Friday, February 1, 2013
Week 71.5 (Band Requests) February 1, 2013
Post Apocalyptic Music
The French metal scene certainly lives up to the name of avant-garde, a word taken from it's own dialect and not surprisingly so. One of their latest exports is a band by the name of PAVILLON ROUGE, a group who seems to revel in the unconventional mixture of techno, black metal and 80's new wave; culminating in a genre that they've simply coined as "Tekno Black Wave." The result of this interesting concoction is just as you would expect; with hard driving dance beats, unholy riffs and a mix between both a rough and traditional approach to black metal. Tracks like "Exhuberance/Exaltation" and "Le Grand Tout S'effondre" remind me heavily of acts like ABORYM, BLACK LODGE and THE KOVENANT but with a certain extra quality that differentiates the band's sound from these other acts almost completely. This is actually black metal that you could dance to if you wanted and could actually be spun in clubs among other such electronic mainstays. Surprisingly, there is no use of wretched dub-step on this album and I am ever thankful. The melodies on the disc are strong, the beats are catchy, and Kra Cillag's (CRYSTALIUM) vocals are just as fierce as one might expect for a common black metal release. If you removed the dance beats and added a bludgeoning drum kit, all of these songs would translate perfectly into black metal. The effects help to further mechanize the experience, cementing the band's ability to make a dent among several other electronic black metal acts. A cover of CINEMA STRANGE'S "Sadist Sagittarius" also appears on this album as a tribute to the band's love for the 80's new wave music that helped to inspire them. It's French, different and worth listening to for both the clubbers and the more adventurous metalheads out there. Count me in.
Fear The Aftermath - On The Shoulders Of A Giant (2012 Band Request) - I've got a good friend who plays in this band, so keep all your "three word band" comments aside. While the band is definitely a type of core music, you won't be getting completely pummeled with emo-laden clean vocal choruses (ala Periphery) here. Rather this is hard-driving technical metalcore with hints of prog and wonderful melodies. It's certainly modern and it definitely has it's breakdown moments but it's much heavier than you'd think. The frontman does a bit of what they call "the bree vocal" and even though that can get on the nerves of some older heads, I can think of other things to worry about like what comes after bronies and dubstep. Can it get any worse?
As I've said, the band does do some interesting things and the guitar work on the disc is certainly strong. Djent riffs play along with melodies and solos, while the bass comes in with some interesting ideas as well. Even though you might not be a fan of the vocal style and it turns you off, it's really hard to deny some of the playing on this one. The drum work on this album is definitely powerful, this guy pummels the fuck out of and certainly knows his way around the kit as he seems to be able to perform a good balancing act around the sporadic nature of the other instruments. They've certainly got structure despite the core elements that you're just going to have to expect on this one. My friend listens to some very unique shit and you can see how it inspired him, as there are plenty of unconventional moments and plenty of death metal influence in the musicality of this band. The vocalist was certainly trained in death metal and you'll hear his growls accentuate the deathcore vocals a bit which definitely makes at least some bit of a difference.
Being not familiar with this genre, I'm glad to hear that Fear The Aftermath are incorporating worthwhile melodies, unconventional ideas and some definite death/black metal drum work in sections. Again, it's not going to win you over if you hate three word bands and "breecore" but it's much heavier than some of the more popular bands of this genre and they do fucking experiment. I'd prefer it over the last Periphery album by far, John Petrucci or no John Petrucci. This actually does sound like a metal disc for the most part, so thank fuck for that!
I'd really like to see the band experiment with more metal influences though, maybe taking true death metal and true black metal approaches and mixing them with the core nature to create something very unique and intriguing. Fear The Aftermath have already showed me that they paint outside the lines and I'd really like to see more paint on the outside of the canvas - paint all over the fucking walls, floors and ceiling. I want to hear some truly weird shit that I know this band is capable of; because I know their architect and can hear some of those influences creeping up. I want this fucking band to creep out of those chains of "breecore" like when people start to change their genre classifications when a band is no longer considered to be metalcore. If anyone, these guys have the ability to mature and become something that people might just fucking shake their goddamned heads and put a question mark under a genre tag, or they'll get the avant-garde title that the experimental Texans, Urizen now have. I want to hear black metal scowls, death metal growls, female vocals, chimpanzees, lions, tigers, bears, dolphins, gongs, xylophones, horns, trumpets, violins, a full orchestra, chiptunes, saxophones, wood blocks, clogs, bells, power tools - something really fucking genre defying.
This is just a debut, so I'm offering that challenge to the second LP. These guys can knock the metalcore scene on it's ass by doing something altogether unique. I want to hear it. But this is a step in the right direction.
Highlights: Desertion, The Inventorment, Year Of The Lion, A Glitch In The Machine (6 Tracks, 30:00)
Haut&Court - La Vie (2012 Band Request) - These guys recorded this EP in just two days, considering themselves to be a mathcrust and citing Converge, Gaza, Trap Them, Dillinger Escape Plan and War From A Harlot's Mouth as influences. Though only 11 minutes long, this appetizer from the band offers a platter that will leave one with a severe case of tinnitus and a stomachache quite easily. Be lucky that you still have all of your teeth after the onslaught, as these guys don't let up for a minute - but if they do happen to let up, it's just to give you time enough to breathe before you receive another beating. The drums are ferocious, the riffs scathing, and the vocals full of malice. This is a band that you might have to check out if you're really fucking pissed at the way things in your life are going right now. This is the kind of band that might help you to channel all of that energy that you really want to put into strangling your boss into something that won't put you behind thick steel bars.
