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#73 - Occasional Greatness. Hybrid Circle and Virtual Lakai

Two bands in the spotlight today. I know neither of them very well, so it’s short again.

What mad me put Hybrid Circle and Virtual Lakai into one post is that listening to their respective albums gave me quite similar feelings, apart from their slightly different style. There’s quite some potential in both of them and both albums have some really great passages where all the elements they employ come together perfectly. But I kinda feel that most of the time they aren’t quite there yet. Still definitely enjoyable as both albums are very competently put together, though, so give them a listen:

#72 - Closing in. D Creation

This one actually just came to my mind. They released their new album not too long ago, so it might be a good point to mention D Creation.

I would have had to mention them anyway, though, as D Creation have shown a rather interesting development over the years. I talked about how closely this whole Newschool Melodic Death Metal thing headed by In Flames and Soilwork is related to Modern Metal. And I think it is rather obvious if you listen to album like “Route To Remain” or “Natural Born Chaos”. But it is still always nice to have a band that actively shows, in some way, how the two genres are connected stylisticaly.

D Creation do just that in the way of transition. They started out with a pretty straight Newschool Melodeath style of Metal on their first EP “Pace Helvetia”:

Complete with chunky but still earthy and lead oriented riffing, slightly orchestral electronica and songwriting focused on poppy choruses. You already hear a certain general groove orientation in their riffing and the electronica also play a larger part in the sound than you may be used from bands like, say, Soilwork

They expanded on those things on their first full length “Silent Echoes” in 2009, showing certain Meshuggah-influences in their riffing, even more bombastic electronic layers and an even more poignant celebration of their choruses (which are beautiful by the way) and an even more free distributions of varying vocal styles. Here’s an impression:

By the way: Listen to it. It’s a criminaly unknown album, if you ask me.

But they went further from that point on and put even more emphasis on Meshuggah-influenced more cold and precise riffing, cutting back a tiny bit on the omnipresence of the electronic layers; getting a slightly more Industrial sound in the process. Here’s what they sound like on their 2014 effort, “Moderate Album”:

You can pretty clearly see how they arrived at what we can without a problem call “Modern Metal” by adjusting just a few tendencies in their music from album to album.

By this relatively smooth transition their development clearly shows how stylisticaly close and probably mutually influential Newschool Melodeath and Modern Metal actually are. Plus, they’re a great band, of course.

[sidenotes - Mircea on Mnemics indefinite hiatus

Just a short sidenote. After a long time of silence, Mircea, lead guitarist and founding member of Mnemic, finally explained the situation:

Apparently the chances we will hear from this band again are rather small to basicaly nonexistent, as Mircea obviously doesn’t want to play this style of music anymore. A bit sad, if maybe understandable. I might disagree with what he has to say about djent but I don’t like to argue opinions based on taste.

But for the purposes of this blog, I’d like to point a tip of your attention at the third paragraph where he talks about Mnemics original main influences. Having my model of Modern Metal confirmed, if only in this very small instance of one band, by an artist himself, carries some value for it’s validity, I’d say.   

#71 - A sense of familiarity. Biomortal

After quite some posts that were swinging a bit more towards the periphery of Modern Metal, into Modern Progressive or Industrial Metal, let’s swing back to the core for a sec.

If you’re searching for typical Modern Metal, Biomortal may actually be one of THE go-to bands right now, besides Arsafes and a few others maybe. But you probably don’t know them anyway as they are not exactly amazing with promotion. After waiting several years with barely any news and updates at all, finally they released their second album “Genesynthesis”, which you may perhaps very well see as their debut album, as their actual debut album “Dirge” had a bit of a demo-character (still good though).

Biomortal play a style of Metal somewhere between Townsends harder solo-stuff, SYL and Fear Factory, highly reminiscent of Sybreed. They actually share not only parts of their vocal approach with Sybreed, but also a certain flow of riffing. Remember when you first listened to “Slave Design” (assuming you did) and were overwhelmed by how Drop was just riffing and hammering away those damn cool grooves seemingly without thinking about technicality at all? That’s the flair Biomortal evoke at quite somepoints of the album. It’s straight forward, unrestrained, simply fun riffing. Flavored with huge (and I mean huge) chorus melodies that don’t fall in the trappings of cheesiness.

It might not all be brilliant, some passages might sound a bit too familiar to someone who listenes to this kind of music a lot, but it is a damn good album that manages to capitalize on the formula far more often than not.

Have a listen:

#70 - Electronic vibes. S4D and Return To Base

Let’s have a look on two artists that just released their new EPs. They can be conveniently talked about in one post because they share some of their most striking features and they are connected by personel, if only weakly.

S4D as well as Return To Base follow a course we have seen quite often here, last with Protafield: Fusing Metal and Electronica equal parts, in a fashion of synthesis, where both sides are mutualy contributing to a shared overall sound, instead of one side just emphasizing or helping the other. And these two projects actually do it exceptionaly well. Both are largely carried by Aleks Jaćeks great use of various styles of electronica ranging from ambient-y sounds to D’n’B. While his own Fusion-background becomes a bit more obvious on S4D, where it is accompanied by the dark raging blackened Industrial Metal input coming from co-artist Alex Rise (of Tyrant Of Death).

Here’s their new EPs for a taste:

#69 - Striking balance. Kinetik

Got some serious problems of deciding what to do first. There’s quite some interesting stuff coming out, some actually quite surprising. S4D, Return To Base, Biomortal… but I guess I should start with Kinetik, as  I seriously didn’t see this EP coming.

I discovered Kinetik with their debut full length “Heavier Elements” last year, which also caught me by surpise. They strike a very interesting balance between the dry, hammering but still relaxed meandering of early Math Metal/Modern Progressive Metal bands like Textures and a very song focused approach. In combination, this makes the rhythmicality stand out in a way you don’t actually hear that often, while keeping a Progressive, very atmospheric air.

Here’s their new EP “Relativity Speaking”:

P.S.: Oh man, apparently this is their goodbye EP. That is mighty sad.
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