Album Review – Construct Of Lethe / The Grand Machination EP (2016)

The letters from Lucifer to archangels Gabriel and Michael after his fall to Earth as reimagined by Mark Twain, all embraced by a dark and dense atmosphere crafted by an amazing project led by veteran musician Tony Petrocelly.

Rating5

tgm-album-cover“Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm.” – Letters from the Earth, by Mark Twain

Taking inspiration from Letters from the Earth, a posthumously published work of American author Mark Twain (1835–1910) with the title story consisting of eleven letters written by the archangel Satan after the fall (as he views the rise and fall of Christ) to archangels Gabriel and Michael about his observations on the curious proceedings of earthly life and the nature of man’s religion, The Grand Machination, the brand new EP by American Death Metal band Construct Of Lethe, will fulfill your needs of well-written extreme music with a dense and meaningful storyline complementing all the reverberation and aggressiveness flowing from the instruments.

Although the band is based in the city of Woodbridge, located in Northern Virginia, in the United States, Construct of Lethe are an international musical collective representing both the simultaneous culmination and dissolution of numerous bands and projects such as Against the Gods, Bethledeign, Xaoc, Dead Syndicate and Pain Tank. Formed in 2010 by multi-instrumentalist Tony Petrocelly, the band released on the first day of 2016 their debut full-length album, entitled Corpsegod, but it seems Tony and his henchmen didn’t want to wait too long to provide their fans another blast of their technical and dark Death Metal, culminating with the release of The Grand Machination in the beginning of October. Featuring an obscure cover art by Paul Gerrard and with vocalist David Schmidt reinterpreting and perverting Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth, The Grand Machination brings forward a fresh view of the story for the ones who have already read the book, and a fantastic introduction to anyone who’s in touch with it for the very first time.

In the opening track, titled Lux in Tenebris (“light in the darkness”), an ominous intro is joined by dark and heavy guitars before a demonic fusion of Death and Doom Metal impregnates the air, with Dave sounding like a poet from the underworld declaiming the song’s beautiful lyrics (“Embrace me Thanatos that I might fall / Seduce me Hypnos that I might lap the silver waters and forget / But lo, at his heel bone I stood shackled and forced to witness / My glass eyes were held open by another’s will”). In addition, veteran drummer Kevin Talley, who has already worked with renowned bands such as Suffocation, Six Feet Under and DevilDriver as well as underground bands reviewed by The Headbanging Moose like Omega Diatribe and ThrOes, makes sure his beats reach the perfect level of complexity and obscurity requested, enhancing the song’s impact on the listener.

construct-of-letheDeath and Doom Metal are then joined by hints of Black Metal mainly due to the blast beats by Kevin, consequently making the whole ambience even more frightful, in Ascendit Ex Inferos (“he ascended from hell”), with its lyrics reaching a whole new level of obscurity (“Hear uttered a child’s creation / Upon festering incantations carried with miasmic breath / Logic castration, a eunuch of natural order”). Furthermore, it’s Tony who steals the spotlight with his cutting riffs in this maleficent tune, supported by Patrick Bonvin and his excellent solos. Then it’s time for the entire band to increase their brutality and fire the most demonic of all songs, titled Apotheosis Calvarium, where Death and Black Metal are united in a putrid and menacing way and Patrick once again delivers his share of amazing guitar solos, while Dave is the devil incarnate on vocals just the way the concept of the album demands.

Expandentes Putrescat (“spreading rot”) is where Construct Of Lethe get truly blackened, an intricate composition showcasing bestial drums and flammable guitars, surrounded by a hellish atmosphere that goes on until the song’s eerie conclusion; followed by Bibere Venenum in Auro (“drink poison in gold”), a traditional Death Metal song with highlights to the grotesque growls by Dave and the barbaric aura crafted by Kevin behind his drums. Yet again, Patrick keeps firing his old school solos nonstop, adding more electricity to this dense and somber chant. Lastly, the title-track The Grand Machination brings more darkness to the listener with its melodious guitars and Doom Metal-inspired drumming. The second half of the song leans towards a crude mix of Black and Death Metal, with its neck-breaking riff accompanying Dave and his Stygian poetic growls as the proper conclusion to this disturbing album.

