After exploding onto the scene with their debut EP, Cosmic Dissonance, in 2013, The Zenith Passage is finally ready to put forth into the world Solipsist, which continues along their established trajectory: a combination of the more melodic, spacey sound of fellow Californian progressive death metal act The Faceless and hard-hitting, chunky, riffy grooves that are highly reminiscent of brutal techdeath bands like Deeds Of Flesh or Cryptopsy, their sound is a fluid hybrid of the grim spaciness of the former with the technically demanding, spiraling compositions of the latter.
Not a lot of happenings this week, so we talk mostly about new music! Specifically, from Schammash, Fallujah, Amon Amarth and Ihsahn! There were a few happenings as well, like Evan Brewer of Entheos on why he left The Faceless, an interview with the Iranian metal band Confess, who were on trial for blashpemy, Riverside’s upcoming triple album, Kickstarter’s acquisition of subscription service Drip, and the important news item we embarrassingly forgot last week, the passing of Keith Emerson. Then we talk about festival culture, using music as a tool to focus, and our weekly balls deep segment on Iron Maiden!
Entheos’ formation has been quite the success story. Within days of announcing their newfound existence in early 2015, the four already-fairly-established metal musicians were releasing studio updates for their debut EP, and proceeded to release said EP on Bandcamp quite literally as soon as it was finished — with all…
Has death metal started to feel a bit too homogeneous for you lately? Do you think that a lot of djent bands djumped the shark a few years ago? Or maybe you want to check out a prog band that keeps songs at a reasonable length? Let California’s Entheos be your golden ticket out of this musical rut you’ve found yourself in. Trust us here at Heavy Blog when we say that The Infinite Nothing is an absolute gut-punch; a motherfucking flurry of warped guitar riffs, crushing production and some of the most amazing bass performances you’re likely to hear in the style for the next couple of years. I had the privilege to speak with the band’s vocalist, Chaney Crabb, last week about how the band has improved since their debut EP, confronting anxiety through writing, tour homies and a whole lot more!
Here, in the crucible of these bands and albums, a new genre is being formed, one that is emotionally stimulating and resolutely metal, equal parts intelligent and brutal, shaped by a constant musical dialogue between the simple and complex. Post-tech death is a treat for any fans of tech death and anybody who likes the concept, but wishes it wasn’t so sterile at times. Taking the best parts of the genre and twisting them to create original, engaging music, it’s a genre that is forward-focused and evolving, unique and fulfilling. And best of all, it’s just getting started.
My fingers itch to start this article with yet another semi-apologetic defense of the use of sub-genres but I’ll resist that urge. By now, I’m sure most of you are aware of the way I approach such things and why I find them useful. If you’re not, head on over to my Taxonomy of Progressive Metal piece to get a good idea. Funnily enough (or not) we start here as well from Progressive Metal; in this case, we’re going to take a look at a vanishing category, a branch in the extensive history of the genre that, somehow, disappeared. That category is progressive death, a style which first flourished in the mid 90’s but was then swept away in favor of both revisionism and the laziness that permeates most human interactions. Instead of retaining its clearly distinct and unique attributes and standing out as another pillar within metal, it was somehow sublimated, swallowed into a category with which it had a few conjoining points, consumed like in a weird osmosis.
There was a period between 2006 and 2009 where the deathcore scene was exploding as progressive elements started to get introduced into the sound. The genesis of the sound of many bands that are loved today was in that scene – be it The Faceless, After the Burial, Born of Osiris, Within the Ruins, Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist – the list goes on. Now, in 2016, things are different. Enter Shadow of Intent, a progressive/technical deathcore duo. Their take on the sound manages to be fresh way past the prime of the genre, and hearkens back to the feeling of finding a new band on a random blog doing interesting things, a band that is on the verge of greatness.
It seems that as more heavy and progressive bands seek to experiment and differentiate themselves from the herd, they’ve been turning more often to adding in outside influences and instruments, with jazz and sax being at the forefront, which, at face value, is great! Like any other tool though, you have to know how to wield and implement it properly or it simply doesn’t work, and that seems to be what we’re faced with currently: a glut of saxophone solos and parts in metal and prog that exist primarily for the novelty of hearing a saxophone in unexpected places rather than using them in ways that actively connect to and enhance the music around them. This isn’t so much a guide to music and bands that use sax particularly well or poorly (though I will use examples from time to time), but more so a crash course in what the instrument can actually do and some best practices for using it. School’s in session, and you can call me Professor Sax (please don’t actually do this; Mr. Sax will suffice).
Drawing comparisons to Gorod and The Faceless most clearly, but echoing elements of Obscura and even Alaska-era Between The Buried And Me at times, “Within The Massive Stream” has a clear luster and sense of grandiosity that many bands in the world of technical death metal lack.
It’s been a while since we did one of these, but…for those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly…