Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - The Odious, Inanimate Existence, Atlas Entity, Archaic Decapitator

It's been seven years since The Odious released their last album (which was one of my first Bandcamp Picks, to give you an inkling how long it's been). Vesica Piscis sees the band tweaking their Tool-meets-Opeth approach with percussive discordance and the addition of moog keyboards. Meanwhile, Spencer Linn is showing more confidence and range in his clean singing (though it's just as Layne Staley-ish as in the past). An unpredictable, somewhat uncomfortable listen - all the things progressive metal is supposed to be. [$8]

Five albums into their career, Inanimate Existence have morphed from scrappy prog death upstarts to savvy veterans. Clockwork highlights the California band's maturation as songwriters, shifting without warning from fretburning riffs to palm-muted chugging and jazzy bass-driven interludes. In fact, it may be too mature - the band could benefit by re-injecting the playfulness of their earlier albums. But right now, there's no better standard-bearer of progressive death metal than this band. [$8]

Atlas Entity is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Alex Gallegos and Decrepit Birth drummer Samus Paulicelli. The second installment of a planned trilogy, Beneath the Cosmic Silence uses folky acoustic passages and Gallegos' sombre tenor to bridge the divide between tech death and melodic (dare I say, "cascadian") black metal. A surprisingly clean variation on nature-inspired metal. [$8]

For Connecticut's Archaic Decapitator, keys are the key to separating themselves from the melodic death metal herd. Their latest EP The Apothecary heaps tinkling keyboards over their speedy blast-driven melodies, giving their songs an added dimension. It's amazing how one additional instrument can make a well-trodden genre sound fresh. [$8]

Friday, June 21, 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Earth, Yawning Man, Pelican, Odyssey, Pinkish Black

After a few years touring and recording on his own, Dylan Carlson has reunited with Adrienne Davies for Earth's ninth album. Full Upon Her Burning Lips captures Carlson's guitar in its full twanging glory, with a growing flair that separates the band's modern era from the austere doom/drone of its early albums. Meanwhile, Davies' minimalist beats give the riffs the somber foundation they need. The last Earth album surprised fans with the addition of vocals; this time around, the duo sticks to being strictly an instrumental band, but the beauty of Earth always was their ability to tell stories without words. [$9.99]

Before there was "desert rock" there was Yawning Man. Macedonian Lines shows that the veteran band's knack for crafting spacey instrumentals is as sharp as ever, with crystalline guitars snaking over distorted bass lines, splitting the difference between space rock, desert rock, and post-rock. Feet in the valley with eyes to the sky. [€8.50]

Pelican have been carrying the flag for indie metal longer than most. Written in tribute to Jody Minnoch of Tusk (the grindcore band that included members of Pelican), Nighttime Stories brings the band back to the heaviness of their first albums, embedding speedy drums and crushing riffs amidst the melody and atmosphere that made the band so beloved by Pitchfork and the like. They may not seem as revolutionary as they did in the previous decade, but few instrumental bands have managed to be as heavy and emotive simultaneously as Pelican. [$7.99]

It's been a while since I checked in on Spokane's Odyssey - they were one of my OG Bandcamp Picks, and I'm happy to say they're still active. The Swarm, the trio's fourth full-length studio album, is ultra-heavy, hammering that double-bass drumming through thrashing riff-fests and syncopated chugging. Putting the pedal to the instrumental. [$7]

We're in the midst of a synth rock renaissance thanks to Stranger Things, and few of those bands are as heavy as Texans Pinkish Black.  Concept Unification (an album inspired by ...wait for it ...the animatronic band at Chuck E. Cheese) takes its cues from Seventies horror soundtracks - particularly the work of Goblin and John Carpenter - using eerie keyboards as the framework for the band's doomy aesthetic, as well as a backdrop for Darren Beck's doleful monotone. Neon-tinted gloom. [$10]


Thursday, June 13, 2019

an interview with Acathexis

Call Acathexis an atmospheric black metal supergroup, and you wouldn't be wrong; the project brings together the solo artists responsible for Mare Cognitum, Downfall of Nur and Cult of Erinyes. The fact that their self-titled debut was one of the last albums released by the late Fallen Empire Records is enough to make it noteworthy. Jacob Buczarski and Dany Tee were kind enough to answer my questions about how this remarkable project got together.

Monday, June 10, 2019

an interview with Deus Vermin

Leeds' Deus Vermin released their debut Monument to Decay last year, and have been busy spreading their discordant melange of death and black metal through the UK since. As a fan of all things fast and grim, I reached out to the band to find out more about their history and intentions. Guitarist CG was kind enough to answer my questions.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Nebula, Duel, 1782, Faerie Ring

Nebula are back with their first album in 10 years, and the fifth in a career that's spanned 20. The unfortunately titled Holy Shit sees the beloved stoner rock band doing what they do best - keeping it retro with fuzzed out, psychedelic odes to drugs and girls. Party like it's 1969. [€9]

Austin's Duel are still living in the past on their third album. More restrained and assured than its predecessors, Valley Of Shadows eases off the doomy roots metal of previous albums, wrapping the band's Thin Lizzy obsession around Tom Frank's soulful croon. This valley gets plenty of sun. [$8]

Italian duo 1782 are all about two things: Witches and doom. Their eponymous debut turns in seven simple, trudging songs, with Hammond organs complimenting their Saint Vitus-like riffing nicely. Organs and doom go together like witches and pyres; it's a combination the band should focus on in the future. [€8.50]

Don't be fooled by their name - Indiana's Faerie Ring are no twee lightweights. The Clearing is heavier than anything currently on the Rise Above label, Iommi-spawned riffs oscillating between coiled menace and crushing release. These faeries wear heavy boots of lead, I tell you no lie. [$5]

Mixtape 88 - Richard Hoak

Here is the 88th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring an interview with Richard Hoak of Total Fucking Destruction, Brutal Truth, and Peacemaker.

Listen on Apple Podcasts (IOS)

Listen on Stitcher Radio (Android/IOS)

Sunday, June 2, 2019