Sunday, February 18, 2007

Death Metal Is Not Noise, It Is Art ...

When I was in highschool, my first real concert (I'm not including my visit to the Grand Ole' Opry with my Mom, though that was fun). As previously mentioned, I had "heard" about a band called Varga via my Stepbro. And when I saw a notice that Varga were playing at Manhattan Rocks (RIP) in Burlington, my fellow metal head buddy Statsy and I hit the show. The opening band was Encased (whose one member Andre Plante is, I think, a cousin of a friend of mine, which I only found out afterwards).

Encased played old school crunchy death metal with groove. The show was great and I thought it was neat that the drummer performed behind a black curtain. It wasn't till the next day when I commented on it, that I learned about drum machines. Upon listening to their cassette "The Artist" I purchased from the show you can recognize the mechanical rhythm and timing of the drums that just sounds too *neat*. Mind you, when your flailing around a dance floor banging your head, you couldn't tell. I've heard far more mechanical sounding drum work since and I must say Encased have done a fine job with the programming. The drums are not inhumanely fast or complicated. They are kept simple and traditionally death metal and blend
beautifully with the music.

I find with Encased's album "The Artist" that it feels like a lesson in keeping time. This is not a bad thing, the drums are perfectly fit to the mostly mid-paced riffing of the guitars and bass. Don't expect wailing solos or complex time signatures. "The Artist" is straight-forward pummelling brutality. And I love it. Encased are not trying to impress virtuoso's, they are trying to crush 'em. This is a solid 5 song EP (same songs repeated on side 2 which is nice) of a band who had some real potential.

"The Artist" begins with "Modus Operandi" a slow chunky, brutally heavy tune with an unsettling intro and bridge. "Innocence Lost" picks up speed and adds some groove without losing the brutality. The title track follows with a dark intro and mid paced chaotic riff work very melodic and groove laden. The drum programming here is nice too. "Guilty By Conscience" blasts into you without warning and is fast and heavy. The album closer "Thy King" is rhythmic and heavy and features a tambourine percussion which adds a unique quality to this brutally driving song.

All the songs except "Guilty By Conscience" begin with a sampled recording of spoken dialogue much like Carcass's "Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious" which was neat and the vocals are straight forward death metal. They have an airy quality and are low but never drowned out. The production quality is quite good.

The band I don't think did much else, but this album had a lot of promise and was a real treat.

Up next is the headliner of this gig, Varga. A fine Canadian thrash band.


Blogger José Carlos Santos said...

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3:58 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I agree, very good post here, and though there's too many practitioners who are mimicking each other, there is definitely a high art to death metal

9:33 PM  

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