You can visit the band’s official Facebook for more details on their music, listen to their obscure Death Metal on their YouTube channel (where you can take a shot at the entire EP, by the way), and you can grab a digital copy of the album at their BandCamp page, which includes instrumental demo versions of two of the regular album songs with a Cannibal Corpse-inspired vibe as bonus tracks. In Letters from the Earth, there’s an excerpt about the Bible that says “it is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.” Well, maybe we should say the same about The Grand Machination, adding to that the album’s excellent riff-writing and demonic ambience. I bet Mark Twain and Lucifer would both agree with us on that.

Best moments of the album: Apotheosis Calvarium and The Grand Machination.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Edgewood Arsenal Records

Track listing
1. Lux in Tenebris 4:48
2. Ascendit Ex Inferos 2:42
3. Apotheosis Calvarium 5:26
4. Expandentes Putrescat 5:03
5. Bibere Venenum in Auro 3:16
6. The Grand Machination 4:13

Digital Edition bonus tracks
7. Apotheosis Calvarium (demo version) 2:12
8. Bibere Venenum in Auro (demo version) 2:15

Band members
Dave Schmidt – vocals
Tony Petrocelly – guitar, bass
Patrick Bonvin – lead guitars

Guest musician
Kevin Talley – drums

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Album Review – ThrOes / This Viper Womb (2016)

After a few years in the making, the Tasmanian devil Trent Griggs and his henchmen finally bring to life over one hour of unrelenting flesh-eating Dissident Metal not recommended for the faint-hearted.

Rating4

THROES_TVW_COVERWhat I’m about to say might sound a bit cliché, but based on the aggressive and defiant nature of the music found in This Viper Womb, the brand new album by Dissident Metal act ThrOes, I believe we should start calling this awesome band from Hobart, the capital and most populous city of of the Australian island state of Tasmania as the “Tasmanian Devils of Extreme Metal”. Tasmanian devils are not only hostile carnivores, but also extremely asocial and neither demonstrate nor respond to affection, behavioral attitudes that match perfectly with the vicious vocal attacks, savage guitar riffs, crushing drums and even the idiosyncratic sounds of an instrument called EBow found throughout the entire album. In other words, ThrOes are unleashing a wild beast upon humanity, and it seems they’re not worried at all about the noxious effects of their music on the human mind.

Conceived by multi-instrumentalist Trent Griggs in December 2003 and having released a four-song promotional demo titled The Drowning Rituals in 2005, this interesting Avant-garde Black Metal one-man project has been going through a slow and steady process of evolution and materialization, impacted by several factors such as Trent’s perfectionism (a good element in this case, by the way), the distance between Trent and the other musicians who helped him in This Viper Womb, and also his time off in 2015 to focus on the birth of his first son Dorian. Now in 2016 it’s time for Trent, together with Australian vocalist James Ludbrook (Damaged, Terrorust) and the bestial American drummer Kevin Talley (Chimaira, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Six Feet Under, DevilDriver), to envenom the world with the uproar caused by the ten distinct compositions from This Viper Womb.

As soon as you hit play and the opening track Permanent Midnight starts, you’ll face the spoken words by Terence Mckenna taken from the lecture “Culture And Ideology Are Not Your Friends”, presented at the Whole Life Expo in Denver in April 1999, just to show you how unconventional ThrOes are. Thus, it doesn’t take long for the atmosphere to be filled by the sick screams by the unstoppable Trent, sounding like a heavier version of the iconic Mike Patton, with all instrumental pieces being obscure, violent and reverberating, not to mention the song’s lyrics depicting the torments of a disturbed mind (“Holes for filling / With drink and smoke and coke and dope / and crack and smack, xanax, prozac, / panic attacks, terror attacks / It’s a head shrinker’s racket but they’re kidding no-one, we are drowning in this”). This is one of the craziest types of music you’ll find anywhere thanks to our Tasmanian friends, and that madness goes on in Shock to the Guts, another perfect example of what Dissident Metal means. Kevin simply kicks ass with his precision in this innovative fusion of Black, Death, Industrial, Doom and Progressive Metal, piercing your ears while the guitar solos bring some serenity amidst sheer rebelliousness.

