Evolution is the key to the continued survival of a species. The same thing can be said about music. As the population of bands playing extreme music grows steadily, there is a need to branch out from the established paths to stand out from the throng. Many bands have realised this need for innovation and as a result, we see more thinning of boundaries between styles (both within metal and outside).
This series of articles has focused on such evolution within the grindcore spectrum, and here is #3 with a few more underground acts that are taking the style forward.
LLNN (Copenhagen) and Wovoka (Los Angeles, CA) may be 5,590 miles apart, but their collaborative effort, a split entitled “Traces/Marks” releasing June 16th via Pelagic Records, shares an overwhelming, spirit-crushing bleakness. Luckily, you won’t have to wait to lash your soul to ribbons, as we’ve got the full album for you to hear in its entirety right here.
Although they describe their music as “post-apocalyptic,” that doesn’t even begin to fully describe “Marks,”LLNN’s six-song share of the split. It’s a good jump-start adjective for sure, but you could easily augment it with other dismal soundtrack descriptors like “dystopian,” “cyberpunk,” and even “grimdark.” LLNN wastes no time subjecting listeners to the collapsing condition of their world with the grimy opener The Guardian. Vocalist Christian Bonnesen provides a potent, distinctly human contrast to the mechanized drone synths on songs like Swarms, his belligerent shouts drowning out pealing sirens like defiance against a machine god.
The heaviness on “Marks” isn’t just expressed through the pounding, bottom-heavy guitars — you can almost taste the existential futility stinging like battery acid on the tongue. The songs are short, yet honed to a needle-sharp point — each is a two- to three-minute declaration of dissension and mistrust, creating a seamless throughline of urban decay. The exception is LLNN’s last track, Gravitated, which drifts along like an embellished John Carpenter song, dripping with dystopian dread. It’s disquieting end to LLNN’s side of the split, and an effective segue into the grief-stricken song that follows.
A steady guitar with utterly arid distortion opens up “Traces,”Wovoka’s sole contribution to the split. At over seventeen minutes long, “Traces” is content to take its time dragging us through scorching passages of luminous intensity. Where the “Marks” side of the split had us fearfully peering into a darkened world, Wovoka’s realm is bright and fiery yet not an ounce less punishing. A severe 6/4 time signature drives the majority of the song’s first half, urging the listener ever onward… or suffer an end in a consuming blaze.
A break seems to appear around the nine-minute mark, but it too clangs and shimmers with discordant static, dispelling the illusion of safety. The bass guitar, which had previously grumbled along like a disgruntled sidewinder, takes on a quicker gait, building momentum toward an unseen destination. The vocals undergo a similar transformation — the parched screams you’d heard only moments before now sound ethereal and melodious, uplifting you from your despair… but that too is a mirage. As your inevitable ascension continues over the next five minutes, you are pummeled and whipped by increasingly harsh waves of noise — shattering cymbals, crashing snares, and throbbing guitars. Then, before you know it, it’s all over.
LLNN and Wovoka have come together to create a powerful piece of music in “Traces/Marks.” Both are phenomenal in their own right, but united they take the listener on an odyssey into distinct realms of hellish grief and loss.
“Traces/Marks” releases June 16th via Pelagic Records. Read our interview with LLNN here.
To create an instrumental album these days takes a lot of talent. More so than traditional albums, because the artist has to hook the listener’s attention purely by the virtue of the music and hooking the attention of modern humans for more than a few seconds is an incredibly difficult feat to pull off. That has not stopped the Atlanta based power trio Spore Lord from unleashing their debut full length ‘In the Beginning’. If you have not figured it out from the band name and album artwork yet, Spore Lord’s music is psychedelic flavored stoner / doom metal and these guys manage to write music that makes one trip, even without any stimulants in one’s system.
Spore Lord seem to have taken a leaf out of the Karma to Burn book when it comes to numbering their tracks instead of naming them, albeit with proper order. The music is Sabbathian in a way that the riffs tend to resonate with the listeners almost instantaneously. Riffs are the protagonists here as they proceed to seduce with their bluesy charm and thick sludgy tone. The stoner metal groove is sure enough to get you banging your heads and before you know it, the leads and licks will have you reaching for your nearest air guitar. Take a listen to Spore Lord III, streaming below, for example.
There was never really a doubt in my mind regarding the number of releases in extreme music these days, but damn! The sheer number of kickass grindcore and other grind related projects lurking in the underground is something I did not anticipate. This second edition of the article kept getting delayed, not because I couldn’t find enough bands to write about. Quite the opposite really. Most of the delay was caused by me trying to figure out which bands to include and which ones to push for later editions.
So without further ado, here are 5 bands playing grind and other grind influenced styles of extreme music that I highly recommend you check out.
In a year rife with kick ass genre bending extreme music, Seputus is an entity that manages to overshadow most of it’s peers. The band’s music knows no boundaries and weaving through the likes of black metal, grindcore and death metal the band creates a whirlwind of sharp, abrasive riffs that toy’s with the listener’s sanity. Then again, what else would you expect from a band where the members are also of part of Pyrrhon? The band’s debut full length ‘Man Does Not Give’ explores some of the dark and neglected corners of the human psyche with music that is intense, claustrophobic and enthralling.
