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.

PICK THIS ALBUM UP DAMNIT!

 

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Unflesh- Bestowal Of Decay Track premeire

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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:
https://www.unfleshband.com/shop

 

https://www.facebook.com/Unflesh/
https://unflesh.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgIPtHYjLDKhEbszA53mY0Q
https://www.instagram.com/unfleshofficial/

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!
https://aepochmetal.bandcamp.com/ 
http://aepochmetal.bigcartel.com/
www.facebook.com/AepochMetal
https://aepochmetal.bandcamp.com
www.aepochmetal.bigcartel.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/AepochMetal
https://www.instagram.com/AepochMetal/
https://twitter.com/AepochMetal

Rivers Of Nihil- Where Owls Know My Name…..Best of 2018?

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Rivers of Nihil has been an underrated force in death metal in the modern age.  Their last album “Monarchy” was a modern day death metal masterpiece with sweet artwork to boot. What makes the Pennsylvania natives stand out more and more is their lack of concern what people think of their music.  R.O.N is out to make very obscure music in a fairly repetitive genre.  What makes “Where Owls Know My Name” a top release in my eyes very early in 2018 is their increased willingness to experiment……leading off, heavy use of saxophone throughout the album.  Yeah…..a big instrument in Jazz music used in death metal. Tacky, right? Not even close! It’s used perfectly to omit the greatest mood changes throughout the songs on the album.  Background instrument? No way, man. We’re talking about up close and personal….saxophone leads!

What else does their latest album also offer? Jake Dieffenbach sings on “Where Owls Know My Name” as well! The band’s first two albums were primarily growled, but the band threw some great curveballs for their third full length.  Andy from Black Crown Initiate (another grossly underrated progressive death metal band) sang lead vocals on the title track, as well.  This also marks the band’s new drummer Jared Klein as his first album he’s recorded with the band.  Guitarist Brody shines on this album as bright as the sun itself…..it’s awfully tough to put his efforts into words.

There’s also some occasional trumpets and acoustic guitars scattered throughout the album as well……..and even some keyboard/synthesizer parts as well.  Don’t let all of these experimental ideas and non traditional death metal elements turn anyone away.  The album is still plenty heavy for any metalhead no way has the band ditched its death metal roots.  The album has flawless production, as well.  I swear it checks every single box off on what was expected, and then some.

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The latest band photo was shot near a river….. No really, it was.

 

Rivers of Nihil delivers quite possibly the coolest and most complete album of 2018. I can’t say how happy I am the great coverage this album has gotten so far….this band has flown far under the radar for so long its about time people have woken up.  The album art is freaking amazing as well. I love unusual and creepy covers. There’s also some occasional electronics which weren’t prevalent before. “Where Owls Know My Name” is just perfect on every level……there is absolutely no weaknesses.  The worst part of the album is when its over…..good thing there’s the repeat option.

After you listen to the whole album buy the sonofabitch.

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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…..is 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:
https://aepochmetal.bandcamp.com/​
http://aepochmetal.bigcartel.com/

Æpoch: 
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)

www.facebook.com/AepochMetal
https://www.youtube.com/user/AepochMetal
https://www.instagram.com/AepochMetal/
https://twitter.com/AepochMetal

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.

 

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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.

 

 

The trainwreck that is Michael Keene.

Michael Keene of The Faceless has recently opened up about his very obvious problems with drug abuse according to this recent article on metal injection. Did it really have to be publicized? Unless you have lost all of your brain cells, all the hints the last few years have gotten bigger and bigger.  Let’s recall a bunch of those moments, shall we?

