Tech Death Thursday: Big Sounds, Little Albums
As the tech world is bereft of big releases this week, let’s check out some small ones! Turn your ears towards these bite-sized offering from Vaulting, Clavicus Vile, and A Distorted Utopia.
First, a couple news items:
- Ulcerate released the title track from their upcoming Shrines of Paralysis. It’s very bleak, like the sound of industrial decay condensed into audio. I’m very much looking forward to it when it releases on the 28th of October.
- Gorod put out a bizarre new video for “The Mystic Triad of Artistry.” I still think it’s odd that they’re putting out videos for an album that’s almost a year old, but as long as they stay entertaining, I won’t complain.
- Apparently, people still care enough about Skyrim to write songs about it. Check out “Fo Sivaas,” the newest from Ophidius, and look for The Way of the Voice on October 14th.
It’s not often that you hear tech death and grind mentioned in the same breath, but Vaulting have taken the two disparate genres and mixed them together to great effect on Vanitas. The pairing makes sense, bringing together the extreme musicianship with the raw aggression of grind, and I find it kind of surprising that there aren’t many more bands out there doing it. In any case, Vaulting have been around for some time now and have their sound honed to a razor’s edge. Vanitas explores every aspect of the band’s style in right around 11 minutes; the opening salvo of “Fisch” and “Deine Hässlichkeit” and centerpiece “Allmutter” are intense, technical monstrosities that jump between crunchy low-end riffing and slippery harmonized leads. “Monoton,” my favorite of the bunch, sprinkles droplets of noise (harmonics? Pick scrapes? Both?) between pulverizing guitar blows, and “Arnold” and “Apfelbaum” showcase them at their most melodic. There’s a lot going on here, and all of it’s great.
Clavicus Vile is not for the faint of heart; of the bands featured here tonight [Editor’s Note: Spear is so might he pierces the veil of space and time], they are far and away the shreddiest. Musically, they sit somewhere between Brain Drill and Archspire, hitting the obscene speed of the former while keeping the melodic mindset of the latter. The Incipiency has something that neither of those two has, however: it sounds human. Between the oddly quiet guitar and the thin, non-triggered drums, you’ll notice the low production values right away. Though it might not be the most pleasant to listen to (the drums in particular sound a little sad), it largely works in the album’s favor. You can hear small slip-ups and inconsistencies that give the record character, and it lets you know that when you hear the guitarists ripping through a dueling solo or a crazy string of gravity blasts, it’s the real thing. If you thirst for tons of notes punctuated by moments of heavy emotion, then this one is for you.
I only just recently discovered A Distorted Utopia, but it was too good to pass up mentioning. A one-man project out of Leicester, A Distorted Utopia is driven by technical melodeath riffing and smooth lead guitars. There’s not much in the way of surprises here- lots of head-bobbing fast-paced melodic death metal riffing, midrange screams, and so on- but it’s very well-written. The real draw here for me is in the guitar solos. It’s surprisingly sticky for how fast he plays, and there are a couple moments near the end of the album (particularly at the end of “Sun Borne” and “Closure”) where he goes completely off the rails in a chaotic frenzy. It’s the sort of thing you would expect from your garden variety Slayer knockoff, but it’s a different animal entirely when it comes from a guitarist who actually knows what he’s doing. If you’re in the mood for some solid guitar worship, then don’t pass this up.
Hopefully you liked what you heard today; if you did, you can find Vaulting, Clavicus Vile, and A Distorted Utopia at their respective Facebook pages. Head over there and give them our warmest, moistest regards. All of the albums featured today are available now at the Bandcamp links above. That’s all for this week, and until next time,
Do you have a band you would like to see featured? A new release we should keep an eye on? Or maybe you want to do some writing yourself? Then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make your voice heard!