USA, Independently Released, Technical Progressive Deathcore
This year more than almost any other in recent memory has taken a good deal of indisputable facts about Death Metal and completely leveled them; Six Feet Under finally released a good album, Nile is running their music and legacy into the ground and most shockingly of all, I’ve found yet another Deathcore band besides Abiotic that I can honestly say produces work on par with quality Death Metal.
Exactly what kind of black magic fuckery is this? Deathcore is set to die like Nu Metal and other rancid fads before it and NOW the bands every skeptic and acerbic critic has been waiting to prove them wrong about the whole genre materialize out of thin air? Am I the only one who’s completely perturbed by this? Where was ‘Dissension’ when Suicide Silence was just beginning to make Hot Topic fangirls who write Naruto fan-fiction/smell like old meat wet their panties? Why wasn’t Abiotic around in 2005 to act as an alternative to Job For A Cowboy’s ‘Scene Kid Bible’? (Doom) If this kind of quality Deathcore (never gonna get used to typing that) had been around to counteract the Chelsea Grins, Thy Art Is Murders and Whitechapels, maybe this genre could have actually gotten off the ground. Maybe instead of only catering to skinny jean wearing suburbanite dickholes who think moshing means flailing around like an epileptic in a swimming pool, a genuine foundation could have been laid for actual growth. Deathcore could have taken form not as a bunch of xXhardcoreXx Big Chocolate fellaters but as a legitimate derivation of Death Metal that could have, in time, grown to provide a worthy counterpart to its parent genre.
Of course, that’s exactly what DIDN’T happen, so here I am once again in the (insufferable) position of finding a worthy Deathcore band and having to preface my appreciation for them with ‘No, it’s not scene kid fodder’ and ‘Yes, Death Metallers CAN actually dig this’. Really, being one of the select few Deathcore bands worth talking about in legitimate metal circles is a difficult proposition for a band like Aegaeon; much like Abiotic, an average discussion about their music becomes less about what a fantastic job they’ve done and more of the same bizarre looks and puzzled exclamations an inconceivable notion like ‘quality Deathcore’ fetches. Instead of talking about Jim Martin’s phenomenal vocals, Nick Scott’s killer bass work and drumming/guitar riffing that’s simultaneously brutal and beautiful, I have to defend myself against accusations of liking poser music. Thanks a lot Blowjob For A Cowboy/Suicide Nylons/Bring Me The Hairstraightener, ya talentless milk toast cuntsicles.
So, as if the rant I just concluded wasn’t enough of an indication, Aegaeon is indeed the kind of genuinely brutal, shockingly technical and stereotype defying Deathcore I had heretofore thought only Abiotic was capable of. However, as similar as they are in that respect, Abiotic and Aegaeon could not be farther apart musically. Jim Martin, while indeed an exceptional vocalist, doesn’t utilize any of the soul piercing highs that Ray Jimenez perfectly implemented on ‘A Universal Plague’. Drummer Justin Bess of Aegaeon also takes a more offensive approach in his compounding of the band’s sound whereas Andres Hurtado took a more defensive approach. I don’t think one is necessarily superior to another, but it does has implications on the overall sound and style of the band. Moreover, the guitar work featured on ‘Dissension’ is more ethereal/intangible than that of ‘A Universal Plague’ while also being much more in-your-face with the groovier aspect of their guitar work. A kind of ‘bludgeoning subtlety’ if you will. ‘Dissension’s technicality is more atmospheric while it’s brutality is front and center at all times. It’s a mixture that ultimately cements Aegaeon as a thoroughly unique mixture of progressive, technical and brutal elements that could have so easily gone wrong, especially given that this is Deathcore. As it actually transpired however, ‘Dissension’ is the second breath of fresh air in a genre comprised of almost nothing but sulfur and carbon monoxide. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place?
As I briefly touched on before, Jim Martin is one hell of a vocalist. Sure, he specializes exclusively in lows but these aren’t Phil Bozeman/Big Chocolate ‘Look Ma, I’m growling like a big kid’ lows. The vast majority of Jim’s vocals are downright nasty. Sinister. Hell, even some actual Death Metal growlers don’t even come close to how good Jim sounds here. (*cough* Glen Benton *cough cough*) The icing on the cake is even as destructively low as Jim’s vocals are, the comprehensibility hasn’t been sacrificed one bit. That’s the true mark of a worthy vocalist in my honest opinion. Sure, there are plenty of legendary vocalists who’ve shrugged off comprehensibility like a supermodel shrugs off holding down any bit of food but death growls and enunciation are not and never have been mutually exclusive and it’s nice to see a modern outfit that understands that, especially when they play a style of music dominated by pig squeals and inhales like a two dollar submissive in ill fitting pants.
‘Dissension’s ultimate success, much like ‘A Universal Plague’s ultimate success goes beyond fulfilling the impossible demand of quality Deathcore. Both releases transcend any and all stereotypes of both Death Metal and Deathcore to deliver something distinctly their own. Could I spend a whole mess of time listing off Aegaeon and Abiotic’s influences? Absolutely but I would be missing the larger victory; in a sea of stale copy & paste outfits, stagnating creativity and lackluster debuts, Aegaeon comes out of Indiana playing Deathcore no less and still manages to be one of the most promising modern bands out there. They’ve taken breakdowns and made them not only listenable but genuinely moshable. They’ve taken a genre known for effects laden one note inhale bullshit, non stop generic chugging and childish counterculture lyrics written only to sell units at Hot Topic and instead gave technicality/brutality junkies like myself a gourmet dinner of ethereally progressive guitar riffs, roaring vocals, proactively destructive drum work, fantastic bass lines and to top it all off, production quality equivalent to a quality studio mix and lyrics detailing cosmic destruction instead of sub nu-metal ‘I HATE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING!’ whining.
I want more from this band and if you’re at all curious about this release, don’t hesitate to check it out. This is one of the best modern debuts I’ve heard in some time and aside from that, it’s a Deathcore release that’s ACTUALLY worth a damn. Well done gents. Can’t wait to hear even more on July 20th when ‘Being’ hits.