If you're looking for something more brutal and pummeling than even some death metal, these guys definitely offer it. There are also some guitar fiddlings on the album that hint at the potential of more great things to come from these French pulverizers. To get the same effect of this album in real life, you'd have to go into a bad part of France during the middle of the night, where you'd get the hell beaten out of you.
But let's talk about the post-metal influence of the closer, "Wasted Time For Wasted Minds 3:27." It comes after one of my favorite songs of all time, "Life 0:14" which I think is a perfect representation of the subject. This closer is much slower and mechanical than the rest of the disc and the fade-out with static fits the image of this band perfectly. Though it's just a little over ten minutes of material, (that ends with cymbal tap - "bing!")
I really think that Haut&Court has some major potential to not only impress their influences, but to rise far above them. If this is what they can produce in two days, I'd like to hear what comes out in a week or in a whole month of work. Definitely recommended.
Highlights: The disc (6 Tracks, 11:00)
Eastfrisian Terror - Leever Dod As Slaav EP (2013 Band Request) - Eastfrisian Terror is a German death metal group composed of members and ex-members of Tears Of Decay, Anasarca, Meatknife, Truth Of Blood, Blixxem, Necrobiosis and Butenhagen. The band plays a type of death grind with elements of doom and groove metal that comes off as an extremely intriguing and brutal fucking act that's well worth checking out for fans of the most brutal death metal out bands out there. When Daniel isn't frantically bashing the kit to death and Michael isn't scathing about like an escaped inmate from an asylum, the band also has the ability to bring about some rather crushing moments of slow and melancholic misanthropy that I would liken to a slow gutting with a knife. For the majority of the disc, the band does exactly what they're good at - bashing your skull in with ten ton hammers. If this isn't quite what you're looking for - or if you can't stand that "Lever Doot 3:35" contains the squeals of a genetically engineered pig monster, then you'll have to look elsewhere. But for those looking for the heaviest of the heaviest metal out there, or just a definition to show people "how fucking heavy" this style of music gets; it is there that Eastfrisian Terror deliver.
Remember that the soft portions on the disc, like always; are just there to give you a moment to breathe, to examine the savage butchery that you've received from these German bludgeoners... but just enough so that you can be aware of the pain, before it's brought back tenfold. If Haut&Court wasn't enough to vent all of the anger and frustration that life can bring, Eastfrisian Terror will finish the job. Use it like a drug to get over all the bullshit depression you may be facing.
(3 Tracks, 10:00)
Shadowgrave - Shadowgrave/Fog/Silence The Earth Split EP (2012 Band Request) - Though it was Shadowgrave who told me about this split EP, it just seems wrong not to do a review for all three of the bands featured on this disc.
The first band Silence The Earth, is on the symphonic side of things and offer a more gothic laden approach akin to early Cradle Of Filth and Hecate Enthroned, which is definitely a compliment as those bands excelled heavily (Cradle still does some wonderful goth-laden symphs) in creating gothic atmospheres. The band's first track, "C'est La Fin 3:46" sees them proving exactly this point, and continuing it with what sounds like a 96' approach to gothic black metal replete with keyboards and scowls that remind me of Dani in the early days of Cradle, (which is still to this day, one of my favorite bands) yet the vocals at some points seem rather demonic, as to say "inhuman." It doesn't even sound like a human is capable of these sounds, like they've summoned an entity from the nether realm to sing god only knows what to them. Certainly something out of Clive Barker, and I'll have to keep my eye on these guys... things, whatever they are.
Fog is the second band in the compilation and their offering comes off as a sort of post-black metal with a bit of static and drone that comes off rather vile and unsettling. The vocals from the frontman sound like they're coming out of some burned out speaker that still managed to sputter electricity after a nuclear warhead damaged most of their hometown. "The Promise Of Suicide 5:51" seems like the perfect post-apocalyptic noise that any humans who can still find working electronic equipment will try to create. "Buried Beneath The Winter Sun 6:04" continues the same atmosphere where guitar is almost non-existent to effects and drums, where only a tongue of venom is left to tell the story of the future wastelands...
The final band on this album is Shadowgrave, who offers two tracks just as the other bands, but a full fifteen minutes of music. Shadowgrave offer a black/doom approach with some actual death metal growls bringing the only death metal to a disc that is soaked in the grim atmospheres of black metal. "Ashes Under The Grave 6:15" is a great way to open their showcase, witch includes a rather nice solo and dark but catchy, lead riffs. As for the closer, let's just call it the main dish of their performance. "The Omen 9:00" is almost a fucking masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, with more emphasis on the doom/death portion of the band where they seem to excel much more than with black metal. Being a man who absolutely loves death/doom, (and is pining in anticipation of listening to the new The Fall Of Every Season) I'm definitely hearing some formidable death doom in this band, which while in their infancy - still have proven to me that they have what it takes to cut the mustard (however the fuck you do that.) But I think that the clean vocal portion of the track still needs a little bit of work. Of course, the gentlemen on gravel control comes in and makes things better again, making me realize once again why I like these guys. You guys can do whatever you want, it's not my band or anything; but I really feel that you're much more proficient as a doom/death act and should really move in that direction. Again, you're talking to a guy that absolutely loves doom/death and I'm finding some fucking wonderful things here. It greatly reminds me of early November's Doom, My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun, The Fall Of Every Season, and Saturnus as well as many others who I just cannot think of right now. Chances are, that if you like slow, melodic doom with the deepest of growls; you'll fucking like this one.
All three of the bands on this disc are different, unique and worth checking out. They're all in their early stages here, but I hope to hear more from every one of these bands. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and I am privileged to promote it. This compilation is available on bandcamp as a Name Your Price release. I recommend that you get your hands on it.
Highlights: Go check them all out. (6 tracks 32:00)