We have all sorts of odd ways for picking bands to hear and feature. We pick them based on the appeal of their album art, or the sound of their names, or where they’re from. Sometimes we just mentally throw a dart at a list we keep for our MISCELLANY explorations (the people who watch over us won’t allowed us to have real darts — some bullshit about being a danger to self and others).
Now we’ve come up with a new method of sifting through the great unwashed hordes of metal bands for listening purposes: We decided to pick a handful of bands who, as of the writing of this post, had less than 100 Facebook “likes”. Of course, this tells you absolutely nothing reliable about the quality of the music; many godawful bands have five- and even six-figure Facebook “likes”, and some really good ones just haven’t been widely discovered yet. The low numbers do imply that the band is new, or at least new to Facebook. The bands we picked for this post have got some promising things going on with their music, despite the so-far meager “like” totals. Maybe a little attention will push their totals above the century mark.
In terms of musical styles and genres, today’s line-up is quite varied in their extremity: Melodic black metal from Oak Pantheon (Minnesota), deathcore from Above This (Virginia), death ‘n’ roll from Rudiment of Abhorrence (Washington), and old-school, face-melting death metal from Panic Disorder (Indonesia). Some of this music is also available for free download. Dive in after the jump.
This Minneapolis three-man band (whose imagery is at the top of this post) came to our attention via a one-two e-mail punch. First, the band wrote me, and then Niek Baboon at Death Metal Baboon wrote me, too. DMB happens to be premiering a track from Oak Pantheon’s debut EP, and Niek urged me to give this thing a little more exposure. So, Niek being a good dude, I decided I would write about Oak Pantheon unless they had more than 100 Facebook likes OR the music sounded like dog vomit.
Fortunately, when I visited the band’s Facebook page (here), they only had 73 likes (74, after I did my part). And as for the music? Not dog vomit. Definitely not.
Oak Pantheon have completed a four-song EP called The Void, which they plan to release on July 12, and the song that DMB debuted is the opening track, “In the Dead of Winter Night”. Before listening, I’d read what Niek had to say about it, but then did my best to put that out of my head and form my own impressions.
In a nutshell, this is a beautiful song, with a strong central riff that will have your head nodding and an evolving melodic theme expressed both through an acoustic intro and interlude and a searing electric-guitar solo. It’s mid-paced and folk-influenced, with a rock-style beat in the drumline, and well-designed to catch in your head — I’ve had the melody appearing unbidden in mine off and on over the 24 hours since I first heard it (and re-heard it a few times, because it’s so damned good).
The instrumental stylings may not be of the old-school, Norwegian acid-bath variety, but the vocals sure are — a caustic high-end rasping that makes for a bracing contrast with the sweeping melody of the music. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This next band was the subject of an effusive e-mail I got from NCS co-founder, IntoTheDarkness, who’s our resident deathcore addict (but refuses to enter a 12-step program). He’s also a punctuation-and-caps-optional message-writer.
The subject line of his e-mail was “OMG”. I knew right away that he’d found some music he really liked. That was confirmed by the rest of the message: “holy crap. fucking insane. These guys will be atop the deathcore world in months i guarantee it. I’m blown away.”
Above This has released an EP’s worth of songs in the past, but what inflamed ITD’s enthusiasm were two new songs that the band released just days ago — “7L7” and “Versatile”. Both songs apparently will be included on the band’s debut album, planned for release later this year.
I get why ITD got so enthused, because I like me some deathcore every now and then, too. These two songs are full of clanging, concrete breakdowns that explode so hard they’re shrouded in static, thoroughly pissed-off hardcore vocals (instead of adolescent shrieking or gurgling), and enough hints of melody to create a bit of catchiness. There’s plenty of angst and anger, much of it directed at a particular chick in “Versatile”, but what did you expect?
Above This definitely won’t change your mind if you’re a deathcore hater — it’s straight down the middle of that fairway — but within the confines of the genre, ITD is probably right: These guys may well be going places. Above This seem to be giving away these two songs for free, so we’ll toss ’em up right here for you to stream or download. If you’ve only got time for one, I’d suggest “Versatile”.
If you’re on Facebook and want to show these dudes some love, their Facebook page is here.
UPDATE: When I first started working on the part of this post about Above This, they were under 75 “likes”, but I checked again this morning, and now they’re up to 139. Those two songs are obviously making the rounds in a hurry. But, having already written my blurb about Above This, there’s no fucking way I’m deleting it. And I’m sure the band would still appreciate your liking them on Facebook.
RUDIMENT OF ABHORRENCE
The next “band” for today is a one-man, Seattle-based project who posted a link on the NCS Facebook page not long ago. As of this writing, ROA has 74 Facebook likes.
ROA is the musical vehicle of one Samuel Evans, and he has single-handedly created a five-song EP — or maybe it’s just five songs — but in any case, all the music is available for free download if you visit this page. The three middle songs in this collection are catchy-as-fuck offerings of raw, crusty, death ‘n’ roll, with rancid lyrics expressed by nasty, bearlike, death-metal vocals. The bookend songs are synthesized instrumentals that are much more melodic and make for a sharp contrast to what comes between them.
Check out this song. The filthy riff in this baby is fucken killin me.
Oh, fuckit, I’m gonna put up a second song because I know my buddy Phro will appreciate the title to this one:
You like this shit? Then go like ROA’s Facebook page (here). Let’s see if we can put it over 100 likes.
Somewhere deep in the winding caverns of the interhole where scant light penetrates, our intrepid net-spelunker Israel Flanders discovered this unsigned Indonesian band and surfaced with a couple of songs he passed along to me. Panic Disorder qualified for this post because, lacking any Facebook presence (at least insofar as I could determine), they have no “likes” at all.
The three songs I’ve heard so far — “Hancurkan Sang Matahari”, “Dansa Dengan Neraka”, and “Redemption in Blood Beast” — appear on the band’s 2011 debut album called The Coming Sixth Age, but it appears this band has been around for quite some time, with their first demo recorded in 1995 and two EPs released in 2000 and 2008.
All that time spent toiling in the furnace of extreme metal shows on these songs: This music is a face-meltingly hellacious slaughter-fest of no-fucking-around death metal. It’s fast and furious, technically adept, and thoroughly evil. I’m seriously looking forward to finishing the album.
Fans of the old-school Floridian scene, and Deicide in particular, it’s feeding time! Drink blood, and let’s have a big wet belch at the end:
I have no idea where to get a legit copy of The Coming Sixth Age, so you may have to do what people everywhere do who can’t or won’t buy their music. You know, put a quarter under your pillow at bedtime and hope that the mp3 fairy leaves it on your computer’s hard drive by the time you wake up.
For more info about Panic Disorder and more of their music to stream, visit them on MySpace here.