Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Acosmic Engineering

Band: Tetragrammacide
Release: 'Typhonian Wormholes: Indecipherable Anti-Structural Formulæ' EP (2015)
No amount of metaphors and high-brow allusions to the horrors of warfare can truly do this EP justice. A release of blistering, colliding, vociferous exclamations, it seems laughable that the likes of Metallica would be used as sleep-depriving aural torture when cacophony such as this exists.
Scattering musicality to the wind, India's Tetragrammacide channel the obstreperous nature of early Nyogthaeblisz and Goatpenis in concocting their particularly harsh strain of black/death metal. Incessantly barbaric in nature, 'Typhonian Wormholes...' will challenge even the most hardened extreme metal devotees, as well as shaking up more established and influential acts, such as Revenge, in terms of utter savagery.
To many, this will present nothing but a ridiculous tumult, a lack of skill buried beneath ultra distortion and elementary, grating noise. Overall, the EP is an acquired taste, perhaps, but the songs and riffs that do seep through the endless buzz saw din and crashing of cymbals are wholly effective, oddly catchy and void of any embellishment. In this is heard a rewarding mash up of Damaar, Genocide Shrines, Conqueror, and of course, Revenge - all of which, despite the jaded nature of such comparisons, creates a sound that is arguably the very definition of 'war metal'.
For black/death/war metal territory, apparently saturated with carbon copies, bullet belt-laden posturing, dusty gas masks and recycled chord progressions, it takes a release such as this to blow away all cobwebs. Refreshingly, the deranged duo that form Tetragrammacide are taking no prisoners and are testament to the fervent nature of their country's scene. While they may utilise many of the trappings common to their musical brethren, when juxtaposed next to audio terror as callous as 'Typhonian Wormholes...', the brandished machetes and obscured identities regain some of their unnerving essence.
Though relentless and unapologetic, Tetragrammacide's brash variety of 'martial occult black metal' is also both insisting and enthralling; the EP is a surprising and penetrative release, something almost otherworldly in its tangible enmity. In short, this is total musical vehemence distilled into just over twenty minutes and a release new and old addicts alike will return to again and again.
Rating: 85%

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Crimson Footprints

Band: Plagues
Release: 'Death March' demo (2015) - Digital

The internet age has brought with it many a double-edged sword. Musically, it has allowed people with even the most rudimentary access to reveal their wares to the world. As some find success, others get lost amid the din of ever harsh online criticism, and often for good reason.

As a somewhat utilitarian genre, black metal was a ripe target due its early veneration of sub par equipment and steadfastly cut and dry methods. This has given rise to some of the most mediocre offerings black metal adherents have yet been exposed to; eye-catching cover art frequently belies mundane attempts to ape the genre's best and brightest.

A welcome disparity, Massachusetts three-piece Plagues sidestep the tiresome white noise of the internet's faux-underground denizens, presenting a treatment of black metal firmly rooted in the discipline of the second wave; mid-tempo blasted sections collide aptly with black 'n' roll, punk-ish movements while slower passages hint at layered, clever melodies.

Plagues' more dirge-laden elements turn out to be the most interesting, demonstrating a veritable talent for melodious subtleties which craft almost perciptible atmospheric veils. At other points, there exists a sense of the epic, as fist-pumping song fragments nod toward legendary Immortal's singular talent for transportation to fantasy-soaked black metal vistas.

However, this three-piece continously steer toward more bleak realms; the cover art for the demo emanating a foreboding aura reminiscent of that used for Krieg's classic album 'The Black House'. Song titles such as "Crush the Messiah", "Abyss" and the titular presentation make plain Plagues' thematic approach and overall disposition as a band.

There is plenty here (and across their other demos) to cause a few feet to tap, as well as inspiring downloads. Plagues surely know what they are doing, but added stylistic focus and more time spent wading in ethereal waters could see something akin to Mgła emerge over time, catapulting them from Bandcamp obscurity and onto the radars of people who know that USBM means more than Liturgy and Deafheaven.

Rating: 60%