I know I said I would do a real review and not another of these, but I couldn’t help continuing down the list to see if I missed anything great.
The first album is Desecresy’s Chasmic Transcendence. The first thing that jumped out at me when putting this on was its truly heavy sound. I’ve listened to a lot of albums that have brutal or noisy or distorted sounds to them, but it has been a while since I’ve heard a return an old school heavy sound.
The opener is one of my favorite tracks. They use a two against three pattern (a triplet pattern layered over an eight note pattern) to create a chaotic sense of drifting through some dark netherworld. In later tracks, you find similar interesting rhythmic complexity.
The tempos stay consistently on the slower end giving the album more of a doom feel rather than death metal. But this is not a hard rule. Some of the tracks do pick up the tempo a bit into a more familiar old school death metal sound with minor arpeggios sometimes chromatically altered in order to sound like melody that might be found on a horror film soundtrack.
Despite the fact that I love the sound of the album and the interesting techniques hard to find anywhere else, I think I still don’t get this one as a whole. A lot of the tracks fell flat for me. This dragged down the appeal of the album. Maybe with more time, I’ll find some appreciation for these tracks.
Here’s a sample:
For the next album, I must give a shoutout to Can This Even Be Called Music? which recommended it: Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble’s Not Dark Yet. This is some sort of “heavy metal big band.” As an avid metal listener, I would classify them more as an experimental jazz band with metal influences.
At first, I was worried that the band would rely entirely on the “gimmick” for its appeal. But this works far more naturally than I expected. I almost never thought in terms of the genre mixing. The ensemble has guitars and uses some ideas you find from metal, but it is one coherent whole.
This music is extraordinarily complicated at times (rhythmically, harmonically, melodically, you name it) and settles into an awesome groove at other times. I’ll warn you that there is a fair amount of improvisational soloing if you aren’t into that thing, but there are also pieces that are entirely composed. I wouldn’t let a such a small part of this album scare you away.
Despite the chaos, sometimes the band pulls out some absolutely beautiful moments filled with just the right amount of dissonance as on my favorite track “Fog over East” (unfortunately not available free on the bandcamp for the sample). These moments of tranquility are made all the more wonderful for being in the middle of a sea of turbulence.
It is a shame I didn’t come to this earlier, because I am in love with it. It surely would have made my top albums of the year list. I’m not sure what else to say. Here’s a sample: