Inanimate Existence and The Last Of Lucy Tour Announcement

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Two of my favorite Technical prog/death metal bands are going on tour together to venues with 20 people per show coming to a town near you! Bands this great deserve a killer show, so make that show at Stamps in Tonawanda a night to remember for all of us in Western New York.

I plan on going, so you should you. Incase you don’t know who these great bands are here are links to their latest releases. If you saw my Artisan Era/Unique Leader record label writeup you may have seen I had a hard time shutting up about Inanimate Existence.

 

I haven’t heard Fields of Elysum yet if they’re on the same tour they have to be similar to the other bands and hopefully as good.

Go see this show jack wagons.

Dave, signing off.

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.

 

 

Alterbeast- Feast

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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