  • Cancelled string of tour dates in Australia and New Zealand last year
  • The “missing” gear that was an excuse for those cancelled shows which were possibly sold for narcotics
  • The “flight issues” causing to miss most of those shows and scheduled flights
  • Their tour manager immediately dropping out when all of that Aussie ruckus went down…….makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?
  • Lack of a PR team on their social media, leading to constant message deleting and Keene even insulting his own fans that have purchased music and merchandise to keep his dream alive
  • Last year’s Summer Slaughter Tour…..well we can just leave it at that.
  • More lineup changes than you can even count in the band’s history
  • Speaking of lineup changes…….where the hell is their bass player? What’s with the backing bass tracks at live shows (the ones they show up to)? That’s bush league!
  • The Faceless released “Becoming A Ghost” and has upcoming tech death giants Inanimate Existence kicked off their album release tour due to false accusations of rape concluded through heresy and Keene’s distaste for their marijuana use……that reeks of irony, no?
  • The false accusations of rape were from a psychotic girl Cameron from IE grew up with who’s pulled this stunt before, and told the drummer of the Faceless then ended up kicking them off their tour
  • The fact the current drummer of the Faceless assumed that girl was telling the truth without letting Cameron initially explain his side of the story or even do some sort of research

 

So……Keene can shoot up all he wants,  smoke as much crack and drink alcohol like water but get pissy over someone’s recreational marijuana use? He takes to social media (remind yourself they have nobody running their pages, and for all you know he could have been higher than a kite) to defend every single one of those instances.  Fans including myself (now former, proudly cancelling my preorder of Becoming a Ghost and showing it on their FB page you can even look at the posts check my screenshots and I also posted a snapshot of listening to Inanimate Existence). I’m pretty sure your fans (whatever ones are left) would be furious at all of these instances of consistently missing a multitude of shows and acting like a child on social media. He isn’t a kid anymore he is in his 30’s, its time to grow up Keene.

Is this where I can throw in the dry joke about Keene of the Faceless trying to save face by admitting his problems? The sad part of this great musician’s downfall is the multitude of talent he wields but the larger ego he doesn’t care to hide.  Check out his interviews…they’re not about the band or whatever poor saps are in his “band” at that moment. It’s all ME, ME, ME. It seems to make sense why so many band members leave sooner than later and he can’t hold a lineup to save his life.

 

So, what now? He released a new album and is trying to bring back his popularity and whatever reputation he has left back to life.  Again, I doubt he’s even thinking of his current bandmates. Keene now is trying to show a mature and understanding side, vouching music being his outlet to express his struggle with drugs.  The way he has handled himself is absolutely embarrassing.

 

There’s two very obvious situations that play out.  He falls flat on his face in a pile of snow…….or he mans up and releases greater music in his newfound sobriety.  I would rather see the latter happen and Michael take charge of his life.  He could then continue to write music, show up to the shows that are booked and gain back the trust of his fans? That would take a lot of effort (including myself) to pull off such a feat and convince everyone that would be behind him.

 

Closely related to this situation is the infamous Blake Judd of his band Nachtmystium.  Blake was in a similar boat but maybe the size of his boat was the Titanic.  He not only robbed his fans of their money for his drug addictions…….but also kept their money and forgot about their orders for I don’t know….like a decade? People never got merchandise or albums they ordered for the longest time because their money was funneled to Judd’s addictions! That caught a lot of heat everywhere and turned into a mess.  The big difference here is Judd brought back his band and was very apologetic.  Unfortunately so far in Nachtmystium’s rebirth it looks like they have only been in California.  He has reached out to fans and publicly stated offering free merchandise and show entry to everyone he has wronged.  Is he perfect? Did he make a mistake? You can’t fault the guy not only apologizing but trying to right his wrongs taking the mature route.  I don’t know how successful he was in this attempt, but anyone who lived in the California area could have some merchandise or a free show entry.  I believe he also had setup an email to deal with those problems and offer refunds.  The fact of the matter of this comparison is Judd admitted his wrongdoings and tried to make it right with his fans.  Maybe Keene should take the same route, and at the same time maybe reach out to Blake and ask for advice.

 

Signed,

A former fan of The Faceless

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