Opeth didn’t write death metal…..now let’s act like a bunch of immature punks!

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If you know me well enough, one of my favorite bands that was responsible for getting me into progressive music and it’s subgenres is the legendary OPETH.  In fact, all of their albums are legendary.  I’m not the greatest guitarist by any means, may be able to hold my own but know enough music theory and have seen enough bands smaller and bigger to know what’s what.  The pricks that constantly bring down the band because they don’t write death metal into their ever so expansive sound anymore is extremely childish and borderline ignorant.  People are acting like they tossed that sound totally away.  Wanna know what’s funny? A 45 to 60 minute set can include anywhere between 6 to 8 Opeth songs and generally include 1 song from their “treacherous trio” of the last 3 albums (Heritage, Pale Communion and Sources which are FANTASTIC you elitist pricks!).  Guess what? The other couple songs are generally from the days when they wrote death metal into their sound…..people are acting like they ditched that era, and frankly haven’t.  Mikael’s voice may have softened, but when you’re in your 40’s switching between singing and growling it’ll hurt your voice even more.  Non musicians totally don’t get that and say “they’re a pussy” and to “man up” or whatever insults they’ll throw their way. IT ISN’T EASY FOLKS.  They generally end their set with MY personal favorite opeth song Deliverance, and still jam songs from Ghost Reveries and Blackwater Park as well.  Crap I saw stuff from their Candlelight Records era in a random setlist post on social media somewhere with “Advent” on their set list before! In his mid 40’s, that only gets tougher to do switching vocal styles so you have to make that choice.  Fans may have been happy if he continued down the road….but Opeth’s career would end short and not maybe even make it past 10 albums.  I personally applause Mikael, for the longevity of his great band (technically it’s not his, he joined after it started as a bassist in the late 80’s going into the 90’s).

Another complaint perfectionists and death metal elitists have is Akerfeldt is ripping off classic progressive artists. He admitted Goblin inspired him for the instrumental track from “Pale Communion”.  I think all artists do that at one point in their career, unintentionally or not it will just eventually happen there’s only so many chords and notes in the musical alphabet (words in the english language, as well).  I’ll come forward and admit it…..oh well.  I enjoy the last 3 albums as much as their first handful of albums (Deliverance being my favorite album, Ghost Reveries on the same level as that album introduced me to Opeth).  The musicianship is top notch, and Frederik got to actually write some music for a change (knowing he was a hired hand for Arch Enemy).  Akesson’s addition has made the band only stronger on lead guitar, and am admittedly a huge fan.  Yes, I loved the classic lineup with Petr and Lopez (guitar and drums respectively).  Can’t deny the talent and how important Akkeson and Axenrot have been filling two huge voids (remember Axe is in Bloodbath the death metal project Akerfeldt helped start and ended up leaving, while Martin is still their drummer).  It’s not like Opeth started writing bad music….and as egoistic as it sounds its still true a real artist writes music FOR THEMSELVES.  You don’t like the music? Tough shit, that’s what they wanted to do.  Whine about it and say they won’t be there without their fans (which is true to an extent) but how boring can one be when a band or artist releases the same album over and over?  Heritage, Pale Communion and Sorceress are fantastic albums.  Fans think they “suck” because there’s no death metal and the band is memed more because of it.  I got into Opeth because of their vast dynamics, going from progressive death metal one section then randomly cooling it down to a psychedelic or classic rock section the next moment.  Do I miss it dearly? YES! Do I constantly whine everywhere about it? NO! Why, do you ask? Because they’re still writing great music, but without death metal.

I also love Watershed, another “bad juju” album considered by the death metal fanatics of the Opeth fan cult.  In fact, it’s damn near perfect mixing their prog death metal sound and ever growing influence of classic progressive music.  “Hessian Peel” is such a weird ass song mixed with so many sounds it’s a joyride.  “Heir Apparent” is amazing as well a straight forward death metal headbanger, with some prog musical twists and turns to keep it entertaining.

So sit back and shut the fuck up. Enjoy some recent Opeth tracks below, and cool your jets noobs.  Stay brutal my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave’s Best of 2018 Awards!

Hello folks! I am back with my second “Best Of” Awards article…..but with more sections to spice things up. Newcomer Vick wrote hers and I’m here with my valued or unvalued opinion with some possible bias. The numbers aren’t important in my article I DO NOT RANK I just list my favorite albums. I’m going to apologize right meow as I have a lot of categories if it’s too long…..but then again its for a full year and there were lots of GREAT releases and new bands starting up that should be put to the forefront.  I hope you enjoy the new categories too.  Let’s get it on!

