Tech Death Thursday: Karmacipher
Say hello to your new dissonant death metal overlords.
Your weekly tech support:
- Teramobil has a new album coming out, and they’re streaming it in full at their Bandcamp page. The musicians involved have some impressive credentials, featuring Dominic Lepointe of Augury and Mathieu Bérubé and Alexandre Dupras of Unhuman, as well as guest spots from Luc Lemay and Antoine Baril. Check it out if you’re in the mood for some mind-bending instrumental metal.
- This has been a good year for brutal death metal, and the new Ossuary Anex album keeps that hot streak going. Check out Mutilation Through Prayer right here.
- If you’re looking for something a little more deathy, Gutted has a new song out from their upcoming album Martyr Creation, out December 20th via Xtreem Music. The soloing reminds me of Origin in how it sounds like it’s on the verge of flying off the rails completely, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.
- Melodic tech death outfit Eye of Horus has a new EP up for streaming on Spotify. Check out Obsidian right here.
- Astringency has released a gruesome new song from their upcoming album, Sanguinarium. Listen to “Of Adoration and Effervescence” for some sweet guitar work.
I find myself listening to more and more dissonant music as time goes on for both the challenge of the experience and the natural increase in the volume of releases. This has been a banner year for it too, with new albums from the holy trinity of Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega, not to mention some brilliant debuts from Setentia, Sunless, and a bevy of other bands too numerous to list out. Now Hong Kong-based Karmacipher have tossed their hats in the ring and are aiming for the top. With Necroracle, they have a good shot at it.
A common complaint directed at bands of this sort is that while they are impressive from a composition standpoint, they lack discernible riffs. While I would contend that that is part of the draw of the music, the riff is the lifeblood of many metalheads, and so it’s understandable that one might be put off by their absence. If you are one such metalhead, then worry not; Necroracle has riffs in abundance. They take a fairly similar approach to writing as Setentia in that regard; while dissonance is still at the heart of the music, it’s utilized in a more palatable manner. Don’t get me wrong- this doesn’t follow the typical pop verse-chorus song structure, but it uses a more grounded approach than the gross-chords-all-the-time method of a lot of other bands. Take the title track for example: it opens with a pummeling blast-and-tremolo riff accentuated by a short 2nd chord at the end of each phrase, which in turn works that riff directly into the arpeggio that follows it.
It’s this balancing act that really makes the album what it is. “Obsolescence” best exemplifies this, going to each extreme in equal measure and meeting them both in the middle. For every hideous chord, there’s a monstrous blast of muscular death metal that cuts through the haze. It gives the listener a solid foundation to return to amidst musical ponderings that could otherwise feel both mentally and emotionally suffocating. Dissonant music can be almost painfully bleak and depressing at times; while some of us thrive on that, it can be relieving to explore a more base, controllable urge like aggression.
The production on Necroracle is excellent as well, helping to bring out the nuances of the performance. The strings all have a hint of earthy grit to them that’s audible even in the airier parts of the music, and they retain their punch on accented notes. Tampering with the drums sounds like it was fairly minimal, which is all the more impressive given the speed and complexity of the percussion parts. The album sounds good in every respect, easy to listen to in spite of the dark material.
Necroracle is a standout in a year of standouts. The musicianship is exceptional and the songwriting is tight, mindful of both the traditional and experimental angles. Playing both those fields equally, it serves well as both a guiding light for newcomers trying to break into the dense fog of the subgenre and for the more seasoned listeners looking for a reprieve from pure skronk. Karmacipher aimed for the top, and they just might have reached it.
If you like what you heard today (and I know you did), you can follow Karmacipher on Facebook for updates and all that good social media stuff. Necroracle is out now and is available on Bandcamp. That’s all for this time, folks, so until next week,
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