Who doesn’t love tech death EP’s? Well, a lot of people I’m sure, but I know I can’t get enough of them. This week’s bite-sized offerings come from Dawn of Retaliation, Kairos, and Noir, and they’ve got me hooked.
- All Seeing Eye has a new video for “Illusionist,” a song from their upcoming EP. No word on a release date yet, but I’d check this one out if you’re into tech with light mathcore elements.
- Beyond Creation played the Strandberg booth at NAMM, and it was as awesome as you’d expect. Check out the video here (and maybe back off on the volume a wee bit before you do).
- Brutal tech death act Upcoming Devastation just dropped a very Carcass-esque video for “Human Flesh” from their Trilogy of Human Decay EP. I missed this one when it first came out, and you should definitely give it a listen as well if you skipped over it.
- If you’re into riff-driven tech death à la Deviant Process, then you have to check out the new self-titled album from Phobiatic. You won’t be disappointed.
I dig it when metal bands draw from very disparate influences and bring them together in a cohesive sound, which is why Norway’s Dawn of Retaliation caught my attention. The band has traces of prog, doom, and black metal swirling about in their tech death cauldron, and it makes for a potent concoction. “Path to Execration” opens up the album with fiery blackened chording, throwing around minor shapes with reckless abandon at blistering speed. “Apperception” brings a big shift in feeling, bouncing along with head-bobbing syncopated riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a djent album (though mercifully without the garbage guitar tone). “The Esoteric Order” brings about the third piece of the puzzle, building up tension with low, huge chords before bringing it back around to a black metal sound underscored by a churning bass line.
From there on out, they bring their three different sounds together with fluidity, if not always consistently. While they never sound like they’re clashing with themselves, they do tend to hang on the doom sections a little too long for my liking. “Purge” and the end of “Succumb to Ruin” are a bit of a slow burn, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Regardless, Apex is a solid debut that has me curious to see where the band goes next.
Next up is Fission Spectrum, the second EP from Charlotte prog-death outfit Kairos. In this instance, they take the “prog” part of that label to heart, carrying a lot of traits present in 90’s and even some 70’s progressive rock and metal bands. Their songs are jammed full of ephemeral ideas, rife with time signature and key changes and brimming with instrumental showmanship. It’s a riff salad to be sure, but they make sure each song (and indeed the EP as a whole) is tied to a unifying central theme. Despite its surface-level scatterbrained appearance, those who give it a dedicated listen will be rewarded by its intelligent and intricate workings.
On top of that, there’s a prevailing sense of grandness to everything that really makes this feel like a story. Even at its heaviest and most dissonant, during its most avant-garde moments, the band maintains this inexplicably regal air that lends the music additional gravitas. It’s a difficult thing to put to words, but it made the album even more enjoyable for me. There’s nothing else out there quite like Kairos, and I highly recommend Fission Spectrum to anyone into progressive music of any sort. There’s a lot to digest, and it’s quite dense, but it’s so very worth your time.
Our third offering is a bit of weird one, not only in sound, but in the nature of its existence. It was apparently put out as both a proof-of-concept and as a demo to search for a new drummer, but the music is good enough as it is that I felt it deserved some of the spotlight. Noir plays a heavily groove-laden style of instrumental tech, not too far off from the likes of Keith Merrow projects Conquering Dystopia and Alluvial. Guitar noodling is kept to a minimum, the music being focused on the almighty riff over all else. Though we’re well past the point of Lovecraftian saturation, the music on Rise of R’lyeh certainly lives up to its subject matter. When they’re not blazing through a monstrous low-end riff, the guitars fill the air with murky, cyclopean chords that evoke the otherworldly dread brought by the presence of a Great Old One.
What’s most intriguing about Noir’s sound is the addition of some dark ambient effects. While they’re not super prevalent on Rise, they add some weight to the atmosphere of the album, alongside some creepy narration and gurgling vocals. It’s sparse but effective, and it’s something I’d like to see more of on future endeavors. Needless to say, Noir will be one to watch.
That’s all for this week; hopefully, you found something you liked. All three albums are available now at the Bandcamp links above, and you can follow Dawn of Retaliation and Kairos at their respective Facebook pages. Until next time,
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