Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Death Metal’

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.

Canadian death metal has always had something a bit odd about it. In fact, Canadian metal overall has always had something a bit strange about it, but the death metal of Gorguts, Cryptopsy et al has stretched that vibe out to other worlds. Progressive death metallers Solinaris are the next to attempt to break out of the death metal sphere with their new record ‘Deranged’, out now on Cimmerian Shade Recordings.

‘Deranged’ is a concept album based around the last thoughts of a serial killer before he dies. The intro follows news reports about said killer, and when the title track kicks in, there is a definite atonal vibe to it. Brutal death metal lurks underneath a jarring tone and a murky production, which judders and thrashes wildly. The music is technical but not overly which allows you to appreciate the bends in the road, between Cynic-esque bass work, saxophone interjections and fractious, guttural rage.

I love it when I get an album like this, a record that I have to spin a number of times to fully appreciate the material within. Each song has so many nuances that your brain needs to really focus on to really ‘get’. The frenzied chugging of ‘Blind’ is a more straightforward highlight, but even that descends into a hellish rabbit hole of prigressive weirdness. It’s difficult to pull out any particular high points because the album works so well as one long fucked up tale. It’s brutal, jazzy, progressive and heavy as fuck, all in one 50 minute release.

Solinaris have released a record that could sit proudly amongst your Pestilence, Cynic or Gorguts albums as an example of how thrillingly different death metal can be when placed in the hands of a band capable of doing it. From pastoral acoustics to jarring death metal chaos, Solinaris are always fascinating.

American progressive death metallers Pile of Priests (what an incredible band name) have released their first full length record ‘Void to Enlightenment’, a swirling vortex of terror, brutality and vintage 90s progressive moments. Be afraid, and make your body ready, for this is a wild ride.

Opener ‘Void to Enlightenment’ is a exercise in pure brutality, with spiralling guitar leads, guttural growls and some simply awesome sections. The progressive streak appears again and again in this record, in the jagged start to the epic ‘Deranged Youth Succession’ or throughout the complexities of ‘Maleficent’. Pile of Priests’ work would fit in right at home with such 90s death prog masters like Pestilence or Atheist. Each song is linked by impressive song writing, and an approach that marries the adventurous spirit of 90s progressive death and the crushing brutality of modern extremity.

‘Torture Chamber’ sounds like a lost cut from ‘Testimony of the Ancients’, while the rampant ‘Tribulation’ is a hard hitting, face breaking number with plenty of killer riffs. Pile of Priests have got their songs down with such a high level of quality you’d be forgiven for the surprise of being a debut. It is adventurous, technical and rarely less than brilliant. People looking for something a little more staightforward may struggle to deal with some of the twists and turns, but if prog death is your thing, then you owe it to yourself to check out ‘Void to Enlightenment’.

So, it turns out nailing me with three of my favourite artists as comparables to a band is the best way for me to get hooked into a new band straight away. The press blurb for the new record from progressive Seattle metallers Rhine namedrops Devin Townsend, Opeth and Enslaved as potential comaprisons, so colour me intrigued as to how this is going to turn out…

Formally a solo project, this second album from Rhine sees founder member Gabriel Tachell joined by a full band to complete ‘An Outsider’. Opening epic ‘Dreaming of Death’ builds slowly, with shades of Townsend in the harsh vocals, and the juddering riffing traces its lineage back to the ‘RUUN’ or ‘ISA’ Enslaved records. ‘An Outsider’ has that tendency, like a lot of progressive metal records, to feel slightly disjointed in places, full of ideas but not all executed quite right. Thankfully, these are few and far between here.

Rhine dash between delicate acoustics, sweeping grandeur and spiralling heavy metal. There’s bluesy organ appearing on the jagged ‘Spell of Dark Water’, the glacial Opeth leanings of the title track, bouncy synths on ‘Prey’ or the enigmatic ‘Paralyzed’. Each song has its share of heavier and quieter moments, and while they all have a similar approach, each is executed well enough to avoid feeling samey. ‘Dissolved in Fire’ has an intro that seems like it was taken from a computer game, but then it crumbles into a sleek riff heavy assault. The almost Mercyful Fate-esque ‘Into the Unknown’ is a late highlight, with the theatrical vocals being particularly impressive.

My only real issue is the length of the album, which stretches over a full 70 minutes. I’ve never really been one for really long records, and ‘An Outsider’ was a little too much all in one go. Take it in pieces, and its much more rewarding. If you’re in the mood for a dazzling spiral of prog metal, then this is it. If not, you might find it a bit of an endurance test.