Mini-Reviews XXVI

osr12 Dischordia is a progressive death metal band from the United States of America, and their upcoming album, Thanatopsis, out on November twenty-fifth, is something I would’ve preferred not heard. It’s difficult to pinpoint where they failed, because they’ve got many elements that would otherwise get my happy: dissonant harmonies and voicings, odd time signatures, cool riffs and extreme drums, and yet nothing seems to be held together. My best guess is either something with the production or the cohesiveness of the different band members.

Brazilian fusion jazz band Metá Metá have released, back in August, MM3, an album, free for South American fans. Thanks to our very own Ignacio, I was able to listen to it in its entirety, and what a treat! Each musician is talented and knows its place in the band. Of particular note are the saxophone melodies, which are probably improvised, at least a little, and the singer, who constantly reiterates its relevancy. At one point, she even goes on very wide vibratos reminiscent of the ones in Fire! Orchestra. The formation’s debut is only in 2011, and yet MM3 is a proud representative of Brazil’s jazz scene.
Next up is a little-known progressive post-rock band from New Zealand: Troika. Their latest release is zero-one, which came out in 2014. Aside from the amazing art, featuring an anthropomorphic axolotl creature, the music is very atmospheric and interesting. It’s rare that a post-rock band will keep me absorbed, so I appreciate it that much more when it happens. There are three rather short songs that get to the point quite quickly and show some tool influences, and one sixteen-minute, slowly winding piece that builds a dense atmosphere along the way. I also get some vibes of Delvoid, a band I absolutely worship. zero-one got me excited for what’s next from Troika!
While we’re in New Zealand, I couldn’t forget about Ulcerate‘s ill new record, Shrines of Paralysis! If you don’t know the band, they’ve spearheaded the new movement of dissonant death metal, which features other bands like Gorguts, Baring Teeth and Artificial Brain. Their newest, coming out tomorrow, is miasmatic and oppressing, just what we expect from a follow-up to The Destroyers of All and Vermis. I don’t know how they keep themselves fresh, because of the inherent limitations of the genre, but they keep doing it, and as long as they succeed, I’ll salute them.
Huszar is a progressive blackgaze project from Argentina, and they recently released Los nuevos absolutos de todos los días quemados, their debut full-length. Fortunately, they don’t take example on the infamous Air album, which is just insufferable, and rather craft their own sound. The near-forty minutes on record are split into two long songs. As is tradition with blackgaze, the compositions are very emotional. On top of that, their duration makes for a gripping journey. I recommend you try it!
Terra‘s debut album (which you can stream above), Untitled, was a striking release in last year’s atmospheric black metal catalogue. Their sophomore, Mors secunda, is coming out on December ninth, and only builds on what has been laid down by its predecessor. At around the same length, forty-one minutes, the follow-up is one track shorter, which means that both songs are around twenty minute long. This leaves more freedom for the band to build a setting and explore it in detail. There’s some variety to the tracks, but it’s generally a very intense outpour of notes and emotions. Since there is no stream yet for the album, I recommend you listen to Untitled and get excited for Mors secunda.
Car Bomb‘s Meta is a whole new level of terrorism. From their 2007 debut, Centralia, the band kept digging deeper and deeper into the realms of philosophy and mathematics (as showcased in w^w^^w^w) and applying them as compositional tools. I don’t need to tell you how relieved I am to see that this trend is continued in their latest attack. Their undecipherable rhythms are way beyond us mortals’ comprehension capabilities, but we can still safely enjoy what we don’t understand and marvel at this bewildering music.
I had already seen the name I Build the Sky, but never actually listened to it. At least not thoroughly. When I saw the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of The Sky Is Not the Limit, I said to myself ‘Hey, why not?’ Well, I could’ve just as well stayed uninformed and my life wouldn’t have been much different. If you’re like me and don’t know the project, it’s somewhere in the lines of melodic progressive rock à la Sithu Aye, Plini, and Theo Young, but much less engrossing. It sounds like the very weakest Sithu Aye moments, but on the span of an entire album. Definitely not for me…

The next four are extra mini-reviews for bands and albums that I knew but totally forgot about or that I wasn’t paying attention when they came out. So let me make amends.

Tormenta is an progressive math metal band rising from the ashes of the defunct math folk band ‘Cheval de frise’. La ligne âpre came out in 2011 and features almost thirty-five minutes of odd time signatures, interweaving melodies and intricate harmonies, all instrumental. It’s a very pleasant surprise to find such a band exists (and has existed for quite some time now), and to know that all the talent present in Cheval de frise isn’t going to waste.
L’ocelle mare is the second project arising from the fall of Cheval de frise. This one keeps things much closer to what the original project was, but goes into much more experimentation. I think avant-garde folk, as broad as the label is, is a good term to keep in mind while approaching any of their four EPs to date. Their latest, Serpentement, came out in 2012, which casts some doubt on the continuity of this project. I won’t go into detail with what instruments were used on this album, the list is on bandcamp, but it’s eclectic and mesmerizing to listen to.
We covered and praised Sir Cadian Rhythm, last year, when they released their debut EP, but somehow their newest release, in February, went by unnoticed! Identity Crisis is as good as their self-titled debut, if not more! The vocals are more soul than I remembered, and the jazzy alternative rock serving as foundation is still as catchy as ever, and yet not cliché. Truly a most wonderful EP to have, funky and very charming!
Finally, Art Far Away‘s newest EP, Ghost Dancers and the Absolutes of Dolour. While we covered Verisimilitude and the Second Estate in 2014, this one wasn’t notified to us! That’s quite unfortunate, too, as the band’s own brand of progressive metal – mixed with some metalcore and alternative metal – only got better. The production on the EP sounds a bit barer, but the compositions are not. To my delight, the vocoder that was present on ‘Cancer’ makes a reappearance, but it still got a secondary role instead of being truly part of their composition techniques. Nevertheless, it’s a good release, and I suggest you take a listen to their debut album as well!

On October 27 2016, this entry was posted.