison with it – these are riffs that are bound to stick with you after each listen. A very solid debut that you will want to crank up and blast repeatedly. It may fall easily within the death/thrash realm, but this is high-quality stuff that is done with passion and precision.

Lavinium – Alluring Fear
Release Date – January 2018
Location – California, USA
Style – Symphonic/modern metal

Lavinium’s symphonic metal sound may be one that’s familiar on first glance, but as the band’s first demo, it’s astonishingly well done and still manages to surprise. Each of the five songs here establish the band as understanding the underpinnings of the genre without moving them into cliched territory. The songs are incredibly catchy in tone, with energetic riffs that hold their own against Court Henson’s admittedly strong vocal presence. There’s an occasionally visceral feel to these tracks (like the impressive and ethereal blasts on “Last One Standing”), which is something this genre could you much more of. With such a promising demo, it’s easy to see Lavinium making a much bigger splash in the scene with each new release (of which a new release is thankfully already brewing).

Mesarthim – The Density Parameter
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Australia
Style – Cosmic black metal

Everyone’s favorite Australian atmospheric black metal act is back at it once again with their latest effort in The Density Parameter. If you have encountered their previous material, you undoubtedly know what to expect, with floaty/space-y synthwork accompanying blackened rasps and riffs. The contrasts seem more apparent this time around, with near-bouncy vibes with “Recombination” squaring off against slightly epic feelings in “Transparency.” Mesarthim do hold a particularly unique sound in this genre, and they continue to push things as continue their work. An easy recommendation for fans.

Oak Pantheon – Sol
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Minnesota, USA
Style – Atmospheric black/neo-folk

Sol is a bit of a departure for Oak Pantheon in that it is entirely acoustic in sound. Despite the more mellow tone, it’s still quite nuanced and emanates the same ‘woodsy’ feelings that their previous works featured. It’s quite striking to listen to, with the acoustic guitars at the forefront and some gentle whispered/low clean vocals giving it a campfire feel. Noted by the band as their first fully neofolk material, it’s hopeful that they may return to this approach in the future, but even if they do not – adding this approach to their already ingenious atmospheric black metal is bound to create something even more powerful and impactful.

Orbit Culture – Redfog
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Sweden
Style – Melodic death metal

With previous coverage of Orbit Culture for their 2016 release Rasen, it’s nice to see that their follow-up EP Redfog sees them continuing to expand their sound. Crunchy grooves pair up with more straight-ahead melodeath territory (including some catchier moments fueled by clean vocals) in a fresh way. Orbit Culture’s key is in using more traditional elements and mixing them up into something that stays unique in tone and atmosphere, and Redfog has it in spades. Emotive, heavy, and cohesive from beginning to end, Orbit Culture feels like they are on the brink of a breakthrough.

Unknowing – Beyond the Eyes of Deceit
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Italy
Style – Melodic death metal

The first thing that struck a chord when hitting play on Beyond the Eyes of Deceit was the old school melodic death metal feeling. Perhaps it was the production (not a negative as it’s suiting for the sound), but the guitar melodies evoke a similar vibe. Galloping riffs and some catchy leadwork is often a highlight in each track (“Evenfall” is a real instant winner), complete with often raspy vocals really capture the essence of the genre without sounding like an identical copy to the Gothenburg fathers. Toss in some solid synthwork on top of it (without becoming a dominating force), and Unknowing have a great start under their belts.

Vicery – Rapture
Release Date – April 2018
Location – Serbia
Style – Groove/modern death metal

Opening with an almost tribal vibe, it doesn’t take long for “Rapture” to build up some momentum with catchy, groove-filled riffs and menacing barks. Pleasantly intense from start to finish, with a driving tone that will grab you and won’t let go, there’s quite a bit to enjoy about the setup of Vicery’s sound (even some fiery melodies thrown in). A nice mix of sounds and influences help to make the band feel more fresh than one might expect, and with a 2016 EP also available, there’s a hope that this is the first taste of a new offering to come in the near future.

Vivisepulture – Omen
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Massachusetts, USA
Style – Symphonic death metal

Previously looking into an early track (“They Shall Receive”), Omen marks Vivsepulture’s full-length debut. Taking the symphonic approach requires a certain level of balance within the music, and Vivsepulture show they’ve already been able to master this with the variety of material offered here. The synths can take a backseat to heavy and dark riffs when necessary (or a nice melodic solo) or move to the forefront to deliver some epic vibes. But perhaps what’s most important is the heaviness that Vivsepulture retains, even if its a more folk-inspired melody or a full-out assault – they are marching forward with memorable riffs that come together to tell a story.