Coma Cluster Void- 2018 Interview

ccv bandphoto green sept2017

It is my upmost pleasure to announce a very cool interview for Technical Music Review…..the obscure and dissonant Coma Cluster Void!  These guys (and gals) are a band based out of, well…..a few countries.  The big name metalheads will immediately know is Mike Disalvo one of the vocalists……he was the vocalist Crypotopsy as well.  It has taken almost 2 months to complete this interview and I truly hope you enjoy it.


Mike DiSalvo (Vocals), Austin Taylor (Vocals), Genevieve DiSalvo (Vocals), Chris Burrows (Drums), Sylvia Hinz (Bass, Vocals), John Strieder (Guitars)

Thanks to the internet (when people aren’t debating their lives away or airing dirty laundry) for finding this insanely cool and unusual band. What makes them stand out from your average metal band? Well, lets start with the fact guitarist John Strieder uses 10 string guitars and isn’t really a fan of guitar picks.  Is that enough? No….there’s four vocalists! John also loves dissonance, which is also proved through his classical compositions. He also used strings on their debut album Mind Cemeteries.  They also released an equally as creepy and killer EP last year that powered its way onto my best of 2017 list Thoughts From A Stone.

Truth is……music in general has been watered down for years now. Thankfully I ran into this bands original work.  Coma Cluster Void goes against commercial beliefs, and stick to their own beliefs and opinions.  They are truly original, and are like nobody….which makes them just as amazing as the rest. Now, onto the interview. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.


TMR: What inspired John to use 10 string guitars? Extended range is popular these days but why the biggest guitar of them all?

John: Haha! There are multiple factors that led to this instrument. First of all, the tuning. If you write tonal music, the standard tuning is certainly a convenient tuning. But I have no interest in that kind of music, so when I went into guitars, the first thing was to find a tuning that makes the instrument suitable for my kind of music.
My tuning reduces the range, so it was logical to compensate this with more strings. But this leads to another advantage for my writing: For me, melody is often unfolded harmony. And in fact, all melodies on our albums are such unfolded harmonies where the notes ring into each other. Having more strings enlargens the possibilities. And last but not least my inspiration to have really low strings came from the band Crowbar who tuned down to B already in 1988!

TMR: I love Crowbar too! Every metalhead shouldn’t need an explanation of their greatness.



TMR: What motivated the band to write such unusual and interesting music combining dissonance, down tuning and orchestral arrangements? There’s barely any band I can truly compare you guys to, and that would be an insult because there is absolutely nothing like you guys out there!

John: Thanks for the kind words! Well, no special motivation needed, it’s just how I think and write music. Music (and art in general) is something were you can truly be free – given you allow yourself to be an individual. Conventions and boundaries don’t interest me, they are not mine. I just express my feelings with music to the best of my ability.

Mike: Simply put, John is writing some of the most innovative and interesting material I have ever heard . It’s just such cutting edge songwriting with a tremendous sense of unbridled brutality and beauty that I gravitated towards it and felt immediately comfortable with being part of the project. It was an easy decision.

Chris: Upon listening to John’s first demos, I knew he had something to offer as a composer / bandleader no one else in metal did. He consistently encouraged novel rhythmic ideas that would be typically thrown out in every other project because most ensembles couldn’t handle tackling rhythm and stacked dissonance at such a high standard, while also making it musical and emotive. I’ve pursued countless hours practicing polyrhythms, polymeters, syncopation, grids, and rhythmic space that I couldn’t pass an opportunity to contribute to albums that are as meticulously composed as it is beautiful, unrelenting chaos.

Sylvia: It feels totally natural to play this music, and to be a part of John’s wild ideas – no way to say no to something like this!

Austin: It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I had lost faith in death metal but John’s demos had revived it. How could I say no?

Chris: There is always a feeling of excitement you get from joining a quality ensemble, especially one that you feel will push you to new limits as a musician and perhaps even as a person.


TMR: Where do you guys come up with the inspiration for your lyrics? There’s some weird sets I’ve noticed. It adds to the creepy themes you guys have mastered so far.

Mike: I generally get inspired by human emotions, typically on the darker side of life. I have always found it easier to write from a negative perspective. For whatever reason, it’s like “emptying the garbage” for me. Clear out the negativity through words. It’s not always personal, I do reckon with what others have experienced, or in TFAS’s case, it was purely based in storytelling with a linear appeal to where we all stand today. I draw from as many sources as I can, I think it’s important to do that.



TMR: Are there plans for any sort of live show at any point? I have a feeling it would be very dark and creepy if you ever do.

John: No plans yet … bringing together five people from Oregon, Michigan, Montreal and Berlin on one stage – also considering the various other commitments of the members – seems to be impossible as of now.

Sylvia: But never say never;)

John: However, XelmYa (Sylvia on recorders, Alexa on violin and guests) tours quite a lot (next station: Tehran, Iran), and they also play compositions by me. Chris tours with different bands, and would be happy to hold drum clinics for CCV and other material.

TMR: What inspired the band name and where was it derived from?

John: In a predecessing project, I had a song named “Lux Aeterna Void”. “Lux Aeterna” means “Eternal Light”. The song and song name depicts a depressive image of the hoped eternal light being just a void, a black hole. The Coma Cluster of galaxies became a real-world meaning for “Lux Aeterna”. Also, Cluster chords are my favourite kind of chords and are used throughout our records (and my music in general) in all different kinds and flavours.


TMR: What inspired John to not use picks? I saw the one play through video and it blew my mind as a guitarist.

John: It’s just how I started to play guitar. I use the flesh of the fingers similar to like harpists. Not using a plectrum gives interesting opportunities, like using more than one finger to play a chord using strings that are not next to each other. In general, I just do what works best for me.

