Clandestine Cuts #14
The Metal Storm Demo/EP Spotlight
Welcome to the final 2011 installment of Clandestine Cuts. By now you have come to expect some of the choicest new metal demos and EPs to be featured here. Something you like? Vote in the poll below. When you vote you're endorsing a possible candidate for Clandestine Cut Of The Year, part of the 2011 Metal Storm Awards.
These Portuguese death metallers have been around for over a decade yet they haven't been able to break onto the scene with much success, although they have a slew of live performances and some compilation appearances to their name. Their raw aggression and straightforward style will please fans of old school death metal while their somewhat up-tempo thrashing won't bore the listener like some revivalist death metal clones. There's a nice mixture of Cannibal Corpse and early Dying Fetus with a touch of melody on this EP, which clearly demonstrates the band's focus. Being active for so long without the help from a label just goes to show you these guys truly enjoy what they're doing, and their organic sound is surely a result of that independence.
Introspective and with a lush confidence, Poland's Alhena deliver a seamless mix of progressive metal and atmospheric metal that makes me wonder where a band like this has been all these years. Instead of wandering city streets searching for the best sound, Alhena are already graciously stepping from rooftop to rooftop, filling the air with vocalist Katarzyna Dziemianowicz's melancholic reflections, letting her natural softness intermingle with a more determined harshness as the EP develops. The band never fails to create catchy proggy rhythms from the guitars, bass, & drums beneath the vocals, with Tomasz Bogulski's contemplative guitar solos appearing at all the right moments. To top it off, Piotr Kowalski's synths dominate the atmosphere, shifting from a stream of sadness to a visionary sense of overcoming one's past relationships, yet always feeling like your most inspiring friend pulling your hand toward a new direction in life. From the mesmerizing instrumental, "Nemesis," to the proclamations of change in "Breath," Alhena have already filled a void between atmospheric and progressive metal, accomplishing more in this EP than so many full-lengths this year barely touched upon for me.
If Lifelover promote a band, then it must be good; and painful. That's what I first thought when I felt the urge to search out for Psychonaut 4 and that's what I started believing after the first intercourse with their desolate art. Oddly enough they hail from Georgia and I was deeply amazed by the outcome of 40%, their first demo. Tormented screams that serve their purpose well as a liturgy of pain paying homage to the altar of depressive black metal with razor-sharp riffing, bleak melodies and an overall oppressing environment of bitterness and negativity which are omnipresent through the 22 minutes of their first attempt. A huge plus has to be the third and last track, "Antihuman"; a few minutes before it reaches its end a bunch of woeful screams between self-sarcastic glimpses of laughter blend with some ethnic/traditional tunes that escalate the overall outcome to extreme levels, at least it worked more than fine for me.
"Polish Assault I"
That whole "Polish Assault" thing? Ya, that's my doing. It's the closest I could get to defining the sound of these two EPs. Atropos might as well mean "aural assault" because you get a little bit of black and death metal's most renown qualities, with melodies and groove to boot. Crucifiction is packed with lightning-quick riffs and some interspersed soloing action, pounding drums, Jon Nödtveidt/Peter Tägtgren-esque vocals, and it's produced with a ton of grit. It's brutal, dark, blasphemous, occult (dare I say progressive?) extreme metal that will leave you begging for more. And that's where Inhabitant comes in...
"Polish Assault II" Inhabitant picks up right where its predecessor left off. It's essentially the same sound although the production seems a bit more raw and the melodies aren't as obvious. The EP finishes up in half the time in spite of only being two tracks short of Crucifiction, making the chaos more compact. Much like grindcore parades around as a methed-out death metal junkie, Inhabitant benefits from its brevity - and it doesn't hurt to cover Vader's "Carnal" either. Crucifiction should satisfy the God Dethroned fan in you, while Inhabitant could have a shot at love with the Hate crowd.
You've got slow, slower, slowest. Weed Priest falls in between slower and slowest. You've got up-tempo stoner and the narcotic, psychedelic slow version such as Electric Wizard tends to play; go one step slower than Electric Wizard and you've got Weed Priest. Music which comes across as a bad trip but has full control of you. Best to be listened to in a dark room with candles and incense burning. A big hand gets hold of your head and sees to it that you will bob your head to the beat of the music while crying softly. Think in that sense of an overcrowded tiny venue where you can cut the air with a knife and no oxygen is present.
Weed Priest is a total recommendation to anyone who loves Electric Wizard and is seeking something slower.
Alhena really blew me away this month. Their demo is some of the most professional, well-done music. In fact, they're easily ready to stand up against their peers in the genre and top many of them. There is nothing amateur about this group's music! Love it.
I really enjoyed Dethmor and the two Atropos releases but it looks like I'll have to check out that Psychonaut 4 release before I selfishly pimp my own reviews.
I'm listening to them right now... I'm yet to check out Atropos (and I already listened to weed priest since I originally took them)
And tbh... Unless Atropos is really damn good, I'm going to vote for Psychonaut 4. BTW: the songs from the demo are:
...I'm probably feeling nostalgia because of B's Death. But I really found this fellas good and not that much of a Lifelover copy.
Written by Troy Killjoy on 24.12.2011 at 02:57 But if it evokes the same emotions B et al were capable of, I doubt I'll be able to vote for myself for the first time.
Yup, I voted for them... Atropos was pretty good though. Weed Priest sounded a lot better than the first time heard them but still P4 takes the cake for me. Funny how the death of B hasn't affect me that much until just now. I guess that I felt a bit nostalgic but at the same time happy that some band took influences from Lifelover but added their own vibe as well.
I think it's obvious who I voted for here Hopefully we'll be able to highlight some more releases in this vein or more towards my liking in future issues as well. Thanks for sending the Alhena EP my way to in turn pass it on to our CC followers!
Not too many bands to choose from this time, but I still have trouble deciding... With the exception of Dethmore, all the other bands are quite good and play the kind of music that I like.
Well, it seems that my love for Electric Wizard has won, and I'm voting for Weed Priest.
Oh, and a little trivia - though Psychonaut 4 is Georgian band, their lyrics are in English and Russian 'cause their vocalist is Russian.