With big name bands like Obscura and Beyond Creation unleashing Progressive/Technical Death Metal masterpieces this year, it is quite refreshing to hear more underground bands like The Odious Construct take inspiration from them and release a killer EP of their own. With “Shrine of the Obscene” this band from Sacramento, California delivers five expertly crafted tracks that are quite atmospheric and technically proficient. For a band formed in 2015, they are certainly firing on all cylinders in this brilliant release.
Opening with a dreamy passage on “Vortex of Self”, the band quickly sets up a hectic mood filled with subtle technical details and trippy atmospheric keyboards. As the album’s introduction to the band, this song could not be more awesome and expertly crafted. Going into “Descension”, the keyboards nicely frame the massive drumming and the cool tempo changes in this track. Keeping the intensity going thanks to crushing vocals and very well crafted guitar passages, this track certainly shows that the opener was no fluke.
Progressive Death Metal
Unleashing one of the most inventive and catchy Progressive/Technical Death Metal releases of 2018, today we have Burial in the Sky and their sophomore release “Creatio Et Hominus”. Filled with lush instrumental passages and highly crafty pummeling sections, this release perfectly balances the best of two worlds to deliver seven expertly crafted tracks that will keep you entertained for hours at a time.
Opening with the dreamy jazzy sax of “Nexus”, the band sets a mysterious tone while intoxicating the listener with their atmospheric intro. This peaceful mood quickly changes into growls and crushing drumming with “Tesla”. This track reminds us of a mixture of Cynic and Fallujah, as the moody bass guitar line perfectly contrasts the aggressive guitar riffs and blistering solos. Perfectly dancing between lush atmospheric passages into more technical brutality, the band tiptoes through tracks like “Nautilus’ Cage” and the playful “The Pivotal Flame”.
With a keen eye for unique and boundary pushing release, today we have the latest Hypnotic Dirge Records release with Odradek Room’s sophomore album “A Man of Silt”. Unleashing over 50 minutes of superbly crafted Progressive Death/Doom Metal, this band merges influences from bands like Anathema and Opeth with lush instrumentations and a very somber mood. If you like complex music with high replay value, this is certainly one of the best releases in 2017 for that.
The intro “Arising in the Void” provides a very dark and somber opening into the band’s unique musical voyage adorned with an Armenian duduk. The release continues to blossom with the transition into heavy guitars and growls in “Selfness”, a 7-minute piece that sets the experimental proggy tone for this album. Hailing from Ukraine, the band crafts very unique songs filled with highly atmospheric passages that are quite intricate and yet lush and filled with emotion, as delivered in “Texture of Reality”.
Four years in the making, today we have In Mourning and their killer “Afterglow” release. Featuring 56 minutes of music divided in seven tracks, the band continues to move into Progressive/Melodic Death Metal territory with this brilliant album. Showcasing influences of bands like Kalmah mixed in with elements of October Tide and other more experimental outfits, this release is definitely one of the band’s best.
Opening with the superb melodies of “Fire and Ocean”, the band starts the release with a heavy headbanging dose. Nicely bleeding into “The Grinning Mist”, the melodic atmosphere is very well crafted and oozes to the traditional In Mourning signature sound with a few progressive elements thrown into the mix, such as the intricate bass guitar line and killer tempo changes.
Continue their evolution into more Progressive and atmospheric territories, today we have Fallujah and their third full-length release “Dreamless”. While the band explores more melodic ideas, their Deathcore nucleus is still intact and will kick your ass in a minute. Searching for the perfect balance between sheer brutality and musical acrobatics, the band delivers twelve solid tracks that show how much they have matured since their 2011 debut release.
Opening with the brutal “Face of Death”, the band commands their attention with perfectly balanced Deathcore-esque growls and ethereal atmospheric elements. Bleeding into the more Progressive and melodic “Adrenaline”, the band nicely transition between styles while showcasing their musical creativity. Our personal favorite is the dreamy “The Void Alone”, which features a superb combination of clean female vocals, intricate drum patterns and pummeling guitar riffs.
