Thursday, August 31, 2023

Bandcamp Friday Picks [Sep 2023]

It's Bandcamp Friday, so try to forget the world is burning by throwing cash at some independent artists and labels. Here are some recent releases that had me feelin' fine.

Fossilization's first release He Whose Name Was Long Forgotten was an instant hit that had multiple labels jumping to release it; so expectations were high for the follow-up. Well, I'm happy to say that Leprous Daylight earns the hype, meshing a typical Brazilian affinity for blastbeats with doomier, Incantation-inspired passages.

With members based in both Brazil and Finland, 3rd War Collapse offers the tantalizing possibility of entwining two polar approaches to death metal. But their second album Catastrophic Epicenter obviously favours the death/thrash style of South American bands, albeit executed with a precision that most lack.

Horrendous represent a maturing side of USDM - one that's more focused on finding its own voice instead of borrowing someone else's. Their fifth album Ontological Mysterium sees the band solidifying their brand of progressive and melodic death metal, capturing the spirit of Death, Cynic, and Voivod, choosing to emulate and not imitate.

Unlike most of their peers in the Bay Area, Berkley's Fabricant are uninterested in putting on denim vests and pretending it's 1989. Their debut Drudge To The Thicket is unabashedly technical, filled with jittery, start-stop riffs and atonal scales. Pestilence, meet Ihsahn.

Copenhagen's Terminalist have their roots in metal's past, but their sights set on its future. Built on a bedrock of tech thrash riffs and black metal speed, their second full-length The Crisis as Condition is often ludicrously fast and impossibly precise, and definitely not an old school throwback.

Masked up and working in isolation, Canadian blackened thrashers Black Pestilence were the perfect band to usher us into the Covid times. Their latest release Chaotic Wisdom adds some industrial flourishes to their apocalyptic bangers, but speeding down the left hand path is still their raison d'etre.

A recent split from a pair of New England bands highlights the roach-like resilience of OSDM. "Arcane Torture" by Maine's Seep is effective in its straightforward caveman way. Stench Collector's "Daemon Rat Onanism" was the last song the Rhode Island duo recorded before guitarist/vocalist Mark Pechack left this world, and suggests a fondness for early Godflesh as well as guttural Finndeath. Gurgling Gore released this split on cassette at the beginning of 2023, but vinyl collectors can snatch up the 7" version that Dawnbreed Records just put out.

It took me a few spins, but I think I'm getting where Chile's Solipnosis is coming from. Much like the early Sigh recordings, Sintesis Silenciosa starts with a love for classic Teutonic black/thrash before quickly finding itself at an intersection where "kvlt" meets "weird". I suspect that most metal fans will have a hard time appreciating this; but isn't that what black metal always claimed it aspired to?

Oakland's Doomsday got me to lift my moratorium on new thrash bands with a hook-filled, riff-driven debut that reminded me why I loved the style in the first place. Their new self-titled EP delivers three more Bay Area-style bangers (plus an exhuberant Metallica cover), eschewing originality for dewy-eyed fidelity to the days when Ed Repka artwork and songs about moshpits were all the rage.

Baltimore's Nixil aren't beholden to second-wave dogma or message board notions of kvlt. FROM THE WOUND SPILLED FORTH FIRE has its share of blasting passages, but is most effective when it pulls back on the throttle and works its hooks slowly, Cenobite-like.

PYRKAGION are based in the Pacific Northwest, so a grandiose, slightly "gazing" approach to USBM is to be expected. The two song, 25 minute Katechon and the Unending Fire debut sees the trio adopting the trebly beligerence of Nineties black metal, and then stretches it past its dogmatic limitations.

Adderall was created for folks like Gendo Ikari. The Glaswegians' first album ROKUBUNGI fires off 15 songs in 25 minutes, and never settles on a riff or tempo for very long. Throw in some power electronics and cover art from longtime Wormrot vocalist Ari, and you've got catnip for fans of modern grind.

Philly's Caged have probably raised more than a few eyebrows with their unusual line-up. Their first full-length From Roving About the Earth features turntablist Joe Hughes filling up the sonic space with all kinds of unsettling, seizure-inducing madness, resulting in an especially noisy sludge album.

Following their monolothic previous album Transmission, DoC friends Darsombra have scaled their song lengths down to create their version of a pop record. As a double-sized concept album, it's only appropriate that Dumesday Book would elicit comparisons to The Who, Tangerine Dream and Yes by creating a guitar/synth odyssey through their Covid times, and all the anxiety (and bong rips) that came with it.

Pianist Jamie Saft and drummer Bobby Previte have been collaborating and recording together as Swami Lateplate. True to its name, the hesher-teasing Doom Jazz II is the project's second go-round of slow, sombre jams, letting Saft's synth and Hammond Organ provide the atmosphere while Previte's sparse cymbal and snare work builds tension and provides the swing. In truth, this is more Butterfly than Sabbath, and more blue than Black.

S A R R A M is the nom de son of Sardinian ambient/experimental composer Valerio Marras. Pàthei Màthos is his sixth album under that name, and sees him using traditional Southern European instruments, as well as the usual heavily reverberated guitar and synths, to create droning ambient compositions. The mellifluous vocal contributions of a few female collaborators adds to the general spacey atmosphere. Most of his discography is available as "name your price" downloads.