Sifting Through Bandcamp – April 2020

Saturday, 25th April 2020

With continued quarantine, it does give some a bit more time to peruse the massive and always rapidly expanding Bandcamp database. So with that in mind, here’s a brand new batch of intriguing releases to spend some quality time with (and there is another Bandcamp fee-waiving day coming up on May 1st). This month we look at Disrotter, Divine Chaos, Divitius, Galactic Mechanics, Light Dweller, MoonSun, Prismeria, Smoke & Mirrors, Suffren, and Vampire Squid.

Disrotter – Demo 2020
You can practically feel the ooze coming out of the speakers with Disrotter’s uber-filthy take on extreme metal. Clocking in at grindcore times (between 1 and 2 minutes for the most part), it’s basically an all-out assault on your eardrums – meant in the kindest way of course. It’s crusty, grinding, and just plain brutal from beginning to end. There’s a rousing cover of Terrorizer’s “Storm of Stress” in addition to three original tracks, and at a ‘name your price’ download, there’s really no excuse not to look into this one if you want something that’s truly intense and in your face.

Divine Chaos – The Way to Oblivion
Thrashy death metal? Tough to tell which side of the line that Divine Chaos really sits on, but it truthfully doesn’t matter when the bring in riffs this hard and heavy. Capturing the power of potent mid-tempo thrash riffing and tossing a bit of an extreme take to it, Divine Chaos keeps things moving and interesting with each track. There’s an element of catchiness to it, between the melodic yet driving tempos and thrashier vocal range (see “Murder for Sale”), which gives it an edge of some more traditional sounding acts within the extreme metal realms. The musicianship is top notch across the board, and makes The Way to Oblivion a memorable release, whether you dig thrash or more extreme genres.

Divitius – Primordial
Falling under the all-encompassing prog label, there’s much more beneath the surface of Divitius. More modern, almost djent-y riffs and massive grooves wash over the listener and couple with some more mellow atmsophere to some impressive effect. While there’s a bit of density to the music, the noted combination keeps it pretty digestible, but allows for quite a bit of texture and layering if you come back for added listens. Alicen’s vocals give it an extra layer of intensity or beauty (depending on the section), and there’s also the added bonus of instrumental versions of all six tracks to let you get a stronger feeling of the instrumentation. A real diamond in the rough.

Galactic Mechanics – The Ominous Quadrant
Frenetic tech death is what is at hand with Galactic Mechanics’ latest EP. But thankfully, the band already grasps that it takes more than just frantic musicianship to hold the listener’s interest. They can hit the super-intricate stuff, but just as important is the overall mood of the EP. Some melodies are weaved in between the faster tempos, with some well-deserved slowdowns and space-y atmosphere giving them a more well-rounded approach than just burying the listener in tech. Solid for those who enjoy this type of metal.

Light Dweller – Hominal
More dissonant black/death metal from this one-man act, with atmosphere so thick you could cut a knife through it. A brutal display of how to incorporate black and death metal elements together while retaining some pure qualities of both. The atmosphere, as noted, is quite dense and adds to the eerie display of the surrounding metallic fireworks, which showcase a bit of technical ability without having to showboat it around. Ultimately, it’s incredibly oppressive when the death metal riffs start flying around, and feels perfect for celebrating a bit of darkness at the end of an overbearing day.

MoonSun – Escapalace
MoonSun have been gathering quite a discography on Bandcamp, with singles/covers, EPs, and full-lengths across 9 releases now – including new full-length Escapalace. Symphonic, melodic metal that sits at the more gentle end of the spectrum is what the band offers, though they do make some dips into heavier waters (such as the driving “Wanted and Wild”). Impressive to hear the sound of the band knowing that only 2 people are involved – a testament to their songwriting strength. Plenty for symphonic metal fans to dig in and enjoy.

Prismeria – Requiem
Prismeria take the metalcore mold and extend their reach into extremity – namely thrash and death metal – to design something that is palatable to many walks of the metal spectrum. It’s much more extreme than the average metalcore act, but still grounded in some melodic guitarwork that will pull in those types of fans, along with their knack for playful and groovy sections. But more frantic drumming and speed also finds a way in, showing a wider range of influences. Which allows them to diversify their song range, and really keeping the listener on their toes. Energetic is really the best descriptor of this one.

Smoke & Mirrors – “Dying Day” and “Drag Them to the Guillotine”
Made up of Taylor Nordberg and Jeramie Kling, along with numerous guest contributions, the duo has been doing a ‘written, recorded, and mixed’ in a day challenge with 12 different songs in different metallic styles during this quarantine period. “Dying Day” was chosen here as it’s a 100% bona fide take on old school Gothenburg metal. Everything from the early In Flames-y riffs and acoustics to the production is spot on! Also chosen was “Drag Them to the Guillotine,” which is a short Floridian death metal banger. Riley McShane does the growls, and the riffing style again, is entirely legitimate in its vicious attack. Check through their songs – you are bound to find one in your favored style.

Suffren – Annihilation Process
Having just ripped through Doom Eternal, Suffren’s instrumental mesh of driving industrial metal and dark ambience really hits the spot. The riffs have that same angry and ‘get up and go’ tempo vibe as said game’s soundtrack, with the moments of more dreadful atmosphere down pat. Some nods in the riffing to that of Meshuggah help to carry a hypnotic weight as well. The kind of thing that you will start headbanging to without giving it a second thought. Fans of the recent Doom game soundtracks or anyone seeking some pulsating heaviness really should check this out.

Vampire Squid – Reinventing the Eel
Six years removed from the excellent Nautilus World, the progressive death metal act Vampire Squid have triumphantly returned with a new full-length. Blistering death metal and grind, tech injections, oddball left-turns, atmospheres and synths all play a role in the band’s impressive songwriting. Another plus is the tongue-in-cheek element to the music that goes hand in hand with the band’s extreme musicianship. It all wraps together to deliver an album that’s unpredictable and undeniably fun to listen to, while being coated with layers of depth to discover with subsequent listens. It’s also ‘name your price’ if you need more incentive.