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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Reviews: De Profundis, Kite, Alkaloid, The Shiva Hypothesis (Reviews By Paul Scoble)

De Profundis: The Blinding Light of Faith (Transcending Obscurity Records)

The Blinding Light Of Faith is De Profundis 5th album. This is the follow up to 2015’s huge Kingdom Of The Blind album. So, is this a worthy successor? Well, yes. In fact, it’s better! The band has dropped the long song lengths and progressive influences, that made Kingdom such an interesting listen. But, don’t worry, De Profundis have become more focused, more brutal, more taught, and are now using their formidable technical virtuosity to beat the living crap out of their listeners. This is still technical death metal, but it is as extreme as this form of extreme metal gets. The riffs are tight and intense, the solo’s, although beautifully played, are used to back up the ferocity of the riffing.

The album is dense, but not impenetrable, repeated listens help the complexity of the riffs and rhythms to open up. After 5 or 6 listens I was still discovering new aspects of this album. There are also some black metal influences in the guitar and vocals, the second track War Be Upon Him being a case in point. The lyrical content is consistent with their other releases. These guys are not fans of religion, particularly the Abrahamic religions. Song titles such as Bastard Sons Of Abraham, Godforsaken and Opiate Of The Masses make it clear that something bad happened to this band when they were attending Sunday school. 

De Profundis have produced a fantastic extreme technical death metal album with The Blinding Light Of Faith. The album is strong enough to stand up to repeated listens, in fact, it’s such a complex piece of brutality that it Demands repeated listens. Highly recommended! 8/10

Kite: The All Penetrating Silence (Sludgelord Records)

Norwegian 3 piece Kite clearly have a problem with being easily distracted. Formed in 1998, it took them till 2007 to finalise their lineup and release some some music ( 2007’s The Hook, The Line, The Sinker). The bands other projects (Tombstones, Dunderbeist, Stonegard) have obviously kept them busy, as in 11 years this 4 track EP is the first music they have produced. The 4 tracks on offer here fit loosely into a doom/post metal template. Powerful mid-paced riffs with a combination of clean and harsh vocals, mixed in with some interesting rhythmic, make this an interesting preposition.

The other influence here is grunge. This is apparent where-ever clean vocals are used, the track Pissingwell (song about recovering from a urinary tract infection? “How are you”? “Much better thanks, I’m Pissing well”), where I can definitely hear Alice in Chains or Soundgarden elements. The All Penetrating Silence is a really enjoyable listen. Good, solid songwriting, with lots of melody. I’d definitely like to hear whatever they do next, just don’t make us wait 11 years! 7/10

Alkaloid: Liquid Anatomy (Season Of Mist)

This is progressive technical death metal supergroup, Alkaloid’s second album. Coming 3 years after 2015’s The Malkuth Grimoire, Liquid Anatomy is a monster of a progressive death metal album. This album is not shy with its progressive elements, opener Kernel Panic is probably the most progressive of all the songs on offer here. The band have definitely been influenced by King Crimson and Yes. I can even hear elements of The Police in some of the clean riffs (none of this is particularly surprising considering the caliber of the musicians in all of those bands). Although this album is packed with progressive influences, the death metal is never far away. This band contains members, and ex-members from, Obscura, Necrophagist, Blotted Science, Dark Fortress, Abhorrent and many other giants of technical death metal. Musically, this is a virtuoso demonstration of how insanely good extreme metal musicians can be. The riffs are intricate, but accessible, aggressive and intense, but also beautifully tuneful. 

The leads are about as good it gets in this sort of music. Every member of the band puts in an incredibly expert performance, I can’t really single out any particular member, everyone excels. The songwriting is there too, these are strong, memorable melodies that keep you coming back for more. Despite the crazy musical skills of the musicians, they never loose sight of what is important, great songs. Obviously, there are similarities with some of the other bands that share members with Alkaloid. Second track on the album Decreed By Laws Unwritten is very similar to the track Ocean Gateways from the Obscura album Omnivion. But, as Alkaloid feature 2 ex-members and one current member of Obscura, it seems a little disingenuous to criticise them for it. 

The album finishes with the monster 20 minute epic Rise Of The Cephalopods (clearly fans of calamari). The song features many different moods and is a beautiful closer to an incredibly complex, well written album. If you’re still waiting for the next Necrophagist Album (face it guys, it’s never going to happen), and the last Obscura album was a little bit simple for you, then this is essential. Best technical death metal album I’ve heard in years! Highly recommended. 8/10 

The Shiva Hypothesis: Ouroboros Stirs (WormholeDeath Records)

The Shiva Hypothesis are a Dutch Blackened Death Metal band, who formed in 2012. Ouroboros Stirs is their first album. The album features 8 tracks, with one track being an intro and the track Build Your Cities On The Slopes Of Mount Vesuvius being a mid album interlude (featuring a badly tuned piano), so it’s 6 tracks proper. This is fairly uncomplicated death metal, the ‘Blackened’ part being a slightly dirty sound to the production. The vocals are very high in the mix, and my be a little of an acquired taste, I don’t mind them, but if you do have a problem with them, then their prominent position may be problematical. The main problem I have with this album is that it feels a little lack lustre. I found, after a couple of listens, I didn’t really want to listen to it again. 

There aren’t any parts thats grab you and make you want to listen to it. The production feels a little off. As I said before, the vocals are too high in the mix, and the guitars don’t feel very organic. This feels like a band that is still trying to find a sound and an identity. It’s the bands debut album, so this isn’t really surprising. Strangely, the bast song on the album is the last song “Spirit Adrift”, which features clean guitar and vocals. The clean vocals are very good, better than the harsh vocals, and the song is well written and tuneful. The Shiva Hypothesis have produced a solid, if not very inspiring debut. Hopefully, they will build on what works on this album, to produce something better in the future. 6/10

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