Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Grayceon, Second Grave, Eight Bells, Undersmile

Whatever description you apply to Grayceon has to include the word "ambitious"  - especially in the way they keep finding new ways of melding metal in its various forms with the talents of classically trained cellist/vocalist Jackie Prez-Gratz. The results in the past have sometimes been hit or miss, but Pearl and the End of Days, their latest release, is stellar. The EP gets surprisingly thrashy at times, showing Grayceon as a metal band that's progressive in the best sense of the word. The two song, nearly half-hour release (a double instead of a single, if you like) is available as a $5 digital download.

Second Grave features Krista Van Guilder from Massachusetts doom heroes Warhorse ...which is weird, because I saw Warhorse twice back in the day, and don't remember her at all. Well, none of that matters, because as good as Warhorse were, Second Grave are much better.  Their self-titled debut recalls the best of the Obsessed, topped with some awesome duelling leads a la Iommi and Krista's soulful (and slightly Cornell-ish) vocals. I've listened to this almost every day since I downloaded it last week, and it isn't getting old anytime soon. The six song EP is available as a $5 digital download.

With members of SubArachnoid Space, it's a no-brainer that Eight Bells (named after the last SAS album) would be experimental and left-field. The Captain's Daughter, their debut album, melds darkness with psychedelia in a way that's highly reminiscent of avant-metal vanguards In The Woods - though more black light poster than black metal. The four song album is available as a $7 digital download.

Undersmile might be the bastard children of Harvey Milk and the Swans; on their 2012 debut Narwhal, depressive, minimalist doom/drone regularly lumbers past the 10 minute mark, layered with the moaning, Gira-like vocals of Hel Sterne and Taz Corona-Brown. Recommended for anyone who likes their music heavy and slightly off-kilter. The album, running well over an hour, is available as a digital download for ₤5.00 (or roughly $7.65, according to Paypal).

At Dreams of Consciousness, ladies in metal bands drink for free. See for yourself.