Djent had an explosive entrance into the world of heavy music, around the start of the decade. It was a truly exciting occurrence, with first-wave acts like Periphery, Animals As Leaders and Cloudkicker filtering the technically-driven progressive sound of acts like Meshuggah, Sikth, and those of the budding “Sumeriancore” movement, into something altogether more accessible, while still retaining much of their forebears’ technical and progressive edge. Yet, like most new sub-genres, djent quickly devolved into pastiche and gave way to over saturation—perhaps a little bit quicker than most. Djent, it seems, has had a propperly ballistic trajectory, and—in 2017—as its momentum trails off, it’s hard to get excited about this once-promising phenomenon.
“Sumeriancore” was an interesting genre. A highly specific brand of progressive metalcore that coincided with the rise of Sumerian Records, lead by prominent bands on that label, it was very popular for a few years and then dissolved into djent shortly after. Born of Osiris were at the forefront of this, if not the main driving force. Being part of the original “big 4” of the genre along with label mates Veil of Maya, The Faceless and After the Burial, they’ve inspired many other artists and headlined many tours. They’ve had some wildly acclaimed albums, and some that are borderline ridiculed. A decade after their debut, where are they now? Where is the genre? And what’s their future? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.
Last week, Invisible Oranges made a very good case for the death of deathcore citing the absolute disasters that Suicide Silence and Emmure put out this year, the diminishing commercial success of the genre, and the disappointing follow-ups of some of the genre’s most promising acts. To be clear, there is no defending Suicide Silence and Emmure, but there is more to deathcore’s story to be told in 2017 and beyond.
It’s never a great feeling to see a creative band struggle to find its identity. It’s even more painful when the band is so close to getting the formula right, but just can’t seem to put in the extra effort to connect the pieces. Perhaps Halfway Human is a more apt title than it initially sounds for Within the Ruins’s fifth album. Halfway to perfection, and entirely human with its flaws. Shining beacons of brilliance stuffed in between songs seemingly written in auto-pilot make this an enjoyable, yet disappointing experience.
Do you like deathcore? My condolences. Oh, I’m just kidding. There are some good bands in the genre. On an unrelated note (truly), there’s a new Within the Ruins song and a playthrough as well. Also, Born of Osiris are redoing their debut plus a new song, and the new Aversions Crown is great. We also discovered some more Season of Mist stuff, namely Replacire. Nergal of Behemoth’s new project Me And That Man is, well, interesting. Then we get incensed about people getting incensed about bands applying new funding and marketing models. Then we discuss why vocals are the main off-putting thing for a lot of people, and on that note, how avant-garde bands aren’t really that avant-garde. Enjoy!
I actually wanted to title the episode ” If I call this episode ‘Why isn’t Cinematic Metal a thing?’ surely someone will point me to some obscure Spanish power metal band that calls themselves Cinematic Metal so I won’t” but that would probably be too long for iTunes. Eden healthy…
There comes a point in each genre when it reaches a point. The point where it seems like the genre is just done. That one album releases which encapsulates everything the genre tried to achieve, and then takes it a step further. Sometimes this is the birth of a new genre, but sometimes it’s simply one excellent album. Shokran’s debut full length Supreme Truth was not that album for progressive deathcore. It was a great album, one of the best in the genre. Combining elements from Within the Ruins and Born Of Osiris’s sound, Middle Eastern influences and a more grandiose sound; it was a strong play from a band looking to put themselves on the map. Two years, a guitarist departure and a vocalist change later, we have Exodus. Does this album qualify for that description? Maybe it does.
This week we (mostly I) run a terrible pun to the ground, just like deathcore bands have run breakdowns to the ground. You’ll see what I mean. Or hear. New music: Black Crown Initiate, Kamelot, Perturbator, Within the Ruins, Inter Arma, Devildriver, Vektor, The Fall of Troy, If These Trees Could Talk, Downfall of Gaia, Slaughter to Prevail and… Death Grips. Then we talk about negative reviews, what a review should be and how one should respond to reviews; then we talk about, yes, breakdowns. Then it all breaks down.
Spanish progressive deathcore masters The Raven Autarchy dropped a sick album last year, and they’re already back with a new single! Channeling the best aspects of giants like Within the Ruins, After the Burial and Veil of Maya, they’ve created yet another powerhouse of a track. Without further ado, I present to you “Inanimate”!
When in the studio, musicians always use some “tricks” to get a sound that isn’t necessarily as achievable in a live setting. This is a pretty commonly known fact. It’s not even a new thing. Since the 60s, bands have made music in the studio that doesn’t reflect the process of how they actually play in person. As technology develops, more methods become available to the artists to achieve a more “perfect” sound, if they choose to use them. In the 50s and before, bands recorded performances together, in a single run through. Then they started recording each instrument separately, then split up songs into parts, then replaced some instruments with digital substitutes, used corrective techniques (both for pitch and timing) and recently, started performing at a slower tempo then speeding it up. These are the realities of recording. Whether they’re acceptable or not is a hotly debated topic, and a recent even in the metal spheres brought the question to the forefront yet again. The 2016 Guitar Solo Contest, where guitarists were asked to perform over a track by John Browne of Monuments and submit a video of their recording, recently announced their winners. The prizes ranged from a Mayones guitar, Mesa amps, Bare Knuckle Pickups and more. Here’s where it gets complicated. One of the winners was a performance that was clearly heavily edited.