Sylvia: *cough* i am the one using a pick – the skin at my fingertips is simply too thin for playing the bass without it.

TMR: How tough is it to keep these unusual rhythms and tempo changes under control especially from Chris’s and Sylvia’s points of view in regards to the rhythm section? There’s so many odd sections and speed changes it takes serious talent and patience to perfect this music you all are creating.

Sylvia: Haha, yeah, sometimes it’s tough, but always fun & definitely worth all that work. In my case, dealing with weird-ish rhythms in contemporary classical music is helping a lot

.John: These tempo changes are actually changes of the subdivisions, like from regulars to triplets or quintuplets. So there’s always one tempo each song (the whole “Thoughts From A Stone” is based on 80 bpm!) as a red thread. Somehow Chris and I are both no fans of arbitrary tempo changes, we prefer to have calculative relationships.
About the rhythms, I want them to be expressive and convey certain feelings. Making a note longer or shorter can add a lot of tension – or release.

Chris: There’s no speed/tempo changes, every new rhythmic motif is modulated fluidly and precisely. Though it sounds like we’re high on ayahuasca or falling down the stairs simultaneously, we have an intricate road map that guides and prepares us for each section.

John: Aya … wut?


TMR: What initially motivated everyone to get into classical music and eventually adding orchestral parts to Coma Cluster Void as well?

John: It’s just my way of thinking music (melody, harmony, rhythm) poured into different ensembles of instruments. For me, it’s the same, just different instruments. It seemed logical to me to frame the “metal songs” with this side of my music on our records. But also, contemporary “classical music“ is where I came from. I was always a metal listener, but starting a band came many years later.

Sylvia: As a classically trained musician, my musical socialization began with baroque and renaissance music, much Bach, and also contemporary music and jazz.

TMR: How come there aren’t any videos of John playing the classical pieces he has written? I personally loved “To Abandon Oneself”.

John: Thanks! Well, in classical music, composers and performers are specialised. Composers spend their time in mastering the craft of composition, and performers spend their time mastering the craft of performace and interpretation. So for me it’s rather weird to play in Coma Cluster Void – and I still see myself primarily as the composer in the band.

TMR: What led to Sylvia’s choice of the recorder and inspirations behind it? Excuse my lack of knowledge on the instrument, my only experience with one was the cheap plastic ones we were supplied with in grade school…!

Sylvia: I started playing the recorder at age 7, first in a group at the music school from the second year on together with a friend. Since I grew up in the country side near the coast, sounds of wind and water were always present, and for me are best represented by the instrument recorder. Being a professional player, I often hear remarks like yours – it’s a pity that the instrument is rarely played on a concert level because children are tortured with it in school. Feel invited to explore my music and my videos on youtube and soundcloud ( / )! the recorder is an amazing instrument.

ccv_sylvia hinz and recorders

TMR: John you mentioned you did the artwork for both CCV releases and Thoren’s Brennenburg….do you have any other drawings/paintings/artworks you have done you would like to promote or share?

John: I do mixed media paintings on canvas and paper, but also digital artworks for my own band and other bands. There’ll be a lot more in the future (more dark, more grim), but for now there’s some recent, old and very old stuff on my deviantart-account:

TMR: The most overused, stereotypical and annoying question in any interview that is asked every time……any new music on the horizon? 🙂

John: Definitely!!! I already have a good concept for the next record, and I’m full of riffs and ideas 😉

TMR: Thoughts From A Stone has a vinyl version I’m tempted to grab……any plans for Mind Cemeteries? The record itself looks hauntingly beautiful as well. That’s one thing I like from current vinyl releases, a lot of them are very artsy….my favorite being Between The Buried & Me’s Parallax EP and Parallax 2 full length box set vinyls. Absolutely stunning.

John: Yeah, I love good looking records and booklets you can dive into. Something that demonstrates to the listener that our music is everything to us. It was a great opportunity to create an etched vinyl. And indeed, a vinyl version of “Mind Cemeteries” is in the making. Thanks to the good people at Translation Loss!



TMR: Who are some of your current favorite bands in the technical/progressive scene and the metal scene as well? And do any of you feel bands overdo themselves just to grab attention? That tends to happen occasionally in those genres.

John: My favourites are death metal bands especially of the 90’s that pushed metal to new heights and wrote albums that continue to be a great listen. Well-known bands like Morbid Angel, or forgotten ones like Excruciate.

Sylvia: Since i am constantly surrounded by sounds and noises, i don’t listen to music at all – only to the stuff my collaborators send to me for remixes or whatever action required. my favourite artist is silence.

Mike: For technical metal bands, I really dig Gigan, Artificial Brain and Gorguts to name a few. I am a big progressive rock/metal fan so I relate to that style more. Some of what I am or have been listening to are Caligula’s Horse, Wobbler, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Opeth, Anekdoten and Mondo Drag. This just scratches the surface because I listen to alot of prog. I do find some of the tech bands are too over the top for my taste. What I find happens is that, yeah they can play but it ends up lacking any real soul. Personal preference, that’s all.

Chris: Symphony X, Sikth, Meshuggah, and Opeth laid the groundwork for everything about great composition in progressive metal to my ears. There are many others of course but if I had to choose the top 4 it would be them.

TMR: What are you guys listening to these days in general and who are your favorite artists and bands?

John: In the metal realm, Albums like Cannibal Corpse’s „The Bleeding“ or Crowbar’s self-titled never cease to be a joyful listen. For dissonant art music, I have to mention Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern, Ruth Crawford, György Ligeti, Sofia Gubaidulina, Brian Ferneyhough, Isabel Mundry, Rebecca Saunders, …

Sylvia: Rarely i listen to old school punk oder stuff like bone dance or einstürzende neubauten to survive bureaucratism.

