Tech Death Thursday: EP’s for the Masses
It’s that magical time of the week again! This week, we’re checking out the debut EP from The Odious Construct and some new material from A Million Dead Birds Laughing.
First, for your weekly tech death news:
- The ongoing shitstorm between Obscura and Fountainhead only looks to be getting worse, with each party delivering conflicting statements on the situation (and Kummerer pointlessly dragging Christian Münzner into it). Personally, I’m just waiting for Fountainhead to announce his own sweet tech death supergroup, since that seems to be what happens when you leave Obscura. In the meantime, if you liked the crazy lead guitar on Akroasis, check out a track from Fountainhead’s upcoming solo album.
- For a completely different brand of lolbuttz, check out this lyric video for a new song from Verted, “Extreme Caffeine Fixation,” though I’m giving this one a pass for actually being funny. Hopefully we’ll have a new full release from these guys soon.
- Extreme weedly-deedly peddlers The Ritual Aura are taking things in a decidedly more reserved direction on Tæther, and it’s sounding awesome. It’s a bit like a midpoint between Inanimate Existence and Fallujah, with the song progression of the former and a splash of the latter’s atmospheric tendencies. Look for the full album on November 11th.
- The new Alterbeast album is nearly complete, and they appear to be doing a cover of “Where Dead Angels Lie.” My loins are quivering in anticipation.
- Ne Obliviscaris/Vipassi bassist Cygnus continues to be really good at music on this new Infinite Density tune, “The Culminate Zone.” Look for Recollapse of the Universe on July 29th.
I had briefly mentioned The Odious Construct in last week’s article, but I really can’t let this one pass without proper regards. This Sacramento-based quintet is quite new to the scene, having been around for just under two years, but they sound like seasoned veterans. Their particular brand of tech will certainly sound familiar- it’s that melodic, arpeggiated-everything, not-quite-neoclassical style of music- but it’s hard not to admire their competence. Their melodies are intricate without feeling cluttered; they make the most of their setup, rarely layering more than two distinct guitar parts on top of each other alongside the bass and synth. The orchestrations aren’t overbearing and supplement the rest of the band nicely- think more Enthean than Irreversible Mechanism.
The production on this self-titled EP is also noteworthy in that it’s not complete garbage. Production on self-released debut albums tends to fall into one of two camps: either it’s over-processed and mechanical, or it’s raw to the point of being painful. The Odious Construct thankfully had the foresight to have their album (semi?) professionally mixed, mastered, and engineered, and it shows. You’re going to hear click perfect drums and triggers abounding, yes, but it all sounds rich and full. The lead guitar tone in particular had me salivating; production can make or break a solo, even a great one, and the production here gives them an added depth that brings out the guitarist’s proficiency that much more.
Unfortunately, there are only three full songs on The Odious Construct, which is sure to leave you wanting more. I know I’m eagerly awaiting more material from these guys, as this EP shows they’re more than capable musicians and writers. Hopefully we’ll get more sometime soon.
You could probably surmise this by their name, but A Million Dead Birds Laughing is a little bit on the unusual side. They’re also fucking phenomenal; if you’re not familiar with their material, go get acquainted. Their entire discography is on Bandcamp, and it’s a relatively quick listen at that. Umbilical Dystrophy/Air Missile Defence Battle Lab serves as a brief overview of their career. The first song, “Umbilical Dystrophy,” is a song that was cut from their upcoming album due to its incongruence with the rest of the album, and the five songs following it were intended to be an EP that followed Xen.
It’s hard to really describe the band’s sound; they label themselves as experimental tech-grind, but you won’t hear much grind on AMDBL (besides the short format songs). There’s plenty of tech, though, with tons of counterpoint between the instruments, crazy guitar acrobatics, and some weird dissonant moments. It’s volatile and unpredictable; one moment it’s perfectly calm and collected (as on the majority of “Air”), and it flies completely off the rails the next. This isn’t particularly happy material, either, with an oppressive and gloomy atmosphere even in its most upbeat moments.
While the instrumentals are fantastic, it’s the vocal performance that stole the show as far as I’m concerned. Adam Stewart is easily one of the most versatile vocalists I’ve ever heard, utilizing a wide array of singing and screaming techniques. He makes great use of a Barney Greenway-esque half-growl half-shout, but complements it with a more death metal-oriented growl as well. His baritone singing voice complements the nature of the music well, and he adds in a vicious growl and some throat singing for good measure. These elements are all mixed together and frequently compounded for some truly unique sounds.
I seriously can’t praise either of these bands enough, and I hope you enjoy them even a fraction of how much I do. The Odious Construct and A Million Dead Birds Laughing can both be found at their respective Facebook pages, and I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you stopped by their Bandcamps as well. That’s all for this week folks, and until next time,
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