Equipoise released a new single “Waking Divinity” today in wake of their upcoming album “Demiurgus”. It’s a great track, and equally as promising for a sign of great things to come from this tech supergroup of epic proportions. Check out the song and support the boiz! Preorders are live on the Artisan Era website!
The weird Progressive/Funk/Metal/Experimental band Short Attention Span Theatre bring a much needed and fresh sound to our local Western New York music scene. Music is watered down these days, and it’s cool to see weirder and more artistic bands slowly come out of the woodworks. These cats draw heavy influence from classic and modern progressive bands. They’re very quirky like Protest The Hero and Dillinger Escape Plan….are they THAT good? That’s up for the listeners to decide, but I think they’re pretty good no matter what.
If you don’t know the band’s rhythm section (Gus on bass and Kenny of Avulsion on drums) make up a great instrumental band I absolutely love from our beloved Buffalo area Ish Kabibble. I’m a sucker for these bands, if you know me well enough….SAST is not a one trick pony and bring lots of versatility and talent to the drawing board.
SHORT ATTENTION SPAN THEATRE
Ryan Mis- Vocals
Gordon Carlson- Guitar
Augustin Brand- Bass
Kenny Brand- Drums
Ryan’s voice is so pure, and can also fake you out with such a low guttural you wouldn’t think someone could get down that low for a guy that has a higher range. Its wildly impressive, to be honest. Gordon’s guitar work is all over the place, but is pretty sweet for the Primus fan in me. I think he has a lot of those weird ‘Ler guitar movements on his leads if you know what I mean. I don’t need to say anymore on the greatness of the Brand father and son combo, they’re aliens from another multiverse. It’s well documented in their band, and now in here with Short Attention Span Theatre. If you remember Avulsion from back in the day, Daddy Brand used to do some serious blasting for the Buffalo Death Metal heroes. You can check out the band’s wild musical adventures on their band camp and see when they will play out next by stalking their Facebook page.
Habitual Depravity released this banger of an album a few weeks ago on December 30th. It’s a brutal technical death metal project between guitarist/bassist/vocalist Jonathon Urwin and legendary drummer Marco Pitruzzella. If I knew of this project a while ago, I would have added it to my wild 2018 list. It’s a well produced album, with over the moon musicianship. It’s impressive enough that Jon did a solid amount of the work, with wild guitar licks just set ablaze all over “Realms Of Abysmal Servitude”. For a band of this magnitude, they do actually groove sometimes believe it or not. His growl is very consistent and pleasant to the ears as well. I’m more into the consistency, than growlers that constantly change pitch. But, i’m a fan of both but his style fits his band PERFECTLY. If they could get this out in the real world, they sure as well would look beautiful with Decrepit Birth or Decapitated….no lie, they’re that good and can hang with the tech-ier bands if they could hire a few guys and play some shows here and there.
Now for the machine gun blaster Marco, holy crap. If you’re familiar with Bleak Flesh the Chilean neoclassical tech-deathers have him recording drums for their upcoming album. His blast beats are so clear, and effortlessly plays fills like he’s a legitimate robot. This project is so great that doesn’t get enough credit. However the album is brand new so give it more time to get more press and credentials. For 2019, this is definitely going to end up in my gigantic “Best Of” article for sure. The precision this duo masterfully displays is absolutely earth shattering. Words can’t express how much I dig thi classic and modern mix of death metal with hints of prog and tech. It is legitimately a half hour pure technicality, brutality and musical mastery. If you want something killer and fresh, this project is for you. Let the music do the talking, not me!
The Ritual Aura has some weird stuff planned out where…..they want to play a……game? No it’s not jigsaw, where your limbs will get hacked and thrown into a vat of acid but it’s a more normal game. As posted above, the band is planning to release “Velothi” sooner than later. But first, break out your magnifying glass and trench coat Sherlock Holmes! Stay updated with every clue along the way to solve the puzzle, Macgyver. Here’s the first bit of information we have received from the overlords.
What the heck does this mean? Well, that’s the point of the journey. We hope the first clue helps into solving their planned riddle.
I have been talking up some bands from the Indonesian parts of the world, and another solid undiscovered tech death gem from around the world Berantai is oh so good. I have recently made friends with a record label from the country, and am impressed with the bands they’re building up on their label Eastbreath Records. These guys however are independent and impressively have a solid online following. Berantai adds some cool melodies, and sweet bass tapping to their wild influx of sounds. They’re not too over the top like the tech godfathers, and hold solid rhythms. The vocals are pretty consistent and a nice mid range that many metalheads will appreciate rather than a vocalist who is all over the place. The first track from “Worldly As Revenge” really grabs your attention, and the second song “District Of War” keeps the tech train a’ rollin’. The guitar work is incredible, to say the least. The drumming is really solid and keeps a great groove impressively, in a technically demanding genre.
