Dysgeusia Volume #2: Death metal and journeying to the centre of the apocalypse



In Getintothis’ second metal instalment Laura Coppin contemplates her musical journey taking in the likes of Allegaeon, Godflesh, Vasania – and Ricky Martin.

In many ways, music is all about journeys. Each artist goes on their own journey making a record; the first steps forged by their musical influences, those following by their own creativity and talent.

Some journeys take longer than others, of course (IT WASN’T EVEN THAT GOOD AXL, WHAT THE HELL I COULD HAVE CREATED AND SEMI-RAISED YOUR CLONE IN THAT TIME AND WE’D PROBABLY HAVE GOTTEN A BETTER ALBUM), but an artist’s journey is never quite as long as that of a fan who truly connects with the music.

After all, most artists leave a record behind once it’s finished – whereas when an album you hear touches you, its mark stays there forever.

The recent torrent of Facebook posts on the matter may have left you groaning with despair, but fear not: this isn’t going to turn into some sort of heavily doctored list aimed at proving my metal credentials (though for the curious, the first album I ever bought entirely on my own was Ricky Martin’s self-titled English language debut. No remorse). No, this is more a reflection on the remarkable power music has to elicit deeply personal emotional reactions.

Of all of the albums that I want to discuss this month, it’s Allagaeon’s Elements of the Infinite that surprised me the most. Elements has been out for a fair few months now, so many of you may already be familiar with the joys it has to offer.

The album opens with Threshold of Perception, a track which initially begins with a soft guitar that is so Opethian it’s like having Mikael Åkerfeldt fondling himself inside your ear. The song’s atmosphere suddenly builds however, before it launches into a face-melting guitar riff so melodramatic it made me burst into laughter.

The record is a jubilant romp through the best of what melodic death metal has to offer, and I found myself unable to stop smiling until the last note of finisher Genocide for Praise rang out.

Less full of surprises are Godflesh, whose new album A World Lit Only by Fire sticks to their trademark apocalyptic groove-filled chugging. This is no bad thing of course – Godflesh are a band with a sound quite unlike any other, and the album is a prime slice of what they do best.

Similarly, Anaal Nathrakh’s upcoming release Desideratum is heavily reminiscent of their previous offering Vanitas; albeit with a heavier use of electronics. Songs like The One Thing Needful and Idol are so in keeping with their previous work that they feel eerily familiar from the first listen, boons for fans that are happy to have more variations on a very successful theme, whilst the rest of the album comfortingly features plenty of Hunt’s signature (and seemingly impossible) unending shrieks.

There are of course some key differences – the aforementioned ramping up of electronics being the most prominent, meaning that Desideratum still has a huge amount to offer those looking for something a bit different.

One very exciting release coming up is Vesania’s Deus Ex Machina, the Polish supergroup’s fourth full length album – and one fans have been waiting seven years for. Thankfully this is no Chinese Democracy (I will stop sniping now…), it’s a quality album which builds on the strengths of their previous works yet delivers something very different indeed.

Their signature sound is still there, but the music has a more refined feel to it than anything they’re released previously. The production is predictably good, and the mix is one that allows each member’s strengths to shine through. The quality of the songs does vary slightly which means that as a whole the album isn’t remarkable, though Dismay and Disillusion are stand-out tracks, but fans of the band will nonetheless find a huge amount to be delighted by.

With this talk of journeys it is fitting that I sign off, and leave you all to your wondrous own. While you sit and read this, perhaps with tea, perhaps with a skull-encrusted goblet of red wine, I will be in Nepal giving elephants baths and weeping with joy. If you thought this month was contemplative, just you wait for the next one.

Spoiler: it will contain elephants.