Tech Death Thursday: The Proggening
There’s a trio of sweet prog albums coming out next week, and they’re all deserving of your attention. Check out the newest from Dark Waters End, Inverted Serenity, and Perihelion Ship!
Some news first:
- Augury has a new album on the way for next year through The Artisan Era. You can hear some rough cuts of new material right here, and it’s already sounding awesome.
- Wretched also has a new album on the horizon, coming out sometime this December. No details as of yet, but their track record indicates we should be in for some pretty solid melodic tech.
- It’s no secret that Lacerated Enemy Records is pretty bad to their customers and not much better to their bands, but this next bit is unreal. As detailed in this post by The Ritual Aura, the label has apparently been forging signatures on merch and selling it at a higher price. While The Ritual Aura themselves don’t appear to have been subjected to this, Engorging the Autopsy have verified that all of their signatures were forged on the CD’s pictured.
- On that note, Engorging the Autopsy have left Lacerated Enemy and are going on indefinite hiatus. The world is a little colder and less slammy today.
- Wormhole have lost their vocalist over this, too (who, incidentally, was also part of Engorging the Autopsy). Thanks, Lacerated Enemy.
- In much better news, Arkaik have shared one last new song from Nemethia prior to its release tomorrow. I had quite a few good things to say about that one, so don’t skip out on it.
- Dolorem Records has a full stream up of Slave One’s new EP. If I had more time, this would have been featured today as well. Check it out if you need even more progressive death metal.
- Antropofago has an EP on the way for the end of the year. Check out the completely nonsensical and bizarrely smooth lyric video for “Antinferno” in the meantime.
You got a small taste of Dark Waters End last week with the monstrous “Immortal Consciousness,” and soon you’ll get to hear the rest of Submersion. If you liked the previous track, you’re in luck; much of the album follows the vicious precedent established by its opening track. Submersion is about as tumultuous and violent as progressive death metal gets, pulling you back and forth between conflicting currents. Syncopated riffs and time signature changes abound, their intensity compounded by heavy use of counterpoint and bursts of dissonance and tense jazz chords injected into the melodies. When they do decide to play something more straightforward, such as closing track “Up The Dose,” it’s instantly and gleefully headbangable.
It’s rare to hear this type of music so emotionally raw, too, and that’s largely due to the stellar vocal performance. Vocalist John Williams’ hardcore-tinged screams are as brutal as they are dynamic, and he’s not shy about utilizing his range. What really sold me was the album’s midpoint, “Unquenchable.” It’s the one time the band goes soft, taking a more melodic approach with clean guitars and vocals. Those clean vocals surprised me when I first heard them, both because they came seemingly out of nowhere and were quite good.
Dark Waters End is a big, crazy package that will be a great listen for anyone looking for some controlled chaos put forth by fantastic musicians. Submersion is out on October 7th.
Inverted Serenity’s last album, Integral, was a bit of an oddity, presenting a unique mixture of thrash, death metal, and prog. It was a little rough around the edges and didn’t always flow perfectly, but it was a solid listen with some interesting ideas. The followup, As Spectres Wither, is the natural evolution of those ideas. They’ve focused their sound into something much more cohesive while retaining the diverse songwriting of the previous effort. The production has received a substantial upgrade as well, and it all sounds nice and crisp.
The end product is a slick, beefy death metal record not unlike the Beyond Grace debut from earlier this year. It’s very dark in tone, somber at times and raging at others, and never lacking for creativity. They always put the song first, keeping the focus on writing memorable tunes; virtuosity is an element of each song, but not the centerpiece. Their tempo and time changes are so smooth that you might not even notice them happening at first, and the solos, while shreddy, are melodic and not overly self-indulgent. You’ll get clean guitars, bass leads, blastbeats, and thrash riffs all in the course of one song, and it won’t ever feel unnatural. There’s a lot to dig into, but it’ll go by in a breeze.
As Spectres Wither is an album that does everything right, enjoyable by everyone from the biggest prog nerds to the most casual tech fans. Look for that on October 6th, and check out a couple tracks right now at the Bandcamp link below.
Now, I kept this one for last because it doesn’t quite fit the paradigm of the other two, but it’s a goddamn brilliant piece of music all the same. Perihelion Ship put out one of the best prog albums of last year with A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring, filling the empty space left by the Opeth of yore while adding their own twist on the formula. The prospect of a new band taking that 70’s-prog-meets-groovy-death-metal sound and running with it was exciting, and I couldn’t wait to see what they did with it.
Holy hell, did they deliver. To Paint a Bird of Fire is nothing short of a masterpiece, building off of everything that made the last album so great and offering some new surprises. They’ve actually eased back on the death metal aspects a bit, but without compromising the mighty riffage that was present on Thunderstorm. If anything, they sound even better here; that warm guitar tone and the Hammond organ and mellotron feel like they were tailor-made for each other, and the clean vocals are significantly stronger and more adventurous than on the previous outing. It somehow feels bigger and more grandiose despite being almost 10 minutes shorter in run time, too. It’s powerful, emotional, and nothing short of great.
You can stream To Paint a Bird of Fire in full on Bandcamp; I recommend the high DR version. The album releases on October 1st.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. I love all three of these albums, and I hope you were able to find something to enjoy as well. Until next time,