Berantai is in the unfortunate state of a country and region that has its heart in the right place that loves extreme music, but so many people in the rest of our planet don’t generally associate the country with metal. I’m seeing that more and more, and want to help that country out because there are other parts of the world (YES EVEN SMALL COUNTRIES!) that pump out amazing music. North America and the larger countries in Europe produce countless bands, but there’s other continents and countries that do as well. Don’t sleep on Indonesia! Or Asian metal, in general. Give these lads a chance and open your ears! I hope you enjoy the tracks as much as I did!
DISTRICT OF WAR
The first featured band for 2019 is the ever so awesome Fractal Universe! The French group caught my ears when I heard “Sons of Ignorance” off their full length “Engram Of Decline” and I’ve been hooked ever since. This hard working independent prog/tech death band was also just recently signed to the Metal Blade Records roster as well! I think this band is a force to be reckoned for a multitude of reasons. I say so because they blend the right amount of tasteful work and complex songwriting along with great groove and soulful guitar leads (not wild 400 BPM arpeggios, sweeps and tapping on repeat!). They’re the total opposite of Spawn Of Possession, Necrophagist and Archspire but they’re just way too good to not be heard of. What can be summed up from my fanboying is they are extremely tasteful songwriters, and are a welcome addition to a genre that can be overdone. The band has been working hard as can be in their own country with their debut offering an EP called “Boundaries Of Reality”. They’ve relentlessly toured throughout their country and other places, as an independent band. I’ve known of them for almost 2 years now and it has been great to see the guys progress as a band and artists.
I’m trying not to post any music, so you can check out their songs all month long. For a new and young band, their music is well crafted and down to a legitimate science. Fractal Universe should be heard and known about by more people and bands, and deserve a great opportunity at this point. Getting signed to a great label should be the start of an even brighter future for the band, and couldn’t be any more excited as an avid fan of Fractal Universe. I wish the guys the best of luck on their new endeavors with the label. Also, that photo shows there is a new album due out in a few months! They have been in full promotion mode for “Engram Of Decline” since it’s release two years ago and have recently been recording between shows. If they gave us a solid offering a few years ago, I highly doubt they’ll disappoint anyone. To anyone that doesn’t know Fractal Universe…..I hope you do now and will give their music a legitimate shot. That is the point of these monthly showcases (with possible interviews, whenever I get around to them).
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!
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!
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.
BEST EP’S AND SINGLES OF 2018
- Mordant Rapture- The Abnegation
- Carnal Decay- When Push Comes To Shove
- Dischordia- Binge/Purge
- Widow’s Peak- Graceless
- Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless
- I Am Destruction- Violence Devours
- Between The Buried And Me- Automata 1
- Divine Realm- Nordicity
- Leprous- Golden Prayers (Single)
- Cynic- Humanoid (Single)
- Between The Buried And Me- Automata 2
- The Odious Construct- Shrine Of The Obscene
- Godless- Swarm
- Oppressor God- Mechanical Manslaughter
- Promethean- The Nameless Colour
- Weaponex- In The Nick Of Time
- Infinite Nomad- Luminous Throat
- Catalysis- Catalysis
- Astrolabe- The Hermit, The Fool, The Hanged Man
- Crevassian- Crevassian
- Fawn Limbs- Thrum
- Ash prison- Prophetic Automation
BEST ALBUMS OF 2018
- Oubliette- The Passage
- Aethereus- Absentia
- Obscura- Diluvium
- Jollymon- Voidwalker
- Lago- Sea Of Duress
- Xenosis- Devour And Birth
- The Beast Of Nod- Vampire: Disciples Of Chaos
- AHTME- Sewerborn
- Burial In The Sky- Creatio Et Hominus
- Unflesh- Savior
- Alkaloid- Liquid Anatomy
- The Slyde- Awakening
- At The Gates- To Drink From The Night Itself
- Skinless- Savagery
- Galactic Empire- Episode Two
- ISA- Chimera
- Ingested- The Level Above Human
- Inferi- Revenant
- Aepoch- Awakening Inception
- Slugdge- Esoteric Malacology
- Augury- Illusive Golden Age
- Rivers Of Nihil- Where Owls Know My Name
- Montheist- Scourge
- Alterbeast- Feast
- Decrescent- Blackened Bequest
- Forever In Transit- States Of Disconnection
- Pestilence- Hadeon
- Into The Great Divide- Into The Great Divide
- Aviations- The Light Years
- Soreption- Monument Of The End
- Exocrine- Molten Giant
- Trigger- The Harbor
- Serocs- Phobos/Deimos Suite
- Cognitive- Matricide
- Haken- Vector
- Gorod- Aethra
- Internal Bleeding- Corrupting Influence
- The Ocean- Phanerozoic 1: Palaeozoic
- Neptunus- Alien Conspiracy
- Torturous Inception- Arcane Dominion
- Dysmorphic- An Illusive Progress
- Inertia- Teratoma
- Kraanium- Slamchosis
- Sarah Longfield- Disparity
- Psycroptic- As The Kingdom Drowns
- Arsis- Visitant
- Halothane- A False Reality
- Zac Leaser- Redeemer
- Gourmand- Blossoming From The Grave
- Tesseract- Sonder
Best Independent Bands
- Bleak flesh
What releases I’m looking forward to in 2019
- Bleak Flesh
- Inanimate Existence
- Black Crown Initiate
- The Haarp Machine
- Opeth (maybe a single? Just…maybe?)
