Tech Death Thursday: The Beast of Nod
The Beast of Nod is bringing the prog jams today. Prep your hogs/logs/etc. accordingly.
- Veld has a new song out that brings the beef. Tons of beef. Spawned In Nothingness is out June 15th.
- Virophacus is a rad new band with a rad new single. Check this out if you like the noodly side of tech death.
- In case you missed it, we premiered a new Mordant Rapture song the other day that I’m all kinds of excited for. Look for The Abnegation on July 13th.
- Allegaeon have begun recording the followup to Proponent for Sentience. I’m very interested to see where they take this one; Proponent was ambitious, and I can’t imagine they’ll be stepping it back for their future efforts.
- Aethereus have signed with The Artisan Era and have a new album on the way for August. This isn’t a band I’m intimately familiar with, but a cursory listen of their last album leads me to believe they are many fire emojis good.
In my experience, tech death artists are pretty good about not taking themselves too seriously, especially as compared to bands in other subgenres. That said, with a handful of exceptions, few seem to fully embrace the absurdity of their subject matter. Even if we’re being regaled with stories about Skyrim or giant space bugs, the music itself is by and large serious business. That’s not to say they’re not enjoyable- believe me, I wouldn’t scream at you about these bands every week if I wasn’t having a good time doing it- but that sense of fun can get lost in the pursuit of virtuosity sometimes.
Enter The Beast of Nod, a band whose lead single for their new album is about a laser-equipped tiger whose concept of “play” involves eating you alive. While this might sound like some “lol random XD” bullshit, the band has spent what I can only assume is a completely unreasonable amount of time penning a backstory for a world in which it makes sense for this creature to exist. That sense of playful brutality works its way into the music as well; it’s not just window dressing. The songs bound and bob through heavy downtuned riffing and brilliant displays of virtuosity like a groovier, sci-fi-themed Protest the Hero. There’s also this ’80’s rock-like swagger pervasive throughout the album as well; even at its noodliest, the music is perpetually head-bobbing.
Though the core of their sound comprises that tapping-heavy style heard in the above “Prison of Ice,” there’s a pretty hefty amount of variety on Vampira. The centerpiece of “The Cybernetic Tiger With Dorsal-Mounted Laser Cannon” is its glorious lead motif, and “Vampira Infernalis” views their primary sound through a neoclassical lens while closing it out on a heavy note. In terms of sheer heaviness, “Ripped Off Faces II: The Cape of Faces” takes the cake, playing almost entirely in the low end with a straight up slam riff in its chorus. It’s hard to condense any one song down to a singular defining characteristic, though; all of them go through myriad ideas, frequently changing time signatures and tone.
Speaking of tone, the album sounds great from an engineering standpoint, too. The mix does a good job of bringing out all of the instruments without sounding too blasted out or compressed, and everything has solid tone as well. In this regard, I’m most impressed with the guitarist’s use of effects and pickup selection. Between the two, the music is given a ton of texture and color that is lacking in a lot of other metal bands as well as giving it that high-tech science fiction feel.
From performance to production to theme, Vampira: Disciple of Chaos is extremely tight. It feels complete in a way that few albums do, and at a compact 40 minutes, it wastes no time, either. Technical, progressive, and unabashedly fun, Vampira is a must for fans of technical music. Pick it up at Bandcamp and check out The Beast of Nod on Facebook. That’s all for now, and until next time,
Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.