Rumblings From the Underground: Purson, Abnormality, Fallujah, Kawir + Rising
Another week, another batch of killer albums from bands making all sorts of waves, err... rumbles... in the underground! Another week, another pun about the column's title. Will I shake it up next week? Doubtful.
As always, I've spotlighted the best metal albums coming out this week with death metal battering Abnormality; the glimmering techdeath of Fallujah; the blackened folk art of Kawir; Purson's late '60s indulgences; and Danish sludge rockers Rising. Scroll away, see if my opinion jives with yours and if it doesn't I'm sure you'll let me hear it!
But first... the news! I should call it the olds considering it's a recap from the week. Where's my coffee?
Cough sound like they're about to drop the album of their career. The new song "Dead Among the Roses" burns loooow and sloooow with a thick, warm production. Droning, haunting clean vocals draw parallels to Electric Wizard along with black tar riffing. As far as I'm concerned, that's the highest praise a band of this ilk can receive.
Hollow Bones are one of the most ripping hardcore acts in New York right now. With their album Lionheart slated for release on May 27, they've released a music video for "The November Diaries." A careful balance of melody, speed and beatdown riffs, their name should be Broken Bones instead.
Vale of Pnath have taken tremendous strides since the promising The Prodigal Empire in 2011. The techdeath outfit's newest track, "Blacker Than," marries symphonic elements with technical precision and ear-catching arrangements.
Abnormality, 'Mechanisms of Omniscience'
The words "sick" and "brutal" are too liberally applied in death metal, but Abnormality's "Mechanisms of Omniscience" reminds us why we started using those words in the first place. The band's second album is a ripper start to finish, employing powerful grooves, dazzling technicality and some of the best snare work around.
From the first notes of "Swarm," slam collides with techdeath, resulting in a fresh and edgy sound in a saturated genre. Vocalist Mallika Sundaramurthy takes a calculated approach to her delivery, leaving plenty of space for the music to breathe. Other highlights include the dizzying "Hopeless Masses" and closer "Consuming Infinity."
Fallujah are often and unfairly lumped into the deathcore tag, but have shed that style long ago. The techdeath outfit have managed to put a fresh spin on their sound utilizing glistening, rather simplistic leads on Dreamless, giving off an ethereal element furthered by gorgeous clean female vocals.
Comparisons can be drawn to Mithras and Sarpanitum regarding the lead work as Fallujah tear through crushing rhythms and fast-fretted madness on the manic pacing of "Adrenaline" and moody "Abandon." Their wall of sound approach can be distracting at times, but "Dreamless" and "Fidelio" offer enough reprieve to make up for it.
Kawir, 'Father Sun Mother Moon'
Kawir play a hardened style of black metal with folk overtones that work in a symbiotic nature rather than a bold emphasis strictly on the folk elements. Their sound closer resembled Skyforger and Nokturnal Mortum (politics aside) than acts like Eluveitie and Turisas.
Father Sun Mother Moon is a masterfully composed record with heroic melodies striking a balance with the band's shit between triumph and hellacious battle. "Hercules Enraged" is a drinker's delight with a sing-song melody, but if you're looking for something a bit more vicious, jump to "Dionysus" or "Mother Moon."
Purson, 'Desire's Magic Theatre'
Retro rock is undeniably on an upswing and Purson defy all sounding passing over retro in favor of a full-tilt, genuine trip back to the late '60s / early '70s, and I do mean trip. Their latest is Desire's Magic Theatre, or DMT for short... I told you I meant trip.
Each member contributes on their own level, making for an album with a sum greater than its parts. The title track is an overture of sorts, veering off in all directions from riff-centric to psychedelic and mystical. "The Window Cleaner" is the catchiest song here and DMT is lined with other standouts like "The Sky Parade" and "Mr. Howard." Don't sleep on this album.
Rising, 'Oceans Into Their Graves'
What would you get is Mastodon, Sahg and Kyuss had a threeway? Probably Denmark's Rising. Oceans Into Their Graves stands as the quintet's third album and if you bow down at the altar of the RIFF, here's your new preachers.
While the band's influences are apparent, Rising are more than imitation with a focused and developed sound rounded out by heavily accented drumming most apparent on "Burn Me Black." Uptempo but careful with the pressure applied to the gas pedal, Rising tear through swinging jams like "Old Jealousy" and "Death of a Giant" with lasting impact.