Monday, February 2, 2015

Dustbin of Demos: Vol X

Most of the demos swept into the dustbin this week are highly derivative - their influences are overt, and their success seems to reflect their ability to find their own voice through the loudness of their influences. Some great bands found their own voice through the exploration of styles very similar to their influences - Judas Iscariot, for example, wasn't much of a stylistic departure from predecessors, but Akhenaten's works were unmistakably his, rife in European musical and philosophical influences, yet prounounced through a distinct and disgusted American view of them. Derivative bands can find recognition too, often if they soften up their idols sound enough to strip it of the original meaning. However, one band below certainly finds their own voice while owning a few pronounced influences. 

Tridentsplit - War Metal
Heavy/black/speed metal from Saint Petersburg, Russia

From the new-Darkthrone school of old heavy metal worship. A mix of heavy/black/speed/punk which basically amounts to rough heavy metal with gruff vocals and nods to everything that took a step towards extreme metal while not being all the way there. Despite some cool riffs, it feels like they trudge through half of each song in the shadow of the style, with unadorned, unfinished metal. The band has an idea of the aesthetic they aim to emulate yet lacks the conviction and drive which shapes whole songs. Only the title track lays down their purpose from their outset and builds on it, though it drags a bit at times. Sorry guys, you don't get points for trying, this deserves to be swept into the dustbin.

Trenchgrinder - Demo 2015
Crust/death/thrash metal from Brooklyn, NYC, USA

Dirty, crushingly forceful death/thrash which mixes early Bolt Thrower with more recent crust/thrash like After the Bombs. Heavy death metal riffs rip with the aggression of rough, punkish energy. They find slower, deathy paces whose buildup is as important as the malevolent churn of the faster sections. Crust meets extreme thrash and the only way to offer the onslaught is death metal. Their delivery is reminiscent of how Repulsion turned death/thrash into a more monstrous beast through their dirty, morbid delivery, though this doesn't manage to take it quite that far. A bit less furious than Repulsion, yet much rougher than most others. Though there is no overarching structure to this three-song demo, this style seems built for the 12 minute burst of aggressive brutality here.

Call Forth the Hordes - Moving Onward
Black metal from Westbury, New York, USA

Well, at least it's a bit different from most bedroom black metal. A melancholy melodic movement begins it, but doesn't convincingly set the tone nor build much of a mood before anything it had going is negated by an overly loud, unforgivably mechanical drum machine drowning out the guitar. Even though slower melodic parts sound alright, the weakness and volume of the riffing under any faster drumming is completely lost. The vocals are coherent, but monotonous and nearly expressionless. Instrumental versions of both tracks are added on, as it if the music wasn't bare enough already The weakness of the production outshines the weakness of the music, and this simply isn't worth the time.

Goatflesh - ...Of Pure Rape and Blasphemy
Death/black metal from Ukraine

War metal. Members with ritual names inspired by Blasphemy. Blackdeathrash nuclearwarcore - need I cite influences? Goatflesh lean a bit more towards death metal, reaching to their toolbox for angular tremolo riffs and some nice deathy grooves, emphasized by production with a full low-end more like Imprecation's "Satanae..." than most war metal, though perhaps the more orthodox citation would be Angelcorpse, as this simply stands out from the archetypal war metal blasting. There's a Blasphemophagher cover in the middle that doesn't even stand out - the band adapts it slightly, but it blends into the rest very well. This is a case, like most war metal bands, where they wear so many influences on their sleeves that they fill up the whole jacket and leave nothing but a stern expression on their face to identify them by. Give it a listen if you're really into war metal, otherwise you can't tell it apart from the next band

Satanic Prophecy - Nocturnal Murders
Bedroom black metal from USA

The raw sound of a corpsepainted fellow moping through the forest. Grim, harsh, primitive. What's that rattle? It's off-time drumming. Tinny tremolo guitars aplenty. Sharp rasps with microphone distortion soaked in reverb. If you've ever heard a black metal, you know all too well what this is, it's a failed attempt to capture the sound of the grimmest black metal, and it certainly has none of the substance. The guitar work is constant tremolo with some melodies which seem to emulate the tremolo parts of the first two Gorgoroth albums - but only that one sliver of Gorgoroth's style - and the pseudo-triumphant melodies of Satanic Warmaster, themselves an emulation of Moonblood and Judas Iscariot, whose works finally trace the lineage to Darkthrone, Immortal, et al. While listening to this is an exercise in estimating the exact influences, that's the content of the review because it is archetypically terrible bedroom black metal.

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