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Up and Coming Bands

Inanimate Existence– Artisan Era (my favorite label) tech/prog death metal powerhouses released a great album “Underneath A Melting Sky” in 2017 and Guitarist Cameron Porras’ songwriting and playing only gets better every release.  The guys work great as a cohesive three piece band.  If they get put on the Summer Sumerian/Slaughter/Summer’s Disappointment tour or a big festival like Download/Hellfest/Graspop they would kick the shit out of the same pop metal bands that have graced some of those stages.  I have a lot of faith in this band and are vastly underrated.  Keep an eye on the IE dudes.

Dischordia– Oklahoma dissonant/tech/progressive death metallers released a great EP that is the most experimental and original thing I have heard in a bit in the genre.  It’s becoming blatantly obvious how much I love the different experiments some death metal bands are doing.  If a genre stays stagnant…..are you really making any progression? Does one ALWAYS have to abide by the rules and stereotype of a genre? NO! As artists, we hate feeling creatively suffocated (so to say) to a label and want to write what we want and how we want! Dischordia just keeps pushing that envelope and their crazy 2 song 24 minute EP “Binge/Purge” really surprised me.  Earlier this year I heard the guys and it blew my mind.  Ukulele, Flute, Mandolin and other various instruments are included in their latest release.  Also, there is a plethora of  heavy influence of dissonance and cool rhythms the trio has come up with.  Every release Dischordia’s sound and songwriting has progressed “Binge/Purge” has really helped push their experimentation to the forefront.  Keep an eye on them as well.  Below is my article of the EP stream through Decibel Magazine to get your Dischordia on!

Dischordia- Binge/Purge EP stream via Decibel Magazine

Burial In The Sky– Another great up and coming band that’s helping break that stereotypical extreme metal sound.  Why do I dig this band a lot? Their latest album “Creatio Et Hominus” includes a lot of saxophone! The band also has hits of psychadelic rock sprinkled throughout the album.  BITS has been pushing progressive death metal’s boundaries as well.  Their first few offerings were more straightforward but got real experimental with the album. They’re a young and promising band who you need to look out for. Originality and talent can make for a promising career….and I hope Burial In the Sky achieves everything they want to because they deserve it.

Burial In The Sky April 2018 Interview

BEST EP’S AND SINGLES OF 2018

  1. Mordant Rapture- The Abnegation
  2. Carnal Decay- When Push Comes To Shove
  3. Dischordia- Binge/Purge
  4. Widow’s Peak- Graceless
  5. Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless
  6. I Am Destruction- Violence Devours
  7. Between The Buried And Me- Automata 1
  8. Divine Realm- Nordicity
  9. Leprous- Golden Prayers (Single)
  10. Cynic- Humanoid (Single)
  11. Between The Buried And Me- Automata 2
  12. The Odious Construct- Shrine Of The Obscene
  13. Godless- Swarm
  14. Oppressor God- Mechanical Manslaughter
  15. Promethean- The Nameless Colour
  16. Weaponex- In The Nick Of Time
  17. Infinite Nomad- Luminous Throat
  18. Catalysis- Catalysis
  19. Astrolabe- The Hermit, The Fool, The Hanged Man
  20. Crevassian- Crevassian
  21. Fawn Limbs- Thrum
  22. Ash prison- Prophetic Automation

