With the barrage of promos we get each month, it is easy to lose track of under the radar releases that are quite interesting. Luckily for us, Nightland’s latest album “The Great Nothing” popped in our queue and hasn’t left after more than a dozen spins. Mixing Progressive elements with a Symphonic Death Metal core, this release unleashes over 47 minutes of highly polished and very engaging music that will appear to fans from bands like Sculptured, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, and Arcturus.
The release opens with the crafty “The Conjunction of Benetnash” and its intricate guitar lines paired with dramatic choral arrangements. This opener sets a very intriguing mood as the band’s sound is still yet to fully unravel. With a more mellow approach “For Once My Name” introduces a nice mixture of harsh and clean vocals, having a very epic feeling, a bit like bands like Arcturus, but with a cleaner and more ethereal purpose.
Progressive Death Metal
Hailing from the USA, today we have Progressive/Tech Death Metal outfit Burial in the Sky and their sublime release “The Consumed Self”. Perfectly blending technical proficiency, melancholic songwriting, and flawless execution, this release unleashes nearly one hour of mesmerizing music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sculptured, Obscura, Necrophagist, etc. this release will have you both in awe and bruised from all the headbanging.
The release opens with the dreamy/proggy intro “The Soft Violet Light” and pummels right into the sheer brutality of “An Orphaned City”. This contrast perfectly introduces the heavier side of the band and their technical proficiency with blistering guitars and massive drums flanking the harsh screams. The band’s seamless transition between heavier parts and more melodic and proggy passages, like on “On Wings of Providence”, is exactly what draws us to this outfit and their polished sound.
Hailing from Canada, today we have Progressive/Technical Death Metal outfit Æpoch with their latest EP “Hiraeth”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of high-octane music, this band shows great maturity and originality in their very polished sound. From start to finish, this release will have you furiously headbanging and moshing with your friends.
Opening with “Atonement”, we get that immediate Death worship within the first few minutes as the band transitions into intense melodic riffs and proggy tempo changes. The opener perfectly bleeds into “Amnesia” another piece with ravaging guitars and tight drumming. The growls are deep and firm, allowing the music to sound quite brutal with the addition of extra vocals by Alustrium’s Jerry Martin.
With the Progressive/Technical Death Metal scene getting crowded, it is hard to find releases that are both excellently crafted and technically proficient. It takes good musicians to do the latter, but an excellent band to do first. France’s Fractal Universe have been slowly refining their trade and with “The Impassable Horizon” the band reaches new heights. Rivaling cohesive albums from bands like Between the Buried and Me and Obscura, this release is brilliant in all its aspects.
Opening with “Autopoiesis”, we instantly get blistering onslaughts of crafty drumming, intense guitar solos and a wide variety of crushing vocal arrangements. Not stopping at just awesome, “A Clockwork Expectation”, “Interfering Spherical Scenes”, and “Symmetrical Masquerade” perfectly blend virtuosity with excellent songwriting skills. With influences ranging from more traditional Tech Death Metal, to Jazzy and even Groove/Djent Meshuggah-esque elements, each track is a unique and expansive musical journey.
Unleashing around 40 minutes of expertly crafted Death Metal, today we have Slovenia’s Siderean and their debut release “Lost on Void’s Horizon”. Mixing a core of traditional Death Metal elements with brilliant technical proficiency and some sprinkles of progressive elements thrown into the mix, this release is both crafty and powerful. Never straying too far away from their DM roots, the band nicely explores multiple influences, ultimately delivering a very unique and engaging style of their own.
The release opens up with the thunderous “Eolith” and its fierce guitar onslaughts. Thrown into the mix are some nice mellow interludes that allow the listener to breathe and prepare for the next round of punishment. After the dreamy instrumental, “Traversing”, the band comes back with a more mellow and proggy vibe on the album title track. Having some killer Opeth/Sculptured-esque vibes, this track still grapples to its old-school DM harshness alongside playful and funky melodic passages.
Mixing up Technical Death Metal with Progressive and ‘Video Game’ Metal elements, today we have a very intense and exciting band from the USA called The Beast of Nod. With comparisons to bands like Dethklok, Powerglove, and similar outfits, “Multiversal” delivers over 50 minutes of playful high-octane music that is extremely technically proficient, fun, and greatly engaging.
Opening with the magical “Flight of the Quetzalcoatlus”, we instantly get that Proggy/Techy vibe with intricate guitars, crafty drumming and playful tempo changes. The vocal styles vary between growls and shrieks, allowing for the music to change moods and intensity quite nicely, as the jazzy “Contemporary Calamity” showcases.
Newcomers Blighted Eye are ready to take the North American scene by storm with their very crafty debut EP “Wretched”. Unleashing over 27 minutes of high-octane, progressive/melodic Death Metal with additional influences, the band delivers four very well crafted songs that nicely balance both technical proficiency and killer songwriting chops. If you are into bands like Sculptured, you cannot afford to miss this release.
Opening with the intense guitars of “Contempt”, this band sets a very energetic and firm pace. This track features crafty tempo changes, killer intense passages and overall excellent musicianship, showing a bit of a Tech Death Metal influence but with proggy ambitions. As “Respite” follows the intense opener, the band’s more proggy influences are heard, reminding us a bit of mid-period Opeth with some killer guitar leads added.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Sulphur Sun and their very interesting EP titled “Placodemic Heraldry”. Featuring a weird amalgamation of Death Metal with progresisve/technical DM elements, this release delivers a very promising 10 minute teaser for a uniquely weird band. If you like weird music that is both crafty and a bit chaotic, this is the EP for you.
Opening with the madness inducing “The Temple of Dunkleosteus”, the band delivers intricate riffs, hellish vocal arrangements ranging from hypnotic throat singing to growls, and a very playful drum track. The band’s style is instantly hard to categorize as the song goes over multiple moods and styles. The chaos continues with the sinister “Trilobite Thief”, featuring some Satyricon-esque sounding guitars and more blistering drumming and odd tempo changes, all working in strange unison.
Delivering a swift Progressive Death Metal debut EP, today we have Oneiric Celephaïs with “The Great Flood”. Hailing from Italy, this technically proficient foursome unleashes over 24 minutes of superbly crafted music, perfectly balancing brutality and craftiness. Delivering a balance between Obscura and Persephone, this release is highly recommended for fans of the genre.
Leading with the elegant and dreamy opening of “The Eldritch Dark”, the band slowly eases the listener into their musical world. “The Aeon of Death” delivers the first doses of heaviness with perfectly weaved in onslaughts of intense riffs, a playful bass guitar line, and engaging drumming. The band’s Death Metal core is nicely complemented by the proggier guitar leads and intricate tempo changes, allowing their sound to be instantly catchy and engaging.
Breaking the funk of multiple weeks of non-stop Black Metal releases being reviewed, today we have an excellent Progressive/Melodic Death Metal outfit from Sweden named: Descend. Combining elements of bands like Opeth, Cynic, In Mourning, and Persefone, “The Deviant” is one hell of a cinematic experience filled with technical intricacies and superbly catchy songwriting.
Warming up the listener with the melodic instrumental opener “Avalin”, the band nicely builds up to the proggy melodies of “Blood Moon” and its crafty tempo changes. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is nicely balanced, and the addition of female vocals on tracks like “The Purest One” add an extra layer to the band’s excellent sound. For those looking into more experimental/free-style songs, “Lily” has a nice mixture of fast-paced sections and highly crafty instrumental interludes.