Exploring a variety of extreme metal traits and breaking up the intensities with elements inspired by soundtracks and world music, this 2018 release from Akhenaten is very interesting. It certainly isn’t your run of the mill death metal release. But then, you should expect nothing less than a sense of adventure and a progressive attitude from an album that “explores the forgotten paths of history” and is “steeped in the mythology of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia”.
Boss Keloid are a scary bunch. They’re one part art rock, two parts progressive metal, three parts sludge and seven parts obsessed with ‘Zodiac’ era Melvins. On their 2018 LP ‘Melted On The Inch’ they use those influences and their many quirks to challenge, frustrate and eventually entertain. Providing your mood is right – and this is the very definition of a mood record – it can lead to a fascinating trip.
For years, it felt like The Fierce And The Dead were a band that few people knew or talked about. Then, at some point prior to the release of their ‘Magnet’ EP in 2015, they started getting semi-regular coverage in Prog Magazine. This helped them to become a cult band in the truest sense, though it still seems odd that they’ve been so embraced by the prog crowd. They’re far beyond the Genesis, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater clones that so much of the Prog audience seem to hold so dear. Their previous releases have had a progressive bent, it’s true, but their artier side has taken in elements of Fugazi and other angular noise-makers that would normally make your average prog fan run for the (Solsbury) hills. There’s a tale that suggests, apparently, at one indoor prog rock event, The Fierce And The Dead managed to half empty a room. For all the talk, some prog fans are anything but progressive in their tastes.
Creating a hybrid metal-based sound of doom, grunge, sludge and progressive metal, Awooga floored at least half of the competition with their debut EP ‘Alpha’. Taking cues from Deftones, Tool and Amplifier, the band created a sound that went far beyond being just a composite of its influences; a brilliant technical ability and a melodic vocal often contrasting the heaviness made it very compelling listening.
Approximately eighteen months on, the Sheffield-based riff-meisters have created something rather special in their first full length album. ‘Conduit’ takes everything that was great about the EP and refines it and improves upon it, but without any temptation to make it more commercial. The production is amazing; the songs – if indeed they are songs as opposed to a collection of amazing riffs with a vocal weaving in and out – each showcase a band who’ve really taken their time in making sure everything is almost perfect. And it shows: there’s barely a note out of place , and with the album clocking in at an old fashioned forty minute running time, there’s been no temptation to waste a second of it.