Tech Death Thursday: Kill Athena
New tech death bands are my lifeblood. Kill Athena is the reason I’m not dead this week. Can’t say the same for Athena, though.
- Tech death titans Inferi have a new album on the way for April 21st through The Artisan Era. Check out the teaser for Revenant here for a short look at some monstrous songs.
- Widow’s Peak is a weird name for a band, but this new tune rules. Look for Graceless on April 27th.
- Deathcore outfit Krosis has a couple djenty new songs up, if that’s more your speed. Solem Vatem comes out on March 9th
- Alterbeast will be hitting the road with Grindmother and Aethere starting this Saturday. They’ll be joined by Inferi and The Kennedy Veil on select dates (found here); this promises to be a sweet show, so hit it up if you get the chance.
It has been a dry couple of months for major tech death releases; thankfully, the underground has kept up a small, trickle of new music to help keep our thirst for weedlies quenched. Bands: put more shit out in January and February. As we’ve said before, now is when we want it. Anyway, I’ve had my eye on today’s band for a couple weeks now, and the full release does not disappoint. Kill Athena comes to us from Bogor, Indonesia, rising above a sea of brutal death and goregrind with some hefty technical riffing.
Kill Athena has two major approaches to riff writing, both of which are demonstrated on opening song “Disaster.” You’re first greeted by a slowly building, even-tempered melody that evolves and grows more complex as the song goes on. It never reaches full-on wank, though; you’ll notice that even when they’re skipping strings and stretching out to big intervals, it’s all done in service to the themes they establish. The second half is where it starts to get a bit more wild. They kick things into a frenzy with a surge of blast beats and rapid tremolo picking, throwing in absurdly fast sweeps with stunning accuracy. I’m always a little wary of bands that rely heavily on constant streams of tremolo picking- they tend to wear out pretty quickly- but Kill Athena puts enough motion into each of their songs to keep it interesting.
The second style is the more prevalent of the two, moving the album along at a solid clip. It makes those moments when they slow down that much sweeter; “Sovereign” pairs a beefy start-stop riff with atmospheric leads and menacing, regal chords to great effect, and I suspect fans of Beyond Creation will get a lot of mileage out of the more prog-oriented closer, “Artificial Perspectives.” I do wish they would have explored their progressive side a little more given the strength of that last song, but that’s a minor personal nitpick on a great album.
Regardless of their approach, there’s this sense of grandness endemic to their songwriting. It is, for lack of a better word, cinematic, conjuring images of ancient royalty and warriors with the way they favor the Phrygian dominant scale. It’s similar in feel to the last Hour of Penance album, but with the technical tendencies of bands like Kronos and Origin. It’s a small thing, but just this little bit of flavor gives the music some draw beyond just the spectacle of the performance. Outside that, there are some great things happening in the little details; the way a melody plays out, an awesome fill that only shows up once, and all sorts of other small touches that make this a pleasure to listen to.
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