Enterprise Earth, The Chosen (MNRK Heavy 2022)

The new Enterprise Earth album is big enough to swallow a battleship whole and fierce enough to spit out razor blades.

Enterprise Earth has only been around since 2015. That doesn’t seem possible – feels like they have always been here. The band’s long-player entry into the heavy music scene was the rule bending Patient Ø, and since then they have proven time again to be a fundamentally important inventive force in the genre. They play a technical death metal style that faces few rivals. Their most recent album was the 2020 EP Foundation Of Bones, and now we have The Chosen. The musicians are Dan Watson (vocals), Gabe Mangold (guitar), Brandon Zackey (drums), and Rob Saireh (bass).

The new album is a big one, with fourteen tracks and a running time of over an hour. The opening song is “Where Dreams Are Broken.” How about that for a thematic kickoff? There is a short ramp and then no fucking around with killer bass lines and battering percussion. The guitars slash through the jungle of complacency while the vocals present no alternative to complete attention. A pseudo-melodic chorus does not slow the momentum of the construction. Instead it focuses the grievous message and serves to amplify the awe as the song continues.

The technical precision of the band’s guitar work is well known and amply in evidence here. “Unleash Hell” is the perfect example, and there are many more. Most of the songs have moments and movements that peer into different perspectives, altering tempo and plight, style and substance. The pace is savage and relentless overall, save the two short transition pieces and the closing gambit. The title track is an epic that places the situation of the theme at the center of the fray and explores its many refractions. As an Enterprise Earth fan, I couldn’t have asked for more. Recommended.

The Chosen drops on Friday, January 14th through MNRK Heavy. Investigate the choices at the links below.

Band photo by Chris Klump.

Links.

Band website, https://enterpriseearthband.com/

Bandcamp, https://enterpriseearth.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/enterpriseearthband/

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/

Enterprise Earth, The Chosen (MNRK Heavy 2022)

Hadal Maw, Oblique Order (Blighttown Records 2021)

New music from Hadal Maw brings anticipation and trepidation into your orbit – Oblique Order.

The band came together about ten years ago in Melbourne, Australia. Their music is a savage blend of technical death metal with strong dissonant elements. They have released two full-length albums, Senium (2014) and Olm (2017), and most recently the EP Charlatan in 2018. The newest album, Oblique Order, is set to come out on the last gasp of 2021 and delivers four breathtakingly immersive songs.

“Fetishize Consumption” has a discordant, sore opening followed by ravaging vocals and percussion. The soaring eeriness of the quieter harmony lines is disturbing in the context of the other musical elements and serves to set you on edge and start you tipping. The intention of the song couldn’t be clearer.

“Oblique Order” is a ticking bomb with a monstrous bass line and hissing, endangering vocals. Fear is leveraged with certainty and intentional chaos to create an overwhelming aural experience. “Future Eaters” syncopates its way into your brainstem with limber tendrils where it grows into an immovable entity with dubious but undeniable efficaciousness. Jerk your head all you want and still it sticks.

“Vile Veneration” courses the home stretch, and it is the strangest of the lot in my estimation. The imbalance it provokes is formidable. The sound is built in towering sheets and released in waves that surround and penetrate. There is a light repast at one point but it serves to further impress the feeling of inevitability rather than offer any respite. This music is some of the most resounding death metal I have heard this year. Recommended.

Oblique Order is out on New Year’s Eve through Blighttown Records on CD, vinyl, and digital.

Links.

Website, https://www.hadalmaw.com/

Bandcamp, https://hadalmaw.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/hadalmaw

Blighttown Records, https://www.blighttownrecords.com/

Hadal Maw, Oblique Order (Blighttown Records 2021)

Atræ Bilis, Apexapien (20 Buck Spin 2021)

The first full-length album from Canadian Death Metal venturers Atræ Bilis is a warning shot across the bow of musical mediocrity.

Formed in 2018, Vancouver Death Metal band Atræ Bilis released its first album last year, Divinihility, through Transcending Obscurity. That EP was an earth-shaker that created anticipation for what the band might do next. Apexapien answers that question. The band is Luka Govednik (drums), Jordan Berglund (vocals), Brendan Campbell (bass), and David Stepanavicius (guitar).

The opener is a two minute stabbing attack, “Theta.” Absolutely furious. Death Metal vocals break through in the next rack, “Lore Beyond Bone,” featuring harmonies and frenetic percussion and guitar accompaniment. It is like a flock of birds in rapid flight, undulating and twisting but somehow always retuning to a recognizable form.

The album treads this line throughout, the chaos-in-order brutal technical Death Metal. While the style is present on every track, variations abound. Blackened harmonic vocals interact synergistically, especially on tracks like “Hymn of the Flies.” These are some of my favorite moments on the album, but I am impressed overall by the ability and ingenuity of the musical enterprise.

You can hear all manner of labelable crystals in the music from the discordant to perpendicular angularity to experimental avant-garde. To make these diverse ingredients into a workable whole is an accomplishment in and of itself, but to make them musically sound is nearly impossible because if you make one wrong step then it is just noise. Atræ Bilis never take a wrong a step. Recommended.

Apexapien is out on Friday, October 8th through 20 Buck Spin. The vinyl will be out a little later as all record labels deal with the backlog at the vinyl pressers.

Band photo by Derek Carr.

Links.

Atræ Bilis Linktree, https://linktr.ee/atraebilis

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/atraebilis

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/

Atræ Bilis, Apexapien (20 Buck Spin 2021)

The Scalar Process, Coagulative Matter (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

French death metal band The Scalar Process unleash their first album, Coagulative Matter, and it is full of fine detail and virtuoso flourishes.

According to the Metal Archives the band is Eloi Nicod (guitar), Mathieu Lefevre (vocals), Cédric Mells (drums), and Alix Guéneau (guitars). When you listen to the album you might be surprised that this is their first because it is so complete and polished. The speed is matched by precision and the compositions remain organic in their determinism.

There are eleven tracks on the album, including three short non-vocal interludes. The first principal track is “Cosmic Flow,” and it continues the mystery of the opening element while adding the actual death metal vocals and guitar savagery. The music is usually described as technical death metal and I would say that is accurate. It often lands as a progressive treaty, as here in this get-to-know-you song, and the prog takes many forms even in this one track, ranging from impossible performances on every instrument to spacey moments of exploration.

The stage having now been erected, it is time for the show. “Ink Shadow” is positively rabid in the blurring speed of the presented notes. “Celestial Existence” includes the continued demonstration of ability and notches up the theater noticeably. “Mirror Cognition” is a “Planet Caravan” type track for the first half – almost soft jazz. Then the lead guitar takes a Zappa-esque turn setting up an absolute explosion of rage in the final minute. Very unexpected, and this is my favorite track.

The big set piece is the title track which runs eleven minutes, making it a glaring epic when held up against the other songs. It has several distinct movements and in that way it operates like a suite. It is an incredible accomplishment, this song, holding together the central concept for such a length while exploring the theme’s many avenues and variegations. It is very hard make music like this that is enjoyable for the listener and not just a recitation of technical abilities, and that is exactly what The Scalar Process has done with Coagulative Matter. I find myself listening to it intently, overtaken by the music and genuinely amazed. Write this one on the short list. Highly recommended.

The usual array of amazing products are available now from Transcending Obscurity – take a look at the Bandcamp page or the label’s homepage for details.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://thescalarprocess.bandcamp.com/album/coagulative-matter-technical-death-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TheScalarProcess/

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://tometal.com/

The Scalar Process, Coagulative Matter (Transcending Obscurity 2021)