(This is Part 3 of Austin Weber’s ongoing series devoted to reviews of 2017 releases we haven’t previously covered. More installments will be presented next week.)
In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.
This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.
PSUDOKU – DEEP SPACE PSUDOKUMENT
Cult favorite weirdo grinders from Norway, Psudoku, are back again with a new release of strange grindcore from an alternate timeline. This isn’t the first time I’ve covered them at NCS, having previously highlighted them in a 2015 article regarding their prior album, Planetarisk Psudoku. Somehow the group continue to push their already out-there songs into ever-stranger territory on their new 2017 album, Deep Space Psudokument.
For those curious as to what ’70s prog keyboard-influenced technical grindcore spliced with mathcore sounds like, get ready to freak out and possibly also laugh as well upon hitting play. The balance between madness and brilliance has been achieved yet again on Deep Space Psudokument, and the world is all the better for what Psudoku bring to life with their zany grindcore, which is actually weaponized raw insanity.
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VMTHANAACHTH – INFEROTEMPORAL
Vmthanaachth is yet another project I’m covering in this article that I’d previously covered before here at NCS. In their case, it was their initial 2016 EP, Fit Secundum Regulam. Looking back on what I wrote then, a lot of it still applies to Inferotemporal, so I’ll quote from that to give you a succinct explanation of their sound.
In essence, “…the music is fairly off the beaten path, somewhere in a dungeon where tormented classically trained musicians are forced at gunpoint to play spontaneous odes to death and horror.” For comparison, if you’re a fan of Ehnahre or other modern classically influenced metal projects that intertwine with death metal, drone, doom, noise metal, and the like, then Inferotemporal should really excite you.
When speaking to one of the band members to get more information about the release, I was asked to focus more on explaining how the music made me feel and what ideas it conjured rather than attempt to dissect what’s going on musically. So, to that end, I’ll tell you that Inferotemporal is otherworldly noisey chaos wrapped in layer upon layer of stark dissonance. The songs continually ooze forces nastily in motion like a living wound trying to replicate its own horror in order to force its pain on others.
This isn’t easy-listening music, but through and through, Inferotemporal is highly fascinating and unique stuff that fans of modern classical music, film score music, or metal inspired by classical music would probably really enjoy.
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FELIX MARTIN – MECHANICAL NATIONS
Felix Martin is one of today’s most innovative and impressive guitarists. I’ve been covering his releases here at NCS for several years now. While some might take away the wrong impression that his unique instruments (ranging from 14-string to 16-string guitars custom-built to provide two separate fretboards fused together as single guitars) and his proclivity for mind-boggling, two-handed tapping, with a hand on two different fretboards at the same time, is a gimmick, a full listen to any of his releases shows how talented, beautiful, and creative his music truly is. And having been fortunate to see him live, I can tell you he is the real deal, a future cyborg shredder with a lot of soul and robotic fingers. He chases ideas no one else can play, and his unique gear and technique have always been part of what makes his music so fascinating
On his new 2017 album, Mechanical Nations, he is again united with longtime bassist Kilian Duarte, who is a perfect foil to Felix. and their combined time spent playing together over the years shows in their fascinating interplay across the album.
In fact, Kilian is a bigger part of the compositions this time around, by contrast to 2013’s The Scenic Album. On Mechanical Nations he is frequently weaving in and out of Felix’s guitar lines, creating plenty of countering ideas and balance to the music, in addition to adding a beefy dose of metallic heft and lots of low-end strength as well. Joining them on the album is new drummer Victor Carracedo, who assumes the role of human octopus in order to keep pace with the dizzying and eclectic music.
Mechanical Nations is an album that’s both light and beautiful, while also being heavy enough to headbang to frequently, and quite experimental to boot. To these ears, Mechanical Nations is a top-tier instrumental metal effort that stands head and shoulders above the vast majority of their instru-metal peers. If you haven’t checked this out yet, I strongly suggest that you give it a shot.
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