Metal

Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.

   

Mechanical Meets Bestial on Slam Death Metal Release "Born Into Darkness"

Fetid Bowel Infestation is a one-man, electronic metal outfit whose new album, “Born Into Darkness,” provides a gruesome addition to the slam and brutal death metal lineage. Flying in the face of the cliché that metal is the modern equivalent to classical music, Fetid Bowel Infestation comes from the lineage of brutal death metal that crawled from the primordial ooze, saw the virtuosic sweep-picking, finger-tapping guitarists and mechanically precise percussionists and shuffled back into the water to embrace a more chugging, more odious take on the genre.

 

The band bears comparison to Devourment’s classic slam death metal, with the electronic elements reminding me of German cybergrind outfit Libido Airbag. At times a bit of Mortician’s more neanderthalic tendencies creep in, though mostly by virtue of the synthetic drumming. The music is uniformly dank and sludgy, giving the whole album the claustrophobic ambiance of a damp, muggy catacomb. All of this might sound negative, but words like “disgusting” and “gruesome” are high praise for an album like this.

 

“Bathing in the Blood of Angels” begins with an atmospheric soundscape that suddenly gives way and thrusts the listener into the album. Downtuned guitars laden with distortion (HM-2 perhaps?) form a dense sonic jungle, while unnaturally low gutturals drench track after track. Throughout the album — as on the track “Wrath of Cerberus” — the meticulousness of the drum programming shows, with tasty fills and varied beats cutting through the swampish music like a machete. At times the drums even reminded me of the cybergrind flourishes one would hear on Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s “Agorapocalypse'.'

 

The electronic instrumentation and animalistic vocals work together to create a sound that is both mechanical and bestial. This is most evident on “Ancient Corpse Exhumed,” which employs screeches as well as the grunts and low growls that one hears throughout the album; all this over a precise, double-kicked rhythm section. The effect is at times dizzying, and almost always feels like a caveman bashing your head with a leg-bone. All in all, if you’re a fan of slam and brutal death metal “Born Into Darkness” is a disgusting delight.

 

- Tín Rodriguez

   

Reverence Meets Revision in Orodrim's "The Void Gazer" EP

Much of the story of American black metal involves mutations — bands taking the tropes of the largely European genre and recontextualizing them. Whether it means eschewing the more questionable politics of some of the genre’s forebears or just not writing so many songs about being cold, American black metal is constantly evolving. “The Void Gazer” is a refreshing release; it is black metal, but it eschews some of the form’s staler conventions (think impenetrable cassette production and overly linear song structure) in favor of originality. Though one can hear numerous sources of inspiration in the album’s roughly 27-minute runtime, the expansive and winding tracks remind me of Altar of Plagues, while some of the riffs would not sound out of place on Cobalt’s boundary-pushing “Gin.”

“The Void Gazer” immediately surprises the listener with its immaculate production. Starting with “The Void Gazer Part I,” the drums sound full, coupling with filthy arpeggios reminiscent of Genghis Tron circa “Board Up The House.” From there, the track unfolds into a chimeric behemoth in which chasmic, sludgy riffs quickly give way to clean, progressive-sounding guitar grooves and then to rapid-fire, tremolo-picked, blackened ferocity. Shrieked vocals mingle with low, deathly growls, giving the song the feeling of a beast that may very well swallow the listener up.

The second track, “A Citadel of Birch,” provides a necessary eye in the storm. The song is an intimate instrumental performed on classical guitar, with a fire crackling in the background — the sort of thing that might heighten suspense towards the end of a full-length release. On this EP however, the song functions as an interlude — if “The Void Gazer” is a journey, this track is a moment of respite by a campfire, steeling oneself for whatever trials lie ahead.

And “The Void Gazer Part II” does not hold back: it is a chugging continuation of Part I, with doom-metal guitars, punctuated by the type of rhythmic passages that would not be out of place on a brutal death metal album. Though the vocals are largely obscured, one can discern words like “wretched” and “wicked” creeping through the murkiness, adding to the track’s vitriol. The song builds on the beastial vivacity of the first part so well, that by the time the final lines have been shrieked it feels almost as if the EP has devoured itself.

All in all that’s gonna be a “kinda great” from me!

- Tín Rodriguez

   

Aziola Cry "And Cowards"

Instrumental Prog Metal group Aziola Cry has released visuals for the latest single and opening track, "And Coward", from their forthcoming album, The Ironic Divide, which is set to be released on March 26th.

This is the trio of Jason Blake on Warr Guitar, Mike Milaniak on guitar, and Tommy Murray on drums, and this will be the band's third album.

   

From Those Ashes "Drown The Earth In Sorrow"

Metal brand From Those Ashes have released the opening track, "Drown The Earth In Sorrow", from their forthcoming EP, "Lamentations", which set to be released on February 26th.

From Those Ashes is the work of Aaron Pokoj (Vocals/Guitar), Jose "Mop" Valles (Lead Guitar), Ryan Compton (Bass), and Omar "Pockets" Diaz (Drums).