I’m running into the opposite of my usual problem in that I have too much tech death I want to talk about. While I filter through the full lengths, here are a couple awesome EP’s from Promethean and Where Deprivation Lies.
- Fractal Universe has a new song up from Engram of Decline and it riiiiips. Plus, you get to watch a sweet drum playthrough with it. Look for that on April 14th.
- I dig it when bands try weird combinations of sounds, and Trepid Elucidation do just that on Upcoming Reality. Ever wonder what brutal death metal would sound like with lighter prog elements? Now you don’t have to speculate! Give that one a shot if you’re in the mood for something a little different.
- Soreption are in the studio at work on the follow-up to 2014’s Engineering the Void, far and away one of my favorite tech death records of all time. If you haven’t heard it, drop everything and go listen to it right the fuck now so we can suffer this wait in solidarity.
- Newcomers Insidious Reign just released their debut album. I haven’t had the chance to give it my full attention yet, but its concept sounds intriguing, with each of its six songs focusing on the corruption of what they refer to as the six pillars of society. I look forward to digging into that one later.
I have long thought that Greek mythology is sorely underutilized as lyrical material in the metal world. Though I’ve covered a couple such albums on this very column, they’re still overshadowed by the vast number of Lovecraft, Norse, and Satan-themed bands out there. Thus, whenever one such band pops up- especially if it’s in the realm of tech death- I’m inclined to give it a listen. Promethean is the newest band to draw upon Olympian inspiration, and their symphonic approach is suitably mighty. Granted the last song is inspired by Lovecraft, but at least it’s about the one with the guy who plays Gorguts on a viola da gamba to ward off some unspeakable evil. Props for not taking the Cthulhu route, Promethean.
Now, a word of warning- Aloades encounters the same issue as many other symphonic death metal bands in that the orchestral elements have a tendency to suffocate the rest of the band. For the most part, the album sounds pretty good; the guitar tone is nice and crunchy, the bass has some solid chunk to it, and the drums, while triggered, aren’t overbearing. However, that’s all relegated to the background when the orchestra picks up in earnest. It’s not on the same level as the muddy mix of Fleshgod’s Mafia or Labyrinth, but it’s still a little irksome.
The plus side is that those orchestrations are actually really good, sidestepping the second trap of symphonic death metal. They’re dramatic and interesting, and while they might choke out the guitars with the way they’re engineered, they don’t get in each other’s way from a composition standpoint. There’s a fair amount of riff variety as well, which is impressive for a four-song EP. “Le Supplice des Aloades” has a sweeping cinematic feel to it that makes it sound like a death metal rendition of a song from one of those cheesy 60’s adventure movies, and I mean that in the best way possible. It ramps up in complexity from there into a more typically tech death direction on “Niobides” and “A Forbidden Symphony,” with a blackened reprieve between them in “The Plague.” Through all of that, they never lose the dramatic flair provided in the symphonic accompaniment, providing an extra layer of intricacy and excitement. Flawed as its mix may be, Aloades is an awesome debut that has left me wanting more from these French upstarts.
I get the distinct feeling that the guys behind our next offering just might be fans of Obscura. UK duo Where Deprivation Lies dropped this little promo back in October and had escaped my notice entirely until just last night. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of covering super short-form releases like this one unless there’s something particularly notable about it; in this case, Throne of Debauchery sounds an awful lot like Grossmann/Münzner-era Obscura. “Voyeurs Before the Throne of Debauchery” very much sounds like the openers to Omnivium and Cosmogenesis, where “Zi Ma Bu E Ter” opens with a crawling riff similar to “Ocean Gateways.” From the song arrangement to the chord progressions to the mix and even the fifths harmony in the first solo, this screams Obscura. The biggest differentiating factor comes in the vocals, which have a much heartier feel than those of Steffen Kummerer.
To me, the difference between thievery and homage lies in both intent and execution. Throne of Debauchery is of exceptional quality, leading me to believe that their intent was benign. Everything about it feels lovingly crafted in the image of an icon of the genre to the point that, if not for the stronger vocals, it could easily be mistaken for a couple of lost Obscura songs. These guys are two very competent musicians who have absolutely nailed the sound, and they should be lauded for that. For any future releases, I wouldn’t mind seeing them define their own sound a bit further (perhaps building off the style of riffs right before the solo in the first song, which have more of an American melodeath feel to them), but as it is, if you’re looking for more music in a classic style, you can’t go wrong with this one.
That’s all for this week. If you like what you heard, be sure to give the bands a little monetary support for their hard work, and maybe stop by their Facebook pages with some kind words as well. Until next time,