Pyrrhon – What Passes for Survival (Review)

PyrrhonThis is the third album from Pyrrhon, an extreme metal band from the US.

Pyrrhon are not your standard band. I first encountered them on their 2014 album The Mother of Virtues, and even then they were a distinctly atypical and genre-breaking proposition. Continue reading

Replacire – Do Not Deviate (Review)

ReplacireThis is the second album by US technical death metallers Replacire.

I always enjoy a new techdeath release, especially when you never really know what you’re going to get when you press play.

In its dark heart this is a highly aggressive and Continue reading

Fuck the Facts – Desire Will Rot (Review)

Fuck the FactsFuck the Facts are a Canadian Grindcore band and this is their tenth album.

Fuck the Facts are always a good listen. Playing by no-one’s rules but their own, they play Grind with their own agenda and are wonderfully individual.

They combine most different aspects of Grind, including some non-Grind elements too. Labelling them as Progressive Grindcore is not too bad of a description. From blasting brutality to melodicism to experimentalism; Fuck the Facts have got it covered somewhere in their discography, (and on this release), and they do it very well indeed.

These songs are largely, (but not exclusively), short blasts of aural carnage, although there’s much more to the band than just this. Longer songs and more experimentally diverse songwriting, (including solos, melodies, Death Metal, Progressive Metal, atmosphere, noise, cello, piano, etc.), mean that there’s a lot on offer here.

Sitting pretty among similarly individualistic Grindcore such as Cephalic Carnage, Cloud Rat, Antigama and the like, Fuck the Facts have built an impressive legacy for themselves over the 16 or so years of their existence and Desire Will Rot only cements their sterling reputation further.

The vocals alternate between the main singer’s acidic shriek and the bassist’s deathgrunts. It’s a combination and team effort that works very well. The main singer has a very individual and charismatic high scream and her voice sounds as nasty as scraping nails.

This is 39 minutes of challenging and impressive Grindcore. It’s not for people who just want the latest scene-clone; this is thinking Grind for the discerning connoisseur, and yet it still remains its visceral nature despite this.

A must listen.

Reciprocal – New Order of the Ages (Review)

ReciprocalThis is Reciprocal’s second album of Technical Death Metal. They are from the US.

A strong start introduces the band and their heavy, sprawling sound to the listener. It’s complex and interlinked whilst retaining a brutality and nastiness a lot of Technical Death Metal bands are lacking in.

This is Technical Death Metal mixed up with the modern, New-School breed of crushingly Brutal Death Metal. It’s a heady combination that immediately makes you sit up and take notice of them.

The songs are long, (for Death Metal), and the band use this time to explore the labyrinthine riffs and to show off their musical chops.

They appear to have quite the mixture of influences on this release. I hear elements of Cephalic Carnage, Carcass, Spawn of Possession, Arsis, Gorguts, Decapitated and many more crammed into the technically dense songs. There is too much going on here to absorb in one listening, which is a good thing as it increases the longevity of the album.

Vocally the band incorporate pretty much all styles in the album somewhere, although high-pitched Carcass-esque screams are the most used.

The sound is absolutely immense. It sonically shines and the tracks hit home like hammers. It doesn’t get stale or boring as the band have enough variety within their framework to introduce elements of several Death Metal sub-genres; Brutal Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal and Deathcore being the main ones in addition to the core of Technical Death Metal.

New Order of the Ages is an ambitious album; 68 minutes of music with plenty of ideas and enough talent to hold it all together. Piano and samples are used liberally to help spread the band’s message and to provide breaks between bouts of swirling riffs and widdly fret-wizardry.

I heartily recommend this album to anyone who enjoys bold, challenging, heavy, technical music. If this is you then this is a must listen.

Super Massive Black Holes – Calculations of the Ancients (Review)

Super Massive Black HolesCanadian band Super Massive Black Holes play Experimental/Progressive Jazzy Death Metal, and this is their début album.

This is bright and shiny music that’s technical but also slightly whimsical in nature; there’s something of the Devin Townsend about it.

The band manage to mix disparate elements of Devin Townsend, Opeth, Ephel Duath, Gojira and Cephalic Carnage; schizoid jazzy breakdowns, atmospheric interludes, Stoner vibe rockathons, pseudo-Grind workouts and heavy melodic cyber Metal all collide on this album.