Mike: All I do is listen to music. It’s a sickness I think, haha. I am heavily spinning the last two Tribulation records, all Hexvessel, the new Steven Wilson, Dunbarrow, the Miles Davis electric era, Pallbearer-Heartless, Dungen, Neurosis, Songs: Ohia, Spelljammer, Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen…….damn I could go on and on…

John: So in other words, when Mike is finished with all the listening, there’s nothing left for Sylvia anyway.

Chris: These days Thoren, Jordan Rakei w/ Richard Spaven, and Kimbra (lots of other trip pop artsists, too) are my #1 listening pleasures.

TMR: How did such a band from totally different parts of the world come together? Its not like you all live in the same neighborhood…..this is totally unique.

John: I just searched for the best musicians willing to go on a ride with me 😉

Sylvia: A couple of lucky coincidences & loads of listening & tons of messages – voilà!



TMR: How was it going from a heavy and technical band like Cryptopsy to CCV for you Mike? They’re both metal, there’s no denying that….but they aren’t even remotely close as far as sound goes. Did you want to try something totally different you haven’t done before?

Mike: Yes for sure, the last thing I want to do is to repeat what I have done in the past. The past is the past, it’s all about moving forward. I never want to rehash the same shit. That said, there is a style to what I do that is wholly me but by opening yourself up to different approaches, it certainly helps you grow as a musician. I love a challenge and CCV has given me a chance to bring different ideas to the table, in a very extreme manner of course.

TMR: If any members have any music or art in general they want to plug in they have released or working on, please feel free to do so right here.

Sylvia: I have several ensembles, the most active ones are XelmYa, (a trio with me on recorders, Alexa Renger on violin and guests on violoncello: ), and Umbratono (a mexican-german collaboration, consisting of me, and Antonio Rosales on bass clarinet, as well as guests on violin and violoncello). XelmYa can be heard on Mind Cemeteries and Thoughts From A Stone. I also do solo recitals, master classes, conducting, and other projects ( ) …

Mike: I have another project called Akurion ( ), it’s with Rob Milley on guitar (Neuraxis), Oli Pinard on bass (Cryptopsy) and Tommy McKinnon on drums (ex Neuraxis, ex Augury). We just finished up recording and it’s now in the hands of the wizard himself, John Strieder, who is handling the mixing and mastering of the album.

The album is called “Come Forth To Me” and we have several guest musicians helping out. Listen for the likes of Lord Worm, Luc Lemay, Jean-Marie Leblanc, Sylvia Hinz, Austin Taylor and Genevieve DiSalvo. It was great bringing in such talent to be a part of what we were doing. We are hopeful that the record will be released in October 2018.

John: Besides my pieces for classical instruments ( ), I’m currently revisiting a 2007 founded microtonal metal project called Infinite Nomad ( ) with Lee Fisher on drums (ex Psyopus, Commit Suicide).

Austin: I make heavy sounds in Dimensionless ( ) and recently I’ve been working on a new project: Self-Destructionist ( ).


TMR: It’s been great chatting with you guys and getting to know you all, and your artistic visions. I personally hope CCV is around forever, as are John’s uber creepy and awesome classical compositions. I have a new found respect for your group. Stay true to your art my friends.


Augury- Illusive Golden Age

Augury Illusive Golden Age cover art_preview


Augury is a Canadian Technical Death Metal band that is releasing its 3rd album tomorrow March 30th.  The band partnered up with Metal Injection to stream their album today before its official release.


Augury have outdone themselves with Illusive Golden Age.  They are a great band who deserves a lot more respect in the metal genre.  The album is one of the top releases of the year for a million reasons.  It’s definitely the peak of the band’s career so far…..I think it would take a lot to overdo this album on their next release.

The band’s soaring harmonies don’t get lost in an extremely heavy offering. Dominic Lapointe’s bass playing shines throughout the album as it did when he was in Beyond Creation in the past.  Patrick and Mathieu’s guitar playing is equally as impressive throughout Golden Illusive Age.  Antoine’s drumming is very, very entertaining throughout this masterpiece.  He can easily hold down a beat, then go all out crazy the next section.  There’s many great drum fills I enjoyed that made my limbs feel extremely sore just listening to them…..It’s out of this world great.

Augury is:
Patrick Loisel – Vocals, Guitars
Mathieu Marcotte (Humanoid) – Guitars
Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (First Fragment,  ex-Beyond Creation) – Bass
Antoine Baril (Contemplator) – Drums

Patrick’s vocals also add quite a black metal feel to many of their sections as well.  It’s very obvious the band has outdone itself on Illusive Golden Age and only makes you wonder what else is in store for the band after this amazing release.

In regards to the band itself, I conducted an interview with them don’t forget to check it out.  It happened to be the first scheduled interview I had completed, with 2 more on the way.  It was a landmark for TMR and is only the start of many great things for the website.

Augury- March 2018 Interview


Augury has come a long way from their first two albums Concealed and Fragmentary Evidence. As solid as the first two albums are, I also prefer Golden Illusive Age production wise. I think its spectacular! It is leaps and bounds better than the first two production jobs…..what I enjoyed the most is its very clean and not muddy at all.  The mix is great, nothing is left out between the several layers of guitar tracks bass drums and vocals.  Nothing overpowers in any of the songs which is what many producers and bands tend to aim for.



Augury_2018 Pic1_preview



Unflesh- Bestowal Of Decay Track premeire



Unflesh- Bestowal Of Decay

Technical Death Metal shredders Unflesh have unmasked the first single from their debut full length album “Savior” titled Bestowal Of Decay.  This band really has a great crushing and technical sound that sooner than later will put them alongside genre greats Obscura and Beyond Creation.  The band released an EP in 2016 “Transcendence To Eternal Obscurity” with the mighty Hannes Grossman on drums (Akaloid, Ex Obscura).


