A MORNING ROUND-UP: SYNAPSES, BÖLZER, MUMAKIL, AND DEAFHEAVEN
Here are some things I heard yesterday that grabbed me. I’m starting with two bands who were new to me and finishing with two of whom I was already a fan.
Yesterday we posted Andy Synn’s engaging and informative interview with Alan Cassidy, The Black Dahlia Murder’s talented new drummer and formerly the hitter for Abigail Williams. If you haven’t read that yet, you should. At the end of the interview, Andy asked him for musical recommendations, and Alan made a pitch for an Italian band named Synapses. The name was new to me so I investigated.
It turns out that Synapses are a relatively new band whose debut album Expiation was released by Deepsend Records in February 2012, and they’re currently at work on a follow-up. Some tracks from the album are on YouTube and I listened to one called “Assault of the Weak”.
I can understand why Alan Cassidy thinks these dudes are awesome. It’s because they are indeed awesome, and a big reason why is drummer Riccardo “Cannibale” Fanara. “Assault of the Weak” is a fairly brutal form of highly percussive, fleet-fingered death metal with rapid-fire guitar and bass riffing and roaring vox. But as balls-out blazing as the hi-tech music is, it incorporates some mighty grooves and some inventive (and acrobatic) drumming. I’m particularly digging the snare hits, which come in unexpected places and punctuate the blasting in creative ways.
Check out this song below, and if you like it as much as I do, follow the band’s progress on their next album via their Facebook page.
I have NCS supporter/critic KevinP to thank for this next item. It was he who tipped me to the music of this two-man Swiss band whose name is apparently a colloquial German word referring to someone who hits severely, without regard to the consequences. Bölzer self-released a four-song demo named Roman Acupuncture in 2012 and they’ve recorded a debut three-song EP named Aura that will be released on 12″ vinyl by Iron Bonehead (Germany) and Invictus Productions (Ireland). The striking artwork for Aura is what you see above. Two tracks from Aura have become available for streaming on Soundcloud, and those are what I heard for purposes of this post, though Bölzer’s Soundcloud page includes two of the demo tracks as well.
The two tracks from Aura are “C.M.E.” and “Entranced by the Wolfshook”, and they’re really striking. I suppose the music should be classified as blackened death metal, but it’s not the kind of all-blasting obliteration that the label usually suggests (at least to me). The melodies are dark as night and heavy as hell, blanketed with an aura of doom and dripping with venom. But the melodies are memorable, the songs are rhythmically dynamic, and the riffs and the guitar tones are unusual. The music is evil, ominous, and murky, but there is a level of sophistication in the songwriting that’s beyond the usual radioactive wall of noise. The vocals also made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, ranging from ravenous roars to the kind of howling that genuinely sounds like a wolf.
Listen to these songs below, and bear in mind that they were recorded only with guitar, drums, and voice; Bölzer performs as a two-piece band, and it appears that the music was written and recorded so that it could be performed. I’m really impressed by this music.
To learn more about Bölzer, check out this interview.
Only last week we reported that Switzerland’s Mumakil have a new album coming out on June 25 in North America (and on slightly earlier dates in Europe) under the name Flies Will Starve, featuring enticing album art by Remy Cuveillier of Headsplit Design. Yesterday we got a complete song from the album, “Wrong Turn”, in the form of a lyric video. Holy mother of fuck, is it good. In addition to the fact that it includes a sweet, swarming guitar lead (which sounds like finger-tapping!) amidst the barrage of death/grind, it gives the world a perfect sample to use on all those occasions when you need to say “NO ONE GIVES A SHIT!”
I’ve already said repeatedly how stoked I am for Deafheaven’s new album Sunbather, so I won’t say it again.
Well, anyway, a song from the album exclusively premiered yesterday on NPR, thanks to Lars Gotrich, who has a way of snagging metal gems for that generally not-metal platform. And “Dream House” is indeed a gem. It’s intensely melodic and, well, intense. The tremolo-picked guitars blaze away, charting spiraling melodies through the wall of blasting drums and George Clarke’s jugular-rupturing vocals, and it’s a grand sound. The song subsides into nothing but solitary guitar notes and chords, and then comes roaring back, trailing beautiful streamers of blackened post metal. And it’s true what Lars Gotrich says: in the last minute you hear reverberating echoes of music that’s reminiscent of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name”, at least in spirit.
Check out “Dream House” via this link.
That Deafheaven track is incredible. So happy to hear that their Mogwai cover was just a taste of what’s to come. The cold, sterile atmospher of Roads to Judah – while totally appropriate for black metal – always kept me at arms length. “Dream House” brings a warmth and melodiousness without losing any of the fury.
This could be an album of the year if the rest of the album lives up to this track.
Bolzer is indeed impressive…been looking forward to that EP
On a side note, since this is a music round up, try this band on for size….Eternal Khan (http://eternalkhan.com/)
the Synapses track is excellent! i seriously can’t wait the new Mumakil, awesome band.
Finally got around to listening to that Deafheaven track (stupid work making me do stupid things).
That. Track. Fucking. Destroys.