Tag Archives: Progressive Death Metal

Mindpatrol – Vulture City

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I figured I’d end the year the way I started it: with a review of a local band. There is, to my knowledge, no band in Luxembourg that is as productive as Mindpatrol, since they are about to release their third full length in more or less five years. They stick to their concept album approach and this time around they are taking us to Vulture City, a drug infested dystopian setting! Are you ready to take the trip with me?

I realize that I’m sounding like a broken record here, since I said the exact same thing last time around, but the sextet continues to evolve in remarkable ways. Their sound has become a little more concise, settling comfortably in, what I would consider, progressive death metal and the band seems to know exactly what works, and what doesn’t. The result is a fifty-one minute journey that is jam-packed with memorable riffs and impressive drum patterns. Fun fact: this is the first time that the drums were actually recorded and not created on the computer…and can definitely be heard and felt!

The other factor where Mindpatrol really stand out, to me, is their songwriting, which I would rank among the best in the country. It is one of my main critiques I have with local bands especially, since most of them are fairly solid musicians, but the songs rarely have that extra little something that makes them stand out. While not every single one of these ten songs has “hit potential”, the vast majority is truly well-written and has a nice flow to it. Solos complement the riffs superbly, a good example being toward the end of He, Summoned By The Needle, and small, almost hidden, details like subtle licks every now and then really add a ton of depth. The ensemble is rounded off by a truly massive production quality, that makes every note shine even more!

On the predecessor, one major selling point was the fact that the weakest part of the debut album, the clean vocals, was completely scrapped and replaced by shouted vocals. Ironically enough, I am happy to say that the cleans have found their way back into the fold. Having taken the negative comments to heart, the vocalist decided to completely start from scratch and improve his technique to bring a fresh wind to the mix…and it worked! While he won’t be singing acapella at weddings quite yet, it is a real joy to hear the vast improvement and makes me excited for what is yet to come. I won’t spoil any of the story, but I would consider it the most original and risqué one to date.

What can I say? Vulture City is a major step forward for Mindpatrol and I am convinced that it will appeal to a fairly wide audience, if given the right exposure. To get an idea of what I mean, just check out the brilliantly filmed and edited music video to Her Dire Sacrifice below, and I dare you to not hum that intro along after you’re done listening to the song. The band is putting on a really cool release show this Saturday, December 9th, at Kulturfabrik in Esch, so make sure to swing your behind over there and in the meantime visit their Facebook page for more info.

At this point I’d like to thank you for another year of El Gore and you’ll read me again in a few weeks with my annual Top Ten!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsf-o1ok0ds]

Retrace My Fragments – Tidal Lock

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Retrace My Fragments - Tidal Lock
Three years have passed since the local progressive death metal heroes in Retrace My Fragments have released their skull-shattering full-length Ethereal Flux and it began to be quiet around the quintet for a while. It wasn’t until recently that they announced their return with a small EP in order to whet the appetite for new adventures to come. However, Tidal Lock is much more than just an amuse-bouche: it is a transition.

The reason for said transition is the, amicable, departure of their vocalist after more than ten years as the frontman. After several try-outs and careful consideration, the guys decided to continue as an instrumental four-piece; a choice I wholeheartedly welcome! While the Luxembourgish metal scene has a few very talented instru-bands already, I am convinced that RMF has a fairly distinct sound that will nicely fit between the existing and established formations without singers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, back to the EP: in a way the sixteen minutes sound nothing like the band’s previous material, but on the other hand they feel very much like what we’ve grown to love about the band. The song structures are on the same crazy level as before, with frequent tempo changes and numerous riffs being thrown at you in rapid succession, whereas the content is “simpler”. The technicality takes a step back in favor of the almighty beast that is groove, and it works…for the most part.

There is no doubt in my mind that large portions of these three songs were written with a vocal melody in mind and were later on changed into an instrumental arrangement, which is absolutely understandable and legit. But I am also convinced that they do not represent the final form of the new Retrace My Fragments, and that future endeavors will have that extra little something that will make people fall in love with their sound all over again.

If you want to see the band one last time as a quintet, I advise you to move your sweet cheeks over to Rockhal this Friday, where the band will hold a release party for Tidal Lock which will at the same time be the farewell for their singer. In the meantime, you can check their Facebook page for more info!

Sleepers’ Guilt – Kilesa

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It’s been almost three years since one local band underwent a line-up change that made them go from “OK, I guess” to “Nice, I do declare!” in my book. This change was in the form of their lead singer, who was previously of the power metal variant, but was replaced with a growler and thus changed the entire dynamic of the quintet…if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m going to write about Sleepers’ Guilt today! The guys are about to release their first full-length, or should I say overfull-length, called Kilesa on February 27th!

While the line-up is the same as on the 2013 released EP Road Of Emptiness, this marks the first real release in the current line-up, since the aforementioned record was written with the ex-singer in mind and even though it worked out quite well in the end, you can definitely tell what the true potential of the new sound is this time around. While the Sleepies are staying true to their symphonic and melodic roots, the songwriting is a lot heavier this time around, and almost a one-eighty degree turn, because instead of having the occasional mosh-worthy part among the progressive tunes, these thirteen songs are almost non-stop headbang extravaganza.

But fear not, SG have not descended into bland death metal or hardcore or whatever you’re picturing right now…no, no: they created a, in my opinion, perfect blend of brutally heavy and dreamy melodic parts. If I had to explain it to a stranger, I’d say that they sound like Amon Amarth, but with actually well-written and diverse songs. There’s one for the album sticker, people.