BEST ALBUMS OF 2018

  1. Oubliette- The Passage
  2. Aethereus- Absentia
  3. Obscura- Diluvium
  4. Jollymon- Voidwalker
  5. Lago- Sea Of Duress
  6. Xenosis- Devour And Birth
  7. The Beast Of Nod- Vampire: Disciples Of Chaos
  8. AHTME- Sewerborn
  9. Burial In The Sky- Creatio Et Hominus
  10. Unflesh- Savior
  11. Alkaloid- Liquid Anatomy
  12. The Slyde- Awakening
  13. At The Gates- To Drink From The Night Itself
  14. Skinless- Savagery
  15. Galactic Empire- Episode Two
  16. ISA- Chimera
  17. Ingested- The Level Above Human
  18. Inferi- Revenant
  19. Aepoch- Awakening Inception
  20. Slugdge- Esoteric Malacology
  21. Augury- Illusive Golden Age
  22. Rivers Of Nihil- Where Owls Know My Name
  23. Montheist- Scourge
  24. Alterbeast- Feast
  25. Decrescent- Blackened Bequest
  26. Forever In Transit- States Of Disconnection
  27. Pestilence- Hadeon
  28. Into The Great Divide- Into The Great Divide
  29. Aviations- The Light Years
  30. Soreption- Monument Of The End
  31. Exocrine- Molten Giant
  32. Trigger- The Harbor
  33. Serocs- Phobos/Deimos Suite
  34. Cognitive- Matricide
  35. Haken- Vector
  36. Gorod- Aethra
  37. Internal Bleeding- Corrupting Influence
  38. The Ocean- Phanerozoic 1: Palaeozoic
  39. Neptunus- Alien Conspiracy
  40. Torturous Inception- Arcane Dominion
  41. Dysmorphic- An Illusive Progress
  42. Inertia- Teratoma
  43. Kraanium- Slamchosis
  44. Sarah Longfield- Disparity
  45. Psycroptic- As The Kingdom Drowns
  46. Arsis- Visitant
  47. Halothane- A False Reality
  48. Zac Leaser- Redeemer
  49. Gourmand- Blossoming From The Grave
  50. Tesseract- Sonder

Best Independent Bands

  1. Aepoch
  2. Unflesh
  3. Dischordia
  4. Xenosis
  5. Promethean
  6. Bleak flesh
  7. Gourmand

What releases I’m looking forward to in 2019

  1. Bleak Flesh
  2. Promethean
  3. Inanimate Existence
  4. Black Crown Initiate
  5. The Haarp Machine
  6. Opeth (maybe a single? Just…maybe?)
  7. Animals As Leaders
  8. Mastodon
  9. Scar Symmetry
  10. Aepoch (maybe?)
  11. Abbath (maybe?)
  12. Anabasis already won the best local release of 2019 already unless something changes my mind. If you supported the Syracuse band’s campaign, you would have received a digital download of their upcoming album “Of Conviction” due out officially in January.  If you want to grab a cd or some merchandise to help out the lads on their debut full length, go ahead and do so right here.
  13. Turning Virtue
  14. The Tao Of Davey K
  15. Fire Garden
  16. Continuum
  17. Desecravity
  18. Allegaeon
  19. Divinex
  20. Disentomb
  21. Fields Of Elysium (I hope!)
  22. Godeater
  23. Blasteroid
  24. A Novelist
  25. Contrarian
  26. The Zenith Passage
  27. Fractal Universe
  28. Organectomy
  29. Arkaik
  30. The Ocean
  31. Oblivion
  32. Devin Townsend
  33. Equipoise
  34. The Ritual Aura

Personal Favorite Music Industry Trends of 2018

  1. Increasing number of bands doing as much as they can independently. Record labels are becoming bigger blood suckers. Props to the increasing number of musicians going this route, also really great for more income coming back their way.
  2. More instrumental bands! I love seeing instrumental bands! Not every band needs a vocalist, or music needs a singer….the music can sing on its own.  Remember classical music? It was instrumental, then opera singers came along.  It’s just good to change it up….ya know, like Divinex or The Surrealist.
  3. The Artisan Era signing so many killer bands that are only strengthening their roster that has been a label since 2014.  A grassroots label run by guys in bands ON THAT LABEL there’s no suits involved….a label made by musicians, run by musicians, for musicians.  How can you not love the rise of The Artisan Era? OKAY, maybe if you don’t like or appreciate technical death metal and instrumental bands I guess I could see it.  How many did they add in 2018? Like 10 bands? But….10 GREAT BANDS.

Best TMR Moments of 2018

  1.  That wild voting race for the website’s May artist of the month….who remembers? And, who voted? That was fun!
  2. Getting a handful or more of EP, song and video premieres throughout the website’s first 10-ish months of being online.  Hard work pays off, promote yourself and your work….make connections.  I’m grateful for the friendships and opportunities I have been given in the short time Technical Music Review has been online.  I’m equally as humbled for all the music I have received through many sources. Being a musician and music freak I have learned of so many solid bands through this short journey.  And to boot, I also premiered a few playthroughs as well….the musician in me absolutely enjoyed them!
  3. Becoming the Prime Minster of Indonesia.  Not really, but seriously though their music scene is very killer and uncovered.  I discovered a few bands towards the end of the year from there and developing a growing interest in that country’s metal scene.  I’m buddy-buddy with a small record label from there and a band from said label.  It’s a tech driven country with plenty of death metal bands too.  Check out a few of their bands right here.

2018’S BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

Yeah there are always letdowns it’s a big part of life.  Let me dive into some from 2018.