This album left us with a lot of thoughts and questions. So we got in touch with the band’s primary composer Steve Schwegler and talked to him about the album, his influences in composing for Seputus, the band’s future plans and much more.
My introduction to Church of Disgust happened somewhere in 2014, when I picked up their full length ‘Unworldly Summoning’. A duo then, this band’s style of crawling, horror inspired old school doom / death metal hit me in all the right spots and Church of Disgust have been on my radar ever since.
Fast forward to 2016, they are now a full fledged four piece band and after an EP last year, the band is ready to unleash their second full length ‘Veneration of Filth’ through Memento Mori (CD) and Headsplit Records (Tape) on the 24th of October, with a vinyl release planned on No Posers Please. The result of a complete lineup shows on the output, as the band members are freed to explore more to produce a more dynamic sound.
Take a listen to the track Corpses of Dead Worlds for instance. The wailing lead guitars over the spiraling riffs creates the perfect feeling of falling into an abyss, just as the throaty, cavernous growls kick in. The short sprints in between the doom heavy main riff keep the listener hooked and quite nicely paves the way for the frenzied final section of the song. Enough with the descriptions. Why don’t you stream the track below, right now?
We also managed to talk about the new release to Dustin James, the band’s guitarist and vocalist. Check out what the band has to say.
A couple of months ago, fans of death metal were treated to one of the best records in the genre this year. This came from Colorado based four piece Blood Incantation. The band’s debut full length came as a whirlwind of old school riffs that felt like it was created by some space faring entity that has had first hand experience with wormholes and nebulae. With long mind twirling tracks, Blood Incantation reminds one of the likes of Demilich, Gorguts and Nocturnus, while managing to create a distinctive and unique sound for themselves.
We at Transcending Obscurity fell so much in love with this record and band, that we wanted to know as much as we can about them. So we approached the band and managed to exchange a few words with the band’s guitarist / vocalist Paul Reidl, who talked to us about the band’s themes, evolution and their recent tour in support of their album ‘Starspawn’.
HATE ETERNAL have announced a European tour with VADER and supported by THREAT SIGNAL. The US death metal giants will kick off their rampage at the Druckerei in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany on November 4 and continue to devastate six more European countries until returning to Germany for a final onslaught at Alte Zuckerfabrik in Rostock on the 20th of November.
list of all currently confirmed dates can be viewed below:
+VADER +THREAT SIGNAL 04 Nov 16 Bad Oeynhausen (DE) Druckerei 05 Nov 16 Andernach (DE) Juz-Live-Club 06 Nov 16 Arlon (BE) L’entrepot 07 Nov 16 Jena (DE) F-Haus 08 Nov 16 Weinheim (DE) Cafe Central 09 Nov 16 Zürich (CH) Dynamo 10 Nov 16 Puget (FR) Le Rat’s 11 Nov 16 Brescia (IT) Circolo Colony 12 Nov 16 München (DE) Backstage 13 Nov 16 Rotterdam (NL) Baroeg 14 Nov 16 London (UK) The Dome 15 Nov 16 Birmingham (UK) The Courtyard 16 Nov 16 Bremen (DE) Tivoli 17 Nov 16 Haarlem (NL) Patronaat 18 Nov 16 Berlin (DE) Nuke 19 Nov 16 Essen (DE) Turock 20 Nov 16 Rostock (DE) Alte Zuckerfabrik
HATE ETERNAL is the brainchild of extreme metal luminary Erik Rutan, who created a charging death metal juggernaut. In the United States this style has been virtually synonymous with Florida and especially the Tampa Bay Area for a long time. More aggressive and technically complex than its Swedish counterpart, Floridian death metal grew out of thrash during the mid-1980’s and was founded by such as the legendary DEATH, OBITUARY, and MORBID ANGEL. While many of its early protagonists went on experimental paths,HATE ETERNAL remains true to the original formula, while continuously pushing the boundaries of this extreme style.
Founded in St. Petersburg, Florida in the year 1997, the band faithfully keeps the death metal spirit alive as their long-awaited sixth studio album ‘Infernus’ now uncompromisingly demonstrates. HATE ETERNAL‘s first new full-lengthin four years doubles down on their patented, high-velocity assault of dizzying ferocity combined with wide-range dynamics, outstanding songwriting and skull-crushing brutality. HATE ETERNAL delivers extreme music at the highest level. There can be no doubt that ‘Infernus’ ranks among the very best death metal records of 2015!
01. Locust Swarm
02. The Stygian Deep
03. Pathogenic Apathy
04. La Tempestad
06. The Chosen One
07. Zealot, Crusader of War
08. Order of the Arcane Scripture
09. Chaos Theory
10. O’ Majestic Being, Hear My Call
Erik Rutan: vocals, guitars
J.J. Hrubovcak: bass, backing vocals
Chason Westmoreland: drums (album recording)
Hannes Grossmann: drums (live, session)
Whoa! We have a third compilation of grindcore albums already? I guess the staff here at Transcending Obscurity take their grindcore really seriously. Or maybe the fact that grindcore albums are easier to consume compared to other styles, makes it easier to identify worthy grindcore albums at a faster rate. Whatever the case is, the way I see it, one can never have enough grindcore in one’s life. So we present to you, part 3 of the grindcore highlights list featuring albums that you should be streaming / buying right now if you’re a fan of this extreme style. ~ Shrivatsan R (Deputy Editor)