In the opener I mentioned that Kilesa was an overfull-length album…let me delve into that a bit more: the crowd-funded record is a double album which amounts to a total playtime of seventy-eight minutes! Ambitious, to say the least. Ingenious too, though. In order to avoid boredom and repetition, the second half of this opus, is a concept album that features guest vocals of Noémie Leer, of Elysian Gates, and that has a slightly more orchestral and progressive feel to it. The three songs are all around the ten minute mark and provide a wonderful listening experience.

However, this zest for action also has a negative side to it…at least for me. I am simply not a huge fan of albums that are almost as long as a friggin’ movie! I always try to listen to a record at least twenty times before reviewing it…but with a playtime like this, it’s a sheer impossibility. Maybe I’m showing signs of the fast-food society we live in, but I fear that it’s just too long for some. …and that’s what she said.

In all seriousness and in closing: Kilesa is a brilliant work of art that will capture everyone that takes the time to be absorbed by it. And if you are, like me, apprehensive about the playtime…take it one disc at a time. Trust me, it’s worth it. You can visit Sleepers’ Guilt‘s Facebook page for more information, watch the video below for a first impression and last but not least, swing your butt to KuFa on Saturday for the release show of Kilesa!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbsZz-WBOBU]

Retrace My Fragments – Ethereal Flux

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Today I have the pleasure of writing about, without a doubt, one of the most complex albums that I’ve had to deal with it in recent years. This honor is bestowed upon Ethereal Flux by the Luxembourgish band Retrace My Fragments. Their first full length is so loaded with creativity and craziness, of the good kind, that I feel like the next few paragraphs won’t even scratch the surface…but I’ll give it a shot.

The quintet plays progressive death metal, and the guys take both words very seriously: on an instrumental level it’s literally impossible to count the amount of tempo changes, both brutal and melodic riffs and mind-blowing solos…and that’s just the string department. The drums are a never-ending barrage of double bass and blast beats, which are completely unexpectedly broken by groovy parts.

The whole production has a very clean and slightly artificial sound to it; to me that is part of the band’s plan though, since it gives the whole thirteen songs a very spacey-feeling which happens to be the theme of the album, but more about that later. It is also noteworthy that the songs all flow seamlessly into each other and create a complete immersion into the music. However, it also makes it harder to distinguish songs from one another but, again, I think that is part of the idea of making it one entire experience.

The vocals are just as multifaceted as the instrumental parts, with mostly really deep growls, interlaced with screams and occasional clean singing. The latter, I have to admit, could have been a bit more prevalent since I really enjoyed them. As mentioned earlier, the central theme of these sixty minutes is space, which is the setting for a very intricate story that I can only recommend giving a read in the booklet. It is, however, useful if you understand both English and French since the lyrics are in both languages.

One other noteworthy mention is the instrumental interlude Quiescence, which just blew me away…and I’m not even entirely sure why. Something about the melody and interplay of instruments just gives me the chills.

As a closing statement, I’m gonna say that Ethereal Flux is definitely not an album that you will be able to appreciate, or even comprehend, after just one listen-through. It’s so jam-packed with details of every kind that even after ten times, you will still discover new things…and that’s exactly what makes it so special. So, if you are willing to spend time with a record, I can guarantee that you will be rewarded. For more information, be sure to visit the band’s Facebook page and to get an impression of their style be sure to listen to the song below. Last but not least, the band is holding their release party on March 22nd at Rockhal in Esch-Belval, so be sure to move your bum there if you want to be progged.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUyOPgsRlow]

Doomed From Day One – Nine Fingers

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Like my fellow writers here at El Gore, I generally choose what album I want to write about which is one of the perks of being an independent website. However, every now and then bands or their managers hit us up to ask us for a review and we generally agree since it’s fun to discover new things. The downside to that is that sometimes you are confronted with utter shite…I am very glad to say that today is not one of those days. Doomed From Day One is a rather young band from England who is about to release their second EP Nine Fingers.

The quintet plays progressive death metal with a very modern approach which features minor elements of djent and metalcore in certain passages. While their sound is certainly not re-inventing the wheel in any shape or form, they execute it flawlessly and keep it very interesting throughout the six songs. Especially the production caught my attention since it’s very well done, especially since, from what I can tell, it’s self-produced.

The guitars are quite diversified and range from pounding riffs to tasty little technicalities that leave you begging for more. However, my old deficiency of generally being unable to distinguish the bass in the mix when guitars play is being tried again…since I missed out on most of the bass during the thirty minutes of the EP. The drums don’t have to hide in any way either, since they serve you excellent double bass work as well as the occasional blast beats while the variation comes in the form of groovy rhythms and intricate fills.

On my very first listen-through I was already severely impressed by the vocal work and from time to time I felt like I was listening to Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God. The comparison has worn off after another few times but the appreciation of the quality is still there. The various screams, growls and screeches are just the way they’re supposed to be and round the ensemble off perfectly.

All in all, I’d say that England can add another band to its roster of promising bands and I’m very much looking forward to what the response world-wide will be to Nine Fingers which will be out on October 21st! For more information, feel free to visit the band’s Facebook page and don’t be shy and listen to the song below. By the way, in case you’re from the area: the guys are heading out on tour the day after the release, so be sure to catch them live.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_uVCnB8RqI]