The Last Of Lucy’s drummer Brandon Millan released a playthrough for the band’s song “Advertent Avidity” off their latest album “Ashvattha”. The band is working on recording new material, but that’s all we can find for now…..but at least we know the wild band is working on new music! His drum work is an absolute pleasure and got to see the band live last summer, and can confirm his insanity on the kit. Enjoy the playthrough and don’t forget to keep tabs on the band with their eventual new music!
It’s no secret to the metal world Nick doesn’t tour…..but his bandmates Phil Tougas (guitar) and Hugo Doyon-Karout (bass) have time to do an Equipoise playthrough of “Waking Divinity”! You shouldn’t be shocked at the wizardly fret work of both players, always worth seeing such wild songs translated to a playthrough is always mesmerizing…..and that’s what these lads just did. The real question is……where’s Nick? Is he in the back of a dumpster at Chili’s again? It’s HIS band…..why isn’t he in his OWN videos? He started the band…..he doesn’t know his own songs? What the heck? Anyways, check out the amazing playthrough video below courtesy of their label The Artisan Era. Maybe if Nick toured, he would be in his own band’s playthrough videos…..maybe.
My buddy Victor of In Asymmetry has recorded a great play through of “Edge Of Divergence”. It’s a serious treat for you guitar wielders out there, with his wild technique and style that’ll woo you for days on end. The band is working on even more new music for a full length that will be done well…..whenever. He caught my ears with the two song demo including this song and “The Transcendence”. He also has stick player Darren Joy playing bass in the band. Check out the play through and pay attention to their label Eastbreath Records as well who’s signing some great bands including In Asymmetry. Enjoy people!
The metal community is always keen to talk about emerging “super groups”, but frequently pass over Equipoise, comprised of some of the underground’s technical elite. By the grace of the metal gods, mastermind Nick Padovani (Virulent Depravity, Kossuth) has managed to recruit a league of truly extraordinary gentlemen; Chason Westmoreland (ex- Hate Eternal, Burning the Masses) anchors the rhythms with his incredible drumwork, Hugo Doyon-Karout (Beyond Creation, Brought by Pain) contributes all of those sultry but complex basslines, and Steve Boiser (Inferi, Tethys, Ashen Horde) offers a stunning rage of vocals. And of course, the techdeath triforce of guitarists, Phil Tougas (First Fragment, Cosmic Atrophy, Chthe’illest), Sanjay Kumar (Wormhole, Perihelion) and Nick himself. Jimmy Pitts (NYN, Eternity’s End) also makes a very huge effort on keyboards and synth for the album.
Alchemic Web of Deceit and Waking Divinity are just two of the singles released so far, be sure to check those out while you’re reading through this- that way you’ll have a much better idea of what we’re talking about here.
(And yes, this is another co review between Vick and Dave! TECH TEAM POWERS ACTIVATE!)
So, where to begin? We’re gonna go on a huge limb and say this is one of the bigger releases of the year. We don’t deny or ignore the band’s talents… we just didn’t know it would be THIS PERFECT. Equipoise is just another huge reason why The Artisan Era is the best up and coming record label (ran primarily by both guitarists Malcom Pugh and Mike Low of Inferi.)
And I think that’s one of my favourite things about this project; everyone brings in such an incredible amount of musical prowess, albeit their own flavour, that it’d be damn near impossible to adequately fill the shoes any one of these dudes would leave behind.
The production is crisp and clean, but not overproduced; each instrument is adequately audible throughout the course of Demiurgus‘ fourteen tracks. However, don’t think for a second that it’s crispness will make it easier to digest. Even listening to this for the n-teenth time, I am still pretty overwhelmed by the sheer amount of *stuff* that’s going on. And it’s over an hour long; ye of short attention span needn’t tread here. Sure, each track is outstanding on their own, but one must listen to the whole thing to really grasp the brilliance of the entirety. This record was certainly written with a very specific demographic in mind, and Demiurgus leaves me questioning my position in said demographic.
I’ve noticed in my tenure in the death metal scene that bass tends to get buried beneath endless guitar riffs and solos, and the bassist ekes on as the unsung hero of the project. But man, you’d have to be out of your mind to want to bury any of Hugo’s bass lines. And though we have ourselves three stellar guitarists, I find that Hugo’s parts in the mixes are often more prominent than the guitar work in a lot of the tracks. But here’s not to say that he is the focal point of Demiurgus; he is just one out of many, many focal points.
Every string player has a lead, and takes full sonic advantage of their moments. The melodies present on the record are absolutely mind blowing. The classical guitar passages between every few songs are really, really awesome. They offer a brief respite from the absolute barrage of complexities and intricacies that the rest of the album offers.
