Monday, December 15, 2014

Dustbin of Demos: Vol III

The selection of artwork to outwardly represent one's music is an interesting choice. Artwork has always been one way to identify and differentiate your album amongst many, be it in a store, a catalogue, or a zine. Iconography is a powerful way to set the tone for the music before the listener hears it. You're ready for whatever is coming when you see the cover of "Like an Everflowing Stream" but you probably need some convincing to even listen to Znowhite's "Act of God." The artwork below shows some odd aesthetic choices. 

Black Tower - Demo (demo)
Pop-punk/heavy metal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Black? There's nothing black about this, aside from the mismatched aesthetic. Heavy metal riffing meets pop/skate punk with extremely clean production and a sharp vocalist who sounds extremely bright due to constantly harmonized vocals - think Green Day or Bad Religion. There's certainly an influence of harmony-heavy hard rock from the NWOBHM era, as this is not all that metal. While there are a few hints of trying to be dark and heavy, it's way too sharp, upbeat, and power-poppy to complete the dark edge their aesthetic hints at - AFI were way darker on "Black Sails..." and Davey Havok sounded more emotive than this singer. Nonetheless, Black Tower is kind of novel at this point and they're the heaviest pop-punk band I've ever heard. (Steve)

Death metal/metalcore from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England

Ultra-groovy modern death metal that blends Lamb of God's super-groovy metalcore sound into music that is mostly death metal like recent Dying Fetus or the death metal side of deathcore. IA are able to keep the groove going through somewhat fast death metal without falling on the crutches of breakdowns and blurs of blast beats. Parts of the music, mostly the riffs, are ultra groovy, but rather than fall into a unison chug, the band as a whole moves along nicely. That falls together with thick and chunky production like a can of condensed beef stew - processed just like the big brand names. This band manages to blend a lot of groove and modern death influences that I can't stand into something palatable. (Steve)

Self Inflikted - Abused (EP)
Melodic death metal/deathcore from France

Archetypal sampler platter modern deaf metal. A bit technical, a bit black-n-blasty, a couple Pantera grooves, a bit melodic, a couple breakdowns, a couple death metal riffs, a couple vocal layers, a couple Lamb of God grooves. Oh yeah, and Gothencore riffs too. Every part is a little nifty, making this music like a bag of assorted trinkets: it's full of things that might be interesting to observe if they had been separated, organized, and put into some meaningful form. It's overproduced as hell too - the drum sounds are obnoxiously punch, the guitars are nu-metal chunky, and the vocals are layered and consist of five voices yet they're still monotonous. I'm impressed that a band pulled this many pseudo-mallcore grooves into the mix and couldn't make a catchy song. (Steve)

Musta Myytti - Kuolon kaipuu (demo)
Raw black metal from Finland

Musta Myytti is one of those projects that seems to be a physical manifestation of what people who hate black metal think the genre sounds like. With ten and a half minutes of something quite literally any black metal musician could have written in less time, Musta Myytti pushes the raw/mobile-phone-recording aesthetics of black metal to the forefront and couples that with boring uninspired riffs that are also disastrously executed. For a project formed in 2007 the level of incompetence on this 2011 demo is absolutely startling. (Apteronotus)

Diablero - Escuridão Selvagem (demo)
Bedroom black Metal/ambient from Brazil

This couldn't be any more cliche. An ambient intro and outro bookend two tracks, a drum machine playing so fast that the samples sound horrendous - more like noise than double bass, and there's even a break with a sample of a bird crowing. After the ambient track, there's one dancing melodic lead with a really tinny guitar tone, then a clean guitar break with whispers and a fucking bird crowing. It's a mix of weepy melodic leads and a couple off-time attempts at 80s style riffing - this should be fucking awesome, but the production is lousy, the playing is lousier, the drum machine is the lousiest, and there's absolutely no sense of arrangement, just some fragments strung end-to-end. (Steve)

1 comment:

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