The sinister Dead Lights already starts with Trent growling like a demon, with the additional vocals by James Ludbrook increasing even more the pandemonium generated and the bass lines by Trent adding a lot of groove to the music. Now you better get ready for eight minutes of distorted passages and desperate harsh vocal lines in Conscience Makes Cowards (I couldn’t agree more with the name of the song), which sometimes gets to such a high level of progressiveness you might get lost in time and space until Trent calls you back to reality with his hellish screams; followed by Nothing Left for the Vultures, an explosion of sharp growls and metallic riffs by Trent accompanied by the beyond complex drumming by Kevin.

throesCutting guitars and the deranged vocal duo Trent and James are the main ingredients in the extremely heavy Nowhere Else, a unique composition that leans towards Progressive Black Metal, with its second half being a descend into the underworld so disturbing it is until it finally reaches its hopeless conclusion. The eccentric title-track This Viper Womb, which emanates progressiveness and obscurity, is a funereal ode to dementia with sluggish beats and bizarre sounds in the background while insanity keeps growing and filling the song’s atmosphere, and ThrOes bring forward more Extreme Metal to you in Lavish the Anguish, full of distortions and focusing more on instrumental pieces in the first half before Trent and James begin their vocal onrush, boosting the song’s ferocity.

If you survived ThrOes’ merciless strike of extreme music until this point of the album, their coup de grâce comes in the form of Feed It, a furious Black Metal-inspired chant showcasing harmony and despair mixed in the riffs and anguished vociferations by Trent. Moreover, I guess I don’t need to say how amazing the drums by Kevin sound once again in this boundless turmoil of Dissident Metal, right? And what better way to end such a distinguished amalgamation of crazy emotions and sounds than with an eerie instrumental outro that goes on for over five minutes? That’s what Trent offers us all in D.N.A. Corruption before returning to his obscure lair in Tasmania.

The exotic and blackened world of ThrOes can be better appreciated through their Facebook page, YouTube channel (where you can listen to the whole album with lyrics for every song), SoundCloud and official blog, and you can grab your copy of This Viper Womb at the Aesthetic Death Records’ webshop. In This Viper Womb, the Tasmanian devil Trent and his henchmen bring forth over one hour of unrelenting flesh-eating Extreme Metal not recommended for the faint-hearted, finally putting the vastly wild and mysterious Tasmania on the map of heavy music for the total delight of fans all over the world who are always searching for this type of fresh and innovative band.

Best moments of the album: Permanent Midnight, Dead Lights and Feed It.

Worst moments of the album: Conscience Makes Cowards.

Released in 2016 Aesthetic Death Records

Track listing
1. Permanent Midnight 4:54
2. Shock to the Guts 7:16
3. Dead Lights 6:41
4. Conscience Makes Cowards 8:29
5. Nothing Left for the Vultures 8:41
6. Nowhere Else 6:52
7. This Viper Womb 6:02
8. Lavish the Anguish 5:15
9. Feed It 6:31
10. D.N.A. Corruption 6:00

Band members
Trent Griggs – vocals, guitars, bass, ebow
James Ludbrook – additional vocals
Kevin Talley – drums (session)

Album Review – Omega Diatribe / Abstract Ritual EP (2015)

Open your mind to the groovy and heavy music by this Hungarian act and you might survive the transmission.

