Scourge of the Enthroned

With subtle dynamics, and a uniquely synchronized riff-drum assault, Krisiun forges ahead. Signatures here are inimitable. Not only is it old school as it ever gets, that intricate shredding and precision temporal switches simply elevates the band, altitudes above the numbing turbulence of run-of-the-mill death metal releases.

When a steady synchronized hammer of riffs and double bass runs into that hardly decipherable characteristic growls – “Slay yourself for the glorious day. When the bell tolls for the sins you have made” – it just provides that vocal finesse to this old school technical train. But, as expected, “Devouring Faith“ finally scorches its path into an electric blues like shredding, searing and relentless.

S. Bollmann [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pleiades’ Dust

There are bands which reinforce your conception of a symphony, and then there are the ones which broaden them. Gorguts is willfully rooted in that second category. Luc Lemay’s compositions are intimidating, and at the same time curiously captivating too. It might take a while to comprehend this level of discordance. But, quite like Meshuggah, or early Slayer, Gorguts is forging new neural pathways. In other words, they are creating a totally new classification for what we call an elegant symphony. Subtly, but effectively influencing how we perceive music itself.

If Obscura is too intimidating, then Pleiades’ Dust might be that ideal prescription, something that helps us mere mortals comprehend this transformative force.

 

 

Rubén G. Herrera [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Psychologists and Death Metal

Ran into this Scientific American article on Death Metal.

“Those positive emotions, as reported by death metal fans in an online survey that Thompson and his team conducted, include feelings of empowerment, joy, peace and transcendence. So far, almost all of the anger and tension Thompson has documented in his death metal studies has been expressed by non-fans after listening to samples of the music.”

Probably, psychologists should be studying the non-fans, on why they are unable to decipher that grand symphony.

From a related Progarchy post.

The most complex of patterns is comfortably buried beneath a wall of rich chaotic sound. So, in spite of being substantive, intellectually and physically demanding, the uninitiated simply may not have the ear. We can appreciate the textures and the grand symphony only with some ability to abstract away that pulverizing sound. Actually mandates higher levels of cognition – sort of the mark of an ageing and civilized genre.

 

By Äppelmos [CC BY 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Subtle is Exquisite

Was reading this write-up on death metal – ironic that the genre itself might be in death bed, but it leaves us with over 30 years of music. We can actually spend a lifetime exploring that aesthetic defying trajectory. From Hellhammer’s punk coarseness to Decrepit Birth and Necrophagist like sophistication — seems like death and its variants were always an acquired taste. Just imagine, Morbid Angel and Obituary still play in basement venues and divey bars. Couple of years ago I saw Entombed with just 30 other metal heads at this venue in San Francisco. And these are like The Beatles of death metal!

It’s inaccessible not just because of the harshness. The main barrier is the subtle aesthetics and musicianship, other than over-the-top aggression there are no exaggerated elements. Absolutely no extended passages – structural progressions are in fact measured, convulsive and precise. In other words, very little about death is instantly discernible. The most complex of patterns is comfortably buried beneath a wall of rich chaotic sound. So, in spite of being substantive, intellectually and physically demanding, the uninitiated simply may not have the ear. We can appreciate the textures and the grand symphony only with some ability to abstract away that pulverizing sound. Actually mandates higher levels of cognition – sort of the mark of an ageing and civilized genre.

Image Attribution —–

© pitpony photography /

Anticult

Within  the pantheon of death metal Gods, Decapitated stands out. They are one of those gatekeepers of the sub-genre — the one bridging the old with the new. The cross-over blend of old school death metal meets the newer (200 time-signatures-per-min) technical mayhem.

Recovering from a tumultuous past and successfully restructuring the sound is not trivial. Anticult is easily among the best illustrations of those stunning groovy prog elements within death.

Dimebag Darrell like riffing, downtuned uniquely melodic leads, and vocals bordering between screams to growls — Decapitated successfully integrates groove metal into their pristine Polish death terrain. Seamless switches between musical traits are numerous, and they span divergent eras — from Entombed like leads to Gojira like towering guitars. With everything layered on top of their precision blast beats, these compositions are as sharp as a guillotine. Getting Decapitated has not been this blissful in a long time. The band has evolved from Vitek era technical death, but they are still absolutely about adapting old school structures to stunningly creative musical contexts.

By © Markus Felix (talk to me) [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The Conductor’s Departure

Heavy and incessantly shifting contours — ‘The Conductor’s Departure’ is simply riveting. The constant progression here can leave anyone speechless. Like any technical death sound, these textures are tangled and layered. But when combined with that relentless melodic progression, it only becomes more captivating. This level of savage sophistication in braiding tech death with complex drawn-out song structures is rare.

Anata is not only meticulous, but their compositions project an offhand feel, as if the record was composed on-the-go. In other words, they tread this demanding terrain of understated refinement, and tortuously rugged, yet dazzling display of spontaneity. Adds refreshing aspects to an otherwise grinding framework of measured technical progression. Undoubtedly, this blend of old school with modern technical death is melodic and yet dissonant — a cross-over act of the most demanding kind.