The songs are surprisingly cohesive for all this. Sometimes an idea or a section can feel a bit half-formed or unfinished, however, although from the sound of it this could very well be intentional; to keep the listener guessing or to stop them becoming complacent?

The vocals are mainly between a shout and a growl, with the vocalist reminding a little of the singer of Gorod, or even Gojira on occasion, only not quite as emotive.

I like this album, although it definitely needs time to reveal its charms and won’t be to all tastes. Give them a listen and see what you think.

Pyrrhon – The Mother Of Virtues (Review)

PyrrhonPyrrhon are an unusual Hardcore-influenced Technical Death Metal band from the US and this is their second album.

They kickstart proceedings with an entry track that would do Converge or Cephalic Carnage proud. The Oracle of Nassau explodes out of the speakers all frenzy and bile, and for 1:25 it proceeds to annihilate everything. In complete contrast the next song White Flag starts off slow and menacing, and lasts for a much longer 9:42.

The vocals are screamed static attacks or brutal guttural growls, depending on the mood of the singer.

The music is technical, involved and very intricate. The instruments twist and turn and play all manner of elusive riffs; the listener is submerged in a lake of discordant dissonance that somehow manages to satisfy in spite of the multiple disparate elements being unleashed.

This is the clever thing though, as each instrument by itself is exploring its own path but everything gels together for the benefit of the wider picture in ways that you wouldn’t expect. The songs manage to be exploratory and experimental while remaining coherent and delivering a completed whole.

Angular riffs, wilful bass, schizophrenic drums and daemonic vocals collide to create a challenging and ultimately involving listen. The songs owe about as much to the violent Hardcore background of bands such as Converge, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan as they do to Technical Death Metal.

Pyrrhon strike me as having a combination of sounds from bands as diverse as all of the previously mentioned ones, as well as having elements of bands like Uphill Battle, Gorguts and Today Is The Day.

If you’re looking for a new band to obsess over who are not your average band then say hello to Pyrrhon. This album is a must.

Embryonic Devourment – Reptilian Agenda (Review)

Embryonic DevourmentBrutal and Technical Death Metal from the US.

Oh but this is a quality blast. Reptilian Agenda is interesting and inventive Death Metal, with all kinds of rhythms and creative moments. The songs are alive with reptilian malice and slithering slime.

The band have plenty of technique and their delivery is flawless. It’s instantly apparent that this is not run-of-the-mill Death Metal and as the album progresses this is confirmed in every song. Like Origin and Cephalic Carnage trading blows; riffs chop and change, twist and turn, only to be devoured by some sudden flare up of technicality and then vomited back up in a hail of brutality. The songs just kill everything in sight.

The vocals are uncompromising growls that also have a wet, fleshy feel to them. The verbalisations of a warm, (reptilian), corpse?

The sound does the music justice and the drums in particular sound immense and provide the glue that holds everything together, even though they appear to be inhabiting a different world to the hugely impressive guitars sometimes, it all holds together.

31 minutes of interesting and spirited brutal music. What are you waiting for?

Lichmistress – Singularity (Review)

LichmistressThis is the recently released first demo from Polish band Lichmistress, and it has made an impression!

At two songs and 10 minutes in length this sets the scene for the future as Lichmistress introduce us to their particular brand of brutality and depth.

As The Bowels of Darkness open, (see what I did there?), we get a deluge of filth and blasting, at least initially anyway. Brutality and pignoise vocals lead into an extremely satisfying breakdown-style section with some nice guitar squealing going on. I like the bass, and calmer segments also.

It quickly becomes apparent that the band have more talent than simply for bludgeoning the listener; they also show an appreciation for feeling and texture amongst the bone-pounding riffing and carnage. It may only be the first song but already we’ve had plenty of variety, some calm-amidst-the-chaos, melodic segments and a relaxed solo. Nice stuff.

Second song Serrated Blade Procreation fades up into a sexy, bass-heavy grinding riff before getting all kinds of grooves on in ways that would make Decapitated proud. Decapitated being raped by Cryptopsy with Cephalic Carnage standing on the sidelines just watching. Yes.

The quality of the guitars on this should not be underrated. Sliding and technical yet simple and catchy – a great combination.

The production is serviceable but could be better, but as this is a demo that’s to be expected and does not hinder the enjoyment of what are two exceptional tracks.

I can’t help but be extremely impressed with these songs. If they can keep this level of quality for a full album and combine that with a professional sound then their first full-length should be amazing.

Death Metal is alive and hungry.