Steve’s voice really cuts through on the record, I gotta say. He’s very up front, and I sure as hell don’t mind it. Initially, I was unsure how I felt about his vocal style, but I’ve come to appreciate what he brings to the table. He has a solid range, never staying with one tone too long. His voice really brings this band together, no lie.
Nick has done a stellar job of layering his songs….especially on “Dualis Flamel”. Not just that wild guitar solo section the middle….but very present keyboards (thanks to Pitts), which is sweet. And, the leads are pretty good! When the keys aren’t too busy shredding, they add a lot to the atmosphere and melody of the Equipoise songs creating a more than unique atmosphere for a technical death metal band.
There are so many guitarists I can barely differentiate them all, being there’s like 10 on the record. I’m pretty sure every guitarist in the band had a lead in the solo section for “Dualis Flamel” the whole song is a wild adventure. Nick really worked hard on the album and his hard work payed off recruiting some of the genre greats who respect and enjoy his music. He’s gotten his band off the ground and with such a great start only makes you wonder how great the second album will be. The melody in the leads are a beautiful touch, everyone wasn’t shredding faces every lead they had. There’s plenty of melody and feel to go around for days that’ll motivate any guitarist to practice their craft more.
Chason’s drums are extremely impressive on the album. Do I expect any less from a solid drummer? No, but it’s great to hear. Gotta give lots of props to guy who has to change speeds a lot and play really, really fast fills in such a wild sound like Equipoise.
We don’t really know what else people expect from a technical death metal band, but Equipoise really brought their A game here big time. Everyone made a stellar effort, and are really gonna turn some heads here. If they didn’t make a mark with their EP… well this should definitely do it with Demiurgus.
Though I am a sucker for longer tracks to immerse myself in, I think I can safely say that my favourite track is “Suit of My Flesh”. I think it’s the heaviest out of the fourteen tracks, and I can’t help but be pulled in by that opening riff. When you hear it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. One does not simply turn on this song and instantly headbang. “Ouroboric” is a pretty close second, another perfect example that heaviness doesn’t need to be sacrificed for beauty to be incorporated.
Demiurgus is out March 8, via The Artisan Era. Do yourself a favour and jam those singles, and then jam Equipoise’s EP, Birthing Homunculi. And then read what Nick had to say about the record. And then hop aboard the hype train, we’ll see you aboard. We will update you on the status of Equipoise’s 2019 tour as the information is released. 😉
I suppose that if I’m going to go around preaching a “Gospel of Tech Death”, I should probably start at the beginning. But do I really need to yap on about how pinnacle bands like Death, Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence and Gorguts are? Nah, didn’t think so. So, perhaps, you’ll allow me to introduce you to the bands that really pushed me towards the more technical stuff when I was in my late teens. Sure, they won’t all be death metal. Deal with it and join me in basking in the nostalgia.
In the beginning, while searching for my niche, I’d find myself up super late on Sundays so I could catch the local underground radio show. Edge Underground introduced me to a ton of music, but none of what I heard on there stuck with me as long as The Human Abstract has. I lusted for edginess that was satisfied with Nate Ells’ screams, breakdowns and double kick drums. But it wasn’t so obnoxiously far away from any of the other stuff I was jamming at the time. Nocturne, released in 2006, was and is such an incredible underground metalcore staple. Significantly more progressive than its predecessor, their sophomore LP, Midheaven (which I can find literally nowhere on the web) didn’t receive the same acclaim. It’s certainly the unsung hero among THA’s discog. When it looked like the project was over, The Human Abstract came back to their roots with Digital Veil.
The Human Abstract played my first metal show, accompanied by 36 Crazyfists, All That Remains and Trivium. Naturally, I was late and arrived during THA’s second to last song. But luck would have it and I was offered another chance to see them within a couple months with As I Lay Dying, Protest the Hero and MyChildren MyBride. Little did I know that one of those bands would become one of my ultimate favorites a decade later.
Protest the Hero are one of those bands that I was fortunate enough to get into early in their careers so I could have the opportunity to watch them grow and evolve. Fortress had just come out the year prior, and I was hooked on the first listen. Their first LP, Kezia, pulled me in even further. Though a vastly different sound than its successors, punk inspired A Calculated Use of Sound was amazing in its own right. It dawned on me after Volition dropped in 2013 that without question, Protest was my favourite band. It seemed impossible for them to release anything that I wouldn’t like. 2015’s Pacific Myth further drove that point home. Four years later and they’re planning on releasing one of my most anticipated albums of 2019, and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am.
