Sunday, November 24, 2013

Death Metal Briefs: 2013

Dead Again

I've already reviewed a lot of death metal this year, but really you can never have too many short and punchy death metal releases. To help satisfy your thanatos, I offer two demos and an EP.

Temple of Void: Demo MMXIII
4 out of 5 stars

Detroit's Temple of Void stray much further into melodic death metal territory than I usually prefer, but they do it in a good way. And they take some cues from doom, so they sound not unlike Swallow the Sun on steroids. Did I mention they actually have songwriting skills? After three memorable tunes, they take it out on a string of bluesy solos. Very nice.

Rhemora: Sucks (EP)
3.5 out of 5 stars

What's this, more melo-death? I had mostly sworn off the stuff for the last couple of years. But this is indeed something different. Rhemora sound a lot like the bands of the classic era of Swedish melo-death, mostly early Soilwork, but they're different in two major ways. One, the guitars are in an odd tuning (reportedly drop C [corrected]), and after listening several times I'm still not sure whether that's good or bad. Two, Rhemora have a hell of a lot of good leads. The songwriting can be catchy, too. I happen to know at least one member has a good sense of humor, so seeing them live is a must if you get the chance.

Malthusian: MMXIII (Demo)
4 out of 5 stars

Malthusian is much more on the Incantation side of the scale, almost veering into death/doom territory. I'm much more comfortable with seasick riffs and cacaphonous, impenetrable songwriting. It's surprisingly well-served by the mostly clean production (compared to Onward to Golgotha, anyway), which allows the music to speak for itself rather than resting on a lo-fi crutch. That only works when it's done well; it is here. On top of that, they demonstrate how to craft long songs that need to be long.

listen here

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