  1. Machine Head’s shitty album Catharsis.  This album was so bad, it forced two of it’s long time members to quit.  Now you’re talking about someone who has been a big fan of Machine Head since I got into them during the Ashes Of Empires era.  Besides The Burning Red and Supercharger I loved this band.  I’m more Conservative than anything, and even with their Liberal lyrics I still appreciate their emotion opinions and stellar musicianship.  I get it, most musicians are Democrats or Liberal to an extent.  Rob Flynn has had a solid career as a musician but the last few years have gotten bad and leading up to Catharsis (to me at least) was a totally different band.  It’s like his songwriting was uninspired and teenager like (random lyrics about sex, drug use, and not to mention bringing back nu metal to the band sound) for a band that has put out much deeper sets of lyrics.  I try to get in bed with the album, and every time I have to leave.  “Is There Anybody Out There?” was an absolutely awful song and a rant most likely about Phil Anselmo.  I had a bad feeling if their upcoming album was going to be like this song, it was going to be rough….and in my eyes I think it was.  I thought when Robb posted the acoustic set of “Bastards” I envisioned it as another rant and spur of the moment song venting frustration….I DID NOT EXPECT IT TO BE A MACHINE HEAD SONG! Voilatile is a good song musically, but when I heard he admitted he wrote the lyrics after the Charlotteville attacks was even more sketchy.  As soon as a big event happens, you decide to write song lyrics about it…..and bitch about politics again. How, original.  Let’s see if the band is done forever, or he can pull more rabbits out of his ass like he did for Ashes Of Empires and arguably the band’s greatest effort The Blackening. Oh, and the whole band costume thing is kinda gay…..like KISS gay.
  2. Threatin.  Yeah that shit was rough too.  Great for the guy he self booked and funded a European tour for his music, but feel bad for the poor bastards that temporarily took part in this shitshow.  Nobody bought the guy’s merchandise or even went to the shows.  I feel just as bad for the bands that opened up for the few shows Threatin played.  Just an absolute embarrassment all around.  To play devil’s advocate, it is pretty impressive logistically how the guy pulled this thing off financially and got artists to play his music (well for a few shows at least).  Disappointing to say the least but was there any stigma at all when he booked? Was it his fucked up masterplan that was to create a huge online presence (after he bought many Facebook likes) and promote himself? We won’t really know…or will we?
  3. Unique Leader Records and their fuckery.  COME AT ME BRO! It’s true, and their ever-growing laundry list of bands that have left the label is just insane.  They keep signing so many bands to the point they’re overloading their roster and also possibly ignoring bands.  Death metal made that label, modern metal bands are filling up their roster and the number of bands on the record label is sky rocketing unlike The Challenger.  With the unfortunate passing of label founder Erik Lindmark (Deeds of Flesh), other label coworkers took over the work in Erik’s absence.  It took them over a month to put some of their releases on Bandcamp, and kept making excuses (when it doesn’t take long) why they haven’t yet.  They recently signed another band, and I mentioned it again on their facebook announcement of another generic death core band.  They ignored and asked me if I listened to that band yet and said they should promote the bands on their label already instead of adding more.  They immediately took down their comment on their facebook page, trying to divert my attention from my comment and they failed….like they’re failing Erik who’s currently rolling over in his grave.  AND GET THIS…..they’re currently running a contest to buy one of their albums on their band camp website, and you’re then entered to WIN A CHANCE TO OWN THEIR ENTIRE LIBRARY OF MUSIC! Doesn’t that reek of even more desperation?  This shit is fishy as fuck metalheads. While they may house some great bands, shame on Unique Leader for their unprofessional fuckery and ignorance.  Shit like this is why more bands go independent.

Power To The Ovaries: The Rise Of Female Musicians In Metal Bands

Dave here with one of my rare opinion pieces.  First off,  I want to welcome my friend Vick who is now working with me on here stopping in to write some articles.  She’s very feisty, opinionated, and passionate for the music I strive to promote and is already a great addition to the website.

I have been thinking about this topic for a while, and decided today to blabber about it.  I think its AMAZING seeing women/females getting into heavy metal and other genres artistically than the usual….you know, that female folk singer or pop or hip hop artist….you know, cultural gender stereotypes and expectations.  One thing I absolutely cannot stand is the whole “female fronted” label,  it’s stupid to me at least.  Women are musicians too, you know.  The fact there happens to be females in some bands shouldn’t be a surprise.  And no, this is anything BUT a fad or trend.

