Sifting Through Bandcamp – March 2020

Saturday, 28th March 2020

With much of the country (and the world) holding down in quarantine, there’s more time than usual to check out what’s going on in the music world. Bandcamp being no exception here, with a bounty of new releases and hidden gems to discover. This month we check out Arise the Titan, Asylence, Blidvinter, Disconnected Souls, Dreambleed, Entheos, Hyperconvolutor, Nox Doloris, Scarlet Phantom, and Vile Existence.

Arise the Titan – Where Cowards Dream
It usually takes a lot to impress when it comes to a band in the deathcore field. Arise the Titan does just that though with Where Cowards Dream. Instead of simply wailing away at hyperspeed and then dipping in for a ‘siiiick’ breakdown, there’s a lot of structure to be found. Bountiful grooves and some melodic touches give the landscape a more diverse playing field (see “Demon Aether”), so when the band does accelerate, there’s more to bounce off of. There’s a lot of useful restraint here that helps the band to stand out and offers some big promise on what they could do with future offerings.

Asylence – Eulogy of Man
Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with going with a classic formula and hitting it out of the park. Asylence take blackened death metal with a strong sense of melody and run with it on Eulogy of Man. Some of the melodies that are tucked into the band’s formula are just fantastic (see “Gasping for Fire”) but they are also done without softening the overall impact of the death/black mix. There are some small ‘core elements here and there (“Lucifix”) that work well, and add to the mixtures instead of diluting it.

Blidvinter – Petrichor
One of those cases of being pulled in by the awe-inspiring artwork, it didn’t take long to realize that the album itself was equally awe-inspiring. Blidvinter play some doomy melodic death metal that goes right up this scribe’s alley. Low, bellowing roars and lumbering riffs occasionally give way to masterful atmosphere and beautiful gloomy melodies that never fail at striking a poignant tone. Some upticks in speed do the album well (“Skyfall”) and swing it into melodeath/progressive territory with a grand sense of urgency. Regardless of speed, atmosphere, beauty, or aggression, the songs flow and offer a sweeping image you won’t soon forget.

Disconnected Souls – Warring Elements
Warring Elements takes a slurry of different influences and blurs them together to create something cohesive and interesting. Symphonic metal, melodic death metal, gothic metal, and even some synthwave (check out the intro “Emergence”) get some time in the spotlight. It’s pretty melodic in the end, but upticks in aggression (and shouted vocals) give it some heft to lean on as the release pushes forward. In the end, it’s not about the influences, but the way that the band puts them together into something more unique overall that make them worth an investigation. Their knack for experimentation really gives them an edge.

Dreambleed – We All Bleed Red
Blurring the line somewhere at the intersection of gothic metal, alternative metal, and radio-friendly hard rock sits Dreambleed. Reminiscent of some of the early ’00s gothic wave (i.e. Entwined) combined with a more modern view of electronics and straight-ahead rock, We All Bleed Red feels like something that could be successful in both metal and nonmetal scenes alike. It’s quite catchy, with a lot of standout choruses that manage to be emotionally centered without becoming too melodramatic. While it’s vocally upfront, the guitars also get time in the limelight (“Sonder”), which aids in keeping that metallic balance in check (particularly with the electronics). A solid piece of modern metal.

Entheos – Remember You Are Dust
A brand new single that features Entheos as a two-piece of vocalist Chaney Crabb and Navene Koperweis on everything else, “Remember You Are Dust” takes the more progressive and cinematic elements from the band’s last release, and merges it with a stronger punch of groove-driven brutality. The combination of eerie and heavy works quite well, with the high dose of progressive riffs and melodies tickling the ears until a massive groove comes along and knocks you a step back. Curious to see how they proceed with more material, but the future looks quite bright here.

Hyperconvolutor – Hyper Convolution
Hyperconvolutor is an utter melting pot of modern influences. There’s tech death, deathcore, progressive, melodeath – but there’s one thing more important than the rest here, and that’s the band’s knack to focus on the song instead of trying to impress with showmanship. There’s a lot of personality to each of the five songs, which helps them to further dazzle with the vast amount of influences that can be found. The ‘core and melodic elements give it immediacy, and the tech/progressive stuff gives it further depth. An impressive combination for the band’s first outing.

Nox Doloris – Khemet
Sprawling and epic is the only way to describe Khemet. Those who long for the vast and epic landscapes of bands like Nile or Fleshgod Apocalypse are in for a real treat with Nox Doloris’ latest. Embracing that brutal and unrelenting death metal attack (with shades of black metal) and merging it with a Middle Eastern/Oriental vibe makes for an entirely compelling listen that will instantly rope you in. It’s an absolute battering ram at times (“Rising Ashes”) but the aforementioned influences give it more space to breathe. Totally massive and must if you like this kind of material!

Scarlet Phantom – Anathema
Lots of heavy grooves with this one. Also coming in with some ‘core influences, catchy melodies, and occasional dabbling into more intricate riffs and clean vocals (see “Lonely God”), there’s quite a bit to offer over the course of five tracks. One other important thing outside the groove and heaviness is the ‘darkness’ factor. There’s a pleasantly sinister feeling to the music overall, giving it a sense of urgency at times as well. If you want something dark with plenty of punch (with just the right pinch of melody) there’s no reason not to check it out – particularly with a ‘name your price’ download at hand.

Vile Existence – Echoes
Short, sweet, and to the point, the endgame of Echoes is to toss as much brutality at you as possible. Brutal death metal in it’s purest form, the three songs (the first is a short intro) do their best to ramp up the tempo and bludgeon the listener. It’s clear that Suffocation was an influence here as the Brazilian group does give off some NYDM nods, particularly when they slow down (“New Universal Order”). But they do also keep it memorable – whether it’s the short length’s work at play or not, each track feels a bit different instead of a big, brutal blur. Vile Existence provide an enjoyable 10-minute exercise in brutality that should find it’s audience quickly.