Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Death Metal’

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Progressive death metallers Zealotry are back with their new full length record, ‘At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds’, their first with new label Unspeakable Axe Records. It follows up their great second record, ‘The Last Witness’, and it’s due out at the start of December. This record is a journey through disorientating darkness.

The fearsome title track opens the record with a bang, battering you with blastbeats, crushing riffs and raging growls, while the maddeningly complex bass riffs in the middle are mind boggling. Zealotry clearly have a great love of Gorguts, Atheist and the like, matching mesmerising guitar work with sickening brutality, and the moments when almost orchestral grandness rears its head are even better. The spiralling ‘Primus Venatoris’ is wonderful, while the head caving weight of ‘Universal Deceit’ reminds you that this is progressive DEATH METAL, not just prog. Zealotry assault your senses with talent that is otherworldly, and nowhere is that clearer than the epic tour de force of prog death that is closer ‘Irredeemable’.

‘At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds’ is an album that will dazzle, confound and awaken you to the possibilities of what musical instruments can actually achieve. Then it’ll smash your fucking face in while you’re too busy being perplexed. Zealotry have absolutely nailed it here, and you need to find this if wormhole inducing death metal is your thing.


Yet more North American progressive death metal falls into my lap as the latest full length from Tacoma, Washington’s Aethereus dropped into my email. ‘Absentia’ is out now through The Artisan Era, and it is a brutal, twisting opus of striking technicality.

‘Cascades of Light’ builds slowly, erupting into a cacophony of technical riffing and guttural growls. Aethereus are maddeningly intricate; songs require repeated listens to really grasp the levels of musicianship on display here. Clearly learning from the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder as well as Obsura, the technical components don’t get in the way of some nice melodic passages. In a genre of amazing musicianship and few great actual SONGS, Aethereus handle both issues with aplomb. ‘Writhe’ does just that, shot through with devastating energy, while the more love thrown on the jarring virtuosity of ‘The Black Circle’ the better.

A note should be made of the grandiose interludes that punctate this record, lending a gravity and a majesty that is sometimes sorely lacking. ‘Mortal Abrogation’ leads with sombreness into the massive ‘Fluorescent Halls of Decay’, whose labyrinth like structure feels built like a majestic and ancient palace, carved with intricate tributes to their forebears; the Obscuras, the Cynics, the Beneath the Massacres. This is a record whose mere prescence should cause awe and respect.

‘Absentia’ might be the best of this style I’ve heard this year. Dazzlingly frenetic, head cavingly brutal and yet capable of introspective calm, Aethereus are magnificent, and ‘Absentia’ is a record of magnificent devastation.

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Canadian progressive death metallers Technical Damage have just recently released their debut full length, ‘The Introspect’, and with it they look to stake a claim in the crowded but normally pretty good genre. It is out now through their Bandcamp.

Travelling along well trodden paths, Technical Damage’s music is full of the kind of spiralling, glacial clean moments that you find in the likes of Tesseract but it also has a good bite to it when the chugging heaviness begins. Juddering riffs crash upon you in the sleek ‘Reshape’, while you’ll take well needed breathers in the more tranquil parts of ‘II: Awakenings’. The snaking solo of ‘Crystal Angels’ is a highlight, as is the thunderous death rampaging through the same song. Closing with the labyrinthine ‘The Introspect’, this is a record that doesn’t really do a huge amount new (although I’ve never heard anything quite like parts of ‘Eviscerate’) but what it does is excellent.

‘The Introspect’ is a promising debut that leans a little too heavily on the tried and tested styles of the genre, and I’d like to see Technical Damage branch out a little further. The musical talent is exemplary, so they have the chops to do it. I’ll be following these guys closer in the future, because if they can build on what they have here, it should be pretty damn good.

Piah Mater - The Wandering Daughter

‘The Wandering Daughter’ is the second full length fom Brazilian progressive death metallers Piah Mater, and it is a tortured, soul wrenching slab of progressive death metal and black metal. It is out now through Code666 Records, and looks to be a new standard in progressive extremity.

Opener ‘Hyster’ brings us delicate acoustics that make me reminisce about the awesome acoustic Opeth record, ‘Damnation’. From there, the comparisons to the iconic Swedes do continue, through the winding 12 minutes of ‘Solace of Oblivion’. Thick death metal riffing, shot through with a wistful black metal atmosphere and the opposing forces of brutality and fragility definitely conjure up images of mid period Opeth. But while those guys have moved away into ACTUAL prog rock, Piah Mater can take the genre into new places.

