Jul 042019


I have mixed feelings about the Fourth of July, especially this year, and I’m not the only American who’s feeling torn today. While there are migrants in the midst of a humanitarian crisis on the southern border, the country’s most famous Independence Day celebration has been turned into a taxpayer-funded militaristic political rally for a man who not only could care less about what’s happening to people in Texas detention camps, but actively tries to score extra political points among his supporters by doubling down on the prisoners’ misery. And that’s just today’s most visible one-two punch to the nation’s ideals. There will be more battering tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

On the other hand, I still feel fortunate to have been born here, and still take pride in much of what the country has achieved, and in much of what it stands for when it’s at its best. I also recognize that even though I’m not feeling particularly celebratory today, the Fourth is for many Americans a day of joy, even if it’s just because the day is a good excuse to be in the company of good friends or family, to gorge on comfort food and too much beer and booze, and to watch pretty explosions in the night sky. To all those people, I wish them a fantastic fucking day. Continue reading »

Apr 182016

The Zenith Passage-Solipsist


(DGR delivers a two-fer… reviewing the new albums by California’s The Zenith Passage and Omophagia from Zurich.)

If you’re a fan of the modern tech-death scene — the one in which tech-death has evolved into its own shorthand moniker to represent an entire genre as opposed to just a way to describe complicated death metal — then last week should have proved to be pretty big for you, as Unique Leader had two releases hitting right in the same window.

The label, which has specialized in a brand of tech-death that is equal parts technical and groove-focused, has spread out quite a bit in the past few years and has become increasingly prolific, to the point where they’ve actually developed something of their own sound. You could say, “Unique Leader tech-death” to some people, and they would have a pretty good starting point as to whatever bands you’d be describing at that moment. While the label has always delved heavily into the California scene (at one point seeming like they were sweeping through the Bay-Area-to-Sacramento run especially), recent years have also seen the label adding quite a few international acts to the mix — which brings us to this point.

Last week brought two fairly big Unique Leader releases, one of which is the first full-length release for So-Cal-based The Zenith Passage and the other the second album (after a five-year wait) for Swiss death metal proprietors Omophagia. As such, I felt it might be interesting to slam the two albums into one big review package, because both of them by their nature feel like two takes on the same subject — two differing styles of death metal but with one very solid throughline between them. Continue reading »

Mar 032016

Omophagia-In the Name of Chaos


I had so much fun watching the video you’re about to see. There’s something perversely satisfying about the surprise of seeing a flesh-eating band dressed to the nines in business attire kicking down the door to a blast furnace of superheated death metal. And then you discover that these dudes are quick-change artists as well as fleet-fingered assassins. And yes, there will be blood before it’s over.

The band in question is a group of Swiss berserkers named Omophagia, which does indeed refer to the consumption of raw flesh. When I tell you that their new album In the Name of Chaos is being released by Unique Leader Records, you may make the educated guess that speed and technical proficiency will lie ahead, and yes, you’ll get a hot dose of both in the song we’re premiering via this eye-catching video for “Down We Fall“. But those ingredients don’t exhaust the appealing facets of this turbocharged track. Continue reading »