(In this post guest writer DiabolusInMuzaka provides reviews of three recommended albums, with full music streams for each one.)
With the internet providing a platform for even the most obscure Indonesian-black-death-drone-ambient-progressive-neo-folk project (recorded entirely in analog in a cave in mono of course), a lot of music understandably slips by under our metal radars. That, and we’re oversaturated; too many bands to check out, too little time. My aim in this post is to provide a good description of the music offered by the bands here, so that you, as the reader, can judge whether or not this band would be suited to your tastes. Full streams of each album are present in the article, so if anything piques your interest, click play and give it some of your time. You just might find a particularly refreshing drop in the vast, ever-expanding metal ocean. So, without further ado, here is some shit you may have missed in your metal travels.
Gorelust – Reign of Lunacy (PRC Music – reissue; New World Symphony – original pressing)
As the name would imply, Gorelust is death metal. Reign of Lunacy, released originally in 1995, was the Quebec band’s debut and only full-length album. The album is short (clocking in at just under 30 minutes) but absolutely refuses to relent for its entire running time. Being released in 1995, this album presents an interesting form of death metal: it sounds like the missing link between Cryptopsy’s 1996 masterpiece None So Vile and their much more tech-death oriented 1998 beast Whisper Supremacy (it’s worth noting again that this was released in 1995). The production sound is close to Whisper Supremacy as well, which makes sense, as Cryptopsy’s frequent partner-in-crime Pierre Remillard engineered this album.
Musically, Gorelust presents us with Quebec-style death metal, switching effortlessly between quick blasting sections to some devastating half-time slam-esque riffs. The guitars are well-played, and the solos are actually pretty excellent for the most part, especially in leadoff/eponymous track “Gorelust” and the ace cover of Kreator’s “Extreme Aggressions”.
The vocals on this album are handled well (with backing vocals by Gorguts main man Luc Lemay and the sadly-deceased and indisputably brilliant Steeve Hurdle), sticking mainly to a low death growl, but not venturing into pig squeal territory. While the vocals never get as insane as Lord Worm’s finest moments (or as absurdly drawn out as that scream in “Benedictine Convulsions”) and never veer into the hardcore territory in which Mike DiSalvo reigned, they are still appropriately vicious. The phrasing is much more conventional than Lord Worm’s, and higher-pitched screams are effective and used to a satisfying degree.Those who may have been annoyed by Lord Worm’s performance for its unhinged aspects or annoyed by DiSalvo’s hardcore-isms will find a lot to like about the vocal approach here.
The bass is fairly audible throughout, and Pascal Chevrier plays it with precision, giving us interesting lines and that hard-played sound that Eric Langlois would use so well in Cryptopsy (it definitely has that Remillard bass sound). The drums are suitably vicious, playing some quick blast beats and some solid grooves as well. The kit really receives a beating on this one, and Marmen’s drums sound similar in tone to those of None So Vile (side note: PRC Music head honcho Remi Cote co-produced the album).
If you’re a fan of the sound of Quebecois death metal from the early-to-mid-90’s, Gorelust’s Reign of Lunacy will be right up your alley. It’s a short, to-the-point blast of death metal fury, with enough memorable riffs to keep fans of death metal in general coming back for more, and all of the hallmarks of the Quebec style that fans know and love, making it a valuable addition to any death metal playlist. Why this didn’t get more attention, I’ll never know.
The whole album is available for streaming on PRC’s Bandcamp, linked below.
Twilight Glimmer – Indignation (Brutalized Records)
If your first reaction to this band is “holy shit, what a dumb name”, you’re not alone. Moving past the name, however, Twilight Glimmer offer up some melodic yet ruthless death metal sure to appeal to fans of (according to the really tiny press release) Vader and Morbid Angel, but I’d wager this could appeal to fans of Behemoth and Dissection as well, as Twilight Glimmer infuses some really effective blackened melodies into Indignation, and some of the driving kind of riffs that populate some of Behemoth’s best songs.
Opener “Self-Inflicted Fear” begins in typical metal fashion with some ominous sounds and a keyboard, leading into a single-chord riff, and then exploding into a thrashy death metal riff sure to bang the head that doesn’t bang. My personal favourite song on the album, “Fate of Mankind”, comes in as track number two, and has a great melodic midsection and guitar solo that, while not mind-blowingly original, works wonderfully in the context of the song and is an absolute earworm.
Overall, the guitar playing on this album is its strongest asset, with melodic and memorable solos that rarely devolve into fretboard masturbation, and catchy, heavy, and sometimes downright fucking groovy riffs. Indignation also keeps the level of quality across the album consistently high on a song-by-song basis, not overstaying its welcome or boring the listener with songs that sound too much alike. The band expertly toe the fine line between making an album that has too much variety as to be jarring and making one that sounds like one song, and for that they deserve some praise.
All in all, if you’re a fan of Vader, Behemoth, or the general sound of well-written Polish style death metal, give Columbia’s Twilight Glimmer a listen. It’s less than 40 minutes, and chances are that time will fly by, and you’ll find yourself hitting play once again.
The whole album is streaming via ReverbNation on Brutalized’s e-store:
Eternal Helcaraxe – Against All Odds (Abyss Records)
Eternal Helcaraxe are an Irish melodic black/death metal band with a tiny bit of folk influence added in for good measure. The riffing sits comfortably in the realms of latter Immortal/I/Demonaz stuff and Amon Amarth’s more melodic anthems. While EH’s production is not of the high caliber of Immortal’s or Amon Amarth’s, it still allows for all of the instrumentalists to be heard fairly clearly. Although the drums are a tad lacking in the punch department, they are effectively played, and get the job done. The guitars sound good and are a bit dirty, giving one the impression that EH is telling tales from the battlefield as opposed to those of a cultured observer. The bass guitar is present and well-played, holding down the songs and driving them along with the drums, rarely venturing outside of simple – but nonetheless effective – bass lines. Overall, it sounds like EH is working as a unit, as there are no standouts but no weak links in the instrumental department.
One major sticking point I could see developing are the vocals. While the phrasing is tight and reasonably catchy, the higher screams sound…different. While it isn’t necessarily a bad different, they seem to divide opinions more than anything else on this record. While not mind-blowing by any means, the growls and (very sparse) clean vocals are solid and really work within the material presented.
It comes as little surprise that the album’s best song, “Invictus”, brings together all of the elements noted above, and utilizes all three vocal approaches successfully. Beginning with an acoustic guitar strumming a catchy melody and marching drums, the song launches into a riff fit more for I than Immortal, and eventually changes into a tremolo picked section that will cause the Amon Amarth fan to raise the ol’ drinking horn in the air with glory. The song ends with growls over some droning clean backing vocals, and it’s ridiculously effective.
While it may sound like I’m calling these guys derivative, I’m not; they’re a very good band, and if you’re a fan of latter-day Immortal and Amon Amarth, they are certainly worth checking out. They put their own little spin on the proceedings, and, with this being their debut album, clearly have a ton of potential to make some truly excellent music if they develop their sound more. While the album’s eleven minute closing track is a bit indulgent, overall the album keeps up a good level of interest throughout, and is definitely worth hearing at least once. It’s also a lot of fun to listen to, especially with a few cold ones and some friends who like metal.
Abyss Records has put up the full album for streaming on YouTube:
Hopefully, one or more of these connected with you on some level. Let me know what you think of any or all of these in the comments, or post something about a band you think should get more recognition, or that people would enjoy around these parts. Cheers!