Rating4

cover_HDThere’s a secret ancient writing stem from an unknown alien civilization, a contract between Humans and Aliens about the use of the planet Earth that states Humans could only use the Earth in a limited time, and when our time is over they’ll come back and take us to a higher level planet. However, only the open-minded people could survive the transmission. The government calls it Omega Diatribe, which is also the name of an amazing Hungarian Extreme Groove Metal band formed in Budapest in 2008 by guitarist Gergő Hájer and bassist Ákos Szathmáry.

After the release of their first promo track Forty Minutes, in 2012, and their debut full-length album entitled IAPETVS, in 2013, those Hungarian metallers return stronger than ever with a brand new EP called Abstract Ritual, where they not only keep delivering groovy polyrhythmic metal music, but they also continue their persevering trek through the limitless potential of the human mind. In other words, it’s another auspicious case of elaborate Heavy Metal permeated by an enthralling concept, and if you are a habitual reader of The Headbanging Moose you know how much we value that type of work.

That futuristic view of the world, as well as the power of the human psyche, are already explicit in the modern Thrash/Groove Metal of the opening track Subsequent Phase, with the resonant bass lines by Ákos adding a lot of power to the music. In addition, lead singer Gergely Komáromi translates the message of the lyrics into sheer aggression with his growls, enhanced by the clean and professional production of the album. Right after that promising start, it’s time to get even more barbaric and bang your fuckin’ head to the dark throbbing tune Extrinsic, which offers the listener very thoughtful lyrics despite all the violence found in it (“Don’t push me / Let me decide the fate of body / Questions remain unanswered / Leave vigor for my time / That included doubts / And eternal uncertainty”). Moreover, guitarists Gergő Hájer and Attila Császár deliver those eerie riffs perfect for this type of contemporary metal music, building a much stronger atmosphere that ends up elevating the overall quality of the song.

In Hydrozoan Periods, the band continues the upbuilding of their high-end metal music, with progressiveness and heaviness walking hand in hand. The last part of the song showcases all the anger and skills of the musicians, with highlights to Ákos and drummer Kevin Talley for the cohesive sonority they put up together. The title-track Abstract Ritual is another groovy and heavy feast, showcasing once again the aptitude those guys have for delivering an interesting concept through their lyrics (“How could it be absorbed in the mind when I’d concealed my senses? / And it returns. / It’s me sitting around the sun with these beings / I’d sunk the key for my projections into a cube and swallowed / To attach the new molecules / To be the eye”), not to mention the great performance by Gergely, who puts his heart and soul into singing and screaming those beautiful lyrics.

omega diatribeAnd in order to provide the EP a fresh ending, Omega Diatribe present the instrumental track The Quantum, where the main ingredient is a very interesting speech by the illustrious American esoteric philosopher Terence McKenna, and an alternate version for Unshadowed Days, from their 2013 debut album IAPETVS, which sounds like a completely brand new song to my ears. I personally prefer this new version especially in terms of sound quality and the extra layers of complexity added to it, but you can listen to the original one HERE and take your own conclusions.

There are countless ways to know more about Omega Diatribe and keep in touch with the band, either through their Facebook page, YouTube channel, SoundCloud and, of course, by buying their music at their BandCamp page or at the 515 Studio website. Open your mind to the music in Abstract Ritual, listen and absorb, and you might become part of the selected ones who survive the transmission.

Best moments of the album: Extrinsic and Abstract Ritual.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Subsequent Phase 4:48
2. Extrinsic 4:16
3. Hydrozoan Periods 3:17
4. Abstract Ritual 4:46
5. The Quantum 3:27
6. Unshadowed Days (Perception Remix) 6:44

Band members
Gergely Komáromi – vocals
Gergő Hájer – lead guitar
Attila Császár – guitar
Ákos Szathmáry – bass
Tommy Kiss* – drums

Additional musician
Kevin Talley – drums (studio recording)

* Drummer Tommy Kiss joined Omega Diatribe at the beginning of 2015.