Unflesh is:
Ryan Beevers (Solium Fatalis) – Vocals and Guitars
Chris Dovas (Seven Spires) – Drums
Peter De Reyna (Seven Spires) – Bass
Chris Gardino (Pathogenic, Wolfsmyth) – Guitars


Pre-order “Savior” here:

Æpoch- Awakening Inception song premeire

Æpoch band photo #1_preview

Awakening Inception (feat. Enrico Di Lorenzo of Hideous Divinity)

Remember Tabula Rasa? Well, the title track of Æpoch’s upcoming debut full length is as crazy as the first song.  The band has an unlimited amount of potential.  Now lets remember this band is very new……they have perfectly crafted their own sound to the point it’s like they have been around for a few decades already.  On top of their matured songwriting, they tapped Hideous Divinity’s vocalist to make a guest appearance on the track as well.

 Æpoch Fretless Bassist/Vocalist Brett MacIntosh has this to say about the band’s debut album:
“This album is a large step forward for us, although most of the songs were started during the time of writing our ‘Æpochalypse’ EP (2015 release) as well, we have had more time to refine them. We are completely satisfied with this effort and hope the fans will enjoy what we have to offer. Awakening Inception as a whole is very dark. There’s no single concept to it, but it is generally anti-human in focus. Touching on topics such as misanthropy in” Burn Them At The Stakes”, to night terrors/sleep paralysis in “Awakening Inception”, to space and science to mental illness in “Delirium Of Negation”. “Serenity Of Non-Existence” is even about an out of body experience I had when I was younger.”

This album is slating up to be one of the most unheard of releases of the year…..and extremely shattering. It’s very tough to build up attention and gain the respect of your peers as a musician especially in such an unusual and artistic genre.  I fully believe Æpoch will turn heads and kick ass with their debut album that will be out in a few weeks on April 13th.  One thing is for sure…….the band has made their mark with a very impressive debut full length.  Let’s hope the rest of the world sees this in the same light.


Pre order “Awakening Inception” now!

Thanks for everything Frank Mullen!


The face…..the sound…..the epitome of legendary death metal band Suffocation Frank “The Tank” Mullen who has been the band’s only vocalist (minus fill ins since 2012 on tour when he picked up a full time job that demands lots of hours) in its 30+ year existence.  That is old as myself……holy crap. Anyways, he posted a video on his Facebook fan page stating a tour at the end of this year will be his last with the band who knows if he might just stay on to record albums.  We unfortunately know he’s done with shows but maybe just be a part of the albums from here on out……but if he can’t handle that anymore, personally I want to thank the man for everything he has done for such an obscure genre of heavy metal.  Suffocation was one of the first bands that got me into death metal outside of other legendary acts such as Obituary, Death, Morbid Angel, Possessed and later on Decapitated.

He was never a slacker at all……he helped put together some of the most memorable albums in death metal.  “Effigy Of The Forgotten”, “Pierced From Within”, “Breeding The Spawn” and “Human Waste” ring any bells metalheads? The latest offering “Of The Dark Light” is also turning into another Suffocation classic as well.



What set apart Mullen apart from your average extreme metal vocalist wasn’t his talent or poise…..but his admirable personality.  He had serious fun in an extremely unprofitable genre. He was very funny and uplifting, which you wouldn’t expect out of an average frontman for a death metal band.  Would he be in this long haul for it? Death Metal doesn’t pay the bills folks, lets be real.  That’s what came down to it all for Frank…..and he did it for as long as you could.  This is why its super important to support the music you’re into especially if its obscure and not popular…..theres lots of financial trouble.  Suffocation being one of the best death metal bands since the genre’s beginning in the later part of the 1980’s is still very lucky to be able to do what they love to do.

As a native of the Buffalo region in New York, I have a closer bond to the guys in Suffocation (who originated in Long Island….close enough, same state right?). I remember seeing the band at the old Club Infinity in Williamsville when they released “Blood Oath” when the classic lineup was together for the millionth time….

Frank Mullen- vocals

Terrence Hobbs- guitars

Guy Marchias- guitars

Derek Boyer- Bass

Mike Smith- Drums

Sadly that was the only time I saw Mullen, but also the only time I saw Mike Smith (another favorite drummer of mine in the death metal game) who left and joined the band countless times. I wasn’t totally into the genre then, and one local band (I forgot who) may have been on the bill and stayed late enough to check them out. I was just getting past Between the Buried & Me and Lamb Of God vocally I wasn’t always into growling so it took getting used to.  Good god, they kicked my ass.  Not just the sweet shred work of death metal’s best guitar duo but Frank’s insane amount of energy that catapulted the band to one of the best performances I’ve seen of any band.

Some of my favorite Suffocation tracks:

Clarity Through Deprivation

Thrones Of Blood


Pierced From Within


From the bottom of my heart…..thanks for everything Mr. Mullen. You fronted one of the greatest death metal bands, and one of the most underrated metal bands in general (should be up in the same legions as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest go ahead fight me!).  Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on Frank and the band. Hail Suffocation. Hail Frank.


Pestilent Reign- Pyres

Pestilent Reign is a technical/groove death metal band from Germany.  “Pyres” is slated to be released on March 16th with two EP’s to the band’s credits.   The debut full length is extremely important to a new band but in this case is extremely groundbreaking.  Pyres starts out with a line from Alex Jones….you know it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

The technicality from Pestilent Reign is downright filthy… Dying Fetus groovy. This is not an exaggeration.  The guitar work is out of this world……a great mix of heavy rhythm and melody.  It isn’t too fancy, and far from boring… should make any guitarist smile ear to ear.  The drumming is very heavy and straightforward.

