Experimental Metal

Pyrithe – Monuments to Impermanence Review

Pyrithe – Monuments to Impermanence Review

“Cover art can be misleading, but here it’s a clue. Reflecting that twisted marine merging of human and coral, Pyrithe‘s sound is chaos, artfully displayed. To their sludgy post-metal concoction, they add the use of coconuts, egg-shakers, kantele, and literal trash as musical elements. They also favor a disjointed, dissonant approach to songwriting, taking a leaf out of the more experimental edges of death metal, and beyond. In fact, they’ve even roped in Doug Moore of Pyrrhon and Seputus, the influence of which acts is quite evident. It’s heavy, it’s multifaceted, it’s a tiny bit mad, but is it any good?” Permanence and impetuousness.

Without Waves – Comedian Review

Without Waves – Comedian Review

“Cover art can be make or break. Despite that old axiom, I do indeed judge a book by its often horrific cover. I tend to avoid the intentionally bad (looking at you, Voivod‘s Target Earth) and the unabashedly anatomical (I’ve already seen The Reek of Putrefaction, thank you very much.) However, there’s plenty of room between the two extremes to play, and you can always count on a few quality covers lurking around the primeval AMG promo sump; the kind that just begs for a spin or three. Such was the case with Comedian, the latest from Chicago-based progressive metalers Without Waves. Their fortuitous choice to immortalize a moment in the life of one very unlucky flamingo has earned them one whole review.” Flightless.

Nick Vasallo – Apophany Review

Nick Vasallo – Apophany Review

Nick Vasallo has been making music in the Bay Area for more than 20 years. He is best known as the guitarist and vocalist of deathcore legends Antagony, as well as tech death outfit Oblivion. Perhaps less well known, at least in metal circles, is his interest in musical theory and composition, which he studied extensively, ultimately being awarded a doctorate in 2011. He now teaches at college level. This brief bio perhaps gives some context for Apophany, a hybrid metal-classical album and the follow up to 2012’s Monuments Emerge. Smart-tech.

Sunless – Ylem Review

Sunless – Ylem Review

“Back in 2016 I stumbled across the promising demo from Minnesota’s Sunless, a fractured example of violent, dense and dissonant death. Urraca, their 2017 debut LP, expanded on the promise of the demo in appealing ways, firmly placing Sunless on the radar. Now they return, fittingly backed by Willowtip Records for their anticipated sophomore album, Ylem, dubbed the second part of a conceptual trilogy.” Dark and dangerous days.

Diskord – Degenerations Review

Diskord – Degenerations Review

“Lovable Norwegian oddballs Diskord make their long awaited return with Degenerations, their third LP and first recorded output since 2014’s mind-bending Oscillations EP. Easily one of my most anticipated albums of 2021, long ago I fell hard for Diskord‘s strange amalgam of old school death metal, experimental flair, and ability to crank out killer death tunes, chopped up with psychedelic and prog experiments. My first exposure was on their monumental 2012 LP Dystopics, an incredible album I consider a modern classic. However, as the years passed I began to wonder whether we would hear more from the band. Well the moment has arrived, Diskord fittingly popping up on the Transcending Obscurity roster to land another mindboggling clusterfuck of weird arse death.” Degenerate to evolve.

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

“My first thought as my eyes fell upon Hexenzirkel in the promo bin was ‘the year of dumb band names has yet another contender. But Tommy Concrete is not just an ill-conceived band name, it’s the artist name for Tomas Pattinson, whose diverse portfolio includes about a dozen and a half different bands, including a year-long stint in The Exploited. Some years ago his eye turned towards epic prog, because under this moniker he’s churned out at least an album a year since 2016 with music that’s drawn comparisons to Devin Townsend, according to the promo sheet.” Hevy lifting.

Portal – Avow Review

Portal – Avow Review

“Before Ion, we thought we had Portal figured out. The kings of murk would release another album of slogging dissonance, just like Swarth or Vexovoid. However, taking the path of least resistance or going with ol’ reliable has never been the esoteric Australian collective’s way, and we were greeted with Ion, a big obscure middle finger to the masses in their abruptly clearest and most pristine listen. In spite of the almost complete abandonment of murk, Ion adhered to their signature impenetrability, creating one of the most challenging listens in recent memory and showcasing that they weren’t just some disso-death one-trick pony. Avow reminds us that Portal is still king.” There will be cake.

Les Chants du Hasard – Livre Troisième Review

Les Chants du Hasard – Livre Troisième Review

“Sometimes, you have to try something different. Stagnating into a limited pool of metal quickly leads to burnout, and if there’s one thing I can’t stand… well, it probably wouldn’t be burnout explicitly, but that’s up there for sure. To stave off that awful feeling for as long as possible, I’ve made a conscious effort to be reasonably variable in what kinds of music I review for this site. I tell you this so you’ll understand why it was that when I first scanned through the promotional material for Livre Troisième, the third full-length release from French act Les Chants du Hasard, and saw the line “is it still metal? The question is now irrelevant,” my response was to dive right in, sight unseen.” Les Pretentious.

Mamaleek – Come & See [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Mamaleek – Come & See [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Mamaleek‘s experimental fluidity has been bubbling beneath the surface since 2008. Not a lot is known about the two brothers who have channeled many genres through the Mamaleek moniker. Come & See is their seventh full-length and another chapter in their difficult-to-place story. If you asked me about this record a few months ago I would have huffed, puffed and dismissed it as a work of directionless cross-genre experimentation. After revisiting the record last month, however, I was struck by how coherent and engrossing it was as a whole.” Experiments in sound.

Duma – Duma Review

Duma – Duma Review

“The self-titled debut by Kenyan duo Duma (meaning “darkness” in Kikuyu) is a most peculiar rara avis, carrying the sort of art difficult to distill into words, let alone narrow down to a single genre indicator. So while “grindcore” might be easiest to associate with the often rhythmically driven and dark work of Martin Khanja (aka Lord Spike Heart) and Sam Karugu, any expectations or points of reference go out the window within the first ten seconds of Duma’s opening track.” World metal.