Tech Death Thursday: Aeuphoria
Trees’n’shit tech death? What has science done?!
Ruminate on this while you read the weekly tech news:
- There’s a new Vale of Pnath song that you all need to listen to right now. Incidentally, it features a Malcolm Pugh guest solo and
sounds just like Inferidoesn’t sound at all like Inferi, though VoP’s neoclassical leanings provide an excellent setting for his distinctive style. II will be out June 10th.
- Katalepsy have premiered a new song, “Critical Black Mass.” It steps away from the band’s slam roots in the direction of brutal death, crushing more dicks than ever before. Look for Gravenous Hour on May 27th.
- Fallujah have debuted another new song, this time with video! Check out “Abandon” and get ready for Dreamless, out tomorrow.
- The Ritual Aura have a new album, Tæther, out Nov 11. Also, they have two new songs streaming at that other blog with the weekly tech death articles. Feel free to check them out, but know you will be branded as a traitor and a poser (no but seriously, go check them out. Way different vibe than the hyper-shred of their last album).
- Terminal Redux is just around the corner, but Vektor have released yet another track from it. Check out “Liquid Crystal Disease” over at Stereogum.
- Xenomorphic Contamination are streaming their new album right here. Check it out for some crushing brutality.
When you think of Argentinian metal, tech death probably isn’t the first genre that springs to mind. South American metal in general seems to lean more towards the raucous stylings of black metal, thrash, death metal, or a mixture of any of the above (bands like Angra notwithstanding). Perhaps it’s because of this that Aeuphoria has such a unique nature amongst tech death bands, or perhaps they were consciously trying to stray from the pack. Regardless of the reason, Æthernal Velum stands out from its peers in a variety of ways.
I suppose that referring to the band as “trees’n’shit tech death” would be a bit misleading, as there are only a handful of songs on the album that could really be labelled as such. Those few tracks (most predominantly “Neuron Infectio,” “En llantos del Inframundo,” and “Enternamente en las Penumbras“) present an interesting marriage of styles that, philosophically, couldn’t be further apart. Aeuphoria take the mind-bending virtuosity of technical death metal and fuse it with the powerful emotion and imagery of Cascadian and Norwegian black metal. The band will invoke the sinister rituals of First Fragment-style passages as readily as they pass through Alda’s gloomy forests and Vemod’s blazing auroras. It’s startling how well the band makes this work, but disappointing how infrequently they do it. These moments are far and away the strongest on the album, and I hope their future endeavors see them mesh the two disparate sounds even further.
Fortunately, the straightforward tech death parts of Æthernal Velum stand up well enough on their own. It’s musically quite similar to the aforementioned First Fragment’s excellent The Afterthought Ecstasy EP, but scales back the synchronized guitar riffs in favor of complex melodies over big blackened chords. They’re also not afraid of backing off and simply letting the song carry itself forward. There are some nasty bits of hard riffing present here, but they’re used conservatively for maximum effect. For instance, the latter half of “El Upanished II” is downright punishing if you go in unprepared. That’s the beauty of this album; even when the band isn’t doing the thing that makes them stand out, they’re still doing everything right.
Aeuphoria doesn’t just evoke black metal musically, though; it touches on their production as well. The guitars might be completely digital for all I can tell (though they have a pleasantly strong attack), but the rest of the band feels quite earthy. The drums in particular have a strong presence despite being somewhat low in the mix; the toms each ring out in their own voices, and triggering is kept to an absolute minimum if not removed completely. The bass lashes out and bites with otherworldly teeth, and the vocals are downright vicious. The band opted to leave in the vocalist’s breaths between lines in a few places, adding to the anger and desperation of their delivery. It’s not completely organic, but the human element is far more present here than in many other tech death bands.
Bands like Aeuphoria are a breath of fresh air in the genre. There’s nobody that sounds quite like them, and while they have a lot of room to grow, they do more things right than not. Though I thrive on the mechanical drive of the Archspires and Zenith Passages of the world, it’s nice to hear a more grounded band every now and then. Aeuphoria do just such a thing, and they do it damn well. Æthernal Velum is available now on Bandcamp, and you can find the band on Facebook. Drop by and let them know the Toilet loves them.
That’s all for this week, and as always, my friends,
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