Sifting Through Bandcamp – February 2016

Saturday, 20th February 2016

Another month into the 2016 books and seems like things are just as solid as ever in the Bandcamp books, if not better! Plenty of new releases to sink your teeth into, and they won’t put a drain on your bank account. This month we cover Cries of Your Sins, Iconoclast, Nifrost, Nord Frost, Predatoria, Sacrificed Alliance, Sorrow Plagues, and Undrask.

Cries of Your Sins – Promo
Release Date – February 2016
Location – Czech Republic
Style – Melodic death metal

A two song, preproduction demo normally wouldn’t be something that would require much coverage, but this Cries of Your Sins release was too good to pass up. Mostly the work of Mike Coys, there have been a few demos in the past, and these two songs see a real stroke of melodic death metal emerge from some more blackened tones. “A World of Two Suns” is a galloping number that has some rather catchy leadwork later on in the track, while “King of No One” follows suit with a little bit more slowdown at points. Both tracks keep the aggressive edge sharp with solid melodies, and Cries of Your Sins is a name to watch for in the future.

Iconoclast – HalluciNation
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Australia
Style – Modern death metal

Taking the brutal breakdown approach of their countrymen Thy Art is Murder and putting some more tech death metal touches behind it, Iconoclast is decidedly heavy. The guitar leads keep things interesting, with offshoots into more atmospheric and melodic territory to counterbalance the otherwise frenetic approach to the material. Plus, the breakdowns and chugging riffs work well – maintaining their own space without becoming too overbearing over the course of the disc. This of course, leads to plenty of groove to sink your teeth into, culminating in a disc that plays to a more modern death metal audience but never feels played out.

Nifrost – Motvind
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Norway
Style – Black metal with death/folk touches

Initially released in 2011, it’s not known whether there are changes with this version but it’s certainly worth checking out. Following a pathway that sits more comfortably with Scandinavian black metal of the 1990s (Dissection for instance), with a bit of Moonsorrow tossed in for good measure, it’s a ride that frequently blasts its way forward. But there’s plenty of melody to bask in underneath it all, and the last few tracks seem to embrace a more mid-tempo approach with some clean guitar (see the title track). All of this lends some credence to a band that is perfecting their art, with some real potency.

Nord Frost – Beatitudo
Release Date – February 2016
Location – Kazakhstan
Style – Atmospheric black metal

What happens when you take the caustic side of the black metal influences out of the equation with this new wave of atmospheric bands? Chances are it sounds something like Nord Frost’s Beatitudo. Very little in the way of blackened rasps but it’s hard to complain when the atmosphere is this majestic. Soaring highs, melancholic lows, but all of it as beautiful as the album title’s claim. Plenty of synths to occupy the landscape alongside the riffs, making this an album to just sit back and relax with.

Predatoria – Unmarked Graves…Tell No Tales
Release Date – February 2016
Location – Belgium
Style – Old school death metal with melody

Groovy and chunky death metal is served up fresh with Unmarked Graves…Tell No Tales. Lots of Bolt Thrower-esque mid-tempo riffing going on, with a startlingly high number of catchy melodies tossed in (without going for the melodeath tag either) alongside some upfront growls that sound a bit Chris Barnes-ish in the early Six Feet Under days. Hooks a-plenty to be had going through the tracks, all of which keep the brutality upfront and the energy moving. A debut like this leads one to believe this won’t be a group that stay unsigned for long. Absolutely crushing and memorable all at once.

Sacrificed Alliance – Withering Synergy
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Canada
Style – Melodic/symphonic death metal

Upbeat and glorious sounding symphonic melodic death metal, featuring a member of Valfreya. Withering Synergy takes to the more keyboard-driven side of the genre, with an occasional movement into some folk-ish territory (see the killer cleans in “The End of the Endless”), but don’t assumet that means the riffs play second fiddle. There’s plenty of energetic guitar melodies in each track to make sure your head bangs while your feet are tapping. Most importantly, it somehow feels fresh while maintaining familiar elements that genre fans are going to really enjoy.

Sorrow Plagues – Sorrow Plagues
Release Date – January 2016
Location – United Kingdom
Style – Atmospheric black metal

Another surprisingly upbeat atmospheric black metal effort for this month. While things never really get “happy” per say, the synthwork in the background has those same emotion-eliciting qualities that one expects from the big names in this genre (So Hideous, An Autumn for Crippled Children) and helps to really get the point across. There’s also a good chunk of blastbeats to add some contrast, along with some static (another element many atmospheric bands seem to blend in). The often gut-wrenching melodies work, and you’ll be sure to find yourself brought into an ethereal trance by the midway point of the album.

Undrask – Undrask
Release Date – August 2015
Location – North Carolina, USA
Style – Melodic death metal

Admittedly the first time that a recommended/sponsored Facebook post has warranted a click, Undrask’s brand of melodic death metal has definite appeal to fans of Kalmah and The Duskfall. This is no-frills, get to the point melodic death metal that is chock full of tasty melodies and hard-hitting riffs. The 5 tracks don’t dilute with keyboards or clean vocals (other than a small narrative in “Throne of Lies”), and it doesn’t ever venture into any uncharted waters, nor does it need to. The riffs are there, the energy is there, so click play on this one and enjoy.