After almost four years of hit-or-miss experimentation, we’ve arrived at the glorious 60th edition of MISCELLANY. I wish I could tell you that I have something red-hot and extra-special lined up to celebrate the occasion, but that’s not the way MISCELLANY works. The way it works is that I randomly pick bands I’ve never heard, I listen to a song or two, I write my impressions, and I stream what I heard so you can make up your own minds.
All of which means that when I picked the following bands I didn’t know what they would sound like or whether they would be worth a damn: Omnihility (U.S.), Dejadeath (Spain), The Slow Death (Australia), and Elision of Animus (Portugal).
I know I’ve heard this band’s name before, but I’m also pretty sure I never listened to their music until deciding to make them my first stop on this MISCELLANY tour after receiving a message from the band. They’re from Eugene, Oregon, which I confess warmed my heart, since I know they’re going to be enduring the same dank Pacific Northwest winter that I am, or something very close to it.
Their most recent album (which was their first) is 2012’s Biogenesis. Metal Archives says it was released by Butchered Records; it’s also now available on Bandcamp. After deciding to check it out I learned that the band have now signed to Unique Leader Records, which will be releasing their next album Deathscapes of the Subconscious early next year.
I decided to listen to the title track from Biogenesis. I’m pretty sure my head started smoking inside of about 15 seconds and I may have cracked a few ribs. It’s a bruising, decimating, jolting, incinerating assault of brutal, dragstrip death metal. I say “dragstrip” because this baby races from a standing start, trailing flames, smoke, and a fury of snare hits. Kind of like a cross between Origin, Hate Eternal, and Necrophagist.
Naturally, I listened to a few more songs before moving on, and I ate up everything I heard (or it ate me up), from the blazing, atonal riffage to the gruff vox to the absolute blizzard of lead guitar munitions — and those snare hits!
You can stream all of Biogenesis below.
I picked this band for no better reason that the fact that they were the most recent band to write me as I sat down for this MISCELLANY listening session. They’re from Barcelona, Spain. They have a Facebook page on which they list their interests as “Spleens, cannibal goddesses, advanced plumbing, and the rippin’ and the tearin'” That struck me as a very promising list of interests, though I later wondered why they left out fish guts.
This summer they self-released their second album ¡¡¡Viva Dios!!!, which isn’t a sentiment I usually hear in metal circles. It’s available on Bandcamp. They also just premiered a music video for a track from the album named “Slow Demise”, and that’s the song I picked as a Dejadeath sample. The video was apparently shot and edited in three weeks during September.
Visually, the clip is just wild — a blazing montage of “what the fuck?” imagery. It’s a real kick in the head to watch. And the music is a huge kick in the ass to hear — a romping, roaring. rifftastic barrage of death/thrash that’s catchy as the common cold. Heads will bang or there will be hell to pay.
Check out the video below, and I’ve also included the Bandcamp player for ¡¡¡Viva Dios!!!.
THE SLOW DEATH
The Slow Death are from New South Wales in Australia. To date, they’ve released two albums: The Slow Death (2008) and II (2012). I noticed them because they will be releasing a split CD with the magnificent Majestic Downfall (and if you don’t know who that is, go here). Since they’re keeping that kind of company, I thought there might be something to them.
And so there is. I found a song on YouTube from their second album named “Empty Places”, which is more than 12 minutes long. It begins like a solid block of funeral doom, with deep stately riffs and even deeper harsh growls. But then the song changes, introducing shimmering guitars and striking, pure female vocals. And then it changes again, picking up speed, beginning to rumble like a freight train, beginning to sound like someone left the crypt door open and some Scandinavian melodeath and post-metal got in. It’s really a fantastic song, a vibrant variant of doom with sharply contrasting dual vocals that work really well and an entrancing melody.
You can find The Slow Death on Facebook via this link. Below you can hear “Empty Places”. I’ve also included a rough mix (unmastered) of the first four minutes of “Criticality Incident”, which is the band’s first track on that split with Majestic Downfall. It’s painfully beautiful. Mandy Andresen can really sing — and Gregg Williamson can really get low. And I really didn’t want the song to stop after four minutes.
ELISION OF ANIMUS
This is a Portuguese two-man band from Ilhavo. I decided to listen to their music because of Gerard, an NCS supporter who urged me repeatedly — and I do mean repeatedly — to check out their music. This past spring they self-released a five-song debut EP entitled Dementia, which is on Bandcamp, so I went there to listen.
I decided, for a change, to listen to the last track instead of the first. It’s the longest song on the EP and its name is “Memorial”. Wind blows, melodic guitar notes and chords slowly reverberate without accompaniment. The drums come in slowly, a soulful (clean) voice begins to sing. Silence falls — and persists — until what could be the sound of xylophone notes begin pinging above the low crackle of static. Someone strums an acoustic guitar. The song ends.
Well, I must say that I enjoyed “Memorial”, though it dawned on me that this was probably one of those closing tracks by which a band decides to make something radically different from the rest of the songs. So I decided to skip to the middle track of the five — “Umbra” — and try again. Talk about a brain-scrambling piece of music! Blasting drums, bursts of jabbing riffage, squealing guitar arpeggios, spacey atmospherics, rippling guitar leads, and a range of attacking vocal styles. It’s sort of a mash-up of deathcore, black metal, and progressive.
I have a feeling I probably should have just listened to the EP straight through from the beginning. I don’t know how people around here will react to it, since there is a definite deathcore vibe going on and we don’t spend much time in that playing field, but I’m intrigued enough to hear the rest of this EP.