I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto the Beneath the Massacre dudes. I can kind of remember getting into them right before they toured with Despised Icon, Carnifex and The Plasmarifle. The breakdowns were what attracted me ten years ago, their technicality is what keeps me around now. I took a long break from their discography for a while as I grew apart from the deathcore scene, but then I rediscovered how incredible every single one of their releases was. Mechanics of Dysfunction and Evidence of Inequity are without question my favoutites. I only got to see them once, and my heart longs to catch them live at least one more time.
Born of Osiris were the first band off the Sumerian records roster that I stumbled onto, and they were direct support on my second metal show, headlined by Darkest Hour. Significantly heavier than everything else I listened to, there were no cleans, no soft guitars, just breakdowns, blast beats, dope solos and some sick gutturals. Admittedly, these guys pushed me towards being the deathcore kid I was for a few years. But The New Reign was so solid (the rerelease kinda blows, though). And they also helped open that Pandora’s box that was Sumerian Records, and thus more technical bands like The Faceless, The HAARP Machine, Periphery and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
So I suppose that brings me to The Faceless, doesn’t it? Late last year I blabbed on about how I FINALLY got to see Planetary Duality live in its entirety. And even though Michael Keene was previously the epicenter for disaster, it was still fucking magical to see him get up there with three other incredible musicians and play oh so perfectly such a pinnacle album. Sure, I could yap on forever about them, but you COULD just click that link right up there and read what I’ve already yapped about.
And lastly, I played an album today that I haven’t even thought about in close to ten years. Circle of Contempt‘s Artifacts in Motion was breakbeat in it’s purest form, evermore pure than what Born of Osiris, After the Burial and Veil of Maya were putting out. I remember it being so near impossible to get my hands on (via limewire and frostwire) that I busted a proverbial nut when I finally did. They released an EP in 2012, but it didn’t have the same feel. They came back in 2016 with some new faces and a new LP, but that didn’t have the original feel either. But I’ve rediscovered this diamond among the Sumerian shit, and I still have a positive outlook for Circle of Contempt’s future.
Hopefully you’ve gotten through this. And I hope this gives a solid idea of where my musical tastes have evolved from. So behold, our journey through techdeath has begun. A winding road awaits.
As well all know, Nick Padovani of Equipoise DOESN’T tour……yet! The TMR crew made him answer some questions, after we found him out back in the dumpster of a Chili’s high on bath salts scavenging for food. Now if that last sentence were actually true, we wouldn’t let him live that down. But what we CAN let him live down is this spectacular interview he did with us. He’s recruited Hugo of Beyond Creation//Brought By Pain, Phil of First Fragment and a billion other projects, Steve Boiser of Ashen Horde/Inferi, Sanjay Kumar of the killer tech/brutal death metal band Wormhole, Jimmy Pitts of NYN, Chase Westmoreland……and even more musicians that had guest spots on the upcoming release “Demiurgus”. Take a gander while you’re here! Stay a while, will ya?
TMR: Your EP was very good. Explain how you and the guys (all 20 of them?) stepped up your collective games with your upcoming opus “Demiurgus”?
First off, I wanted to say thank you for the interview. It’s always an honor and pleasure to have the privilege of discussing subject matter about my band.
The only person who really had to step up their game was me, because everyone else is already incredibly adept at what they do. I just made sure to refine my compositions so that they would be next level. In a sea of homogeneous tech death bands, you have to try and stand out in some way, otherwise you get washed away- my goal was to really do something that could stand out, even if it meant incorporating flamenco or orchestral elements. These are small implementations, but I’m hoping it helps us sound unique in some fashion.
TMR: Explain to us how you recruited some of the genre’s greatest artists….comeon, you know your lineup is obnoxiously talented. That’s no secret.
Honestly, it was nothing more than a bit of communication and networking. If you want something, you have to be fearless of rejection and go for it. People will tell you that things are unachievable or unrealistic, and you have to be willing to prove them wrong, otherwise, you stand to prove them right. My goal was to create a tech death “super group” if you will, and I believe I’ve successfully done so, give the insanely talented musicians I have the honor of working with.
TMR: Out of all the bands you have been in, who has been your favorite and least favorite?
Equipoise was actually my first proper band, so I don’t really have an answer for this. I played in a local band Vitandus when I was 19/20 years old, but I only played a few shows, wrote no material, and had to play bass (which I do not play at all). That wasn’t a bad experience though, I enjoyed playing with my bandmates, they were nice people.
TMR: Explain the theme and lyrics behind Demiurgus.