Okay, on to the actual point of this article.  As previously stated, I’m very infatuated with the growing number of women going against that artistic gender stereotype….and I’m going to promote some of them (well deserved artists that you may already know).

 

SARAH LONGFIELD

Yep.  She’s my obsession, i’ll admit it.  This young lady can not only shred and sing, but also can produce and record music.  She has a really unique style now that can’t truly be categorized.  Sarah was really metal at first with lots of shredly demos, heavily influenced by Swedish greats Meshuggah.  The older she got, she experimented with electronics and some pop influence as well to throw in her music for good measure.  If that isn’t enough of a mindfuck, she got into a more expeirmental and progressive style in her newer music.  Her success as a Youtuber is only the beginning of an extremely promising, fulfilling and diverse musical career.  She was also a member of The Fine Constant an instrumental band she had for a handful of years. Longfield is also a new artist of Season Of Mist, as well.  What HASN’T she done already in her young musical career? Her latest album “Disparity” is a serious artistic step for her, yet trying more new things to add to her very impressive sound layering even deeper.  There’s some saxophone, xylophone and even more singing.   I’m gonna let her great music do the talking, and just let you make the decision yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YVETTE YOUNG

Yvette is the guitarist in her 3 piece instrumental prog band Covet, who has a similar style to Sarah Longfield in some senses.  She also has an acoustic project under her name and an equally beautiful voice on top of her guitar playing as well.   Young is a melodic guitarist who also uses a lot of tapping in her style.  She dabbles into some math rock and jazz as well in Covet.  Both of these lovely young female guitarists are my two personal favorites in music right now and totally crushing it.  It was the “Ares” play through that caught my attention over a year ago and has kept my interest in this great young artist.  Check out some of her wild, melodic and inspiring guitar playing below.

 

Yep…..here it is….the almighty ARES.

 

 

 

 

 

SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION

Yep, time for the heavy shit now.  Sisters of Suffocation is a death metal band consisted mainly of females, except the drummer.  Why am I talking about SOS? Because they’re heavy, that’s why…..and love their death metal.  And before you ask, no they have nothing to do with the legendary death metal band Suffocation.  The gals are equally as crushing as most death metal bands, and don’t get enough recognition in their short existence as a band.  Bang your heads along with the girls (and guy) to these heavy songs.  Oh, and they’re releasing a new album next year I’M SO STOKED ABOUT.  Fucking Death Metal!

 

 

 

 

YOUR CHANCE TO DIE

To SLIGHTLY change genres a bit, here’s a great Melodic Death Metal bands with TWO vocalists both females.  A friend of mine turned be onto this band, and couldn’t be happier that I am familiar with them.  The band released a great album “Ex Nihilo” last year that finds its way back in my rotation here and there.  Their growls are utterly impressive, to say the least.  Check out this great up and coming band right below.

 

 

 

 

ABNORMALITY

 

WOW! I’ve been into this band for a few years now since I saw their grotesque video “Mechanisms of Omniscience”.  Their frontwoman Malika has such a low guttural that you would have never guessed it was a woman! The band is a great death metal band that means business, and full of groove and plenty of brutality.  They’re a straightforward death metal band that doesn’t technically woo you, but their disgusting brutality and sheer power wins you over.  And I have been a big fan ever since.  I hope you feel the same about Abnormality.  Oh, and they too are working on a new album set for a release date sometime next year in 2019.

 

 

 

Okay, so here’s a handful of my favorite bands/artists in the metal and prog scene involving women.  I think it’s great to see more women breaking the trend of where they stereotypically are, but are doing what they want.  I think it’s glorious, and pretty cool for a change in genres generally dominated by males.  If there’s any other great bands I may have missed, don’t be afraid to chime in.

Great bands from Midwest/Northwest America, and Indonesia

Yeah, there’s a TON of hot bands from these areas and I’m gonna hook you n00bs up. And verbally blowing these areas, so to speak.  There’s so many good unheard of bands between Colorado, Missouri, Washington and random countries like Indonesia. Let’s fuck shit up and hopefully some of you haven’t heard of these bands and dig them!

Dischordia-  A death metal band that isn’t afraid to experiment.  Coming out of Oklahoma  (maybe southwest or southern america? close enough I guess?) I’ve been obsessed with this band since I heard their latest wild 2 song ep Binge/Purge. All sorts of weird shit beside lots of dissonance and rhythms.  There’s some ukulele flute marimba and all kinds of random shit on this killer EP.  They’ve only progressed to greater things with every release….don’t sleep on these dudes.

