Stuck in the Filter – July’s Angry Misses

The AMG filters were especially clogged and occluded during July, and it took a team of stalwart waste engineers to get the system flowing properly again. Just take a gander at the interesting gunk that ended up in the outflow pile. It might smell bad, but it sounds pretty decent. Wash your hands.

Oh, and to allay some reader confusion, this feature is not intended as a replacement for our yearly “Things You Might Have Missed” series. The Filter is designed to draw attention to albums we considered worthy of attention but not necessary essential. To qualify, an album needs to be at least a 3.0 in quality, where we place higher standards on TYMHM selections. Hope this clears things up. Did you wash your hands yet?

Clog Tech #1 (Dear Hollow)

Born of Osiris – Angel or Alien

Good morning to everyone except the deathcore hordes, who have a nasty habit of coming up with the worst album titles known to man. It’s good, then, for Chicago sci-fi enthusiasts Born of Osiris that Angel or Alien is as fun as it is. After a slough of stunning mediocrity that compromised the majority of the 2010s, the new decade opens up with their best album since The Discovery. Although sorely missing guitar wizard Jason Richardson, you can expect the most honed balance of melody and brutality with good songwriting and a tasteful electronic flourish to boot: “Poster Child” and “White Nile” soar with head-bobbing grooves and a newfound presence of keyboardist Joe Buras’ desperate screeches, while “Crossface” and “Echobreather” benefit from a nice electronic presence and “In for the Kill” and “Truth and Denial” are relentless shredders of djenty textures and rhythms. Ultimately, Born of Osiris is nowhere near the prog goodness of 2011 and there are plenty of moments of filler across Angel or Alien’s fifty-five minute stretch, it’s a fun and smartly composed banger for deathcore bitches everywhere.

Sigil – Nether

Dissonance is a hard beast to attain, but Calgary’s Sigil enacts a black/death/hardcore/sludge interpretation of stinging dissonance with majestic dynamics. Second full-length Nether is packed to the brim with lurching post-metal-tinged mathcore riffs straight outta Knut, dissonant leads from Baring Teeth or Flourishing, concrete sludge chugs a la Warcrab, blackened Darkthrone blastbeats, and lulls of pastoral plucking to grace the quiet. While tonally inconsistent, what’s perhaps most intriguing about Sigil is their ability to balance ominous dissonance and striking beauty nearly simultaneously. From the punchy arrhythmic punches of “Eldritch,” the shifting metamorphosis of “Torment,” and the chaotic “Vessels,” it consistently balances the razor’s edge of beauty and ugliness with stunning professionalism. While they certainly employ the likes of Castevet and Calligram in their chaotic approach to melody and dissonance, it sets out on a road of its own. Expect big things from these Canucks.

Year of No Light – Consolamentum

Year of No Light should really need no introduction. The French post-metal institution celebrates their twentieth anniversary this year, two decades of doomy and melodic (mostly) instrumental post-metal under their belts. While 2006’s Nord was unforgivingly heavy and 2010’s Ausserwelt was as dark a place as music can get, 2021’s Consolamentum balances heaviness, patience, and feverish melody for one of the most haunting albums to grace the summer. Enacting a nearly ritualistic Amenra-esque flavor with repetitive passages of shifting melodies and layers of synth and plucking, each iteration of the album’s admittedly protracted fifty-five minute runtime peels back another layer of the Year of No Light’s precision. From the relatively upbeat juxtaposition of plodding riffs, bouncy percussion, and slicing melodies in “Alètheia” and “Réalgar” to the Skepticism-meets-Sunn O))) synth plodding of “Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens,” Consolamentum feels like a fever dream that you cannot escape, and Year of No Light is all the better for it.

Clog Tech #2 (TheKenWord)

Ophidian I – Desolate

Technical death metal is a slippery slope. It can absolutely slay when quality songwriting or clear and supportive structure balances out the vicious sweeping deluge of rapid-fire fretwork and relentless blasts. On the other hand, the same immense technicality can render the final product messy and formless. Ophidian I don’t give a fuck about any of that. They play faster than the speed of sound with wild abandon, and yet their songs have an eerie singalong quality to them that challenges my idea of what a hook is. “Diamonds,” “Spiral to Oblivion,” “Unfurling the Crescent Moon,” and “Enslaved in a Desolate Swarm” all have no right to be as infectious and fun as they are, but what I believe affects reality not at all. Desolate is a massively entertaining slab of tech, and you won’t be able to keep up.

Clog Tech #3 (Carcharodon)

गौतम बुद्ध – पुनर्जन्म भाग १

I don’t even know with any certainty what this one-person project is called. I believe it is Siddhattha Gotama, since that appears in the Bandcamp link. But that is also the Pali name for Gautama Buddha, which is how a well-known search engine translates गौतम बुद्ध from – what it claims is – Hindi. I may not know this project’s preferred (English) moniker but I do know that its debut, पुनर्जन्म भाग १ (Reincarnation Part I) is both awesome and unusual. An incredible blend of raw, lo-fi black metal fury, with lashings of drone, dollops of proggy melodicism and a marbling of Indian-tinged folk, this is a vicious cake that I devoured repeatedly throughout July. Think Yellow Eyes but both rawer and more melodic, as well as, frankly, more interesting. The traditional folk elements that run through पुनर्जन्म भाग १ – sometimes to the fore, sometimes deep in the black metal tumult – give a skirling eeriness to the ragged savagery, which makes this stand out from the crowd. Both the album and song titles1 suggest this is the opening instalment in a two-part series.

Clog Tech Supervisor, First Class (Steel Druhm)

Fulci – Exhumed Information

Italian brutal death maniacs Fulci named themselves after an infamous gore film director and their music channels all that splatter and viscera in bright red. On third full-length (just barely) Exhumed Information they hit hard and without mercy, using a sick, twisted blend of Mortician and Cannibal Corpse influences to put you in a shallow, bloody grave. Songs like “Voices” and “Nightmare” aren’t the fastest, most chaotic things out there, but they feel evil, disgusting and dangerous, which is what really makes for good death metal. The riffs on this mini-album are insanely good and sound almost alive, and the vocals emanate from somewhere several levels below the sub-basement. If you loved the nastiness of Scolopendra’s last album, this will be your body bag. Really gruesome, good stuff.2

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The song titles appear to be the first four of eight reasons a soul is reborn: “By the Command of God,” “At the End of Virtue,” “To Enjoy the Fruits of Virtue” and “To Enjoy the Fruits of Sin.”
  2. The back-half is Goblin-inspired eerie synth rock, which is appropriate and works in a weird way.
« »