Today I want to do something different. Instead of focusing on one album and elaborating every detail of it, I’ll talk about two albums that aren’t extremely similar but complement each other in a way.

The first album will be Amok‘s Lullabies of Silence. I discovered this album lying abandoned in a corner of an old record store 5 years ago. The store let patrons listen to albums before purchasing them, so I gave it a spin, being intrigued by the album art. I was immediately blown away by the first track, which also happened to be the title track. Turns out that Amok are a Swiss technical death/grindcore band. They put together the structured, calculated frenzy of tech death with the insanity of grindcore. Here, have a listen:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJNZU7TkaM]

I’d say these guys are pretty awesome. But this is just the first step of the descent down the rabbit’s hole. They also incorporate some sort of bizarre melodic structure in a manner similar to previous Obscure Gemites !TOOH!. Not as oddball as TOOH, but they make up for the lack of oddity by being more tech-death oriented.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cvVijbf-XI]

Now let me switch gears and tell another story. Yet again at the same shop, a few months after I discovered Amok, I was browsing through used CDs. As I was shifting through row after row of CD, one of them just had its casing fall apart in my hands. The album art looked really lame and the CD was in very bad shape. The shopowner (a good friend by that point) told me to just take the CD and throw it out. I was genuinely going to, but I had a long bus ride back home and I didn’t really have anything to listen to, so I kept the CD. And to be honest, it was a good call!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vKid8CUAWA]

Some songs were corrupted because of the condition of the CD, but I later downloaded the album and listened to it in its entirety. The album in question was The Shattering Begins by now-defunct Swedish brutal tech death band The Shattering. They have a more straight-forward approach than Amok, with very tight and fast riffing accompanied by just as tight drumming. The songs on the album are very good, and it’s overall an extremely energetic album. They have some elements of Gorod and Spawn of Possession (older states of both bands), so it’s very jumpy, groovy and spastically technical.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjDPwtd1toU]

Overall, I always listen to these albums back-to-back, because Amok takes me to a weird state of mind where I feel like the entirety of life is pointless and depressing; whereas The Shattering brings me back up with its energy and makes me want to get shit done.

In the end, I’d definitely recommend both of these albums, but if you want one take-home album, it would be Amok’s Lullabies of Silence just because it’s so messed up. I apologize for the lack of Obscure Gems updates, real life got in the way but now I have more time so expect near-weekly updates for a while!

– NT

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