(This is the fourth part of a multi-part post prepared by Austin Weber putting the spotlight on recent releases, and today he focuses on music from these three bands: Mammoth, Nostril Caverns, and Vermine. To check out Part 1, go here; Part 2 is at this location; and Part 3 can be found here.)
MAMMOTH – DEVIATION
We’ll start today on a lighter note with the newly released instrumental progressive metal album from the Los Angeles-based group known as Mammoth. While the group has been active for several years now, and with several releases behind them already, I only recently became aware of them when their guitarist Wes pitched Deviation to me and I instantly fell in love. Similar to Mastodon, the band’s name fits so well, because their music really is a massive force similar in size and heft to a damn mammoth.
What really sucks you into Deviation is its mix of depth and experimental tendencies — covering a range of sounds that blend prog rock with prog metal, math-rock, orchestral elements, and a lot of jaw-dropping shredding that would make Ron Jarzombek and Tosin Abasi proud, with layered touches of jazz, pop, fusion, and groove blended together to create a dense swirling tapestry of joyous sonic diversity. Deviation is a lot of fun to listen to, with so much going on that makes it a great album to enjoy over repeat listens. The secret here is insane complexity that geniusly comes across very smooth and fluid.
NOSTRIL CAVERNS – SELF-INFLICTED MEMORY LOSS
Back in April, we covered the Ontario-based one-man “Death/Black/Math/Experimental/Prog/Improv/Avant-Garde” outfit Nostril Caverns and their new album, Repressed Memory Games. While the year isn’t over just yet, Nostril Caverns recently released a fantastic 99-song experimental tech-grind release called Self-Inflicted Memory Loss.
Like every other Nostril Caverns release, the musicianship is top-notch and forward-thinking, but this time around it’s all reduced into zany bite-size snippets anchored by weird sound clips. Which cumulatively reminds me of a mix of older Agoraphobic Nosebleed and also Cephalic Carnage during their grind-heavy, sound-sample-loaded 2002 split release, Perversion.. And The Guilt After. The music is juxtaposed with an angular technical side similar to groups like Discordance Axis, Dendritic Arbor, Psyopus, Gorguts, and Okazaki Fragments.
If you’re looking for a strange grind time that also has a surprising amount of depth and substance to it, you just might enjoy the aural insanity on display throughout Self-Inflicted Memory Loss. I can’t get enough of this, it’s the perfect marriage between bizarre oddness and brilliance in a compact tech-grind package.
VERMINE – VERMINE
Without other new-music fiend-friends of mine sharing new gems with me, I’d never have known about the next item we’re covering today from Vermine. Vermine is a side-project of Plebeian Grandstand’s bassist and additional-vocaist Olivier Lolmède. Plebeian Grandstand’s profile has risen considerably this year with the release of False Highs, True Lows, and also due to their full-length prior to this year’s one as well.
While it doesn’t paint a perfect picture, Vermine definitely sounds like the logical conclusion of Plebeian Grandstand’s music stripped of the hardcore, grind, and mathcore influences, leaving the cold black metal side at the forefront. There’s a mix of more traditional black metal style riffing and ideas within Vermine, but the overall sound here largely trends more toward Deathspell Omega-influenced kinds of black metal. If there’s one factor that helps this stick out most to me, it’s the bouncy nature of many of the rhythms along with the massive grooves found in several tracks that are uncommon in most black metal, but really work on Vermine.
While Vermine often dwells in a dark and depressing place, some songs do have more “epic” and massive-sounding parts such as the rising sense of majesty and bombast that builds in “Rivage”. All in all, Vermine is an interesting experiment in mixing the more traditional forms of black metal with the more modern and eerie style that’s becoming more popular.