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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Concert Review – Wacken Metal Battle Toronto Round #4 (Bovine Sex Club, Toronto, ON, 03/27/2015)

The battle for a place among the Gods of Heavy Metal rages on in Toronto.

INTRODUCTION: Wacken Metal Battle Canada

wacken metal battle_toronto_round4This Friday, March 27 lots of metalheads showed up at the iconic Bovine Sex Club (probably the worst nightmare for a claustrophobic fan of heavy music) in Toronto, Ontario, to show their support for five promising Canadian metal bands during Wacken Metal Battle Toronto Round #4. I guess I don’t need to explain in details what a Wacken Metal Battle is, but in case you really don’t know anything about it simply go to their official website to check the RULES of this competition and the DATES AND LOCATIONS of all qualifying rounds, provincial semi-finals and finals, and the great Canadian final, as well as their official Facebook page for more details and updates on all the battles raging on across Canada. If you’re craving for fresh and electrifying heavy music, a Wacken Metal Battle is what you need.

Guest judges for this round were Jon Asher (Asher Media Relations), Oscar Rangel (Annihilator), Dan Hand (Underground Operations) and Andrew Epstein (FlinkTO), who had the privilege of watching five kick-ass bands ranging from blasting Death Metal to the most inspiring form of Power Metal: Rivers Run Red, Black Eve, Apokalyptik Warrior, Call Of The Wild and Olde. I honestly cannot say which one was my favorite, as they all delivered top-notch Heavy Metal much better than what several renowned bands haven’t been able to do in a long time. And the winner is… Well, let’s save it for the end of this review. First, enjoy a quick but candid review of each of the metal “infantries” fighting for a place among the Gods of Heavy Metal at the 2015 edition of the one and only Wacken Open Air in Germany. And sorry for the horrible photos, I had some issues with my camera.

RIVERS RUN RED

This straightforward band from Woodbridge, Ontario, was responsible for opening the night with those traditional Death Metal eviscerating vocals and demonic riffs perfect for mosh pits and brutal headbanging while enjoying a cold beer. If you want to listen to what Rivers Run Red are capable of when armed with their instruments, visit their SoundCloud page for a taste of their music. And of course, we can rest assured old school Death Metal will keep haunting Canada while talented bands like Rivers Run Red are out there.

Band members
Silvestro Lo Presti – vocals
Massimo Taglieri – lead guitar
Andrew La Porta – rhythm guitar
Matthew Trojan – bass
Anthony Ricci – drums

BLACK EVE

Led by frontman John “Deadman” Davis and delivering high amounts of energy, violence and obscurity through their music, Melodic Death Metal band Black Eve had a very professional and fun show that entertained everyone at the venue. Obviously, their evil gear and corpse paint are important elements of the band’s live performance, but it’s the music itself that stands out, with highlights to the excellent guitar duo composed by Mario Syposz and Reuben Pereira. You can take a listen at Black Eve’s demonic music at the band’s ReverbNation page, paying attention to their interesting lyrics inspired by classic horror movies and slasher flicks.

Band members
John “Deadman” Davis – vocals
Mario Syposz – lead guitar
Reuben Pereira – rhythm guitar
Cody Stanley – bass guitars
Trysten “Tragedy” Mclellan – drums

APOKALYPTIK WARRIOR

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Apokalyptik Warrior @ Bovine Sex Club, Toronto, ON, 03/27/2015

If you have no idea of what Street Metal means, the crazy bastards from Apokalyptik Warrior will teach you a lesson in that form of Heavy Metal. They do not aim at reinventing metal nor at being thoughtful or philosophical. All they wanted to do this Friday was driving the fans wild with their assault of metal riffs and harsh screams. Listen to this song by this nice Street Metal band and you’ll understand what I’m saying. In addition, it was really cool to see the guys from Black Eve slammin’ into the circle pits during Apokalyptik Warrior’s performance, showing us all that it was not actually a battle of bands happening at the Bovine Sex Club, but it was simply a gathering of friends and fans of heavy music.

Band members
General SS Ramsay – vocals, guitar
Baroness Denise Samuelson – bass
Battery Sergeant Adam ‘Mortal’ McLaughlin – drums

CALL OF THE WILD

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Call Of The Wild @ Bovine Sex Club, Toronto, ON, 03/27/2015

The third band of the night was a sign that the Heavy Metal gods are more powerful than ever, delivering their message through the music by awesome bands like Call Of The Wild. What an amazing and cohesive five-piece Torontonian Power Metal band, with songs such as Voyager being a beautiful tribute to everything we learned to love in the music by Iron Maiden, Helloween, Iced Earth and so on. And do I need to say anything about the stunning guitarist Cyndi Zhang? Her guitar lines are outstanding, not to mention that her true Asian beauty adds an extra touch of awesomeness to the band’s live performance. She deserves to be a “Metal Chick of the Month” here at The Headbanging Moose one day for sure. Anyway, what are you waiting for to heed the call of the wild?

Band members
Power Serg – vocals
Cyndi Zhang – guitar
Tom Stanley – guitar
Mark Nicholson – bass
Chris Maniac – drums

OLDE

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Olde @ Bovine Sex Club, Toronto, ON, 03/27/2015

Closing this amazing night of heavy music, it was time for some low-tuned riffs and deep growls with Doom/Sludge Metal band Olde, directly from Malton, Ontario. Olde are indeed another exceptional band with such a professional and heavy sounding it’s hard not to bang your head to their doomed music. Frontman Doug McLarty has a strong voice that helps the band deliver all the despair they want with their music, but it’s the work done by guitarist Greg Dawson and  drummer Ryan Aubin that truly maintains Olde’s music quality so high. Go to their SoundCloud page and also to their BandCamp page to listen to their debut full-length album, entitled I, and you’ll see why they were one of the chosen bands for this round of Wacken Metal Battle in Toronto.

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Greg Dawson – guitar
Chris Hughes – guitar
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums

AND THE WINNER IS…

As a matter of fact, there were two winners that made it to the next round of Wacken Metal Battle in Toronto: APOKALYPTIK WARRIOR with their sick Streel Metal, and the power metallers from CALL OF THE WILD. Congratulations! It was indeed a well-deserved win for both bands, and I cannot wait to see how far those two excellent groups can go in the competition. Who knows, maybe Wacken Open Air this summer? There are still other battles to go in Toronto and everywhere else in Canada, so they better get ready for a lot more of this healthy and fun metal war if they want to gain their place among the Gods of Heavy Metal in German territory this year.

And just as a final note, if any of the bands above (or any other indie band all over the world) read this review and are about to release new material, you can always get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page and have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose, as well as have your music sent to The Metal Moose Radio. How about that, eh!?