The lyrics are directly inspired by the anime “Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood”. The album essentially tells the story that happens within, and the themes that are derived from it are a bit more open to interpretation, so to say. That might be a lazy answer, but it isn’t inaccurate; the themes can be interpreted in many ways, it’s ultimately up to the listener to take what they can from it.
TMR: The artwork is awfully captivating for your upcoming record. Who did it, and what inspired it? What are all the details behind it?
The artwork was done by my incredibly talented friend, Justin Abraham. He has done art for such other bands as Virulent Depravity, A Loathing Requiem, Inanimate Existence, Cryptic Hymn, and Oubliette. I love how easy he is to work with, and I love how much he enjoys doing what he does.
The artwork is actually inspired by the climax of the plot from Full Metal Alchemist. I won’t give too many details because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who may be interested in exploring it further, but it’s a very cool concept.
TMR: Explain the process of the Virulent Depravity situation being chosen to being in such ANOTHER gnarly band. Where are you guys with that record? All i see is jazz tech…which is awfully interesting to hear, in comparison to the debut album.
Colin and I are really good friends, musical companions if you will. For whatever reason, we have this insane synergy when it comes to writing, where if one of us is ever stumped or lost, the other comes in and immediately resolves it. Very rarely are we displeased with the results. Colin and I are also competitive with each other, always joking about who can write better, and I’ll say that he’s been pushing me greatly since I’ve known him, so it’s always in good fun.
Anyways, the album is going slow at the moment. It is an incredibly ambitious (thanks to Colin and his desire to make a groundbreaking album or whatever, damn him…), but yeah, he’s trying to make this seamless amalgam of jazz and tech death, and successfully so thus far, but he’s also working on getting it perfect. I unfortunately have been busy working on other projects like Kossuth and Ascent of Aphosis, so my time has been spread thin, but soon I will be able to assist him in getting some more material worked up.
TMR: When do you plan on having a single from Virulent Depravity 2?
There’s no definitive date by any means. It would either be whenever our 3 month album cycle comes around, or there’s always the possibility of a one-off single. That’s tough to say.
TMR: I know there’s a ton of members from a bunch of different locations around the world….it would be tough to tour…..one off thing? I know it’d be quite a logistical challenge.
It will happen. I have a lot of things in the works that will financially pad me so that I can make this a reality (legal of course lol). I don’t know when it will happen, but I will certainly make it happen. If not for our first album, it will after our second album. I would like to ensure that we even have the fanbase for such a demand, otherwise I feel it would be foolish for us to rush into such a thing.
TMR: Any cool bands you’ve been listening to you want to share?
Sure! I don’t listen to a lot these days because I usually get super hooked onto albums at a time, but I’ve been loving Alain Caron, Chick Corea, Adam Nitti, Frank Gambale, and various other jazz fusion artists. As far as more modern metal releases, I’ve been loving the most recent Obscura album, Beyond Creation, Gorod, and Inferi, those were my favorites from 2018. Of course, I’m also very fond of all the other bands on The Artisan Era, there isn’t one I don’t like truthfully. I would also like to make a special mention for two bands that were quite influential during the end process of my album refinement; Sutrah and Dark Matter Secret. I implore you and anyone reading to jam both of those bands immediately.
TMR: How did you get your start in music? Who, what influenced you and why? Did you have a specific moment?
Well, I started screwing around with guitar when I was 11 years old, I was playing mindless pop punk then, but it was a lot of fun. I’ll spare you the long winded story and fast forward to right before I started Equipoise. I discovered Inferi’s The Path of Apotheosis back in 2014 when it came out, and it was very inspiring to me, and it really pushed me to want to get into playing around with tech death again. I’m honored to be a part of a label that is run by the men who are a direct inspiration to my writing in the first place.
TMR: What track is the one you are most proud of from the upcoming record? And the song you are most proud of you wrote or were a part of (doesn’t have to be equipoise or virulent depravity)?
I haven’t honestly written songs outside of Equipoise too much, but I think the song i’m most proud of is the first one I wrote, ironically enough. That song is called Dualis Flamel, which is the 8th track on our album. I think it’s funny that the first stab I took at a song ended up being my favorite, but oh well, what are you gonna do.
TMR: How did the thought to form Equipoise come about? And why did you specifically choose your band members? What qualities attracted you musically?
