Cynic

Assumption – Hadean Tides Review

Assumption – Hadean Tides Review

“A band’s name can make or break them. Regardless if you’re a blues band reaching for ominously foreboding atmospheres, or a power metal band named after a cute, furry rodent who loves clay baths, whatever you name yourself lends as much, if not more, importance as your music. So when I happened across Hadean Tides, the second full-length from Italy’s Assumption, I assumed from their “death/doom” labeling and their band name that this was going to be some early My Dying Bride worship of the highest caliber, complete with weepy violins and flowers withering. But you know what your parents said about why you should never assume…” Speculation and doomination.

WAIT – The End of Noise Review

WAIT – The End of Noise Review

“Time WAITs for no sponge. This apparently holds true for my unfortunate green friend to my left, the sands of time quite literally gushing out of his be-hourglassed noggin. The oddly disturbing artwork depicting this surreal injury translates to the weird and wacky, grungy prog-death stylings of Baltimore’s WAIT (short for We are in Transit). A supergroup of sorts, the trio pulls from the pool of live performers who jammed for acts ranging from Cynic to Defeated Sanity to Obscura, so it comes as no surprise to me that debut album The End of Noise promises to be a twisted and technical affair.” Difficult commute.

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

“If you aren’t familiar with Cynic… I guess just fuck you? Look at another website, loser. If you are, I can tell you right off the bat that the Seans are dearly missed. I’m not familiar with the role of Malone & Reinert in shaping the band’s ambitions, but Ascension Codes does seem like a case of Masvidal just running with it and trying to make the most Cynic-ass record he could without them.” Rise and get weird.

Obscura – A Valediction Review

Obscura – A Valediction Review

“In my review of Diluvium, I argued that the core of the band’s sound had become a super-tech melodeath band. And, as it turns out, my analysis was right on the money. Despite a (second) mass exodus that led to guitarist Christian Münzner and bassist JP Thesseling rejoining the band, A Valediction doesn’t present a more abstract and progressive Obscura. In fact, it’s the opposite.” So, is that a good thing?

Deviant Process – Nurture Review

Deviant Process – Nurture Review

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: technical death metal can be a fickle mistress. For a genre so overflowing with talent, much of the actual music can come across as rather soulless, and despite all the intricacies, a lot of releases appear surprisingly formulaic. In short, I’ve been burned before. But then I look to recent releases from bands like Alustrium, Symbolik, and Allegaeon; releases that serve as a potent reminder that not all is lost, and that when the tech-death hits, it hits hard. It was with this sunny outlook that I plucked Nurture, the latest release from Deviant Process, from the promo pit.” High hopes and technical problems.

Coexistence – Collateral Dimension Review

Coexistence – Collateral Dimension Review

“Technical death metal can be a fickle mistress. She can lure you away with promises of sublime virtuosity, only to bombard you with a cacophony of disjoined solos. She can entice you with the siren song of a bold sci-fi concept album, only to present you with a sub-standard Spawn of Possession clone. Despite this, there’s a lot of great tech death out there, but you have to be willing to separate the 8-string wheat from the 7-string chaff. So where does Coexistence fit in with their debut album Collateral Dimension?” All tech, no peace.

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

“While I’ve traditionally identified as a basic black metal bitch, my listening habits of late have hovered firmly above death metal territory. The art of the Big Dumb Riff has held absolute command of my Spotify search bar, and it’s all thanks to the diversity the genre pool has spawned in over three decades of evolution. Just as I finish my most recent round of dick flattening at the hands of something as unflinchingly savage as Black Curse, I know I can hop to the opposite end of the technical axis to enjoy similarly aggressive highs in a fresh context. Cryptic Shift‘s debut is about as far from something like Black Curse as you can imagine on the caveman riff spectrum, but those same thrills are all here.” Up Shift’s creek.

Exist – Egoiista Review

Exist – Egoiista Review

“It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I heard of Exist. However, this Baltimore band has been around for over a decade, with their debut EP coming out back in 2010, and Egoiista is the group’s third full-length release. Most of the material here was conceived at the same time as the band’s last album, 2017’s So True, So Bound, and has been honed and refined over the past few years. Max Phelps is the leader here. He had a brief stint as guitarist in Cynic earlier this decade, and one can definitely hear that influence at times on Egoiista. This is a modern progressive metal album in the sense that it makes use of plenty of instrumental dynamics, and plenty of clean/harsh vocal transitions. Plenty of bands do this; not all succeed. So how about Exist?” Leggo my Ego!