Sifting Through Bandcamp – October 2020

Saturday, 31st October 2020

Nearer and nearer to the end of the year we come! After this month, there’s just November and we’ll be wrapping up another year of Bandcamp coverage for 2020! Always nice to be able to sit down and take a few minutes to discover some lesser known acts, or even catch up with some old favorites. This month we check out Cellar Vessel, Enter the Soil, Erciyes Fragment, Incriminating Silence, Machines on Blast, Medda, Mysterain, and Symbtomy.

Cellar Vessel – Vein Beneath the Soil
An intriguing release that manages to bring a number of varied influences to the table, Vein Beneath the Soil is avant-garde in all the best ways. From visceral moments of straight-up death metal to symphonic injections and some blackened moments, to some moody and dreamy atmosphere – there’s a lot of care here to insure that it all still fits together cohesively. Winding and eerie heaviness gives way to brief moments of respite, particularly on the standout and appropriately named “Slither.” If you want dark, heavy, and still occasionally dreamy, you’ve found a gem here.

Enter the Soil – The Still Forest, Bathed in Mist
A one-man act that brings the woodsy feeling of the early Opeth era and drowns it in doom, Enter the Soil have a real knack for gloom. Plodding tempos and downtrodden riffs batter the landscape in sorrow, with some melancholic leads and melodies helping to further perpetuate that notion. Two quieter interlude-esque tracks help in really selling the mood and adding to the forest vibes (not to mention the Opeth comparison), but some upticks in tempo along the way (“Twisting, Turning, Ecstasy”) help bring in some added tension. Worth a look if you want something nice and solemn for the fall.

Erciyes Fragment – Apostasy Via Vitae
Having the pleasure of seeing these guys a few times live at Dingbatz in NJ, it’s nice to see some fresh material coming out. Their modern blend of everything from symphonic death metal to thrash to ‘core is perpetually energetic and showcases a fine blend of musicianship across the board. Synths lay down an excellent foundation but they don’t shy away from some excellent riffs and melodies, while giving the band a more extreme sound. These two tracks have some real punishing moments, but they are layered with a cinematic flair and bring the goods with great melodies as well. An exceptionally well done combo.

Incriminating Silence – Vicissim
Incriminating Silence has one of those ‘intriguing hodgepodge’ type of sounds. You can go the lazy route and say something like melodic death metal, but there’s so much more packed in there that its ultimately an unfair description. There’s loads of flashy guitarwork to hear, some rousing thrash elements, as well as some more traditional heavy metal vibes to ingest too. “Bad Moon” for instance, even lays into some rocking grooves in addition to more extreme elements. Bottom line, if you are looking for some strong, varied melodies, Incriminating Silence are really onto something great on Vicissim.

Machines on Blast – Black Market Happiness
Taking the groove metal aspects of Devildriver and merging them with some ’90s industrial influences (a la Stabbing Westward or even Fear Factory), Machines on Blast have a interesting vibe going. It’s immediately catchy on both the riff and electronic ends, and it prompts feelings of both headbanging and shaking a leg at the same time. Toss in some occasional gothic sounds too (see “Living the Lie”) and it becomes insidiously infectious. It captures some dark industrial sounds of the past and successfully brings them up to modern metal standards. A total win for those seeking groovy melodies.

Medda – Fission
A progressive/melodic death metal outlet for multi-instrumentalist Robert Pessagno, the sheer heaviness of the riffs is what will pull in many here. The chunky sounds of “Nail Biter” are instantly addictive, giving it a modern edge while keeping it massive in tone. Lots of big grooves to match the enormous vocals and occasional speed runs, and the EP also features a bunch of top tier talent, such as Bjorn Strid, Mattias Eklundh, and more. Wonderfully aggressive stuff that is riff-forward and ready to get heads banging from beginning to end.

Mysterain – Fall of the Song Dynasty
Bringing in an effective blend of symphonic, power, and folk elements, China’s Mysterian are a force to be reckoned with on Fall of the Song Dynasty. Bringing in some genuine Eastern vibes on the folk end gives them a more exotic feeling, not to mention a more intriguing one (see “Ancient Scroll”) and they hit the same high benchmarks as some of genre’s strongest bands. Lacing the album with some gentle moments, both within tracks or whole ones (“The Orchid”) and fun/folky instrumental cuts (“Back from Grazed”) give the album an even better atmosphere. A must if you like either folk or symphonic bands!

Symbtomy – Demo#1
Get yourself a good [HM-2] buzz going and sit back to enjoy Symbtomy. The old school worship is strong with this one, but it matters not when the band can play such an aggressive and enjoyable form of this stuff. Crunchy guitars with plenty of heavy riffs, upfront growled vocals, and some catchy melodies twist together to keep it interesting. They can rage at high speeds, but like most bands in this matter, the mid-tempo seems to suit them best to really give the melodies time to stick out.