Honestly, I just started writing the songs myself, and I was fine with finding a local lineup , but unfortunately tech death musicians aren’t very abundant in Pittsburgh (aside from our original guitarist, Zach Hohn). I wasn’t ready to give up, so I said to myself, “Screw it, I’m going to just find someone from one of my favorite bands and ask them if they wanna play”. So I asked Hugo, and when he agreed, that was the start of it all. After I got Stevie, I had the burning desire to create what I could call a “tech death super group”, as I feel like there aren’t too many around. I’ve always loved the concept of bringing together titans of a genre, and I wanted nothing more than to create a band where I as a listener and fan could be excited. I only did this because I felt confidently enough about my music that it wouldn’t be an insult to do this. As it stands, I still feel okay about my decision!
TMR: How much gel do you use to keep that man bun of yours so slick and shiny?
None at all! That’s nothing more than my natural dego grease.
TMR: You’re in charge of putting together your dream tour featuring your band(s). Who else do you book (5 total including your two!) for a nationwide tour? No financial restrictions, for the sake of fun.
Hmm, I’ll try to keep it practical and realistic- Beyond Creation, First Fragment, Inferi, Equipoise, Virulent Depravity. Since i don’t know the likelihood of Virulent Depravity touring, I would swap it out for Singularity, I think.
TMR: Who are your favorite jazz and fusion guitarists of all time, and of recent memory? I love me some Gilad Hekselman and Al Di Meola.
Holdsworth, Di Meola, Howe, Henderson, and Gambale are all of my favorites, I would say.
TMR: It’s your last supper. What meal do you choose before your death?
That’s tough. I would probably say some good ass barbeque ribs would make me happy.
Death Myth is a technical death metal band from Indonesia (AGAIN WITH THE SOLID BANDS FROM THIS COUNTRY). The track “Petaka Dosa” is their first released as a band, and it’s pretty good. There’s some sweet guitar leads, it’s pretty fast and there’s some sitar, classical guitar or harp (I think that’s what I heard?) in it as well! The vocalist has a pretty wide range, so be prepared for some high and low gutturals. All in all it’s a solid song that should jump start a decent musical career for DeathMyth. Check out the track below!
Accursed Spawn has released a single “Bhopal ’84” from their upcoming album “The Virulent Host” that will be released on March 30th through PRC Music. These days, the internet gets darker and darker. In my internet travels today though, I found something on the deep dark web that was awesome and something worthy to promote. These Canadian headbangers bring the heat, and some pretty killer guitar solos. They’re not a stereotypical old school death metal band, or a brutal death metal band with a predictable style. Accursed Spawn brings a little more creativity to the table, to say the least. The vocalist is pretty awesome (annunciation and understanding the vocalist! rare in death metal!) as is the rhythm, and stoked for this newish (they have an EP out, so this will be their first full length) band. If you want to enjoy a slightly modernized take on death metal with some technicality, some sweet guitar work and some melody check out these dudes! Hope ya dig the new song! I’ll have to check out the rest of their tunes now! Cheers!
Inferi have released a music video for “Condemned Assailant” which is one of many great songs from their latest groundbreaking album “Revenant”. Steve Bosier has been recruited recently to front the band on vocals and officially keeping bass master Andrew Kim. The band are working on a rerelease of one of their first albums “End Of An Era” with their current lineup which will be pretty awesome if you’re a fiend for reworked albums. Check out their video below, which I think is one of the tech band’s more melodic songs from “Revenant”.
I stumbled across a killer technical death metal band Orphalis, and figured I would share the love about their debut record from 2016 “The Birth Of Infinity”. I think I bumped into another solid technical band that has done a solid job of balancing enough of that, and added melody to keep them interesting for the whole album. Too many tech bands show off their talent, and don’t create an abundance of music without much groove or even an attempt of melody. Like Anomalism and Structural, these guys have that great balance and pretty prolific songwriting for a newer band. Germans have a historical knack of breeding truly fantastic artists, and Orphalis just another example of that fact.
Thomas – Vocals
Jens – Vocals/Guitar
Morten – Guitar
Diego – Bass
Phillip – Drums
The vocals between Thomas and Jens are flat out AWESOME. The guitars have absolutely awesome riffs, and some great leads as well on “The Birth Of Ifinity”. The band as a collective whole is seriously in sync. Phillip’s drumming stands out a whole ton, as I think he’s really the pulse behind the band. It seems like the rest of the band feeds off his relentless blasts, and they take off from there. Seeing someone mention this band somewhere on the deep dark web was a serious victory…you are bound to come across music that you don’t totally like, but I really vibe with Orphalis. They have a good blend of classic and modern death metal to their sound. Fans of classic and new death metal should appreciate the talents of the band, with that extra added tech flare. You can check out the album right here. Hope you all enjoy this beast!