Gutter’s Filth

The theme and lyrics behind the album are very generic yet very real.  The band’s goal was to expose human idiocy, religious bigotry and injustice…..all 3 very real issues in this world.  Can you blame someone being fed up with such travesties? Not at all.  I think it’s fresh to see popular issues in this world talked (growled, in this case) about in the extreme world rather than random grotesque unimportant song titles.


Pestilent Reign is here to melt faces and make your necks hurt for days on end.  Pyres is a stellar debut and only can go up from here.  There is untapped and unlimited potential in this band.  The vocalist seems to have unlimited energy…..the whole band itself is relentless.  If you don’t get a shot of adrenaline from this band then you must definitely be of another planet.

I hope you enjoy the two songs and preorder the album before its release date.  It would mean a lot to the guys especially starting out.  Any bands sales in their first week are important to a new release…..don’t wait and get your hands on this record ASAP.

Rising Nemesis Records Store:
Apple Music
Google Play
iTunes Pre-Order Link
Apple Music Pre-Order Link



Æpoch Song Premeire

Æpoch is a technical death metal band from Canada that is releasing its debut album “Awakening Inception” on Friday April 13th. The band released its first single from the album today titled “Tabula Rasa”.

So many great progressive and technical death metal bands are coming out of the great white north… that a new trend? If this single doesn’t convince you to preorder their debut album, well then…..what is there to say? Enjoy this shredly single from Æpoch.

Tabula Rasa

Pre-orders for Awakening Inception can be found at the following links:​

Greg Carvalho – Drums (Brazen Bull, ex Ostium Nex, live for Becomes Astral)
Brett MacIntosh – 5 string Fretless Bass / Lead Vocals (Brazen Bull)
Kyle Edissi – Guitar / Backing Vocals (on “Time: Perspective” & “The Expiration”) (Invicta, Raider)
Taylor Wroblewski – Guitar (Brazen Bull)

Augury- March 2018 Interview

The first ever completed interview for Technical Music Review was conducted with Canadian Technical Death Metal wizards Augury.  The band is promoting their upcoming release “Illusive Golden Age”.  The band has had two prior releases to their upcoming release…..”Concealed” in 2004 and “Fragmentary Evidence” in 2009.

TMR: How was the songwriting different for Illusive Golden Age compared to Fragmentary Evidence or Concealed?

(Patrick Loisel- Vocals and Guitar) 

It wasn’t that different. We used the same ingredients and strategies, but perhaps in different proportions. We mostly write arrangements over each other’s riffs, that unless the composer has a specific harmony in mind or else. We don’t come with sheet music and go “Play this!”. Each song had its own modus operanti when it comes to composition. 
Some songs were written live in rehearsals, some others were studio work, you really have every way possible.

TMR: What is the meaning behind your band name?

I was inpired by some texts about the Salem Witch Trial, and then people with unusual insight or knowledge would be rounded up and accused with the “felony of augury”. Basically it means “forbidden knowledge’ It also means foreseeing the future from signs in nature but the prediction side of it came by accident; still it fits nonetheless. On previous albums, I hinted at the fact that history repeats. 
I went full force with this one. I happen to be a historian, and it’s a bit like a weather forecast but for human behaviour. We have patterns that keep returning, so we can sometimes predict how thing will go.

TMR: There were huge gaps between your albums….you guys didn’t have a drummer for a while. Did any of you feel down or felt like the band may have been done?

We all had our downs and everybody once left, but not simultaneously, and everybody ended coming back. We simply love this band too much and, most important, we were friends prior to its inception. The one thing that was harsh was the pressure to tour circa 2008-2010 and the ensuring financial and personnal recovery. We all moved several times, re-located the studio many times, lost data, got anything beside a nuclear war! We are also extremely busy.

TMR: How tough is it to carry on artistically and chemistry wise as a band with many lineup changes? It took a while to find stability in your lineup.

We kept rebulding it relentlessly, and it wasn’t that much of a problem since we stayed within the same bunch of friends. We only ditched the opera vocals after the first album;if you take a look at the rest, it’s the same instrumentalists, only Antoine recorded the drums rather than Etienne on this one. Antoine and Etienne are friends; when we had Seb and Chris on bass in 2010, Forest helped them with the songs, family stuff. What gave this impression is that we had a different touring rhythm section for each of our 09-10 tours, but that was the situation then. The three original composers are back together, so everything resumed naturally.

TMR: There’s a very original sound here…..some bands in the technical death metal and progressive death metal genres tend to sound similar. How do you guys keep on that path of originality? It’s very unique.

Thank you!! Well, it’s funny, and perhaps it’s the actual reason…we play what we like and don’t do it on purpose to sound “technical death metal”, and I actually don’t listen to it much. I am a black metal freak, I love Portal and post-black metal and some ethnic stuff. On the other hand I love Babymetal and Banghra pop music from India! The other members exhibit a similar dichotomy in musical choices, and each of us could go for long with contradictory tastes. The technical death metal we initially listened to the most when we started was French band Symbyosis, Anata and lots of local bands such as Obliveon , Gorguts, Cryptopsy and Martyr.

