Feb 162010

Those of you who’ve been visiting us regularly know that we tend to write more about little known bands than about the household names. By doing that, we hope to turn you on to music you might not otherwise find, which would be one of the few genuinely useful things we could do for you (other than make you smile every now and then).

Some of our recommendations have been more off the beaten path than others. The more we listen to extreme metal, the more we want a taste of something different and innovative. We haven’t let go of the more conventional shit (and in extreme metal, “conventional” is necessarily a relative term). But as time passes, we’re just moving further out into the gnarly frontier where weird beasts roam a surreal landscape, and sometimes our recommendations reflect that.

A few random cases in point: Carnal RaptureBloodshedd, and Psychofagist. These are technically proficient bands we’ve discovered in the last few months who’ve pushed the extreme metal envelope by incorporating some unusual elements into their music.  You might not have heard of them before, but we think they’re worth your consideration. We’ll focus on one band per day for the next three days, and as usual, we’ll stream some cuts so you don’t have to just take our word for it.


This unsigned band from Rome has been around under different names and with different personnel since 1992. The latest output from the latest line-up is an astonishing five-track EP called promo 2008.

Vince Neilstein at Metal Sucks has been carrying the flag for this band in the U.S., writing in December that the 2008 promo EP “still stands as the best demo I’ve heard all year from any independent metal band, anywhere in the world.” In the same month, Chris Catharsis at Spinelanguage also published a truly fascinating interview with the only original member, vocalist/guitarist Emilio Trilló.

Despite this attention, the band is still unsigned, and we still fucking love the music. So it’s only fair that we add our small voice to the chorus. (much more, after the jump . . .)

Carnal Rapture claims among its dominant influences death and thrash bands from the 80s and 90s along with bands such as WatchtowerMeshuggah, and Cynic, and Trilló’s guttural growling certainly connects the music to its death metal roots — but the truth is that no one sounds quite like Carnal Rapture, particularly in today’s scene. All the instrumentalists in this band are adepts, and the songs are constructed so as to make full use of their technical skills. The rhythms and harmonics are complex and densely layered, with changing time signatures and polyrhythmic counterpoints that would appeal to fans of tech death or math metal.

But what makes the music especially memorable is the incorporation of distinctive rhythmic signatures, brought full forward in the mix by the prominence given to Edoardo Marcantoni‘s bass work and Daniele Belardo‘s style of drumming (which omits any blast beats or double bass). Those two work beautifully in tandem to hammer our intricate but infectious grooves that borrow from other genres including funk, allowing guitarists Emilio Trilló and Tom Hopewell to spin out creative riffs and solos that shift unpredictably from the atonal to the melodic.

Some writers hear elements of jazz in the music, perhaps because of the sometimes funky polyrhythms, the absence of drumming techniques that are ubiquitous in extreme metal, and the almost improvisational sound of the guitar solos. But  in the interview cited above, founder Emilio Trilló resisted the jazz-metal label:

Well listen, we’ve had this label stuck on us since 1994 and it’s getting more and more embarrassing to say the least, and I also believe that this is misleading some people a little too.  I personally have nothing to do with jazz; okay, I have been into Tribal Tech, Chick Corea or Dave Weckl Band and all the guitar hero stuff like Greg Howe, Frank Gambale and so on, but aside from that, metal is what I am interested in playing and this is it.  I guess this jazz vibe they perceive here and there is maybe due to Daniele’s drumming style.  He’s been studying fusion drums for almost a decade and maybe he’s brought in some of that involuntarily. . . .

Yes, we laid down some shuffle groove pattern on “Hate You and Adore You”; we put a sort of disco groove on the verse of “Precious Time” or a tease of a Latin tempo on the “Arms Tied Back” bridge, but this doesn’t mean we are jazz.  This is rather an attempt to drag stuff from outside the fence, bring it in and possibly blend it into metal.  It’s all for the sake of enriching the metal genre itself.

In our humble opinion, Carnal Rapture has succeeded brilliantly in enriching the metal genre. If you still haven’t discovered this band and you’re looking for something “outside the box” that makes you think as well as feel, go listen to what’s streaming on the band’s MySpace page — or listen to this track right here:

Carnal Rapture: Caught Off Guard

If you like what you hear and you want to carry the music with you when you’re not wired to your computer, it appears the best way to get a legal copy of the music for yourself is to do what we did — send $10 via PayPal to esseti1@inwind.it. (Based on a recent e-mail we got from Emelio Trilló, this is still the best way to go.)

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