Sunspot Effigy (2011)
Canada, Instrumental Technical/Progressive Death Metal
Well, this is certainly more interesting than most of the EPs you see every day, and this is also only the second instrumental death metal band I’ve ever found, Sepia Dreamer being the first. I can also see this and Obscura’s Omnivium going hand in hand.
The best way I can think of describing this sound is mixture of Rings of Saturn’s Embryonic Anomaly and Obscura’s Omnivium, minus the vocals. Throw in a bit of Sadist’s drum patterns in there and you’ve got a Canadian band mixing influence from the US, Germany and Italy. I’m sure the other acts that influenced this 3-song EP spread around the globe better than peanut butter spreads over chocolate. Every section is inspired perfectly.
The guitar sound is absolutely spot on for the sound these guys aim for. The guitars are both loud and audible in the mix, despite the riffs being more drum-driven. The separate drum volumes are also spot-on.
Musically, these guys are at the caliber that the gods of tech-death play at (Ouraboros, Viraemia, Dying Fetus, Cryptopsy, etc). The guitar fits perfectly with the drums for an unstoppable force during riffs. Just look at the main riff of Refulgent Shadow, the opening song. It’s the sort of drum beat I love getting to write and work with, the guitars are going at it like hell, and the pinch harmonics do nothing but add to the constant rhythm. And all in free metre, it seems.
What strikes me as odd is how the music is so progressive, yet so easy to listen to. It’s not like Dream Theater’s Octavarium or Train of Thought, where the progressive signatures are left unnoticed until the fourth listen. It took me hours before I realised that the verse of These Walls had 3 bars of 6 beats, hen 1 bar of 5, all repeated. But with Antikathera, you notice the free time signatures, but can still headbang pretty solidly to this.
In conclusion, this is the beautifully crafted underdog league of the ever-intriguing world of Canadian technical death metal. A true gem, sadly lost in the rough. These guys deserve more exposure among death metal for what they do, as very riff, every harmony, every discord and conjunct arpeggio is lost in a metropolis of Myspace embedding.