Tech Death Not-Thursday: FROGG and Xenobiotic
Yesterday was packed, but I didn’t want to wait another week to talk about these dudes. We’ve got new jams from FROGG and Xenobiotic today.
First up today is FROGG, a quirky new act from New York with some interesting takes on tech death norms. Their Bandcamp page cites influence from Obscura, Arsis, Necrophagist, and Born of Osiris; while the hands of each of those bands can be felt on the music here, it feels like FROGG used their influences to teach them what not to do as much as they borrow what works. The result is a sound that’s rooted in the familiar, but feels like its own entity.
Listening to the song “DNA,” the touch of both Obscura and Born of Osiris is immediately evident. That flashy arpeggio over the intro and the primary melodic motifs scream Obscura, but they’re filtered through deathcore-style syncopation and touched up with bits of keys that are more in the latter band’s wheelhouse. There’s a lot more use of major chords here than a lot of tech bands utilize as well, and it’s not just relegated to transitional passages, either. The majority of the song has an upbeat, triumphant feel, something I feel tech needs more of (and was a major reason I liked last year’s Xoth record so much).
Besides the clever songwriting and incredible lead guitar work, I’m a fan of the way the album sounds, too. It’s almost certainly going to be too processed for some peoples’s tastes, but everything sounds wonderfully clear and distinct. The rhythm guitar tone is pleasantly crisp and the leads perfectly smooth, and the bass is super chunky. This is a promising EP, and I, for one, welcome our new amphibious overlords.
A Reptilian Dystopia is out now. The Bandcamp version doesn’t have the sweet little chiptune intro, though, so give that Youtube embed a listen as well.
Okay, I get it. It’s the end of the week, and you just don’t have the energy to check out new shit from these weird froggy bois. You just want some tech you can throw on and jam out to; something a little more traditional, maybe a little more angry. Something to blast away all the bullshit of the past week. Don’t worry; I got you.
I only recently came across Xenobiotic, but that Mariusz Lewandowski cover caught my eye and my interest immediately. I don’t know a thing about their prior releases, but I can tell you that their upcoming Unique Leader release, Mordrake, needs a spot near the top of your to-watch list. These guys cover a lot of ground with what they’re doing, and they do it very well.
Mordrake is something of an amalgamation of a multitude of modern death metal tropes; that is to say, they take a bunch or elements of the genre that a band might focus on exclusively, and they mix them all together. There’s a lot of stuff going on here that you don’t typically hear across a single record, let alone a single song. There are bits of atmospheric dissonance and melodic blackened passages, explosive bursts of tremolo and blasts alongside thick grooves. It’s Vitriol meets Meshuggah meets Ulcerate, and it’s a thousand times more powerful and cohesive than I can illustrate with this paltry description. Give those preview tracks a listen; you’re sure to be sold. If nothing else, give “Grieving the Loss of Self” a shot when the record lands.
Mordrake is out on February 21st through Unique Leader.
That’s all for this week; hopefully you’ll find something to enjoy among these records. Until next time,