 

 

Aethereus- Some sweet, sweet ass tech death with prog moments from Tacoma Washington.  Another ridiculous band that the modern day metal hotspot Artisan Era record label has recently signed.  They aren’t totally over the top tech like Brain Dill or the short lived legendary cult tech perfectionists Necrophagist, but blend their sound so smoothly and perfectly.  Great vocals, guitar work and intense drumming will keep you busy for years.  Hail Aethereus!

 

 

Ahtme-  My brothers from Kansas City put on a lights out performance in September with Micawber and Lago in Niagara Falls at STAMPS.  Their album “Sewerborn” has been on constant repeat for me.   The band present a great mix of technical death metal and the groovy side of death metal that keep you foaming at the mouth.  They have another album through the original band name “A Roman Holiday” but changed their name in their new journey as Ahtme so technically Sewerborn is their debut album.  I hope you guys love this band as much as I do.  I got a chance to talk with the guys after their set that night…..they’re even cooler and down to earth.  Support this great band!

My personal favorite AHTME rager….great grooves, some technicality….Brent’s voice is awesome on this track.  

 

Sunless-  If it wasn’t for the previously mentioned Dischordia who talked about these guys, I wouldn’t have known about these lads from Minnesota.  Sunless brings the heavy with extra dissonance, like Gorguts crazy.  Many cool ass rhythms bring this band to life.  They are also recent members of Willowtip Records one of the solid record labels out there! Horns up for SUNLESS!

 

 

Decrescent- A killer tech death release from this year from Milwaukee’s finest (quite possibly) was such a great surprise.  As a guitarist I was naturally drawn to that part of the band.  The vocals stuck with me, shortly thereafter.  They’re a great project to write down and keep an ear open for….Blackened Bequest is a great album and hell of a debut. Feast your ears on this one tech trekkers!

 

 

Vale of Pnath- A killer, killer tech/progressive death metal band from Colorado slays.  Vance Venezuela has gone through many lineups but has put out some of the most underrated music in the genre(s).  Enjoy this killer band and Vance’s wild shred, it’s one hell of a ride so hold on for dear life!

 

My favorite Vale of Pnath track….fuck yeah BLACKER THAN!

 

 

Now for a few bands from Indonesia…..yeah that’s right.  They really throw the fuck down! Here’s a few bands that will kick your ass.

Neptunus-  For you overdone tech lovers that love Brain Drill with a bit of Rings of Saturn and Necrophagist this is for you sick fucks.  Over the top, heavy, and wild technical death metal to the CORE…seriously.  Dive right into this fucker right NOW.  Product of the great Indonesian extreme label Eastbreath Records!

 

Wormrot- Okay, they’re from Singapore but they’re pretty close to Indonesia….so I guess it counts? If you like disgusting, heavy and energetic grind core this under appreciated band should get your attention. They can groove the fuck out, and then explode out of nowhere into an obnoxious realm.  They’re very, very awesome.  I have a soft spot for grind core with their heavy ass and fun quick songs….if you can’t appreciate a good grind core quickie then WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

 

 

Cadaver- A disgusting tech death band with death metal roots from the same label as Neptunus brings the heat big time.  Some great grooves, addicting vocals and sweet drumming keep me locked in with this band at least.  These guys have a great future! Check this wild band out!

 

 

 

Okay, now that i’ve verbally wanked off these bands go check them out and their regions! Canada is churning out some great technical and progressive death metal too.  If there’s any other great bands from these areas as well don’t forget to mention them.  I figured I had to write a piece on these killer bands that more people should be familiar with.  Stay Tech my freaks!

 

Only YOU can make the difference.

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I haven’t done an opinion piece in quite a while…..between a lot of random emails promoting bands, interviews, album reviews, random streams and everything I put into this site I finally got something to rant about.  First off…..this is generalized, don’t get so self indulgent.  This isn’t against a certain person, band, group, website, or anything.  Let’s face it…..independent music and your local scene is a freaking mess.  Yeah there’s some great bands, but there’s a plethora of issues and only THE FANS can make it any better.  Promoters are rough……nowadays your average promoter picks up shows, “promotes” them and also makes the band sell ticket. HELLO YOU’RE THE PROMOTER! Yeah, that means more than putting links on Facebook. GO TO SHOWS! Yeah, socialize in real life and hand out fliers.  Bring it up at work! Bring it up at family gatherings!  Bring it up at school if you go to one! Tell your friends! Is the job easy? Not at all! More than my local scene here in Buffalo have these issues, and more I will continue to rant about without blowing my lid.   It’s simple……don’t take on so many shows that you can’t promote equally and work hard at it.  Remember the time when promoters would actually sell tickets? And actually promote? It feels like forever, to be honest.  Only you can support for your favorite smaller bands and local bands…..tip them, buy their MUSIC that will help too!