TMR: How did you score one of the best bass players in the scene in Dominic? You guys know you have a tech death prodigy in your band…..right? Haha

Forest is a founding member of Augury and our original bass player since the beggining back in 2002. We actually met 20 years ago and I remember seeing him live with one of his old bands in the mid 90’s. He came back, but everyone talks like if he joined for the very first time. That is hilarious! We did score him…before everyone else! 
Augury current line up photo_preview
TMR: What feels different this time around with “Illusive Golden Age” compared to your first two albums in general? Writing style, production, producers, different recording style or technology…..anything applies. 
(Patrick- Vocals and Guitar)
We wrote pretty much the same way than with the two others ; I would say that ”Illusive”  sits halfway between both since we wanted a more organic production and perhaps more gloomy ambiances. One big difference is that we recorded it ourselves. Antoine recorded the drums at his studio and Mat recorded everything else with me handling the comp while Mat was recoding his parts. Thus I learned ”space bar…3”! But actually I couldn’t turn on Pro-Tools. Mat had to show me.
Mat and myself even built an isolated booth to prevent my vocals from scaring neighbours!
TMR: Have you guys learned anything from your first two albums and recording your latest full length?
Personnaly I would say that we learned to turn our backs from pressures and standards, and do things our way. It is the first album where I am fully satisfied with every detail and have no regrets. And I mean it’s like my 10th recording and I am in my late-40’s!!!  We once got imposed a mastering that we disliked, and image that wasn’t us, covers that had nothing to do with the lyrical content.  Another thing was that being realistic, and stopping to pretend we could live off music one day was kind of liberating. I feel bad for those bands who have to pump out new songs in order to have new material because a tour is coming, or who have to alter their songwriting to fit into a trend. Those days are over.
TMR: You were on Nuclear Blast at one point I saw…..big metal label.  What happened? If you feel comfortable answering this….if not you guys can skip this question.
Well the American side of it treated us very well and did their best to help. Sadly, the main entity in Europe saw us as lesser priority. When we started with them it was all about being squeezed in a mold and getting pressures to drop everything in order to tour all the time. I was shopping for a house, I was about to get married etc. and got told to forget all about it since I will tour all year long. My other commitments were disregarded as childish tantrums and everything crumbled… I still pay debts from the 2009 tours. Luckily I was able to start over and resume my teaching career. Lots of people would have quit being in this situation in their 20’s, I was 40! The fact that I still do music nowadays have people scratch their heads. Stubborn is my middle name!
TMR: How do you guys like The Artisan Era so far? I wrote a feature on them recently and I love a lot of the bands they signed…..and you guys are no exception.
Well, this is like night and day. Specifically, I am an artisan myself (build custom guitars at home) and I just dig the overall attitude and values. The staff and associated bands are cool and funny, whatever I can glimpse from that bunch makes me want to take a plane and go party with them.  They are into content rather than pompous gimmicks. I am out of words to say it properly but it’s like that label was made for us.
TMR: Do you guys have any shows coming up to support Illusive Golden Age? 
First we do Eastern Canada in April and May. Then we will see what is within reach for short stints since we are not available for long tours since we are still solidifying our professional situations. We will see if in the future if we can make ourselves available a bit longer. Fact is : The less pressure we put on ourselves over this, the more likely it will happen.
TMR: If any of you have any other projects or art you want to promote feel free to link them here and chat about them here.
Mathieu is about to finish a new Humanoid album that took him years to record. It’s like a monument of a billion tracks. Forest and Antoine are involved in enough band to fill a top 10. As for myself, I wrote a small book to explain the obscure references behind the lyrics. I am also training on drums and intend to record a few solo albums in the next few years. I save my guitar ideas for Augury, so whenever I play with someone else it’s always on drums. I also wrote a few drum parts on ”Illusive” and filmed myself with a cellphone to show them to Antoine. He took it to another level, like you give him a kite and he makes a space shuttle out of it. BTW Antoine also plays additionnal solos on the album. He totally outshines me as a soloist!
Here are a few tracks the band have put online before Illusive Golden Age is released.  If you haven’t preordered already, you should stop slacking and get on it. Enjoy these killer tracks. This album is set to release officially on March 30th.
Augury Illusive Golden Age cover art_preview.jpeg

Unique Leader Records & The Artisan Era….Get familiar with these labels and their bands

I may be promoting these labels with just a bit of bias, but in my defense what bands they’re signing and promoting are groundbreaking.  I have nothing against the larger, prominent record labels that gave legendary metal bands their chances back in the day.  In my honest and almost objective opinion, these two labels have not only some of the better metal bands of any subgenre but also the most young potent bands just starting out I’m hoping will make serious dents in heavy and progressive music.

The Artisan Era

My homies in The Artisan Era are based out of Nashville and are as fresh as 2014 in it’s FOURTH YEAR of existence! That is how new they are to the metal community.   Now for my favorite bands from this young label.

A Loathing Requiem is an instrumental project by Malcom Pugh (Inferi, Virulent Depravity, Ex-Diskreet, Ex- Enfold Darkness) who initially intended it to be an experiment.  However, he has pumped out a few albums and plans on working on another one at one point as his primary focus is his band Inferi and the record label.  The website compares Malcom’s albums to Necrophagist which is some obscure stuff in the tech world (a great band that lasted 2 albums which is most likely done, but still heavily influential for many technical death metal and progressive bands and artists) and quite a comparison.

Augury These guys are freaks of nature, and I mean that in a good way. They are a progressive death metal band out of Canada.  They’re releasing a new album in the next few months you should keep an eye on.  The linked song should convince you to preorder that bad boy.  Their debut album “Concealed” was released in 2004 after they were founded in 2001.  The followup “Fragmentory Evidence” was released in 2009 and the band plans to release their 3rd full length album “Illusive Golden Age” this year. Don’t sleep on these dudes either.

Dark Matter Secret This is a highly impressive Instrumental Progressive/Technical Death Metal band started by guitar aficionado Denis Shvarts and Pavel Semin (of the AMAZING Irreversible Mechanism you definitely need to check out).  They’re very technical…..and very perfect.  There’s hints of jazz sprinkled throughout the debut album “Perfect World Creation” that was a part of my best of 2017 list for many reasons.  Stop reading this and pull up that album right now……that’s an order.

