One thing leads to another, even when you don’t see the progression of cause and effect, sometimes with disastrous results, sometimes with happy ones. This is a tale of the latter kind.
In December of last year I happened upon a video I couldn’t turn away from despite its adverse effects on my appetite, in part because I wanted to see where it was going and in part because the song — “The Flayed Man” — was such a death/thrashing powerhouse. That was my introduction to the band Liberatia from Vancouver Island, but it wasn’t my last encounter with them.
In May of this year I latched onto another Liberatia video, quite different from the first one, for a song called “Adaptive Biology“, and wrote about that one too.
And then we were invited to premiere the entire EP that includes those two songs as well as two others — an invitation we greedily accepted. And so now we present the entirety of Where the Wretched Lie Slain in advance of its release on July 17th. But first, a bit of background for newcomers…
Liberatia took shape when the members — guitarist and backing vocalist Trylan Foulkes, bassist and lead vocalist Aiden Shepherd, drummer Lyden Buttnor, and guitarist Nic Bennet — were only in their freshman year of high school, but they’ve proven to be precocious. They took their cues from the likes of Beyond Creation, The Black Dahlia Murder, Havok, Kreator, Exodus, and Revocation (all of them cues worth taking, of course), and then turned their energies to crafting their own music, including this new EP (which as recorded by Trylan Foulkes and mixed and mastered by Diego Fernandez at Oracle Studios), and they managed to obtain an eye-catching piece of cover art by the accomplished Maxwell Aston.
Taking things a bit out of order, I’ll repeat some of what I wrote about “The Flayed Man” and the video through which it was originally presented — a video that you almost might expect to see on The Food Network — almost. The food preparation depicted in the video might work on that network, though the black-gloved hands of the chef might seem a bit peculiar, and you definitely wouldn’t see the kitchen work accompanied by footage of a long-haired metal band blasting out their music in a cavernous warehouse space. There’s something else that turns out not to be par-for-the-course, something that might quickly shut off your salivary glands once you figure it out.
Lyrically, that particular song describes the gruesome vengeance meted out to a sexual predator. Musically, it’s explosive. Propelled by thunderous rhythms and fleet-fingered fretwork, the music integrates bits of dismal, diseased melody and heavy, foreboding chords in the midst of merciless bludgeoning, pavement-splitting pile-driver grooves, and roaring/shrieking vocal aggression.
The song in the second video mentioned above, (“Adaptive Biology“), is a tale of mutated horror. Musically, it’s another big kick to hear and a quickly addictive number, combining gruff and gruesome vocals and a mix of fast-darting and fluidly swirling riffs, along with hard-charging, fast-changing drumwork. As mentioned earlier, the video proved to be a big switch from the band’s first one.
Those two songs come in the middle of the EP, preceded by “Upon This Night, and My Skin of Blue” and followed by “Bog Witch“. The opening track begins in eerie fashion, but then Liberatia go wild, discharging another rip-roaring onslaught of bellowing and shrieking vocals, bludgeoning and acrobatic drumwork, thunderous and hard-punching bass, and slashing / darting riffage. The song also includes a sinuous and serpentine solo that’s beleaguered in its mood but then quickly becomes ecstatic. And as thrilling as the song is at first, it becomes explosively riotous, delivering the kind of jet-fueled, technically impressive, and stunningly ferocious crescendo that triggers a big dose of adrenaline.
Finally, to skip ahead to the end, “Bog Witch” amalgamates ominous and oppressive melody with bone-smashing heaviness — and of course a ton of rocketing, thrashing energy, electrifying arpeggios galore, and another reprise of that frightening high-low vocal tandem. The band make room for gloomy grandeur in the song as well as dervish-like instrumental ebullience and a mesmerizing solo.
To sum up, with these four songs Liberatia have created an eye-opening EP that combines powerhouse production, technically impressive instrumental dexterity, livid vocal extremity, and precocious songwriting talent. These dudes are going places….
And with that we’ll leave you to enjoy the EP, along with the titillating news that Liberatia have a full-length album in the pipeline.