Welcome to the latest edition of Short Sharp Shock, where we take a look at some of the shorter metal releases that are out there.
I decided for this edition to focus on bands that operate on the more modern side of the metallic spectrum. Some of these groups incorporate elements that will have your classic black, death, doom, heavy, etc. metal purists running for the hills, but that’s probably even more reason to check them out.
Band(s): Derelict Dream
Style(s): Progressive/Modern Metal
Duration: 36 minutes
Release date: March 23, 2019
This is synth-enhanced modern progressive metal, with plenty of atmosphere, a firm djent presence, and a slight thrash edge. The band mix Lamb of God, Meshuggah, Gojira, and Periphery-style influences to create an engaging and enjoyable release. I like that although you can hear these bands in Derelict Dream’s music, the band have their own take on these and the tracks here are no mere clones of bigger bands. The songs are well-composed and demonstrate an easy charisma. Although definitely of the modern metallic strain, they don’t suffer from feeling plastic or overproduced, which bands of this ilk can often fall foul of.
I’ve really enjoyed this. The band’s mix of accessible aggression, harsh vocals, atmospheric orchestral synths, and soaring cleans is a very enjoyable one. I can’t wait to see what Derelict Dream do next.
Band(s): Odds of an Afterthought
Title: Through Eyes of Change
Duration: 19 minutes
Release date: May 14, 2019
Odds of an Afterthought play electronically-enhanced modern metalcore with more of an emphasis on the -core side. They deal in big riffs and shouty verses with melodically emotive and cleanly sung choruses. Of course, it’s been done many times before, but the band are clearly passionate about what they do and are not lacking in skill.
There are some nicely-done melodies here to back up the heavier parts, and the singer is a clear asset here; he has a good shouting/screaming voice, and an equally good clean singing voice that sees him avoiding many of the more annoying and whiny tropes that this sort of thing can frequently fall into.
The music, while still sounding professional and clean, is slightly less polished than the norm, (particularly the drums), which makes it easier to enjoy the songs.
Overall this is an enjoyable release from a band apparently transitioning from their more hard rock/metal roots. I look forward to where this takes them in the future.
Style(s): Melodic Metal
Duration: 5 minutes
Release date: March 4, 2019
Melodic and emotive, this is a very fine release from this band. Combining electronics and modern progressive elements with a strongly written structure and professional sheen, this is a pretty damn good song. It’s mainly cleanly sung and the track focuses on emotional content and atmospheric depth more than anything else. The synths and strings are gorgeous and rich, and the singer’s voice is full and impactful. The song is very, very good if you have a penchant for this style of music.
If Resolve can sustain this sort of quality across a full album, then they’ll be a real force to be reckoned with.
Title: Hitech – Lowlife
Style(s): Industrial Metal
Duration: 4 minutes
Release date: April 15, 2019
This is a collaboration between New Zealand band Kaosis and Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares. The track mixes big beats with industrial aggression and metallic attitude, coming across as a mix of bands like Slipknot, Downthesun, Mudvayne, and the like, along with a touch of Pitchshifter, The Prodigy, and, yes, Fear Factory at their more atmospheric.
This is a song I can easily imagine going down well live or in a club, and its charisma comes from its ability to use rhythm; in most aspects, this song flows through a main rhythmic core – guitars, drums, vocals – and is then added to with some atmospheric aspects. It works more than it doesn’t, and with a few tweaks to their sound, a future album could be an interesting proposition.
Band(s): Alpha Wolf
Duration: 18 minutes
Release date: April 19, 2019
Here we have a raging and angry slab of modern metalcore that also throws some elements of nu-metal into the mix. The band uses melody well to accentuate the heavy rhythm guitars, but Alpha Wolf are generally a band that focus on the latter rather than the former for most of the EP. They also focus mainly on the core side of the metalcore equation, with plenty of chugging breakdowns and sharp, snarling shouts.
There’s little respite from the heavy guitars and aggressive vocals throughout this EP, and that’s just the way I like it. My common complaints with this sort of thing these days involves plastic production, soulless clean vocals, tired songwriting, etc. However, in the case of Fault, we have a strong, punchy production, no clean vocals, and mostly enjoyable songs that just want to crush you.