The Schoenberg AutomatonThe Schoenberg Automaton – Vela

[01/21/13]
[Myriad Records]

In a time when the word “math” has largely been misattributed to the various Meshuggah djent clones, there are still bands that are making sure that the genre of mathcore continues its legacy of melding the chaos of hardcore, the brutality of death metal, and the oft-shifting time signatures of technical and progressive metal. Keeping in the recent tradition of the resurgence of mathcore via the likes of Car Bomb and Dissipate, rising Australia stars The Schoenberg Automaton eschew trends with their debut album Vela. While their myriad of influences are shown on their sleeves — the trudging stutterred riffs of Gojira, the schizophrenic chaos of early Dillinger Escape Plan, and the forward-thinking technical battery of Between the Buried and Me are all plain as day — their sound wears more like a continued step in the genre lineage rather than shameless mimicry. The Schoenberg Automaton go beyond channeling just the aforementioned bands, however; throughout Vela, the band do well on adding in flavors of traditional death metal and even black metal influences, namely on tracks like leading single ‘Ghost of Mirach’. Even early moments reminiscent of Solace era Ion Dissonance are apparent. All of this comes together in a seamless fashion that Schoenberg have spent many hours perfecting, both setting them apart from the average internet band and giving them a hodgepodge prog/tech sound that is strangely all their own. Make no mistake, The Schoenberg Automaton will be a force to be reckoned with out of the already impressive Australian metal scene if their first offering already hits this hard. – JR & AD

 
4/5

Rotten Sound - Species At WarRotten Sound – Species at War

[01/22/13]
[Relapse Records]

Grind is a polarizing genre, its unrelenting assault on the senses generally being something you love or hate. Rotten Sound tend to be even more noisy and chaotic than most, lacking the clean production work so common in metal nowadays. This is to their benefit. Species at War continues their twenty year assault on the senses in a predictable manner, with few surprises along the way. The nine minute running time of this EP may put some people off, but for a grindcore release, that’s relatively normal. Besides, you get a lot of music here for the money; grindcore is the fiscally responsible genre. The band run through so many changes that it’s dizzying, and it feels longer and more diverse than it really is. There isn’t really much here to surprise anyone who’s been following Rotten Sound for any degree of time. This is good music, make no mistake, but at the same time feels like a stopgap release between Cursed and whatever the band choose to do next. The songs hinge on two or three different textures, either dissonant and blasting, hardcore-esque, almost thrashy sections and sometimes, like at the end of ‘Salvation‘, the band lets the bottom drop out and everything shifts into a monstrous groove. This groove is where Rotten Sound shine, and it rears its head a few times on Species at War, to good effect, but never enough to become familiar. This is, again, seemingly both a collection of good grind songs and a stopgap to tide over fans. How much you like grind and the formula Rotten Sound follow will determine your enjoyment of this EP. – CK

3.5/5

 

Chronographs - NauseaChronographs – Nausea

[01/07/13]
[Self Released]

When a group of young people get together to play challenging music it’s uncommon to find that their ego aligns with their ambitions. Enter British metaller’s Chronographs who have taken the slow crawl approach to their music (but fittingly so). Garnering a substantial amount of attention from their independently released Outhouse Sessions they managed to strike a deal releasing a couple of new tracks with English magazine Metal Hammer while the writers hyped up the release of their debut Nausea. Suffice to say, there was some hot anticipation for this little EP. Rest assured however, it delivers its weight in gold. Nausea manages to create a mathcore type atmosphere with djent techniques. You’ll find the extended range guitars and syncopated chugging intact, but it’s mangled with its mathcore counterpart taking dissonant chords and abrasive vocals for a hell of a ride with a complete disregard for common time signatures. A selling point of the EP would be Jon Sinfield’s refreshing and poignant vocal performance. His tone is familiar, yet incredibly unique and he attacks each phrase with passion and confidence in a way this genre needed him to. The cleans aren’t anything to write home about, but they make for an excellent dynamic along with the softer more phoned-in choruses. Those choruses however are necessary in breaking up the relentless speed of the heavier sections. No track stands apart more than another which is more than could be asked of such a young group. Normally debut releases have a couple duds on them but Chronographs have cut the bullshit and delivered 5 tracks equal parts beautiful and off the wall and equal parts excellent music. Check this one out because it sounds like Chronographs are here to stay. – CD

4/5

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