Sifting Through Bandcamp – March 2018

Tuesday, 27th March 2018

2018 is already off to an excellent start, and things are just about to pick up with the first moments of spring and the massive amounts of tours to come later in the spring or the fall. So as the last of the snow melts (as it is for this scribe at least), feel free to check out any of these new or returning acts. This month we feature Assimilate, Bog Wraith, Dark Century, Dog Day Sunrise, Knaaves, Neophobia, Order ov Riven Cathedrals, Patterns of Decay, Sleep in Heads, Shredded, and Squidhead.

Assimilate – Apex Genesis
Release Date – December 2017
Location – Norway
Style – Modern metal

Assimilate’s debut is futuristic, modern metal with all of the trimmings. There’s some cyber metal elements, electronics, and modern metal grooves that fall in line with a melodeath core. So there’s an energetic and upbeat tone to the material, but that doesn’t stop them from delivering a good crunchy riff from time to time. There’s both screamed and clean vocals to be had, as well as a fine number of strong melodies and leads to sink your teeth into. Those who enjoy all of the more modern aspects of melodic death metal are bound to really get some spins out of this one as there’s not a weak track among the bunch.

Bog Wraith – Omen
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Michigan, USA
Style – Deathcore/Brutal death metal

Plenty of intensity to soak in when listening to Omen. Bog Wraith give off just the right amount of brutality and modern touches in their material to stay up with the times while still being able to pummel the listener. Whether it’s more eerie territory like “Heir” or more straight-ahead bludgeoning a la “Contract,” its easy material to be drawn into for extreme metal fans. There’s even a bit of melody lurking below the surface at times to give the listener something more long-term to lack on than just brutality.

Dark Century – Under Disorder
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Canada
Style – Modern death metal with grind and thrash cues

Using a catch-all of ‘extreme metal’ is probably safest for Dark Century as there’s a lot going on within the music. It’s all held together by intensity though, with the most prominent feeling being that of death metal, with some occasional thrash, grind, and even hardcore adding to the mix. It’s a potent combination, and Dark Century churn out riffs upon riffs – be they furious, groovy, or mid-tempo headbangers. Most importantly, it’s not a collection of riffs strung together, but a strong collection of songs that will dole out as much punishment as needed, while keeping it catchy enough for you to remember.

Dog Day Sunrise – When the Sky Comes Down
Release Date – February 2018
Location – New York, USA
Style – Heavy metal/hard rock

Infusing the essence of the NWOBHM, stoner doom, and early thrash scene along with a dose of the blues and hard rock, there’s more of a timeless feel to Dog Day Sunrise than that of simply being retro. Plenty of dynamics can be found within, going from more melodic and sorrowful tracks to more upbeat and rockin’ ones (gotta love the throwback lyrics of “Vinyl”), and it makes for a release that is meant to be played start to finish. Killer solos, fun grooves, and some anthemic choruses make Dog Day Sunrise a band worth seeking out.

Neophobia – Monstermind
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Italy
Style – Symphonic metal

Pulling in on the heavier end of the symphonic metal spectrum, Neophobia find themselves with some quick comparisons to bands like Epica. Carmen Grandi’s vocals hit the mark beautifully, with some occasional growled back-up when the intensity accelerates. Some of the other standouts include quite a bit of bass in the mix (it truly does shine), as well as plenty of catchy, melodic death metal riffing to counter the symphonic elements. With the heavier feel and growled vocals, there’s a bit of gothic flavor at times as well, which helps to bring them more into their own space. An excellent debut.

Order ov Riven Cathedrals – Göbekli Tepe
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Italy
Style – Technical death metal

In an unexpected pairing that totally works, Order ov Riven Cathedrals meshes frantic, Italian tech death (a la Hour of Penance or Fleshgod Apocalypse) with industrial elements to craft something that sounds massive and epic. It also manages to sound like something completely in and of itself. Jackhammering drums, swirling synths, punishing growls, and pedal-to-the-metal riffs are par for the course and despite the unrelenting nature of the material, it manages to stay thoroughly engrossing. They’ve now popped out two excellent releases in two years’ time, and it’s only right that they’ve managed to catch some buzz for their incredibly intense sound.

Patterns of Decay – Suicide Notes in Comic Sans
Release Date – March 2018
Location – New York, USA
Style – Modern death metal/metalcore

With a title like Suicide Notes in Comic Sans, it’s clear that there’s going to be some humor involved with Patterns of Decay. Some tongue-in-cheek references certainly fit the bill (“Buffalo Child Wings” or “I Fucked A Ghost”), but what you will end up staying for is the music itself. Completely blurring the line between a more modern death metal and metalcore elements, things can be brutal yet thoroughly catchy at the same time (“I Have to Return Some Videotapes…”), frequently providing some massive grooves and enjoyable leads/melodies. There’s a lot of potential waiting in the wings with this one.

Sleep in Heads – On the Air
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Ukraine
Style – Progressive metal

Both the album title and band name here seem to allude to something that’s dreamy, which is a fair assessment after checking out On the Air. Not that it’s a quiet album by any means, but an ethereal and esoteric vibe seems to accompany Sleep in Heads take on progressive metal. Perhaps it’s due a combination of Sonya’s excellent vocal work, the sometimes sweeping synths, and well-employed violin that are used in contrast to some more punchy riffs and melodies. Most importantly, they give the music the space that it needs to breathe as they move from beautifully melodic sections to groovy, heavier ones. It’s a unique album that should have no problem convincing progressive fans to take the journey with them.

Shredded – Shredded
Release Date – March 2018
Location – New York, USA
Style – Death metal

A name that certainly does an apt job of describing the band’s sound, the short and sweet title of Shredded is one with plenty of power. This is go for the throat death metal that wants nothing more than to take your breath away (particularly the raging assault of “N.T.F.A.”). They do slow things down though (“Incantations of Doom”), and provide they can bring some more atmosphere and melody into their sound without polluting it, which is helpful in keeping some of the longer tracks moving. There’s even a thoroughly death metal cover of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube’s “Natural Born Killers” which totally works.

Squidhead – Cult[ist]
Release Date – March 2018
Location – Belgium
Style – Industrial death metal

Though it’s easy to see the Cthulhu angle of the band (hence the cover), Squidhead don’t fall into the usual sonic pitfalls. Instead, there’s a fresh angle of djent-y and industrial influences in their brand of death metal. This really allows the grooves to take hold, and the industrial undercurrent keeps it from going ‘too brutal.’ There’s a more memorable and slightly melodic side because of the grooves, and the band plays them for all they are worth. They also have some fine chops in the solo department, so it feels like the whole package with Cult[ist].