Let’s tone back the tech just a little bit this week and focus on the music. We’re jamming Effrontery this week.
- Dissonant death outfit Sunless have a new song streaming over at Invisible Oranges. These guys are excellent, so don’t skip out on this one. Look for Urraca on February 24th.
- If siqq shreds are more your speed, you can catch Archspire and Arkaik on their upcoming US tour. I know Archspire draws a lot of ire around these parts, but I seriously encourage you to catch them if you’re able; it’s one thing to hear their music on record, and it’s another thing entirely to see it performed.
- Speaking of tours, Inanimate Existence and Aethere are hitting the road together for four days in April. I’m not as familiar with Aethere, but Inanimate Existence are excellent live.
- Buried Realm has a new song up, and it rips. I don’t know if there’s a plan for a full album, but I sincerely hope it happens.
- Newcomers Tandav just put out a new EP, and it’s pretty damn good. Check it out if you need a quick tech fix.
- Quick reminder that there’s an Alterbeast tour coming up and I’m going to be insanely jealous of everyone who gets to see it.
Tech death, as you know, is generally based around musicians trying to push their limits while still remaining musical (well, usually). In the pursuit of instrumental mastery, it’s easy to leave the emotional portion of songwriting behind. While I’d personally argue that even the shreddiest of metal can be equally expressive of intent and emotion as a slow, soulful blues player, there’s no doubt that emotion is often secondary to virtuosity in tech death. It’s always interesting, then, coming across a tech death artist whose music is spurred by the former over the latter. With that, I present you Budapest’s Effrontery.
Good lyrics are generally pretty low on the list of things I look for in a tech death band, but in this case, they’re front and center for a reason. Seven Years of Agony was written in the wake of the death of guitarist Péter Lipák’s father, and the sorrow and anger brought on by that tragedy is palpable throughout. The subject matter is fairly typical for metal, dealing with topics ranging from death to depression to the political climate of Hungary, but they’re all very personal and written from a place of vulnerability. Those notes of personal experience give the words much more gravity than their typical use as shock value, or the more common viewpoint of outside observer. Moreover, they’re simply well-written, which makes for a nice change of pace.
Musically, Seven Years ventures deep into melodeath territory with an occasional detour through thrash land. Opening track “Enter the Misery” would have fit perfectly on an early Arsis record, and most of the rest of the album follows suit. Hammer blasts and dueling guitar solos are abundant, and the low- to mid-range harmonized riffs pack a lot of punch. Songs like “Poisonous” veer more in the direction of acts such as Wastewalker and Kalmah, blazing their trail with a driving thrash attack. The solos range from rage-fueled shredfests to slow and melodic mini-ballads, and they’re all creative and flavorful. They’re pointed and precise, equal parts cerebral and emotive, and reflective of the music as a whole. They’re the best type of solo; the kind that elevates the music rather than padding it.
If you like instrumental prowess but are discouraged by the oftentimes mechanical nature of tech death, then I encourage you to check out Effrontery. Despite the dreary imagery and heavy subject matter, it stands out as a bright island of color in a sea of grays. Seven Years of Agony is powerful and intense, and even if all you’re looking for are sweet riffs and a good time, it provides on that front as well. There aren’t a whole lot of tech death bands doing what Effrontery do, and there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had here.
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