Inanimate Existence This band is quite possibly my favorite on this label.  They’re a Progressive Death Metal/Technical Death Metal band based out of California.  They captured my ears when I heard their 3rd release “Calling From a Dream” primarily between not just guitar work but the beautiful inconsistency of growls and a female voice.  Now that is the only album so far there’s singing and hope they try it again at one point it’s a modern day masterpiece of an album.  Their main songwriter and guitarist Cameron Porras is a stud on guitar none of his work bores me ever.  He has great speed and clarity in his guitar leads, and also very great melodies scattered throughout his band’s offerings the more I listen to them.  The latest release “Underneath A Melting Sky” is linked above which is barely 8 months into public exposure…..the crazy part is over the holidays Cameron was already writing a follow up! And not only that, the band has it demoed and ready to start recording in the fall! I love how busy the band keeps themselves striving to be better and pumping out music.  I hope it is as great as Underneath A Melting Sky.


Inferi is another heavy hitter from The Artisan Era.  This is Malcom Pugh’s mainstay in the Technical Death Metal/Melodic Metal vibe.  They have currently released 2 albums to date with the 3rd on its way in a few months. Behold The Bearer Of Light is the first single released from their upcoming release “Revenant”.  It’s a technical and crushing track……oh, and this Trevor guy from Black Dahlia Murder is a guest vocalist. What could possibly go wrong here? Nothing. This is a killer band to watch out for in the near future.

All the bands on Artisan Era are solid, these handful being my favorite.  Also included on the label: Enfold Darkness, Equipose, Graveslayer, Order Of Diptera and Oubliette.




This label is equally as heavy as Artisan Era who specializes in death metal but also wanders into the tech side of the genre just not as much as the Artisan Era.  A lot of the bands I have been getting into recently in these genres also reside on Unique Leader.  Now for my favorites…..

Abominable Putridity is heavy as hell and just as technical.  They will instantly make you want to mosh and wreck your vehicle.  They’re a death metal band from Russia.  Odd enough I’ve been finding some killer bands from their neck of the woods…..maybe they like to do more than drink vodka and play hockey. Russians also like to write some heavy ass death metal as well. Check these dudes out and throw your Avenged Sevenfold discs to Goodwill!

Alterbeast is a kiler technical death metal band based out of California who just released their sophomore record “Feast” on February 23rd……Check out my article of the album if you haven’t already. Their blistering guitar work and super fast drumming can’t be ignored.  Their vocalist has such an extreme range of low and high growls it keeps your blood pumping for so long. These dudes can’t simply be ignored and will only get better over time.

Arkaik released one of the best technical albums last year “Nemethia”.  Just like Alterbeast, Arkaik also resides in California.  Arkaik is a very technical and intense band that is a bit more experimental and progressive than most of the bands on Unique Leader which immediately drew me to them.  Don’t sleep on these guys either they really know how to play their instruments.

Beheaded is a great death metal band from Malta who has been around since 1991! There’s so many great extreme bands that the less popular (ironically talking about popularity in death metal when its very underground) bands who have stood the test of time are still around.  I’ve only known about them for a few years now and hot damn they’re heavy and can hold a great groove.  They have a very classic death metal sound that is for the fans of groove not so much the technicality.  This band should be in every metalhead’s rotation.

Cognitive is a progressive death metal band from New Jersey who is just keeps coming back for more. They’re currently working on new music and playing a handful of shows in April supporting their 2016 release “Deformity”.  They have a very original edge to their sound and never leave you hanging. Cognitive brings it, don’t putz around on this band.

Cytotoxin is one of the best kept secrets in all of heavy metal.  They can make any popular band look like a fool. Their guitar work is all over the place matched with extremely thunderous drumming and very heavy vocals.  Their style is so unique and incomparable it is best explained with their insane music.  In their short existence Cytotoxin has dramatically improved on each album especially on their latest release “Gammageddon”.

Deeds Of Flesh is another unsung hero in the extreme metal scene like Beheaded.  They have been around since 1993 and have commanded the ears of the tech community for quite some time now.  Their relentless fretwork and dedication to originality has kept them a mainstay in extreme music for a long time now.  I am new to this band within the last 2 to 3 years just like Beheaded.  I wish I knew of this band a long time ago….but you know better late than never, if you believe in that saying.

Disgorge is another band of the same realm that has been around since the early 90’s. They are a brutal death metal band with grind core influences as well.  They’re relentless and always full of energy.  Their punishing vocalists over the years have had such a heavy sound you can’t even make out one word……that’s br00tal. Levi Fuseiler, Matti Way, Nate Twyman and current vocalist Angel Ochoa have fronted a classic band with such power and stage presence as well.

Dyscarnate is a great technical and groove death metal band out of England that I just discovered last year who has been around for almost a decade now.  The band is full of groove and technicality all over the board.  What is most impressive is they are a 3 piece band which is very tough to pull off these days.  Don’t scroll past this and listen to their music they will show you why they are one of the most overlooked bands right now.

First Fragment is a perfect band.  They’re a progressive and technical death metal band from Montreal Canada…..whose lyrics are French.  What isn’t to love about this band? Amazing guitarists….a bassist that basically plays like a lead guitar player…..the heaviness… feels like there are no mistakes or loopholes with these guys.  They are a well crafted and well oiled tech death machine who doesn’t feel afraid to experiment from time to time.  There are mumblings they are working on the follow up to their debut album which I’m totally excited for.

Hideous Divinity is a crazy technical death metal band currently based out of Italy.  These guys are far from generic and boring.  They have crafted such great groove and technicality that it leaves you thinking about them for months on end.  They aren’t a tech band that writes to show off their talent…..HD knows how to slam, and know how to fire up the fretboards.  They have a few albums out and now have a crazy opportunity playing with tech death legends ORIGIN! If you live in Europe go to one of their shows….please. Your ears will be filled with so many notes you won’t be able to function.

