Thecodontion - Supercontinent review

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Band: Thecodontion
Album: Supercontinent
Release date: June 2020

01. Gyrosia
02. Vaalbara
03. Ur [feat. Skaðvaldur]
04. Kenorland
05. Lerova
06. Nuna
07. Rodinia
08. Tethys
09. Laurasia-Gondwana [feat. J.G.P.]
10. Pangaea [feat. R.C.]
11. Panthalassa

You don't need any guitars to make some bass-driven prehistoric war metal.

Gimmicks are really a tough thing, they may get you some attention, but if they're all you got, you won't enjoy that attention for a long time. Centering your band around a theme and also having some unusual instrumental compositions is certainly something intriguing, especially if it's not something you really get to experience every day. Italy's Thecodontion are named after a weirdly specific and apparently obsolete taxonomy group, and they make a weird kind of war metal that only has vocals, drums and bass, and they sing about prehistoric themes, so there is a lot to unpack, and definitely a lot that catches the eye. And now that they made this sound, they're not gonna work on charm alone the next time around. But things don't look that bleak.

For one, though this is their debut, this isn't really their first release. First coming up with the Thecodontia demo and the Jurassic EP, they birthed this sound that I've been describing, this spur of chaotic war metal that had some novelty but nothing that wouldn't wear off after a while. Though who is gonna complain about some more bassy war metal on a few short releases. Making a full length out of this sound is a bit more challenging. So obviously some things had to change to make that sound feasible for 44 minutes. Thankfully, they didn't add guitars (other than a few guest spots by Bedsore's Jacopo), nor did they make their themes any more modern. However I'm not sure I could still call their sound war metal. War metal doesn't sound grand. And how fitting for prehistoric music to evolve.

I'm not sure I would call Supercontinent a grand album, though having a album about all the supercontinents and superoceans of our planet and how they morphed and moved must have a bit of grandiosity. We are talking about stuff that is seemingly older than on on par with what The Ocean usually sing about, if I have my natural histories correct. Naturally that for this there was a bit of a need of some post-metal like atmospheres sprinkled on top of the explosive aggression. There are bits and pieces of the war metal sound, but much more of it is rather slow and atmospheric, with the two basses playing distinct roles with distinct sounds, one of them being a lot slappier and pretty funky, with the other one modulated to sound more like a guitar, giving place to some parts that do sound like guitar solos. This contrast between the two basses works wonders to make the whole album sound dynamic and engaging.

You definitely need a lot of work to make the slow movements of the tectonic plates to sound dynamic and engaging, and most of all: flashy. Prehistory probably wouldn't be the first thing on my mind if I heard this album without its context, but now that this image has been imprinted in my mind, Thecodontion do a pretty well job of sonically building it. And taking a look through the lyric sheet, it's clear that they've done their fair share of research. The interplay between the two basses, and between the slower more atmospheric sections (often found in the oceanic interludes) and the warlike punchier ones do make Supercontinent something that transcends its gimmick and works much more besides the novelty. Slowing down the pace allowed them to focus both on their songwriting and their atmosphere building, and quite rarely for me, they made me go through the lyric sheet.

No guitars! Only death!


Written on 05.08.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 70 users
05.08.2020 - 19:26
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Sounds good if there are no guitars, some. Shamanic rituslism is there
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
05.08.2020 - 21:03
Prehistoric bass death metal is boss. I think I prefer Neoandertals to this for that style though, but that could change over time with more material from these guys.
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
05.08.2020 - 21:10
Written by Apothecary on 05.08.2020 at 21:03

Prehistoric bass death metal is boss. I think I prefer Neoandertals to this for that style though, but that could change over time with more material from these guys.

These definitely have different vibes and different ways to use the bass. Neodandertals is bonkers and primitive "return to monke", and this is more atmospheric and seismic.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
05.08.2020 - 21:18
doesn't use salt
When I first heard the theme I was like "damn this is gonna be so interesting", but tbh the more somber moments are kind of my favourite on here. And is this a bell witch type deal, where the bass just sounds like a guitar cause they play so high on it? Cause fuck me if half the songs don't sound like guitar songs. Also didn't expect it to be so vocal driven... not sure if I like that. The vocals aren't special enough for that.
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill

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