The chunky start to ‘Sprung from Weakness’ soon begins to spiral outwards, and the complexity begins to take form. The musicianship here is wonderful, and the contrasts between the heaviness and the glacially calm sections is never jarring. This is ambitious, sprawling, and can sometimes feel a little overbearing. But it lessens with every listen, and you begin to anticipate the changes and prepare. Opeth may loom heavily upon them, but Piah Mater aren’t afraid to use this as impetus to create something that could be just as good. ‘Earthbound Ruins’ would have fitted comfortably on ‘Ghost Reveries’, and that just speaks to the quality.

It is great to hear a Brazilian band that is pushing the boundaries and not just rehashing raw black/death or Sepultura. Piah Mater are a triumph of original thinking, and ‘The Wandering Daughter’ reminds me of progressive death metal giants in their prime. This is a great record, and should be recognised.

A one man, psychedelic progressive death metal project from the US, ISA is certainly an interesting and unique prospect in this overfilled world of extremity. A self released piece, ‘Chimera’ certainly lives up to its many headed, ferocious namesake.

The dreamy ‘[dusk]’ swells into the scatterbrained ‘Stage I: Descent’, which swings between nasty scowling deathroars and lush acoustics. The rest of the album follows this method, swaying wildly from heavy brutality and sweet melodic goodness. Not quite djenty but definitely aware of a good groove riff or two, the crush of ‘Stage VI: Lust’ is excellent. But it’s all the space in between the heaviness that appeals to me here. The dreamy rumblings of ‘Stage V: Reflections’ is beautiful, while the meandering ‘Stage VIII: Ocean’ is a perfect combination of everything we’ve come across already on this record.

At all times ethereal, ‘Chimera’ is an interesting blend of death metal and some truly psyched out melodic moments that give you all kinds of good feelings. Clearly a labour of love, ISA’s work here is a credit to him and his vision, as ‘Chimera’ is a sprawling, ambitious work of modern heaviness.

Infinite Earths - Into The Void

Mind bending prog death metallers Infinite Earths have followed up their 2014 debut ‘Spiral from Spacetime’ with their latest EP, ‘Into the Void’. It’s based on a comic book written by vocalist Josh Mazorra, and is filled with tales of supernatural horror and spacey madness.

Opener ‘Act 1: Into the Void’ appears with pastoral acoustics before spiralling guitar lines streak in from outer space, while mind boggling melody lines and howling roars invade your consciousness. There’s plenty of Atheist and Cynic lurking in here, but Infinite Earths have created something that can almost claim to be unique. There’s a lot of wandering bass lines, deathly riffage and savage vocals in the awesome ‘Act 2: Amalgam of Madness’, and the jagged ‘Act 3: Chaotic Good’ is cosmic death prog magic. ‘Act 4: The Whirling Doorway’ adds some delightfully deranged acoustic moments before the titanic ‘Act 5: Grave New World’ brings us to a juddering, conscious altering end.

Infinite Earths just sound so refreshingly DIFFERENT from everyone else, and I think that’s why I really dig this record. They deftly mix brutality with dizzying technicality and aren’t afraid to do what comes naturally to them. ‘Into the Void’ feels like being lost in a multicoloured galaxy far away, with the omnipresent threat of spiralling madness just a breath away. Great stuff.

Russian progressive death metallers Grace Disgraced are keeping the spirit of classic Death alive, and Chuck would be proud to listen to their latest effort, ‘Lasting Afterdeaths’, out now on Razed Soul Productions. If you are into classic Florida death with adventurous fretwork and brutal vocals, then Grace Disgraced might just be for you.

Opener ‘Grave Among the Stars’ emerges with urgent, jagged riffs and a lengthy, angry sample in what I presume is Russian, before the growls kick in. Musically, you’re getting classic tropes of progressive death; spiralling melodies accompanying a selection of great riffs and a progressive streak a mile wide. While always twisting and changing, Grace Disgraced never come across as overly ‘muso’ or impenetrably complex. Tracks like ‘Childhood of the Dead’ or the rampant ‘Part of the History’ display a keen awareness that headbang inducement is as important as technicality.

Grace Disgraced have put together an album full of interesting, complex songs wih equal parts fret wizardry and headbanging death groove. ‘Lasting Afterdeaths’ keeps the spirit of early 90s prog death alive, from latter Death through Atheist and Pestilence. This is a band who can pay homage to those greats, yet keep their own music interesting and energising enough to warrant repeated listens. Just feel the intensity of ‘Captured in Snow’ or the epic closer ‘What Hide the Woods of Gevaudan’ to see what Grace Disgraced bring to the table. Excellent.