Sifting Through Bandcamp – May 2020

Saturday, 30th May 2020

Another month winding down, as we start to see some quarantine restrictions lifting up and the temperatures rising. Here comes the summer, and along with it, a slew of more unknown acts trying to make a name for themselves – with some extra chances at publicity since most of the summer festivals have been cancelled/postponed. This month we look at Cerebral Desecration, Dark Divinity, Dehumanaut, In the Act of Violence, Kaliya, Pointed Mutation, Rage in My Eyes, and shedfromthebody.

Cerebral Desecration – Further than the Bottom
Sitting well on the heavier end of the death metal spectrum, what stands out for Cerebral Desecration is how they can keep things brutal, but still add in significant melodies. Much of said leg work is due to some mid-tempo groove, and it works. The chunky nature of the guitars lend it a sonic weight, and the band keeps things moving for the most part. There’s a certain energy to it, and each of the tracks seems to have one of those ‘bang your head’ moments to further entice you along.

Dark Divinity – Messianic
Talk about a time warp! Dark Divinity bring things back to the more caustic times of melodic death metal, with immediate thoughts of early At the Gates and Eucharist stemming to mind when “Set in Stone” starts things up. The melodies are aggressive, the vocals are biting, drums are blasting, and there’s lots of vicious riffs to enjoy. It’s not a total throwback, of course, but that early spirit of the genre is completely captured here. Energetic in tone, and the darker tone to it all completely sells the entire package.

Dehumanaut – Dust in the Giant’s Hand
With dirty and grimy death/thrash with a bit of groove and doom in the mix, Dehumanaut tosses their hands pretty deep into the diversity deck. They can go full-on frantic with the speeds with thrashy energy behind them, lean into some death metal chunkiness or groove (complete with some clean vocals), or dig into some slower and doom-y trudging at the drop of a hat (see “This is Our War” for a fine example). It’s an impressive mixture that they have created, and the flow between elements is strong. Something like this could easily go off the rails, but Dehumanaut really nail it.

In the Act of Violence – Blacken the Earth
Looking for some deathcore that emphasizes the ‘core elements instead of simply tossing breakdowns and ultra-low gutturals in your face? In the Act of Violence is here to offer their assistance! Blacken the Earth has more of an old school hardcore vibe tossed in with their deathly ways, and it’s instantly ear-catching. It’s heavy as hell for sure, but even the more hardcore-esque barks that dominate the mix (there is quite a variety, to be fair) keep this one feeling more unique and interesting. As does the notable emphasis on strong riffs and melodies.

Kaliya – Born to See, Bred to Hate, Led to Destroy
Death/grinders Kaliya return with another destructive release to add to their discography. The Texan’s immediately noticeable HM=2 buzz may make them sound more Scandinavian in tone, but they do know how to unleash that more American style of brutality when needed. Born to See, Bred to Hate, Led to Destroy is a swift kick in the teeth from a musical standpoint, but it’s not all grinding noise. Solid tempo changes and enjoyable grooves help to balance out from the more frenetic tracks on the album. Perfect for those times you want a rager that doesn’t blur together.

Pointed Mutation – Engineering the Unhuman
Groovy death metal with some tech infusions is what Pointed Mutation’s first EP is all about. The grooves give it a certain amount of playfulness while keeping it heavy. Something that the more technical aspects also help maintain (such as the thrilling title track). There’s a nice balance of everything, particularly for a first release. They can maintain catchiness, galloping tempos, and just the right amount of heaviness to really get their point across. An impressive debut, and an act to keep your eye on if you dig the heavier stuff.

Rage in My Eyes – Ice Cell
When it comes to melodic and power metal territory, the heavier side is always a safer bet for this scribe. Rage in My Eyes fits the billing here, with a thrashier and groovy side to their melodies, and they aren’t afraid to increase the tempos a bit. The guitars have a palpable grit to them, as do the vocals – even if they are also allowed to justly soar on occasion. The guitarwork frequently stands out, be it a solo or high-flying melody to take in. Lastly, when they go for a slower track, like “Blank,” they keep it tasteful instead of melodramatic. All around solid power/heavy metal!

shedfromthebody – A Dead and Aimless Hum
A one-woman doomgaze act, this one is a fascinating listen. Gloomy, mesmerizing tones are the initial ear-grabber and they really pull you in. Everything from stoner doom, gothic, industrial, and sludge have a hand in the sound. It’s got a slightly eerie and spooky feel to it at times, and the murky atmosphere is as haunting as it is beautiful. Given the ‘gaze influences, it does stay on the gentler side of things, but it’s a real treat to dive into and just let the music take you away. If you want something a bit different from the norm, this is a great starting point.