Bölzer’s debut full-length album ‘Hero’ is finally here. It’s a testament to the quality of their music that they have succeeded in setting the metal underground on fire with less than an hour’s musical material to their name. Because Bölzer has set such a high standard with their music so far, and the media buzz around the band, there’s an enormous amount of pressure on the band for Hero to live up to everyone’s expectations. And in most respects, Hero delivers the goods.
Tasmanian metal band Départe’s expansive sound draws on the most powerful elements of black metal, death metal, and even post-metal. While comparisons with bands like Ulcerate and Zhrine are inevitable because of the band’s penchant for dissonant, unsettling guitarwork, Départe carves out their own sound on their debut album ‘Failure, Subside’.
Stylistically the focus is much more on the atmosphere and flow of the songs than on heaviness or riffs, and the band frequently operate at a bulky, sludgy pace.At the core of their sound is unrelentingly heavy, technical death metal – in this sense, comparisons to Ulcerate are justified. Long sections of atmospheric doom offer some respite from the heaviness of their assault, but frequently simply seem to render the atmosphere even more suffocating.
The opening section ‘Grief Echoes (Golden Scars)’ is one of my favourite on any song this year, the incredibly heavy percussion and eerie melodic guitars working creating a deeply unsettling, brutal sound. And the use of clean vocals throughout the album are a real highlight. They don’t feel like an afterthought, they feel like a really strong tool to provide some release from the utter gloom of much of the music. Used towards the end of the ‘Ashes in Bloom’ they’re a really beautiful touch. The lyrics certainly invoke imagery of despair and grief, suffering and loss, but they also evoke a sense of hope and optimism. It’s in some ways a real treat to read lyrics in such a bleak, poetic style from a musician that has clearly put some real thought into them. It’s a very human, emotionally powerful album, and one very worth experiencing for yourself.
After enjoying the album so much, I reached out to guitarist, vocalist, lyricist, and songwriter Sam Dishington to talk about Départe’s music as well as the experience of being a metal band from Tasmania. Read on for the interview!
Deathspell Omega have never sounded this violent and unsettling. On a cursory listen, the utter chaos of this album renders it impenetrable. Not since Fas – Ite Maledice… have the band rejoiced so much in the discordant noise of their craft. Just 29 minutes long, there are so many eerie, dissonant riffs colliding with each other, the drumming is so varied and intense, that it can seem totally overwhelming and impossible to make sense of. But on a much more careful listen the album’s complexity and depth begins to reveal itself.
Ulcerate‘s brand of technical death metal is compelling precisely because it challenges so many of the established tropes that have emerged in the genre over the last decade. This New Zealand group are certainly incredibly gifted musicians, and the technicality and complexity of their music more than proves this. But more than this, Ulcerate understand the importance of the raw feeling of an album, and of atmosphere and songwriting. The heaviness has to serve some kind of end: Sheer technicality, speed or brutality can never compensate if an album lacks in these departments. Shrines of Paralysis is a majestic, haunting record encapsulating vitriolic misanthropy redeemed through violent, decadent beauty.
Dead Congregation prove that it’s not necessarily about doing something first, it’s about doing it better than anyone else out there. There’s nothing ground-breaking or innovative about their music, but when a new release by them makes its way into the world, you’d better be paying attention.