(Our friend, New Zealand writer Craig Hayes (Six Noises) is back with us again with this review of the new album by NZ’s remarkable MetalTower — and the premiere of a full album stream.)
New Zealand progressive death metal band MetalTower have shared the stage with international touring acts like Carcass, Krisiun, and Psycroptic. And that trio of bands also happens to be the perfect representation of the musical diversity that the long-running MetalTower exhibit on their latest full-length, Myopic Dystopia. No Clean Singing is proud to be hosting the album’s worldwide premiere, and here’s a few hundred words of praise about Myopic Dystopia to get you started.
Where to start? Well, how about those aforementioned bands. Like Carcass, MetalTower inject a sense of self-awareness into their whirlwind tunes; see Myopic Dystopia’s “Fvk Mourning”. MetalTower also exhibit a Krisiun-like desire to snap necks and shatter spines with hammering riffs and percussion on tracks like “Futility”. And if Psycroptic’s mix of bombarding metal and technical prowess has impressed you before, then you’ll likely admire MetalTower’s combination of ferocity and finesse too.
Of course, it isn’t easy to always remain adept on attack. Sometimes things get far too loose. Or way out of hand. But MetalTower remain firmly focused while firing non-stop fusillades on Myopic Dystopia. It’s a visceral and inventive album, with elements of melodic thrash and black metal intertwining with ten-tonne progressive death metal. MetalTower are clearly confident that Myopic Dystopia will hold your attention while they incorporate all their influences as well. But then, self-assurance and adventurism aren’t new for MetalTower.
The band’s last album, 2012’s Constructed Misery, featured lengthy songs that seemed to deliberately mess with your expectations as much as your mind. On Myopic Dystopia, MetalTower stick to that same mayhemic formula. The band go hell for leather on the storming track “Decisions”, and end up sounding like Death strangling Slayer, circa South of Heaven. It’s not all turbo-speed chaos, though. Myopic Dystopia’s title track seamlessly mixes tempestuous guitars and percussion with more temperate and melodic sections.
Myopic Dystopia’s pièce de résistance is “Darkness Subconscious”. The 15-minute track features frenetic riffs zigzagging left, right, and centre, and if hyperkinetic death metal ticks the boxes for you (or if the work of forward-thinking NZ death metal bands like Ulcerate and Setentia appeals) then you’re going to dig the hell out of “Darkness Subconscious”. Also, MetalTower ensure that the deeper you dig into “Darkness Subconscious”, the more there is to discover. Although, you could say the same for any of Myopic Dystopia’s tracks.
It’s also worth pointing out that although MetalTower engineered Myopic Dystopia themselves, they sought out Cam Sinclair (of Diocletian fame) to mix and master the album. Sinclair’s recently taken the spot behind the kit for NZ death metal punks Bridge Burner, and in the past he’s undertaken studio work for some of New Zealand’s finest underground metal bands: see Vassafor, Witchrist, Heresiarch, Exordium Mors, and that noted duo with a strong NZ connection, Bölzer.
MetalTower and Sinclair’s work on Myopic Dystopia is to be applauded. The album is full of knotty riffs, percussion, and pitiless vocals set in complex arrangements incorporating a wide range of influences. There are a lot of elements to pack in and balance. But nothing becomes so cluttered or muddied that Myopic Dystopia’s overall impact is distorted or obscured.
It’s been a great year for NZ extreme metal. Releases from the likes of Trepanation, Prisoner of War, Sinistrous Diabolus, Winter Deluge, Veneficium, Ritual Abuse, Solar Mass, Ulcerate, Setentia, and upcoming releases from NZ-affiliated acts like Verberis and Bölzer, all underscore that the far-flung corners of the earth often inspire visceral and distinctive music.
Myopic Dystopia is another excellent addition to the ever-expanding canon of noteworthy New Zealand metal. So hail MetalTower. And hail those far Southern Isles, once again.