Sifting Through Bandcamp January 2021

Saturday, 30th January 2021

Yet another new year is getting underway, so it’s always good to take a gander over at Bandcamp to see which acts have resolved to put out some new material to start things off with a metallic bang, as well as a few that maybe slipped under our radar at the end of 2020. This month we take a look at Born of Thorns, Craving for Chaos, Crescent Lament, Dishonor, Friend or Enemy, Legacy of a Lost Aeon, Lost Sacrament, and The Sky Burial.

Born of Thorns – The End​-​Time Continuum
The combination of symphonic black metal and death metal isn’t anything innovative at this point, but it’s all about how the two are merged that is key. The End-Time Continuum casts a wide net while maintaining focus – leaning in a more melodeath direction at times but still keeping the music towering and heavy. Some clean vocals at times to spice things up, effective use of synths without it getting too melodramatic, and plenty of killer riffs. A potent first offering from an act that has been dwelling below the surface for quite some time.

Craving for Chaos – Brink of Calamity
Groove-friendly, hook-y death metal with no shortage of rage potential is what Craving for Chaos is all about. Brink of Calamity has tons of energy to dish out, and the chunky riffs give it an urgent yet memorable tone. The grooves certainly help in the catchy department, even if the band stands firmly in their death metal execution. The riffs stand tall as the band’s finest asset, and they don’t hold back as they move through the album. Those who like their death metal to roll more like a tank with mid-paced bludgeoning would do well to check this one out.

Crescent Lament – Land of Lost Voices
A Taiwanese folk metal act, Land of Lost Voices is Crescent Lament’s third album and a direct sequel to their last offering. Beautiful Eastern arrangements mesh well with heavy riffs, as does the combination of operatic vocals and harsh growled ones. As opposed to many folk acts, there’s a focus on more melancholic aspects to the music, and there’s a sweeping air of gloom to the whole release. It helps to keep it grounded, yet keeps a feeling of mystique around it. Great to hear more Eastern bands coming out into Bandcamp, and this is one of the finest in recent memory.

Dishonor – Mnemonic
Mnemonic is the first release from this melodic groove metal act from Germany. Some get-up-and-go to some of the tracks is a nice boost (see “Lost”) and gives the melodies more gusto. It’s quite melodic for the sound, with some almost rock influences blending into the groove base (“Into the Depths”) at times and this does make it feel more fresh than the usual acts, which employ a thicker heaviness and harsher vocals. The middle ground here is enjoyable and as this is their first offering, there’s plenty of room to flesh these components out into some even more unique pathways.

Friend or Enemy – Save My Soul
A metalcore/post-hardcore act, Friend or Enemy posted two singles in December of last year, with “Save My Soul” being one of them. It’s a catchy track with the ‘core staples giving the band some dynamics but without sounding like a clone of any of the major names. Clean/harsh vocals are well-used and don’t lean in a overtly commercial way, and the heavy chugs ensure there’s plenty of bottom end when needed. “Black Widow” has more potent breakdowns and feels somewhat more aggressive, so there’s an enjoyable variety of both melody and fury to engage in.

Legacy of a Lost Aeon – The Pleistocene Empire
A one-man progressive/technical death metal act, Legacy of a Lost Aeon stood out due to their brighter logo and snowy artwork. Even as a solo gig, there’s a lot of stuff going on, from the eerie atmospheres to the nuanced riffing and melodies. The focus is more on the instrumentation than the vocals, which when combined with the atmosphere, gives a more unique feeling to the sound than one would expect, particularly the Pleistocene trilogy tracks. There’s an interesting approach to all of this, done with some cool mystical vibes a la Inanimate Existence, that would be great to expand upon in the future.

Lost Sacrament – Praesidio in Animo
Progressive, symphonic, and epic are three ways to describe Praesidio in Animo. Lots of flashy guitarwork immediately catches your ear, but it’s nicely incorporated into the music, and sits alongside some great female vocals and bombastic synths to create an atmosphere that’s pleasantly heavy in tone but completely majestic. While this sort of music has surged in popularity, Lost Sacrament provide an experience that feels no less riveting and it still manages to carve out a niche due to the proggy musicianship it exudes. A stunning first full-length that lays the groundwork for even greater things to come.

The Sky Burial – The Sky Burial
Another release that got some attention due to the striking artwork, The Sky Burial didn’t disappoint musically either. One could use the deathcore tag here, but the lack of breakdowns steers it in a different direction. Instead, there’s a lot of emphasis on mid-tempo grooves and some foreboding atmosphere in the riffing (see “Morbid Afterlife”) that yields a more melodic side to the band – even some melodic singing in “Excarnation.” It has that upfront heaviness to it that will draw the death metal fans in, but feels modern enough that it won’t leave ‘core fans completely out in the cold either.