Sifting Through Bandcamp – July 2014Sunday, 13th July 2014
With summer now in full swing, there are concerts galore. Most of the heavy-hitters for the season have been released, why not save a few bucks for the upcoming fall onslaught and check out some of the finer things that Bandcamp has brought forth for this month. Personally trying to stick to albums that are lower than $5, there’s a slew of newer albums ripe for the taking. This month we examine Anicon, Belus, Coprocephalic, De Profundis, Devouring Star, Orbital Frame, Plebeian Grandstand, Satariel, Svffer, Valley of Hinnom, and Vyrion.
A split between two of NY’s best kept secrets, this release will hopefully get both bands further up on the pecking order. Each band contributes two tracks (though there’s a bonus track on the Anicon side) of their own vision of black metal. Anicon bring a no-frills, tremolo-picked feast to the table with their two tracks. They do a standout job of bringing melodies to the forefront as well, yet never watering down the ferocity (and majesty) of the material. If you were to guess, you’d be more likely to call Anicon Scandinavian than New Yorkers. Belus’ two tracks take a doomier approach, with “Amidst Decay” opting for a more subtle introduction. They are quite adept at switching paces between slower, doomy passages with bite and blistering black metal. Like Anicon, the interwoven melodies pop, keeping things interesting whether the pace is blazing or crawling. Any black metal fan would do well to check both these guys out immediately.
A three-song sampler from the upcoming full-length The Oath of Relinquishment, this provides just a taste for those unable to wait another month to get their fix of uber-brutal death metal. Featuring a different somewhat renown vocalist on each track (Matti Way, Angel Ochoa, Blue Jensen), there are some inhuman gurgles and growls to be found here. Coupled with the crushing riffs and slams (as well as a killer production), there is much to be excited about, even if it doesn’t exactly tread new ground. The big question is whether they can deliver for an extended period the soon to be released full-length.
De Profundis’ lastest release will definitely please fans of Obscura in particular. The way that De Profundis orchestrates their songs with fluid technicality and attention to details, alongside some solid rolling bass lines is going to put some smiles on many a face. The three original tracks carefully manage the technical and progressive while still paying attention to ensure some hooks resonate. The EP ends with a cover of Death’s much adored “Crystal Mountain,” and serves as a fine finish to a release that will undoubtedly get De Profundis’ name out there and abuzz with the “who’s who” in the metal circles.
Our only 2013 entry for this month, Devouring Star certainly owes a bit of their sound to Deathspell Omega. Cosmic black metal with a penchant for dissonance is the name of the game here, but Devouring Star pull it off with precision and finesse. “Chaos Omega” is mostly a blitzkrieg rush, driving plenty of blastbeats at the listener, while “Todestrieb” slows things down and oozes with dissonant melodies. Made up of only two tracks, it’s but a small first sampling but leaves the listener hungry to see what they’ll come up with next.
Cosmically themed death metal that distinguishes itself with some progressive keyboard touches is the name of the game for Orbital Frame. The keys aid in providing a more ‘eerie’ tone that lends itself to the space themed lyrics, and allows the occasionally lengthy tracks to be pulled off without a hitch. There are also a number of melodic and technical flourishes that lock this one firmly into the death metal zone. Space-y death metal is on the rise lately, but Orbital Frame have enough unique flavor that they are well worth checking out (plus it’s a ‘name your price’ download).
From the opening tones of Lowgazers, you can tell you are in for a gritty ride. Everything about the band sounds filthy and dirty (in the best way possible). Like Cara Neir, there are some subtle melodies to be found therein, once you look past the grime. From explosive bursts of speed (“Thrvst,” “Aimless Roaming”) to more atmospheric and murky (“Svn in Your Head,” “Mvrk Diving”), this is an intense listen. The sheer darkness and filth may cause some to look away, but it’s the type of album that if you like, you are really going to like it.
Longstanding Swedish (melodic) death metallers, this is the first material from Satariel since 2007! This being chapter one, apparently the remaining chapters will be released piece-meal in the future to create an entire new album. This first chunk of White Ink works well enough on it’s own to check out. Satariel’s use of atmosphere still prevails to give them a more unique approach to Swedish melodic death metal. Nothing ever pushes too fast, allowing the riffs plenty of breathing room and brings some excellent clean/growled choruses. Let’s hope the wait isn’t too long for the remaining chapters!
Daftly melding hardcore and grind to devastating result, Svffer’s first full-length album is an all out assault on the senses. 13 short and to the point songs (the longest one here is 2:45) have a tendency to race as fast as they possibly can, leaving nothing but carnage in their wake. Of course, things do slow down from time to time (see “Insomnia”) and when they do, things switch over to a menacing groove. Surprisingly memorable for what it is, Svffer manage to create eruptions of violence while keeping things interesting for future listens.
One-man project of Warforged’s Richard Stancato, Valley of Hinnom’s Acquisition of Guilt serves as a solid introduction to the band. The greatest strength here is how smoothly the transitions go from raging black metal to subdued atmospheric segments without a single hitch. This is apparent as soon as “The Road to Endless Torment” begins. The melodies in “From the Tallest Point on Earth” are often majestic, offering beauty within the black metal framework. “The Dull Blade” ends things in anyway other than dull, with the final melody being one of the finest of the album. Three songs simply don’t cut it here, may new stuff come about quickly!
Scoring another victory for the ever-expanding Australian scene, Geo is Vyrion’s sophomore album. Clocking in at hour, there’s no shortage of material here. Vyrion stick to the more aggressive end of black metal (there’s no “post” to be found here) but presented with progressive melodies that occasionally bring Enslaved to mind. The lengthy tracks stick, with no boredom or disjointed riffing to be found. Also worthy of note is the sheer amount of atmosphere they pack into tracks like “Apex” without losing sight of their black metal vision. This is a band to keep your eyes on!