Sifting Through Bandcamp – January 2016

Saturday, 30th January 2016

Winter is always the best for Bandcamp finds. Not quite as many ‘big label’ releases and it being too cold outside to do anything (though this has been a weird year) make it seem like there’s plenty of time to rifle through band after band, in hopes of that one real buried gem. This month we examine Aethereus, Atomgott, Grimgotts, Human, Shadow of Intent, Sunless, and Writhe.

Aethereus – Ego Futurus
Release Date – November 2015
Location – Washington, USA
Style – Technical, progressive death metal

Comprised of three songs and three instrumental pieces, this first EP offering from Aethereus has plenty to offer those who enjoy a more progressive form of tech death. It’s clear they can provide plenty of riff wizardry when they want to (see the beginning of “Immaculate Cosmogenesis”) and the instrumental tracks serve as nice breathing points to ponder. Closer “Origins” also serves up some strong melodies that balance against the sometimes frantic speed the band can attain. Hopefully we’ll hear a full-length from this group real soon.

Atomgott – Apatheia
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Germany
Style – Brutal, slamming death metal

Two songs is all you’ll get from Atomgott with this release, but they are zingers! “Es zerfällt von selbst” shows no remorse as it plows through slams and alternating speed runs with killer riffs a-plenty. “Die Richter ihrer Selbst” delivers more darkened and ominous riffs and mid-tempo goodness until things elevate towards the finish line. The vocals are as brutal as needed to complement the package, and take a look at that cover! Plenty of brutality all around here, if only there were a few more tracks!

Grimgotts – Here Be Dragonlords
Release Date – January 2016
Location – England
Style – Bombastic power metal

Grimgotts was an intriguing early morning find. Usually picky about power metal, Grimgotts have fully realized the ‘fun factor’ that the genre can have when it doesn’t take itself too seriously (much like the other metal genres). There’s a bouncy energy to these tracks, as well as some goofy fun, not to mention the seriously enjoyable riffs (and keys) that saturate the EP. Standout “Fight Against the World” has a Dragonforce feel to it with some light folk tossed in for good measure, and a good balance of a strong chorus with catchy riffs. Grimgotts could be a real force to be reckoned with in a few years.

Human – Cerebral Inwardness
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Italy
Style – Technical death metal

Another band to emerge from the death metal powerhouse that is Italy, Human stick to the more progressive end of the genre. Featuring a rather clean production, you can really hear all that’s going on with Cerebral Inwardness at any given moment. It may irritate some, but it does help to highlight some of the intricacies of their material. Despite the flurry of notes that often speed by, there is something decidedly human about the material, and many a riff with find its way into your skull and make a home for itself there. A lot to like about this one!

Shadow of Intent – Primordial
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Connecticut, USA
Style – Symphonic death metal

Yet more death metal on this month’s list, but Primordial provided a very present symphonic take. Synths merge with tight, melodic, and technical riffing and some deathcore chugs to take the music in promising directions. Nods to The Black Dahlia Murder are here, but the keys steer the band in more melodic forays (and sometimes blackened settings) and the chugs also keep the gears churning. The vocals are impressively brutal, rounding out a package that has some wide appeal. Don’t fear the dreaded deathcore tag, there’s a lot more going on in the background (and foreground) than you might expect.

Sunless – Demo 2016
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Minnesota, USA
Style – Dissonant death metal

Another release featuring just two tracks, but Sunless’ 2016 demo is one of vast potential. The first thing that registers with “Born of Clay” is the dissonant riffing that is a mainstay in the song. But unlike most bands that veer into cavernous territory, Sunless keeps it a bit cleaner and adds some almost post-metal influences in to bring in some interesting melodies. “Aberrant Clime” is the shorter of the two tracks, but it goes right for the jugular with lively dissonant riffs, with plenty of meat on their bones. There’s a cool sound here that brings the familiar into different directions, which will hopefully be investigated further with future recordings.

W R I T H E – Writhe
Release Date – January 2016
Location – Australia
Style – Grindcore

With five songs in less than six minutes, Writhe gets to the point quick. This is brutal grindcore of the highest order, with songs being razorsharp and the heft of a sledgehammer. No time for melodies (though the final track chugs out some devastatingly heavy riffage), just buzzing guitars, frantic screams, and noisy drums. Utterly relentless in the most pleasing way possible, expect this band to be making some major waves very soon. Let’s hope they can keep the intensity level this high with double the material.