Everyone needs your help to survive in the industry even with that music modernization act passing trying to give more moolah to artists who stream their music.  If you’re a fan of a band, promote everything online……tell people, invite people to shows NOT JUST ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Talk about what they’re doing and do your due diligence! Wonder why some bands can’t carry on or some shows don’t do well? It’s not ALWAYS the promoters fault…..Stop going to those $50+ shows and check out some random band that might interest you in your local scene.  $5 isn’t a terrible cover even $10 to check out original bands! And when you’ve seen some bands, try something new and check out new bands! Switch it up sometimes, and keep that palette fresh.  Meet some people and bands, get into your local scenes actively! You can make a positive difference in your local scene by being proactive instead of being inactive…..being that person complaining their favorite band couldn’t continue on or a venue shuts down at least TRY to make a difference.

 

I have seen far too many good shows with very talented bands with low attendances.  Give something a chance for a band you may have not heard of! I was at The Metal’s Halloween show last Saturday, and damn did Rochester bring the heat.  There had to have at least been 60+ people at that show give or take! That is like 10 times the amount of your average show in Buffalo.  Signed bands with local support, not just a local show…..Alterbeast and Inferi had like 25ish people, Inanimate Existence/Fields Of Elysium/Last Of Lucy had 15ish people at best….Micawber/Ahtme/Lago had a halfway decent turnout with 30+ish people, maybe? There have been worse turnouts we can remember, those are just somer recent shows I have been to that had lower turnouts that should have done much better.  If a promoter is handling too many shows, or isn’t into a genre….why run so many shows you can’t put the attention to? Why book random shows and tours you aren’t putting your heart into? It’s frustrating to see so many great bands come through my area, and get god awful turnouts. And some people wonder why many tours skip over Buffalo……Run contests! At least TRY to get people in the door, relying on social media isn’t always the key to success.  Yes, there’s many factors into the game but I hope this gets better one day…..eventually…..maybe?

 

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Musicians, lay off the ego and stop being fucking assholes. Wish it could happen, but that too is a pipe dream.  Support each other, grow the fuck up.  If you don’t like something, don’t be a fucking prick.  Yeah, it sucks we all have lives and musicians can’t make a living like they used to.  Stay as late as you can, and don’t lie…..be honest for a change.  Make friendships, connect, and be a good person……I guess that’s a lot to ask for these days.  Too many artists just book it after their set.  Check everyone out….you’re there, why the hell not? Not just the concertgoers and promoters, but the bands itself need unity…..it’s been a long time coming.  Any scene can relate to these struggles, just not Western New York.

Some people talk about shitty show times.  A bill of 4 bands with music “starting” (very loose quotations) at 6pm will be over by 11ish.  Maybe we should start shows earlier so everyone can still hang out after and everyone working the next day can still get a decent nights sleep.  Then theres the crazy folk that try to show hop and hit up a few shows in a night…..trust me if teleportation was real I’d be all over it.  Pick your one show and either stay or spread the love and maybe hit up a few in one night if there’s a lot going on one night.  It just pains me to see so many good bands not have respectable turnouts. Maybe this makes me look like an asshole, maybe it doesn’t…..good thing I generally don’t care what most people think anyways.  I’m just trying to be honest.  I want everyone’s local scene to thrive, and have many bands.  I want good turnouts for shows and to check out new bands and music.  Trust me,  I only want the best for my local scene and wish the best for everyone else’s.  Unfortunately, Buffalo is now a cover band town who draws the best.  Let’s hope original music regains it’s rightful throne of every genre.

 

Brett Garsed….insanely fun fusion.

 

This man is mind blowing, to say the least.  Brett Garsed is in Australian jazz fusion guitarist who continues to wow people with his phenomenal technique and clarity in his playing……initially, that’s what impressed me.  He isn’t using much gain, and doesn’t miss a note or mutes anything.  Here’s another…..

 

In my short time of knowing Garsed and his music, I’m awfully impressed.  It’s such a oddball genre that helped shape the different forms of progressive genres.

