Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 Issue #4 - Awesome New Demos and EPs
|Written by:||nikarg, RaduP, musclassia, Starvynth, Abattoir|
Clandestine Cuts Volume 11, Issue #4
The Metal Storm Demo/EP Spotlight
Brand New Independent Metal Lives Here.
Welcome to the Clandestine Cuts!
Welcome to the Clandestine Cuts!
Is independent, unsigned, and underground metal what you seek? Weary traveller of the metal world, rest here a while. Clandestine Cuts are the best demos and EPs from these bands, the heart and soul of metal music. These musicians are slaves to their passions, and their blood keeps the metal machine alive and turning. Support them with a simple listen, and discover the future.
Metal Storm users: you can vote in the poll below to choose your favourite demo/EP of the issue. The winners each year are nominated in our annual Metal Storm Awards so exercise your rights: this is the one category chosen completely by YOU the readers. Make sure your favourite independent metal is recognized each year!
(Think your band has what it takes to be featured in the Cuts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your music.)
In case you're new at this, go back and enjoy our last few issues:
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 #03
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 #02
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 #01
And now to the new music...
Solars - Negative Apex (UK)
[Instrumental Post-Rock / Post-Metal]
Solars should appeal a lot to fans of Russian Circles and If These Trees Could Talk. They come from Birmingham which is a bit of a grim place to live and that bleakness partially surfaces in their compositions. Solars deliver expansive and heavy instrumental music; they know how to build up the tension in their songs and they create this certain mood that makes the listener wait for a much needed explosion to come. "Reflections" does this in the most successful way but the heaviest part of this EP arrives at the 03'20'' mark of "Midnight Hourglass" and it doesn't let up until the end of the song. The sound is clear and everything feels like it's in the right place in the mix, with the guitars being melodic and staccato-heavy in turns, the bass driving the songs along, and the drumming really going for some independent brilliance. Negative Apex is deliciously atmospheric, with dreamy rhythms but also some muscular chugs, and aces the true test of any instrumental album by remaining compelling despite the lack of vocals.
Kita - Ocean Of Acid (Finland)
[Progressive Death Metal]
"Psychedelic. Sludge. Doomy. Progressive. Death." - so state Kita in their Bandcamp profile text. It's an enticing combination of styles, one that promises a record that sounds distinctive, if nothing else. As such, it's surprising how much parts of the opening track "Ψ" sound like Tool; the syncopated alt-metal fits nicely alongside extreme metal intensity, eerie atmospherics and unpredictable song structures. The likes of "Astral Abyss" do an interesting job of meshing more accessible alt-metal tendencies with convoluted, at-times frenetic instrumentation to produce something that exploits the benefits of both approaches simultaneously. There's some rough edges compositionally on Ocean Of Acid, but Kita's songwriting approach is intriguing, feeling at the same time familiar yet original, and when they're at their best, such as on the multi-faceted title track, they manage to bring a myriad of approaches, including doom, groove and prog, together to create something fascinating.
Ellengaest - A Sense Of Falling (Russia)
[Screamo / Post-Metal]
Screamo and post-rock have been genres that have endlessly been merged together for the past two decades, and with how popular metalgaze was in the past decade, it's no wonder that there still is some steam to it as the term "screamo" has began to lose its negative connotations. Though A Sense Of Falling might not do much new with the sound, and their production department might need some work (especially with the drum sounds), the way they approach it is less of the chaotic visceral part and more of the slow-building and crushing part, often taking the post-rock sound deeper into post-metal, and the screamo sound deeper into post-hardcore, but don't take that as an indicator of their sound feeling any less passionate. The ten minutes of A Sense Of Falling would benefit from the band being even more ambitious with their palette, but they already show skill in the craft of making me angsty in Russian.
Orelisk - Mold (USA)
Ok, let's see:
Yep, it's black metal time!
Normally this would be the kind of stuff that you either get sucked into the atmosphere of, or you never get the appeal and it seems ridiculous. Orelisk is kind of in the middle for me, because on one side the raw production isn't really raw in just the right way to enhance the immersion into the evil misanthropic atmosphere as much as I appreciate the warmer tones, nor does the songwriting pull anything too surprising, but at the same time the performance, especially the vocal one is absolutely amazing, so no matter how much I felt like there was lacking in any other department, I could follow along on the momentum of the vocals alone. None of its downsides are too deep not to be attributed to lack of experience, this being the project's first release, and there is some potential for Orelisk to find a way to stand out among the colossal number of similar projects. Mold doesn't do that just yet.
Slow Machine - Black Tide (USA)
[Psychedelic Doom Metal]
California based quintet Slow Machine present themselves with a high-quality produced debut EP offering, dubbed Black Tide. Holding a red line of the steady rhythm, this music output displays a lightweight-oriented stoner doom, being coated with a thick layer of hypnotizing psychedelia. The main effect of the latter is being achieved by a quite exceptional combination and variety of guitar riffs. Vigorous, slow and low-tuned ones intertwined with regularly repeated, brief solo inputs. Gently conveyed by the purity of almost enchanting female vocals, provided by Paula Kaiser, that give a solid-standing balance to the whole mix of psychedelic stoner doom sound. From this point on, I can't guarantee that Slow Machine will rise up from the area of the unknown, but their contribution of the Black Tide cannot be overheard.
Nameless Grave - The Warmth Of The Sun
Can No Longer Thaw The Ice From My Bones (New Zealand)
[Funeral Doom Metal]
Sometimes you only have to read the title of a new release and you already know, at least roughly, what to expect. The Warmth Of The Sun Can No Longer Thaw The Ice From My Bones sounds like doom - and that's exactly what it is. Dark and very dragging funeral doom, to be exact. This EP is the first sign of life from the project Nameless Grave from Wellington, New Zealand, but it's hard to even talk about signs of life in this particular case. For the blossoming life, the jubilant joy and a life-affirming message are sought in vain on The Warmth Of The Sun Can No Longer Thaw The Ice From My Bones. Rather, the 27:28 minutes of the one-track EP are dominated by dark emotions; feelings of despair, sadness, fear, loss and loathing that slowly creep up the back of your neck on the first listen and eventually settle in your mind, intending to stay there for a very long time. Not necessarily easy to digest, but a real and long-lasting treat for fans of musically comparable projects like Bell Witch and Mournful Congregation, to name but a few.
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