We are now on Round IV of the Heavy Metal Underground Battle of the Bands. Readers are encouraged to listen to the following six I.O.’s Pick of the Week and vote for their favorite. Voting will close after 4 weeks. 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.
ADIMIRON Timelapse (Scarlet Records)
The arrangements are lush, guitar heavy and melodic. A blend of experimental and progressive metals, there are death metal and thrash elements too. I’m hooked on “Redemption” but the video for “State of Persistence” is creepy with Lovecraftian animation.
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.
GRORR THE UNKNOWN CITIZENS (Independent)
GRORR’s social commentary comes from a very personal perspective: that of a fighter, a worker, and a dreamer. Their progressive metal has a sharp edge that slices as swiftly as a blade and leaves a trail of melodic blood in its wake that holds a sweeter pain than any paper cut. Sitar samples and other layering give it a thick yet precise sound. Concept albums are tricky fare, but this is a sonic dish that has “goût exceptionnel.”
HIDEOUS DIVINITY Cobra Verde (Unique Leader Records)
The album cover art gives you a sneak peak at the technical brutality of the death metal within. The tracks have hypnotic guitar riffs. The harsh vocals have depth and range. In fact, I would hazard that this Italian outfit knows a thing or two about snake-charming.
PISS VORTEX Self-Titled (Independent)
I always go with my first impression, and PISS VORTEX had me after four measures. Will wonders never cease that I’m enjoying grindcore??? But there is something so tight about this album, so chaotically melodic, so surprising that I kept moving it up the ranking until it was duking it out with GRORR and THANATOS. The songs are as long as they need to be, just leaving you with a fine craving for more.
THANATOS Global Purification (Century Media Records)
THANATOS brings us wild death metal urged on by a liberally applied thrash crop. “Global Purification,” “Queen of Gore,” and “World Jihad” stampede across the sonic landscape like wild Kelpies dragging you to a watery death. Interspersed are “slower” tracks that help pace the album so that it will cross the finish line. The final track “Bastion of Blasphemy” is excellent, always a good sign that the more you listen, the better the whole album will get.
Submissions from bands are accepted HERE.
I.O. Kirkwood is Metal Descent’s Senior Live Music Editor. You can view her personal blog at iokirkwood.com.