In a few hours I’ll be flying along I-5 south, down to Olympia for Migration Fest. Okay, who am I kidding. It’s I-5 southbound from Seattle during daylight, which means I’ll be crawling like a slug. Anyway, before beginning that slimy crawl I thought I would package together some lamentably brief reviews for four recent EPs that have brought me much pleasure in recent weeks. They all deserve more elaborate and articulate praise, but fortunately they will all speak well for themselves through the complete music streams now available on Bandcamp.
To begin this quartet of treats, we have a California band named Impure Consecration. They’ve been in the news recently because of a new 7″ EP named Succumb To Impurity Fire released (here) by Blood Harvest Records at the end of July. However, in January of this year they also released a previous EP entitled Consumed By the Venomous Curse, and that’s the one that first drew me to the band.
The introductory track on that first demo is a dark, beautiful classic guitar instrumental that I thought ended too soon… until “Still of the Fog” kicked into gear, and man, it was love at first listen. The music there, and for the rest of this EP is a tumultuous but highly infectious synthesis of death and black metal. It grinds, rips, and obliterates with determination, but the songs also include killer riffs that get your head going, along with a gripping, turbocharged drum performance, poisonous soloing, and horrific reverberating growls and yelps.
The adrenaline-triggering, ravenous ferocity exhibited on the first EP is matched by the second one. Only two songs are included in this newer release, but both are convincingly dire and demonic in their atmosphere and galvanizing in their effect on your quivering nervous system.
Impure Consecration are at work on a debut album for projected release by Blood Harvest before the end of the year. That will be well worth hearing when it arrives.
Acanthrophis are a new band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who came to my attention because their line-up includes guitarist Jerry Hauppa and bass-player Jim Becker from the technical death metal band Ara, whose debut album Devourer of Worlds was reviewed here by Austin Weber. Hauppa is also a member of the excellent Northless, and he and Becker are joined on this EP by drummer Noel Chandek and vocalist Joe Getse (aka Koppany Geczy).
Acanthrophis released their debut EP, Twilight of the Vanquisher’s Reign, via Bandcamp in late June. It’s a roughly 24-minute, four-track offering of conjoined death and black metal that’s not only a slaughtering frenzy but also an eye-popping display of technical acrobatics. Produced in a way that allows you — if you can — to follow what all the instrumentalists are doing, it’s a head-spinning experience that combines an air of raw bestiality with usually lightning-fast (and thoroughly twisted) guitar machinations, anchored by a rhythm section that’s equally acrobatic and pyrotechnical.
The music swoops, dives, veers, and vaults, with frequent tempo changes and eruptions of dissonance, all of it cloaked in a grim, poisonous atmosphere. The growled vocals are ugly as sin and cannibalistic in their vicious hunger. And as technically eye-popping as the music is, it also packs a heavyweight punch. Tremendously impressive stuff here.
Yonder are based in Stuttgart, Germany. In late July they released a debut demo (Demo MMXVI) whose first track grabbed me hard. This was one of those times when I didn’t make it past the first track for several weeks. That first song — “Son of A Gun” — was enough to convince me that I needed to make time for the whole EP, and I then kept drifting back to that song at odd times because I liked it so much, and only finished listening to the EP yesterday.
The ugly bass notes and ear-bleeding feedback that launch “Son of A Gun” are soon joined by a vibrating guitar lead with a pestilential air, and then a driving drum rhythm and the mind-scraping, abrasive vocals of a man being immersed in boiling oil. But that’s all just an unnerving prelude to a catchy-as-hell riff that enters the fray after about two minutes. And there’s still more to come, with a high, eerie, pulsating guitar solo followed by an ass-kicking rampage at the finale.
Yonder keep things dynamic through the other three songs as well, drawing on elements of black metal, crust, doom, and a dash of post-punk to construct songs that are bleak (to the point of harrowing despair at times), jolting, and sometimes spellbinding. Depending where you are on the EP, it kicks like a hanged man, slugs like a mean drunk, and sends a bolus of toxic poison into your veins. It also rocks hard enough to get a mosh pit in a froth.
Interesting, intense music from some dudes we’d better keep a close eye on.