Brilliantly returning with eight highly intricate tracks, today we have Obscura and their latest acrobatic effort “Akróasis”. Featuring completely new line-up since last release, Steffen Kummerer manages to again gather a stellar group of musicians and delivers another Obscura-quality release. If you like Technical/Progressive Death Metal, we highly doubt that there will be a better album in 2016.
Opening with the brilliant “Sermon of the Seven Suns”, we instantly notice that the band’s trademark sound is intact and yet it feels slightly evolved with cleaner and melodic passages. The playful back-and-forth between instruments is insanely well crafted making songs like the opener and the heavier “The Monoist” (among others) sound amazingly elaborate and tricky. The vocal effects of songs like “Ten Sepiroth” give the band a certain Cynic edge. Additionally this track features some killer bass guitar sections.
With a flourishing Metal musical scene in France delivering very diverse bands like Gojira, Dagoba and Alcest among many others, it is quite refreshing to hear a promising Progressive Death Metal band named Kera. With this self-titled EP, the band explores an interesting experimental take on Death Metal with some solid progressive elements and a knack for melodic brilliance.
Opening with the pummeling “Masters Enslaved”, we are treated to excellent riffing that is quite crafty in nature and perfectly rounds of the well-tailored drum patterns. The vocals have that old-school raspy vibe, not necessarily the cleanest growls, but they get the job done. The second track, “Architect of Chaos” is probably the band’s most straightforward song blistering leads and a very playful melodic approach.
Germany has always been one of the best countries for Metal music to flourish over the years, with a huge scene and tons of quality bands emerging every year. Today we have September Murder and their sophomore release “He Who Invokes Decadence”. Delivering eight tracks of high quality Melodic/Progressive Death Metal, this band is ready for prime time and they have a very convincing case with this impressive release.
The album’s opening statement is “Under Severed Skies”, an excellent track that combines heavy intricate guitar work and crushing growls. The band is in no hurry of blasting you away, opting to deliver precise blows of hyper-fast sections surrounded by excellent melodic passages. The band’s old-school Death Metal influences are clear, but they manage to clean them up with incise guitar and bass guitar work in killer tracks like “Two Culprits, One Oath” and Death-esque “Among Vultures”.
One of the most rewarding things about reviewing music for Infernal Masquerade is the ability to discover excellent bands like Wall of The Eyeless. Having extremely liked their first demo “Through Emptiness”, we are pleased to receive their newest 4-song demo release “Wimfolsfestta”. Delivering over 25 minutes of intricate Progressive Death Metal, this band seems to have all the potential to be signed by any mayor Metal music label in the world.
“Flicker” is the first track on this release and it delivers a nearly 10-minute emotional ride through excellent riffs, tight drumming, and an effective combination of growls and clean vocals. The band’s ability to create intricate compositions that weave back and forth from melodic passages into aggressive sections is quite excellent and it is perfectly showcased in this song. “The Longest Winter” comes in with a faster and more direct approach. Keeping the melodic side of things always present, this track nicely combines merciless riffs with powerful growls.
Coming along with quite a set of positive reviews for their earlier work, today we have Norway’s Okular and their sophomore release “Sexforce”. Playing an interesting mixture of Progressive Death Metal with some Melodic DM elements, this band is full of creative and unique ideas, too bad they can’t seem to really work them together in a cohesive manner. Besides the obvious musical quality, this release features guest appearances by Athera (Susperia) on seven tracks and Vintersorg on one song.
After many listening to this promo countless times, we are torn about not really being able to like it as a whole. The album is quite complex and has plenty of layers to it, but they mostly feel like several things going in different directions and never really coming together properly. On the one hand, we have killer guitar work on songs like “Not Separate” and “Sexforce”, but some of the tempo changes are confusing and the vocals go in different directions.