Ingested Make no mistake these guys are one of my favorite modern death metal bands.  They’re so groovy and add a new level of brutality it makes Metallica look like a pop band.  Seriously if you don’t know about Great Britain’s slam kings then now is the time. I urge you to……now.

Internal Bleeding is a killer classic death metal band from good ‘ol New York…..Long Island, specifically. Another great band also is out of the same city……..Suffocation, I think you have heard of them right?  Anyways these guys have been impressively trekking on since their drummer and founding member Bill Tolley recently passed away in the line of duty as a volunteer fireman. Internal Bleeding is a great group of guys that carry on the band that Tolley helped start that has been a growing name in death metal for a long time.

Oblivion is a very cool band that has been growing on me.  Their first album “Called To Rise” was such a unique offering it caused a bit of a stir in the metal community.  Not only was it another technical offering, but it had a lot of orchestral strings all over the album…..they’re much more than another extreme metal band.  Its such a cool album I can’t really put a finger on it. Their second release “The Path Towards” found its way on my best of 2017 feature for a million reasons.  The tasteful guitar solos and straight up heaviness in comparison to Called To Rise makes one wonder how much more this band can do.  Guitar duals and catchy rhythms are all over this technical extravaganza.  They also have a great sense of the genre with members who used to be in The Zenith Passage and All Shall Perish.

Organectomy are New Zealnders that demand your attention right now.  They have a very heavy debut “Domain Of The Wretched” that blends nearly every extreme genre you can think of.  They are possibly the best death metal band out of their country right now and have a lot of potential right now.  They also found their way onto my 2017 best releases article for countless reasons. Let their music do the growling for you.

The Zenith Passage is the brainchild of guitarist Justin Mckinney.  This band is very, very good and I really don’t mean it like any other band.  These guys are very experimental and very original.  They stay true to their death metal rules but bring a lot of technicality to the shredding table. It would be foolish for anyone to let this band slip off of their radar.

Now, there’s a crap ton more artists on Unique Leader (around 50 or more) I just hit the tip of the iceberg with my personal favorites. I might go check out the rest of their roster after this article is finished for all you know.

After such a long article, it’s time to check out all of these bands on both labels.  There’s so much commercialized and generalized metal that is so dumbed down to me.  I think both of these labels have signed such unique acts that can easily be differentiated and aren’t lost in translation.  I honestly wish the best for both of these labels and am constantly keeping up with the new bands they sign and promote.

Stay metal.



Alterbeast- Feast

The tech death freaks have returned with a sophomore release that may have just topped their debut Immortal.  Now if you have the cash to buy a watered down coffee, you can buy your favorite bands music to keep them up and running especially if it’s direct not through a label…..don’t be a jerk. Now with my artistic point of view “buy your music” rant out of the way lets get to some killer technical death metal.

The Alterbeast gentlemen are based out of California signed on Unique Leader records.  Feast was just released today February 23rd 2018.  I heard it on the way into work today, on the way back home and another spin through since I got home…..and I’ve heard the lead single “Apex Night Eclipse” a handful of times since its release not too long ago. I think it’s safe to say I’ve had enough time to digest this monstrous album and been listening to it today in my travels on repeat with nothing else getting in its ferocious way.  Immortal was an impressive debut, but honestly have to say Feast is equally or just as impressive.

For the extreme fans you will notice right away 1 of the 9 tracks is not an original…….yes, they covered DISSECTION! And good grief did they slay it……stereotypically speaking lots of new bands don’t always credit past artists/bands but this is awesome to see for a new band to the music scene.  They covered “Where Dead Angels Lie” that would have definitely made the Dissection guys very happy.

Fretboard wise……these guys make me want to put down a guitar. They seriously have obnoxiously amazing guitar work.  There are parts of their songs that actually hold a groove but honestly half the time they’re ripping super quick licks on super quick speed. It’s like they would rather be all over the guitar rather than hold a groove just LISTENING to their songs makes my hands hurt as a fellow guitarist. The whole album is a relentless onslaught of heaviness and over the top technicality that you just can not possibly get bored at all.  They definitely have overdone themselves on this release without a doubt.


They are currently on a killer tour to support Feast….if they are coming to your town don’t skip out on them.  They had the amazing Kennedy Veil support them through the 20th of February……Inferi is another great technical band you should listen to on this tour through the 16th of March.  And yes, the mighty Grindmother is the opening act all tour long who is that badass Canadian grandma that yells about what pisses her off in 1 minute grind core offerings.


Now you can’t always go through a technical or progressive album without some form of experimentation.  To cleanse your palettes there are a few moments where there are clean keyboard melodies at points throughout a few of the the songs which is a nice changeup.

Over the years as a guitarist I had learned to appreciate the rhythm sections of bands more and more especially my latter years as I have done some (not fully but still getting there) growing up musically expanding my tastes.  Their drummer is a serious nut job and I also don’t mean that in a negative manner same for calling them freaks they are out of this world talented.  There’s many sections where their drummer is blasting then plays these super fast fills on the toms like it’s just another day in the office.  There’s many great drum sections throughout the album that add a ton of flavor to this great record.

I was already convinced when “Apex Night Eclipse” was released that this would be a top record of the new year.  It is not even March yet, and I totally feel not much if anything could weaken this beast (terrible pun!).  The only two that most likely won’t disappoint and rival this are the upcoming offerings from Beyond Creation and Obscura which are two of the best technical death metal bands…..absolutely great company for a newer tech band to be in company with,

Trust me on this one…..stop reading this article and just go buy it.  Put in many hours at work and buy the crap out of their merchandise and get the album.  These guys deserve to be at the top tier of the technical music world especially with this record.

Feast your ears on yesterday’s early full album stream from Decibel Magazine.  Glad to say I own this record with a huge smile.  Then go buy it damnit!