Back with that monthly slice of heaviness, it’s Getintothis‘ Mark Davies here to show you what’s what.
So we return to the fold once more, this dark corner of Getintothis known as Dysgeusia, the skewing of taste towards something more metallic.
It’s April and the days are certainly a bit brighter than they were, even if it is just some cruel joke designed to deceive you into going outside. Only for you to then realise it’s still f*cking freezing and you aren’t wearing nearly enough layers to deal with that.
Don’t even talk to us about that wind either, hair ties are all but useless in the face of that blustery bastard.
Complaints about the weather aside however, and we find that it has been a pretty fantastic month in terms of new metal releases and announcements. Those doomy, stoner metal lads in OHHMS, who just happened to play a co-headline show with Hark very recently, put out their new tarot-inspired album The Fool on the last day of March (via Holy Roar Records) and what a mammoth it truly is.
Much like the band’s live performance, this is a meaty and textured release with more clean vocals than we are perhaps used to from the genre, but that is certainly no bad thing. Comparisons could be drawn to post-metal acts such as The Ocean, or Bossk, but OHHMS bring their own unique psychedelic sludginess that really puts them at the forefront of the UK Doom scene.
The track linked below, The World, is actually quite indicative of where the band is at now in their lives, and as a first single, it’s a stunning introduction to what they are capable of. If you take into account the meaning of The World card in a tarot deck, you find interpretations that feature recurring phrases such as “a completion of a major life cycle” and “all of your efforts are finally paying off”.
For OHHMS, this could not be more apt for a band that have come so far in such a short space of time, and achieved what they have. Give them a chance and we foresee heaviness being revealed in your immediate future.
OHHMS – The World (Holy Roar Records)
When it comes to fusing sci-fi and death metal, there unfortunately aren’t a huge number of bands that can pull it off well, with bands like Wormed, Portal, and Coma Cluster Void being some exceptions.
Another exceptional band to fall into this particular niche is a criminally underrated and little-discussed band from New York, Artificial Brain, whose 2014 debut album Labyrinth Constellation completely rewrote the rulebook on how to merge dissonant death metal with cosmic themes and concepts.
Now, this month the sci-metallers are back with their sophomore effort Infrared Horizon (out on Profound Lore) to radically alter our perceptions once more. After a number of spins it is our great honour to say that this is the honestly best music Artificial Brain has ever written. It takes all of the great elements of their debut, the off- kilter dissonant riffing, the blasting drums, and the astronomical lyrical concepts, and expanded upon each of them in new and inventive ways.
We can now hear some black metal influences creeping in too, along with some slightly more melodic passages such as those found in our featured track, Synthesized Instinct. That, coupled with that pervasive oppressive quality the band have made their own, which feels like you’ve been thrown out of an airlock, freefalling into the atmosphere of a terrifying world you do not recognise, this is stellar work from a band that is in dire need of more recognition, do yourselves a favour.
Artificial Brain – Synthesized Instinct (Profound Lore Records)
Swinging in through the open window with swords akimbo, we have those crazy ska-metallers from Canada, Ninjaspy, with their second full-length album Spüken (independently released) since their debut Pi Nature’s release almost ten years ago!
Though they put out a long awaited but ultimately unfulfilling EP No Kata, the accompaniment to a graphic novel of the same name, in the interim, its’ meagre 10 minute running length did little to appease the hungry appetites of their now global fan-base, who were aching for new material.
Their debut then, an eclectic fusion of a thousand pointy influences from reggae to ska, from math-metal to punk, and everything in between, was always going to be difficult to follow, but once again this month we are pleased to tell you that Spüken nails it.
The culmination of ten years worth of touring the globe alongside the likes of Periphery, Twelve Foot Ninja, Protest The Hero, and actual ninjutsu training, have resulted in a sophomore album that not only channels their sound in a much more comprehensive and fluid manner, but is also impossible to not move your body to.
Spüken oozes finesse, the kind that can only be tempered through time and experience, and it is deathly catchy. Take our featured track as an example, Speak, groovy basslines and ska guitars flow over a staccato drumbeat, until the explosive chorus blasts its way into your ears.
The track, much like the rest of the album, is densely layered yet never feels cluttered, and the polyrhythmic riff that runs throughout Speak binds it all together into a cohesive whole, with vocalist/lead guitarist Joel’s irreplaceable grit laying down hook after hook. Now is as good a time as any to jump on the Ninjaspy train, just be prepared to dance your ass off whilst dodging shuriken.
Ninjaspy – Speak (Self-released)
Much to our detriment, we have to admit that we only very recently found out about progressive instrumental metal band Outrun The Sunlight, but Lord, are we glad we did!
The guys from Chicago have been putting out beautiful music since 2011, but it wasn’t until their latest effort Red Bird (independently released) that we really had to stop to appreciate what they have been doing. This is a blissful 30-minute journey that you will never want to end, from reverb-dripped clean guitar sections, over undulating bass grooves, gliding ebow solos over aggressive polyrhythms, everything sounds utterly gorgeous and wide-open.
The production is superb and a welcome contrast to the over-compressed waveforms that plague progressive metal these days, with comparisons easily drawn to Lantlôs’ 2014 effort Melting Sun, or Deftones’ latter work on Gore or Koi No Yokan.
Each movement evokes a new feeling within the listener, and sometimes those emotions aren’t clearly defined, lying somewhere between hope and melancholy, love and loss, even nostalgia for an earlier more carefree point in your life.
We were recommended that, for the optimal experience,we should listen to this with our best pair of headphones while watching the sun rise, and we can tell you first hand through the waves of frisson and the tears of joy frozen to our faces, that it was a good call.
The title and featured track, though also serving as an introduction to the album, does a great job at setting the mood for what is to follow, and hopefully will entice you into checking Outrun The Sunlight out for yourselves.
Outrun The Sunlight – Red Bird (Self-released)
Keeping on the instrumental track for a little longer we bring you news of a new Scale The Summit album on the horizon, In A World of Fear, due out 19 May on their own label. It’s probably easier to list the bands these guys haven’t played alongside in the modern metal scene, they have been around for that long, and their sound has gone through a multitude of evolutions since their debut Monument in 2007.
This newest iteration, a much more aggressive and percussive take, is a welcome change of pace from the rather saturated mid-tempo tapping and shredding pigeonhole the band had become stuck in for the past two albums.
That is not to say the quality was any lower mind you, but it is good to hear the band stretch their picking hands and double kicks a little more. Comparisons are obviously being drawn between Scale The Summit‘s newest singles and fellow intstru-proggers Animals As Leaders, particularly with that more percussive sound, but that can only be a good thing we reckon, why should Tosin and Javier have all the thumping fun to themselves?!
Our featured track Witch House is a definite winner, with finger tapped melodies striding atop percussive palm muted staccato’d riffs, some sweet shredding, and a solo from neoclassical metaller Angel Vivaldi. It sounds like it might be a little OTT on paper, but Scale The Summit, over these past ten years, have mastered the art of pacing themselves and giving the riffs room to breathe, and we think you’ll like what you hear.