Tech Death Thursday: Brainblast and Tómarúm
Something old, something new. We’re checking out EP’s from Brainblast and Tómarúm this week.
- Controversial is one of those bands that I keep meaning to get around to covering, but just haven’t found the bandwidth for yet. They’re very good, though; check out this new video for “Formicidae” if you like your tech melodic.
- I know very little about Killitorous, but this new tune is a total banger. Check it out if you want some super fast, super aggressive tech death. The Afterparty lands on 4/20.
- Abiotic, a band that I definitely didn’t completely forget about until two days ago, have signed to The Artisan Era. I do remember the music being pretty good on their last album, but the mix being almost unlistenable. I have faith they’ll deliver the goods on their upcoming album, though.
We’re starting today’s proceedings with Brainblast, whose Primal Impulse EP I overlooked last year. I remember being intrigued seeing Tom Geldschläger’s name attached to it on the mix and mastering side, but I didn’t actually get to it until recently (thanks to Bucwah for directing me to it in the comments a couple weeks back). What I got was something familiar, but fun; Brainblast’s songs have the weird melodies of old Obscura filtered through the lilting, bouncy feel of Beyond Creation’s compositions. The latter half of the album takes a more aggressive approach, but it really is some pretty hard Obscura worship- even the leads feel very Christian Muenzner-ish, loaded with tapped arpeggios and super fast sweep picking.
While this description is probably a little reductive, it’s more or less accurate; I do feel like the band struggles to establish their own identity a bit. The harmonic riff in the opening track and the spooky church organ on “Unbreathable Atmosphere” are certainly curve balls, but these are just moments. That said, they do show that the band is capable of more than building their music on the shoulders of their influences. Plus, even if it is just hero-worship, the EP is still quite good; it’s hard to complain about a band doing a great impression of genre-defining bands. Primal Impulse doesn’t break much new ground, but you could do much, much worse than this. I look forward to hearing the band’s next effort.
I know I just talked about Tómarúm on Tuesday, but with the full EP now up for streaming, I felt inclined to offer my complete thoughts on it. As mentioned before, Tómarúm plays a type of melodic technical black metal steeped in prog, closely resembling a mixture of Singularity’s technical ferocity with the melancholy of Wolves in the Throne Room. Per the band, the lyrics touch on depression and suicide- much more real and down-to-earth than the sci-fi or fantastical subject matter typical of technical music.
As one would hope, the music is similarly real and heartfelt, more than just a vehicle for instrumental acuity. Its blistering tremolo passages and soaring leads are tempered by tasteful use of keys and clean vocals. The prominent use of acoustic guitars helps even the pacing and offers some textural variety- plus, that Opeth-flavored chord progression and diminished lick at the start of “Crimson Severance” are just plain cool. Not so say that it’s pure Opeth worship, though- influences aside, Tómarúm very much has their own voice in these acoustic parts, and indeed the album as a whole. While they may share similarities with a couple other acts, there’s nothing that really sounds quite like them. The excellent Colin Marston mix and master is just icing on the cake at this point.
Wounds Ever Expanding may only be seventeen minutes long, but it’s a powerful piece of work. It’s all at once tense, moving, and beautiful, and it’s a must-listen for fans of technical music and melodic black metal. You can pick it up on Bandcamp when it lands on February 7th.
And that’s all for today; hopefully at least one of these EP’s is to your liking. If you enjoyed their work, you can find Brainblast and Tómarúm on Facebook. Be sure to show them some appreciation, and until next time,