Chapel Of Disease – Echoes of Light (blackened post metal, rockin' prog)
I don't know much about Chapel of Disease. Apparently they used to be a pretty straight-forward death metal band who went all proggy on their last album (which has a very long, silly name) and have wound up coming out the other end sounding like mid-period Nachtmystium if they preferred psychedelics to depressants.* What I do know is that Echoes of Light absolutely owns. Its floaty, hypnotic rhythms are good on their own, but it's the harmonic, Thin Lizzy-like leads that really seal the deal. The guitar heroics on display here often come across like something you'd expect from the likes of Spirit Adrift and their ilk, than a band who take their name from not one, but two Morbid Angel songs, but the novel context also makes them really pop. I don't know if this is the same level of fully fledged progressive metal statement that last month's Lord Dying or last week's Persefone records were (or the Black Meddle albums for that matter), but Chapel of Disease have certainly hit upon something here that suggests similar greatness lies in their future.
*Is that how drugs work? IDK.
Hannes Grossmann – Echoes Of Eternity (tech death)
"If you want a new [Necrophagist] album, then write it yourself. That’s what I did!" And so modern tech-death guru Hannes Grossmann laid down the gauntlet to all of the many followers he inspired as the drummer on that band's seminal album Epitaph (2004), along with fellow German tech-death institution Obscura's landmark 2011 album Omnivium, which Grossmann adds he also "mainly composed." It's tall talk to be sure, and none of Grossmann's flexing would amount to much if he didn't have the tunes to back it up. Unlike most of the tech-death acts that followed in the wake of yet never quite equalled Epitaph and Omnivium, Grossmann has made a habit of putting out seemingly endless albums of comparable quality, both as a solo artist and as a collaborator with pretty much any contemporary prog/tech-death act of note—if a band comes within even touching distance of those albums, you'd best believe he's behind the kit.
Echoes of Eternity (which continues this week's theme of reverberation and second-hand Pink Floyd references) is a five-track EP, celebrating Grossmann's work with the founders of modern tech-death. Openers "Retrospective Monolog" and "Engraved In Their Shrouds", along with closer "Enigmatic Shrines Consumed", do indeed sound as close as anyone has come to recapturing the vibe and sound of Epitaph, while the title track is more in the style of Omnivim and Grossmann's subsequent solo work, and once-again fit comfortably alongside both. There's also "Humanoid Body Automation", which Grossmann apparently wrote for Blotted Science, when he wasn't busy stacking up other credits. All are distinct in and more than worthy of their inspirations, leaving little to criticise other than the record's off-putting and unfocused Silent-Hill-meets-Death-Stranding-by-way-of-H.-R.-Giger-ass, AI-collage-looking cover art. I'd certainly take another full-length in any or all of the styles and, given Grossmann's form, one probably isn't too far off.