Aug 052011

At NCS, we do our best to cover a broad swath of metal, but there’s one genre we’ve almost completely ignored — that union of dubstep and death metal known as deathstep. There are reasons for that, principally because your humble author knows virtually fuck-all about the genre and has a low tolerance for electronica. I say “almost completely ignored” and “virtually fuck all” because once upon a time we did pay attention (here) to a remix by Cam Argon (Big Chocolate, Disfiguring the Goddess) of a Suicide Silence song. In addition, occasional NCS guest writer The Artist Formerly Known As Dan (who, by the way, needs to send me more posts!) provided this feature about dubstep, which included one of the deathstep tracks created by the Cam Argon-Mitch Lucker collaboration known as Commissioner.

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail from NCS reader and musician Ray Heberer (who has some big news on the way about several of his projects — but more on that later) suggesting that deathstep is worth more attention. As Ray pointed out, prototypes of the genre have been popping up with increasing frequency, but you won’t find much of it dating back more than a year — it may be the first new metal genre of this decade. Does that mean it’s worth anyone’s time? Well, that’s the question, innit?

I’m certainly not yet prepared to shower deathstep with accolades, and I have little doubt that metal elitists (which means about 99% of all metalheads) are or will be inclined to vomit all over the style at the slightest provocation. But while withholding judgment about the budding genre as a whole, I definitely am prepared to shower some accolades on one example of the genre that Ray turned me onto in his e-mail. It’s a full-length album — as far as I know, the first full-length deathstep production, period. Not only is it an album-length work, it’s one song — 39:54 in length — and it’s available for free download.

And, unexpectedly, it’s unusually good. Ray wrote that it may be a genre-defining piece of music, and he may be right. The musician goes by the name Switchup, the album is called Hell’s Symphony. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »