(In this latest installment of a multi-part piece, Austin Weber continues rolling out recommended releases from his latest exploratory forays through the underground. The first installment is here and the second is here.)
This release came to my attention by way of my good friend Corey Jason, also known as the sole force behind The Conjuration, whom I’ve covered here at No Clean Singing several times. So it’s fitting that what he sent me was also a one-man death metal band.
Anthropomorphic Soul is a Portugal-based projected led by sole member Nuno Lourenço, with a few guest solos and guest sax playing added for good measure. Seed Of Hate is certainly experimental death metal, yet always interesting, wrapped in a mechanical sheath of industrialized buzzing, giving it a very different, demented, horrifying feel. The skronky saxophone embellishments on “Anthropomorphic Soul” and “A New Beginning” add another flavor of mania into the mix, especially since they are not quick sax solos but extended soundscape additions — much like the quirky orchestral/choral overlays that also rise to the surface from time to time.
Seed Of Hate is hard to categorize, as it doesn’t really fit within one kind of death metal, nor is it clearly inspired by a single source. The problem I usually have with one-man death metal is that, minus Necrophagist and a handful of others, the songwriting often falls flat in favor of technical performances that are highly derivative. Fortunately, Anthropomorphic Soul does not succumb to that pitfall. For that reason alone, Seed Of Hate is worthy of your time.
Hadal Maw have been recently worming their way into the online death metal consciousness, but I haven’t seen them posted about here at NCS, and figured I would mention them for anyone in our audience who has not yet made the discovery. Sonically, Hadal Maw come across like an Australian counterpart to what modern uniters of various strands of death metal, Rivers Of Nihil, have accomplished in the U.S.
Hadal Maw are masters at creating thoroughly ferocious death metal spiked with memorable leads, backed by a penchant for hefty grooves courtesy of their usage of 8 string guitars, and rounded out with a tendency to let atmospheric passages build. All of their combined attributes converge into a sound that, while modern and influenced by Gojira and Morbid Angel among others, is a cut above most of their peers in both delivery and songwriting. Senium is a mesmerizing self-released debut album, very professionally done and quite multi-faceted. Hopefully its release garners them a record deal — they fucking deserve it.
Next, let’s veer away from death metal focused realms and hone in on some terrifying pitch-black grimness from the upstart new group, Devouring Star. They certainly take a page from the Deathspell Omega playbook, okay maybe a few pages. However, similar to fellow fellow dissonant wunderkinds Imperial Triumphant, they’ve managed to make it their own thing. There are only two songs on this untitled 2013 demo, but as I’ve stated before, I prefer high-caliber quality songs over a collection of uneven music.
Devouring Star will certainly become one of the brighter stars in the black metal galaxy, as they accomplish far more than aurally beating you down, delving deeper into uncomfortable chasms of disorientation and mania. As a group in the process of becoming, this demo is a hellish sign of things to come. In only a little over 11 minutes, Devouring Star have managed to capture my undivided attention as I await what they conjure forth next. If you’re looking for black metal somehow darker than pitch black, then this is the stuff of mind-reeling nightmares you’ve been dreaming of.
*Since I found a companion band to Devouring Star, here is a second additional spilling of similar-natured septic shadows.
In doing a little bit of Metal-Archives research on the Devouring Star page on that site, the tab marked “Similar” contained only one name, a Colombian group called Ignis Haereticum. I decided to see if the comparison to Devouring Star was real, and to degrees it is. But Ignis Haereticum come off more depraved and ferocious, still off the beaten path and frighteningly dissonant, yet somehow more evil and more twisted. Ignis Haereticum are an outstanding black metal act that underscores what I mentioned in a previous installment of this series — there’s a lot of killer South American metal going unrecognized. If you liked any part of the dissonant black metal riffs present on Artificial Brain’s killer debut record, Labyrinth Constellation, than you will love Ignis Haereticum.
But that’s just a ballpark — there is a lot of Deathspell Omega influence in this band as well. Fortunately, Luciferian Gnosis has a defined and measured flow — starting with a couple of chaotic anchors, then wisely cooling into a miasmic madness that stirs and broods for a couple tracks, before closing with a final burst of speed. That mid-album transformation into a much slower-paced band provides a nice contrast to their head-spinning faster songs, as well as a chance for them to show what else they can do besides bombard you to death and beyond. It also allows them to show a different side of chaos — like burning embers that flicker about randomly, the sounds that mirror life dying out, akin to being submerged with water-soaked lungs longing for the ocean floor.
Check out the two tracks streaming below on their Bandcamp from their newly released album, Luciferian Gnosis. I was fortunate to receive a copy from the band, so just trust me that if you like the two tracks you hear, the rest of it is just as killer. A world of perplexing terror awaits: Is this music the wisdom of a bright vision? Or madness in masquerade? Only after you have delved deeply within the bleak siren calls of Luciferian Gnosis can you tell for sure.