Sunday Sesh: Tech Death (and Black) Sunday???

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What in tarnation!?! It’s not Thursday! Then why the heck are we talking about the Tech? One good reason, friends. Aumnarium.

Although there has been much to enjoy about Toilet ov Hell’s last four years, the number of musical friends we’ve picked up along the way is perhaps the most rewarding. We’re fortunate enough to not only have guys like Nate Garrett (Spirit Adrift) penning guest posts but also dudes like Cody Drasser (Afterbirth) slumming around with us in the Facebook group. It’s honestly humbling that so many musicians who create the art I love are happy to be involved with what we do here.

One of the coolest guys to call ToH home is Brendan Campbell, the maestro behind DaemogogHermit Cult, and more! Brendan’s a busy guy, but I always appreciate it when he surfaces to share an informed opinion on the songwriting behind a particularly mind-blowing record, to give us the first taste of some new jams, or to just shoot the crap about weird toilets. Brendan, and all of our musician friends, make this blog a better place.

That’s a lot of exposition to get to the Tech, but here’s the thing. Without Brendan Campbell’s involvement (and, to some degree, the larger culture of community we have here), I’d have never heard of the excellent EP you get to jam today. It was Brendan that first dropped Aumnarium’s brand new EP in the Social Club, and it was because of his friendship with Brendan that Miles Chic, the solo artist behind Aumnarium, reached out to us.

And boy howdy am I glad he did, because Relic of Mood absolutely rips.

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Relic of Mood is Chic’s debut in the world of heavy music, but you’d never have guessed it by stabbing play on the tracks above. There’s a polish and professionalism to each song rarely heard in the kinds of promos that get emailed to blogs. More importantly, however, there’s an eye to detail and songcraft that captures the attention at the outset and never lets go. “O’er Dawn Echo” unveils itself in a compelling flow of riffs and burbling snarls not unlike a fusion of Krallice and the more melodic moments of Artificial Brain’s Infrared Horizon. It’s a bit strange hearing those croaking vocals over a black metal blast-and-trem passage, but when the drum break hits and we get a hint of the tech death side of the equation, it all starts to make sense.

That strange amalgamation of unlikely influences only makes its presence more felt on the next track, “Ancestral Lock.” At times, the riffs recall Altar of Plagues more than anything, but then the rhythms shift and teeter like crumbling towers amid the cosmic ferocity of the growls and gravity-perturbing bass licks, and it becomes evident that Chic refuses to pigeonhole himself into any one genre.

That refreshing take on style norms imbues the album with a sense of ingenuity and creativity rarely heard in a debut release, or even in the grand scope of all heavy music. True, at times the influences on Chic’s sound are evident; the seismic low end on “Memory’s Edge” feels indebted to Withered’s Grief Relic, and the little atmospheric nuances on “Moonlit Ritual Under the Arches and Columns” seem to recall more frenetic acts like Behold the Arctopus and their ability to alter the disposition of the listener. But no single track here feels derivative. This is unique, creative music that blends tech death and black metal in a way that’s so rare, and it’s all done with an attention to mood and melody that ensures you’ll be banging your head for a long time. As intriguing as the technical elements are, the riffs still slap.

The fact that such a diverse set of styles and influences still feels cohesive enough to conjure exactly the mood Chic intended is just the icing on the cake.

Recently returning to Canada from a stint in London, Aumnarium’s new EP ‘RELIC OF MOOD’ draws influence from Zen koans, coastal landscapes and the works of Thomas Ligotti to create a dizzying mediation on time, distance and one’s place in the natural world.

Simply put, this is a GREAT EP and an even more impressive debut. It’s thoughtful and pensive, but it still jams hard in all the right places. Pick it up over at Bandcamp and follow Aumnarium on the Facebook.

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