 

The Australian can really play…..can’t he? I have dived a bit deeper into the genre occasionally and really love the freedom of different fusion stylings.  I think jazz is a great genre, but love to see other artists and guitar players alike adding more genres to jazz to spice it up and try new stuff.  I really dig Garsed, and so should you.  The dude is electric and should support him.

Brett Garsed

Who Do You Sound Like? What’s Your Genre?

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Warning: rant ahead. For your information, you may want to take the detour if not interested.

Two big pet peeves of mine as an artist/promoter/blogger/music enthusiast…….or maybe for many bands and artists out there as well. The true artists who aren’t trying to be someone else, are actually trying to write their own music and develop a brand and their own style the best they can.  I try to stray away from labeling but it’s also tough when you’re trying to categorize a band.

Generally when you think of Progressive Death Metal…..there’s possible mixtures of classic rock, death metal, classic prog rock…..maybe even some jazz and big instrumental breaks as well and possible full length instrumentals.  It must be technical, right? Not everyone wants to be obnoxious as Archspire or Beyond Creation but there’s also the emotional side of the genre like Steven Wilson or the mighty Pink Floyd that add the “spacey” element to the genre as well.

How would you describe yourself or your sound? Well…..how about you listen to the MUSIC?!?! Isn’t that an ingenious idea? Considering the modern age has many sources to listen to a band or artist that could answer some of your categorizing questions. To be honest I was pretty guilty of this in the past, but am trying my best to break that trend. Trying to sound like someone else is of poser status, and toolshed status as well. Originality is pretty dead these days but its nice when you run into some because its a lost art.

There’s so many subgeneres and even new genres it just gets a bit ridiculous more and more every time another new one is created or founded. I bet you there has to be an atmospheric progressive neoclassical symphonic death metal band out there somewhere! Honestly some of those descriptions kinda blend in with each other now that I think about it.  Genre classification is nucking futs and so are elitists.  Stop confusing more people by mixing so many genres and stick to your guns for fuck’s sake. I love that people are blending more sounds and experimenting we need that. I hate when non-artistic people ask you these two annoying questions about yourself/your band or what a band sounds like. JUST LISTEN TO THE MUSIC AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF. Or maybe if the logo is unreadable then you definitely know it’s a form of death metal.

 

 

 

Aaron Marshall of Intervals

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Aaron Marshall the creative mind of his instrumental band “Intervals” based out of Toronto, Ontario.  If you’re a guitarist and also an instrumental freak like myself, you should know who Aaron/Intervals is.  His latest album catapulted its way onto my best of 2017 list for a million reasons.  His guitar work captivates me because generically his music is instrumental but has so many influences you can’t really put a finger on what Aaron’s style is……that is the type of artist or band TMR strives to support and promote. His sound is very heavy, yet also very melodic poppy and experimental….it drags you in and just can’t let go.

Aaron is a one man wrecking crew who has such a unique style.  He isn’t a big shredder, a show off or a simple player…..his creative mind is like no other.

Impusively Responsible guitar play through

 

He is such a tasteful player, it blows my mind.  What amazes me about instrumental bands is their awesome knack (in most cases) for composing.  Certain artists mess around too much and not focus on the song as a whole.  Lots of showing off in the genre which tends to get boring at times.  Aaron on the other hand, is a phenomenal writer that never bores you.

Touch and Go guitar play through

This song is my favorite from the latest album.  I believe its a solid example of the man’s diversity as an artist and guitar player.  He has such a great ear for melody and harmony it’s easy to get lost in his music.  It has a cool mellow section with some keys/synth and clean guitar tone with a beautiful melody to accompany that part of “Touch And Go”.

Mata Hari guitar play through

Here’s a fun ripper for the metalheads.  Younger Aaron had more of a metal edge to his playing and writing….and then branched out in the last few years experimenting more with his style.  In general Aaron has such a diverse and interesting catalogue it can catch anyone’s ears honestly.

Having artists like Aaron around make life greater for everyone.  He’s been on some great tours recently one at the end of 2017 in Europe with Nick Johnston and Polyphia.  He recently just finished a North American run with Nick Johnston (again!), Jason Richardson and Night Verses.  Also was just announced as a part of the HEAVY MONTREAL lineup this summer as well (an amazing step for instrumental bands!).  How cool is that?!?!

 

Aaron deserves all the success he is having and keeps continuing to grow as an artist and guitar player.  Don’t slack on this guy’s music.

Intervals on the Interwebs

Facebook

Twitter-@intervalsmusic

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Thanks for everything Frank Mullen!

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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.

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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

Redemption

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.

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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.

 

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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…..it 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.