Tech Death Thursday: Profanity and Deeds of Flesh
It’s time for some tech, and we’ve got a pair of brand spankin’ new albums on the docket for today.
Profanity, despite existing since 1993, is a band I’d somehow managed to avoid hearing a single note of until 2017’s The Art of Sickness. I remember liking what I heard at the time but never really digging into it, and three years later I can’t remember any of it, so take that as you will. That said, I strongly suspect that Fragments of Solace is going to be blasting around my head for a lot longer than its predecessor. It’s an incredibly noodly piece of music, but a good ear for melody and sense of rhythm help keep it from getting completely out of control.
It’s a shockingly upbeat piece of music, too. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it outright happy, but the tension by and large instills more of a sense of determination than menace or horror. It sounds like it was written by people who live and breathe to play their instruments, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the fun. In terms of overall sound, imagine the aggressive stripped-down instrumental approach of Necrophagist with the melodic experimentation of Cosmogenesis-era Obscura with some heavy breaks that veer into Immolation territory, and you’ll be in the right ballpark. That Obscura influence is particularly obvious in the lead guitar, particularly when it comes to counterpoint and harmony- check out “Progenitor of the Blaze” for a particularly flashy example.
All told, I’d call this required listening for fans of tech death, but I strongly suspect even non-aficionados will get some enjoyment out of this. There’s an infectious sense of fun about the album, and there are enough moments that slow down a bit that I don’t think it would be completely overwhelming. It would be a shame for this one to get overlooked while we’re all doing year-end retrospectives, so take some time to give Profanity a solid listen.
Full disclosure: I am by no means an expert on Deeds of Flesh, having heard very little of their work in spite of being totally up my alley (and also being formed in 1993. Huh). Staunch fans will likely be happy to hear this is a direct followup to Of What’s to Come and Portals to Canaan in terms of story, and it also sees the return of vocalist Jacoby Kingston and drummer Mike Hamilton (though Mike returned to assist with lyrics rather than provide drums). With the music having been recorded and mostly mixed for close to four years, it’s good to see it finally come to light, especially in the wake of the unfortunate passing of guitarist and Unique Leader founder Erik Lindmark.
Not being a long-time listener, I made sure to do my due diligence in digging into their older stuff, and I can safely say that Nucleus is very much the followup to Portals that the band promises. Its potent mixture of dissonance and dark melody is emblematic of late 00’s/early 10’s tech death, the apotheosis of the style performed by the likes of Decrepit Birth, Continuum, and Inanimate Existence. There’s barely a moment of reprieve from song to song, and even the album’s slower moments are underscored by a characteristically frenetic performance from drummer Darren Cesca. It’s made even more frantic by the back-and-forth vocal performances of Kingston and a host of guest vocalists, including the likes of Luc Lemay, Corpsegrinder, and John Gallagher.
While Nucleus doesn’t do anything you haven’t heard before, it’s an exemplary album for the style it represents. It’s fast and aggressive, polished yet ugly, and frantic from end to end. This is not an album for the faint of ear, but anyone who revels in musical showmanship is going to love it. In short, it’s tech as heck, and you can stream it here ahead of tomorrow’s release.
That’s all for this week; if you like what you heard, you can follow Profanity and Deeds of Flesh at their respective Facebook pages and pick up the albums at the Bandcamp links above. Until next time,