Heck Death Thursday 2: The Heckening
It’s been a good long while since we’ve sat down to look at some blackened tech death, and it’s about time we fixed that. We’ve got three recent releases lined up today with three very distinct flavors, and they’re all excellent.
- Consider me jealous of the entire continent of Europe; Virvum, Alterbeast, Arkaik are going on tour together there late next spring. Keep an eye on their pages for dates.
- Demon King has a sweet new track out that, incidentally, works very well with our theme today. Fans of Enfold Darkness in particular will enjoy this one.
- While this is kind of old news at this point, Hemotoxin put out a new track last month from their forthcoming album. Restructure the Molded Mind is out later this month on Unspeakable Axe.
Florida’s Immanifest has arisen from a nearly decade-long slumber, and their new album is a breath of fresh air to my ears. Their style is going to be at least somewhat familiar to most people’s ears, a golem of spare parts left over from Bal-Sagoth, Dimmu Borgir, and Inferi. It’s how they use those parts that truly makes them stand out; for all their dark atmosphere and baritone voicings, the music is fiercely melodic, even triumphant. There’s a sense of mysticism and wonder throughout the album that a lot of technical music lacks- “Emissaries of Ikhenaton,” for example, is built on syncopated djenty riffs, but they’re interspersed with chiming synths and adventurous melodies. Even “Niflheim,” with its imposing orchestral opening and heavy feel, closes out on an emotional high note, culminating in a Malcolm Pugh guest solo. In spite of its symphonic black metal roots, it’s a surprisingly feel-good album; coupled with the unconventional riffing and song structures, Macrobial was one of this year’s most interesting listens.
If you’re looking for something a little more wicked-sounding and more overtly technical, then what you want is Singularity. While they share the symphonic trappings of their labelmates above, their sound is much more rooted in traditional black metal and tech death than the former act. Personally, this is the kind of music I think of when I hear the phrase “technical black metal:” they have an affinity for diminished and harmonic minor chords that create a spooky ambiance, but the riffs are complex and flashy as hell. “Desmoterion” embodies everything this band does perfectly, opening on a tense chord progression with lightning-fast sweep flourishes capping each phrase. The ubiquitous keyboards and occasional use of acoustic guitar gives the album a variety of sonic textures as well. It’s an all-around smooth and highly enjoyable experience.
Finally, for those of you who want a more straightforward, unadulterated black metal experience, we’ve got the newest record from Brotthogg. While there are some traces of Vektor-style thrashy parts present, this is by and large weedly, ripping black metal goodness. I really like the way they take black metal tropes and give them a technical twist. Take the riffs on “Broken Chains,” for example; a typical black metal song would use more straightforward voicings of those chords, but the atypical note choice and arpeggiation gives them a much more distinct flavor. I have to give special mention to the lead guitar; the solos on Echoes of the Past are exceptional, and they were the highlights of the album for me. It’s a very compact album at 33 minutes and not an ounce of fat or fluff to be found.
All three of the albums featured today are out now. Hopefully at least one of them tickles your fancy; Immanifest, Singularity, and Brotthogg can all be found on Facebook, and you should show them some love if you like what you heard. That’s all for now, so until next time,