Nero Di Marte – Derivae (Review)

Nero Di MarteNero Di Marte are from Italy and play Progressive Metal. This is their second album.

This is complex and dense music. There’s a lot of substance here, a lot to take in. Nero Di Marte are not your conventional band; they do things differently.

Rather than catchy riffs or hooks, instead they play riffs that merge and flow with each other to build up a complex tapestry over time. As the songs progress it becomes clear very early on that a lot of thought has gone into these compositions.

This is modern, heavy Prog; more akin to Gojira, Mastodon and Memories of a Dead Man than Dream Theater. This isn’t Post-Metal, but the band borrow the sense of dynamics and momentum-building that Post-Metal does so well and fuses them into their own sound.

These are masterfully crafted tracks that are as engaging as they are entrancing. The low-key vocals almost get lost in the churning maelstrom of guitars and percussive treats, yet they’re there, they add a lot to the already busy music and they help the band connect to the listener in a very visceral way.

Derivae sounds very warm, with the drums in particular having a very satisfying feel to them. This feels like real music, not just something pieced together and let loose with minimal feeling.

Overall, this is a thunderously strong album.

A rewarding and entrancing listen.

Memories Of A Dead Man – Ashes Of Joy (Review)

Memories of a Dead ManMemories Of A Dead Man are from France and play Modern Progressive Metal.

Here we have a band that merges Metal, Post-Metal, Hardcore and Sludge into one big compelling whole.

This is ambitious music that has the talent to back it up. This is Modern Progressive Metal in the style of Gojira or the excellent Eryn Non Dae – both also French; I wonder if there’s some strange conspiracy to inflict interesting, thoughtful music on the world…? Where do I sign up?

The songs meander and bruise, wander and startle. A pounding rhythm section backs up emotive guitar riffs and a voice like leather. At least that’s when the singer’s not softly crooning at you that is, which he doesn’t do very regularly but when he does it sounds very intimate.

The band will take you on a journey through melancholic atmospheres surrounded by walls of guitars and heavy riffs. The length of the songs work in favour of the band as they make the most of the freedom allowed them, irrespective of genre constraints or rules.

Music like this is full of ideas and quirks, whether it’s as simple as a certain riff in one song or the addition of female operatic vocals in another; the band create an impressive soundscape in which to dwell, and invite you to come join them and sample their world.

Memories Of A Dead Man have crafted a modern Metal treasure with Ashes of Joy. Let’s hope many people get to find it.

This is music for adventurers and explorers.

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.