Sifting Through Bandcamp – September 2020

Friday, 25th September 2020

The fall season is starting to kick in already, and while maybe people didn’t get as much of a chance to head out this spring and summer – it’s nearing time to start watching the leaves fall, and listen to some gloomy music to enhance the mood. Bandcamp is always ready to help with finding your next new favorite. This month we tackle Arcanum Sanctum, Chestcrush, For Ruin, Litterbox Massacre, Novarium, Soara, Suneater, and Voltaic.

Arcanum Sanctum – Ad Astra
This Russian act hits right in the melodic death metal sweet spot, and adds a sci-fi angle (both lyrically and musically) to give them some extra leg room. The synths aid in delivering a futuristic tone to it, while the guitars weave in and out in the forefront. Lots of catchy melodies to discover as the two pieces tangle between each other. Some gothic and gloomy vibes are also present (see “Down to Earth”), and its a nice counter to the sci-fi elements. An enjoyable release that hopefully will find a larger audience.

Chestcrush – Demo
Monolithic in sound, Chestcrush have a good impression of what works for bands like Ulcerate in their density and structure. This four song demo has some real crushing tones to it, and the massive riffs all but swirl themselves around you in chaos. Accompanied by some rumbling growls that are just as unearthly, its a release that you will feel right in your chest (no pun intended). Some grind and black elements are introduced at times too, giving it an even more lethal vibe that yearns for violent release. If you want something heavy, this is an act to watch.

For Ruin – Elapse
The first release from For Ruin in seven years, this short EP takes the glorious riffing found in melodic death metal and runs with it. Some light black metal influences give it a darker edge at times. Some of the leads are quite standout in their approach (“The Worm Turned”) and there’s a playful side to them that works well against the occasionally driving tempos. Add some gloom to the mix once in a while (“The Measure of a Man”) and you’ve got a band that can play to some effective diversity as well as use clean vocals without it coming across as too poppy.

Litterbox Massacre – Primal Apawcalypse
Admittedly, the muscular cat vs. dog cover art is what drew me into this one. It looked over the top, complete with cat-pun, so it seemed worth a shot. The puns continue with the titles for each track, but the music itself is some pretty serious brutal death metal. Not goofy in the least, it roars with low gutturals, vibrating riffs, and lots of aggression. Some deathcore is in there as well, and brings the immediate intensity up a notch without worrying going too excessive with the breakdowns. A fun yet super heavy romp.

Novarium – Stain of a Soul
A Washington DC-based gothic unit that features Jen Janet (Mimesis) on vocals, Stain of a Soul hits those darkening autumn notes with haunting beauty. Janet’s vocals are as glimmering as ever, and adds an elegance to the sometimes crunchy and dark riffing (that’s occasionally peppered with some growled vocals). You don’t hear a lot of this gothic type material from here in the States nowadays, and it more than holds its own against its European brethren. Emotive and dark material, the melodies and atmosphere are going to stick with you – the closing cover of “Christian Woman” is the icing on the cake.

Soara – Dharm
You aren’t going to find a lot of bands like Soara. Combining the musicianship of a progressive/tech death metal band with ethereal Carnatic vocals, it’s a different bird for sure. On the one hand, you have some intense musicianship and on the other, some rather calming and soothing vocals – it almost seems at odds with eachother but Soara really nails it in the end. The result sounds quite beautiful overall, and has a real calming quality to it that you wouldn’t expect to find in such a progressive release like this. The instruments speak to your mind, and the singing speaks to the soul. It may sound cliched but that’s exactly the vibe that Dharm has. It’s name your price, so check it out!

Suneater – Light Devoured
Light Devoured is 4 short, concentrated bursts of brutal death metal with a technical edge – coming from a one-man act. Unlike much tech-labeled material, the heaviness is in the forefront first and foremost. There’s some damn brutal riffs going on and the tempo is usually on the more frantic side of things. The tech injections are there, but its something that you return to the EP to and listen to more in order to dissect them out. Suneater is aggressive and in your face, sure to attract fans of Aborted, but tech piece will also ensure that you are going to get some extra excitement out of future listens.

Voltaic – Living the Mist
Strong notes of progressive and alternative metal fill the air when listening to Voltaic. The Canadian act uses both female and male vocals, dreamy atmospheres, and hard-hitting riffs to create a vibe that is catchy and immediate while still being rooted in enough heaviness and musicianship to draw in the metal elite. Lots of lengthy tracks allow for the more progressive melodies and solos to shine without losing any of the band’s luster. Perfect for those seeking something with some rockish attitude with progressive splendor.