I.O.’s PICK OF THE WEEK
DANTALION Where Fear Is Born (Sleaszy Rider Records)
So I was paging through my handy Illustrated Goetia penned by none other than Aleister Crowley as part of research for my book while listening to this week’s batch of heavy metal. I stopped on page 217 because the picture was just crazy, like Escher only with faces. So I stopped to read and was told that DANTALION is a Duke and that he/she has many countenances and knows the thoughts of all men and women. I’m not sure if DANTALION, the band, knows the thoughts of all men and women, but they definitely have various countenances: this is doom metal with black metal growls, chunky guitar riffs, and atmospheric elements. “Raven’s Dawn” intros with mournful acoustic and bass guitar until it segues into something more brutal that transitions to a funereal atmosphere and back. With tracks like “Tree in the Shadow” and “Listening to the Suffering Wind,” this is an album that will grow on you like graveyard moss in the dark corners of your soul.
FUNERAL FOR THE MASSES Deal With Devil (Independent)
FUNERAL FOR THE MASSES is a new band out of Finland who plan to release an EP in the near future. They plan to inter us all beneath an avalanche of brutal death metal and then hold a gothic communal mass in our honor if their new single “The Outcome” is anything to go by. It’s only one song, but the guttural squeals are skin shivering benedictions to something deep and dark within each of us. Keep an eye out for their EP.
HYBRID SHEEP Free From The Clutches of Gods (Tenacity Music)
All this album needs is a sarcastic, brutal track titled “Hello, Dolly” and the allusions would be complete. This is modern death metal, up on the latest cloning techniques and genre splicing to create a unique entity that will hold up under close scrutiny. Filled with scorching guitar solos, properly placed blast beats, and melodic tremolo picking, it just kicks ass and takes names. You can stream the full album HERE and the new video “Liar’s Promises” can be viewed below:
LETALLIS Resonate (Independent)
LETALLIS is progressive death metal. We’re treated to progressive guitar solos and drum work with death metal growls and bass lines. The blend is empowering, as if the music is trying to channel rage into constructive purposes because progressive has that upbeat as if there just may be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This sound embodies a dimension that could lure sweater-vest metal heads to the Dark Side. Tracks like “The Darkness of Mere Being” and “Bed of Stars” will illustrate my point nicely.
MELLOWTOY Lies (Scarlet Records)
MELLOWTOY’s sound has evolved from its Nu Metal beginnings (see their cover of “Save a Prayer” and their original “Bodywork”). The new album Lies is more aggressive and closer to Metalcore than Nu Metal. The “core” in Metalcore is for hardcore and there is plenty of this influence, which seems to be the common thread in their work. The more melodic guitar elements and clean singing is the “metal.” You won’t find any whining vocals here. They are either aggressive screaming or powerfully clean and the transition between the two is often seamless. The drums are ruthless and supported by a groovy bass. Have fun with this one! The 12-track LP will be available January 20, 2015 on Scarlet Records.
SEPTA Destroyer (Independent)
Am I alone in not knowing what the hell post-hardcore is? SEPTA brings us metallic hardcore, which is the closest thing it resembles. It’s fresh as fuck though. The compositions are full of attack: aggressive passages followed by experimental twists without losing cohesion. A maniacal monologue in “Destroyer, Pt. 2” reminded me of Henry Rollins’ soliloquy in TOOL’s “Bottom.” Later on in the song, there are flavors of BAU HAUS. Expect the unexpected.
SOULSKINNER Crypts of Ancient Wisdom (Xtreem Music)
Xtreem Music always brings us the most extreme metal on the planet and SOULSKINNER is no exception. Tasty, blackened riffs had me flashing the horns and the tracks came in a range of tempos and moods. How did a sweet-tempered angel like me become enamored of such brutal sounding blackened death metal? I’m not sure, but it probably involved a fall from grace. So if you like it, consider yourself fallen in good company. “Deadland pt. 1” had a perfectly tasty riff while “Deadland pt. 2” had a brutal drum part while “The Captive Trojan Maiden” actually had a Viking metal feel to it.
TO BE A KING Fear Not (Imminence Records)
TO BE A KING offers up the thudding, relentless guitars and beats of deathcore and garnishes it with a liberal dose of minor chord dread. The vocals are reminiscent of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and definitely there is a melodic thread that hints at Tim Burton score, only a hell of a lot creepier. Perfect example is “Arkaik.” The 5-song EP will be available on December 9th via Imminence Records.
METAL DESCENT’S Battle of the Bands – Round III
We are now on Round III of the Heavy Metal Underground Battle of the Bands. Readers are encouraged to listen to the six I.O.’s Pick of the Week and vote for their favorite. Voting will close on November 26th at 06:44:59. As each set of I.O’s Picks are voted, the bands that garner the highest ratings will be featured in a Top Ten post of underground bands to watch in 2015. Keep in mind that labels, promoters, and other music industry professionals are taking note of our weekly Tuesday article. Vote HERE.
Submissions from bands are accepted HERE.
I.O. Kirkwood is a Metal Descent contributor. You can view her personal blog HERE.