- Animals As Leaders
- Scar Symmetry
- Aepoch (maybe?)
- Abbath (maybe?)
- 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.
- Turning Virtue
- The Tao Of Davey K
- Fire Garden
- Fields Of Elysium (I hope!)
- A Novelist
- The Zenith Passage
- Fractal Universe
- The Ocean
- Devin Townsend
- The Ritual Aura
Personal Favorite Music Industry Trends of 2018
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- That wild voting race for the website’s May artist of the month….who remembers? And, who voted? That was fun!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Dischord is a pretty wild death metal band from Canada who blends a wealth of subgenres into the mold that is themselves. There’s some prog moments, and even a little technicality here and there for good flavor. For Death freaks like me into “The Sound of Perseverance” era, Dischord will make you yearn for those glory prog tech death years but modernized a bit. Their latest effort “Corruption Of Innocence” was released back in September on the 21st. Canada has been churning out some great underdog metal bands and Dischord keeps that true statement alive.
There’s a lot of speed involved in well, bringing in an interesting technical thrash sound to the album as well. I like the raw sound on the album, it isn’t overly produced and almost fits in with that late 80’s early 90’s death metal sound. You can purchase this wildly impressive album here. Luc Gagne’s guitar work and vocals are absolutely stunning. The band’s dual guttural attack is awfully sweet between real low growls, and a higher Schuldiner influenced shriek that compliments the lows oh so sweetly.
Luc Gagné : Guitar / lead vocals
Samuel Frenette: Guitar / backing vocals
Alex Cormier: Bass / backing vocals
Marc-André Richard: Drums
Truthfully, this is a solid album that should see the light of day that generic metal offerings unfortunately get more traffic. If you’re not a bitch, you would appreciate a solid band such as Dischord. If not, then your loss!
India’s Tech Death group Nihilus has recently released “Splitting Atoms” from their upcoming album “Borealis”. It’s pretty sweet to see different parts of the world and their take on technical death metal. Nihilus is no exception to the technical scene as they show true virtuosity everywhere, especially with their guitar work and their wild grooves. It’s a great song with some sweet instrumental sections as well, on top of powerful vocals. Check out the band’s single as we await their full length!
Australian tech blasters Blade Of Horus released a wild album today through Lacerated Enemy Records. Clocking in just under a half hour of skull crushing and a note cramming frenzy Blade Of Horus delivers yet again but on even more wild and obscene level. The guys added a SITAR to some of their sections, fucking sweet aye? Their vocalist Nathan doesn’t fall anywhere short of impressive….the guy’s guttural gets better and better. I never questioned it, in regards to the band’s debut “Monumental Massacre”. He had some great lows, but expanded his death metal technique big time for his boys. There’s some squeals and highs included this time…..maybe some Travis Ryan and Trever Strnad influence? I can’t get over it, his voice brings Blade Of Horus to an even bigger sound than before…..awfully impressive. Ivan and James rip even harder this time around on guitar. The occasional synthesizer moments give “Obliteration” an extra sci-fi boost, if you know what I mean geeks.
The guys were recently playing shows with Organectomy, to boot! Australia is building a sweet metal scene and Blades propels the Aussies to a higher level than where they were before for their country. If you want a slightly different side of technical death metal with more melody, some spontaneity and killer death metal groove Blades will fuck your shit up. Don’t sleep on their debut either! But holy fuck, this sophomore album will rape your ears! Buy them both damnit!