Hey there tech fiends, it’s that time of the week again. Before we dive into today’s focus, here’s the usual weekly reminder that if you’re looking for even more sick bands, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.I’ve been a huge fan of Tokyo natives Desecravity ever since they dropped their debut album, Implicit Obedience, in 2012 through the always fantastic Willowtip Records. Then album number two, Orphic Signs, that was released in 2014 saw the band advance further and reaching new heights against all odds. The group’s third full-length, Anathema, will see release through Willowtip Records this Friday, January 25th. We’ve got a few days early exclusive stream of the album for you to check out below. This is one hell of an album and one I suspect many of you will enjoy.
For those new to the group. Desecravity plays a very extreme form of technical brutal death metal which blends the best and most insane aspects of Hate Eternal and Origin together to create the foundation of their sound. The band then incorporates in a lot of old school influence from acts such as Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, and early endlessly blasting frenetic Cryptopsy styled ideas among others.
So, what you get throughout Anathema is insane sweeps and bonkers level tapping fretwork spliced with meaty visceral death metal inspired by numerous old school gods. The end result is, as it’s always been with Desecravity, over-the-top and incredibly intense material not for the faint of heart. Too often, bands who play this form of extreme and speed focused technical brutal death metal are often quite boring and one note, both in the riff department and in the songwriting department. To be blunt, a lot of the bands who play this stuff don’t seem to have a lot of creativity, just a desire for extreme speed with brutality at the heart of things.
Fortunately, Desecravity has never fallen prey to those amateur pitfalls, sure Desecravity blast and sweep their hearts out but the more normal death metal within what they do and the well-crafted songwriting makes Anathema a standout effort. Truthfully, those are twin traits they’ve always had, but, Anathema sees the band for the third time, somehow further pushing their own limits and the scene at large with a truly memorable offering of crushing brutal minded technical death metal. Fans of Archspire would probably dig this one big time for similar reasons.
To describe it succinctly, Anathema is rabid, chaotic, and extended blast heavy insanity much of the time. Hearing their songs is the equivalent of being pulverized to death a thousand times per track. In spite of that sounding rather “normal” per se, the material on Anathema can get real quirky and unconventional at a moments notice in a way that reminds me of Gigan which is awesome. For the first time for Desecravity, a bit of black metal makes it’s way into their music in a few songs too. And some sped up sounding Vektor-ish oddball proggy thrash tinged riffs also add a new element to what Desecravity has to offer this go around. While it’s always been a part of their sound, it’s a big plus as always that the prominent noodily bass playing adds much to the experience similar to all Mike Flore’s adds to Origins similarly extreme form of technical death metal.
This album is one of the most insane things I’ve heard in some time, and I’m happy to report it’s consistently brilliant and headbang-inducing from start to finish. It’s not for everyone, but for those who enjoy this kind of style, Anathema is going to be one of the most memorable releases of 2019 for you as far as technical brutal death metal goes. It’s that damn jaw-dropping consistently, while infused with plenty of original death metal roots and driven by well-crafted compositions that stand out from their peers. To put it simply, Desecravity are just better riff writers and stronger songwriters than 99% of the technical brutal death metal bands around. So jam our early stream of Anathema below, and if you’re digging it, pre-orders are available here and here. You can follow the group over on the Desecravity Facebook page.
But when it is done well, it can be breathtaking. And Desecravity do technical death metal very, very well indeed. They do it as it should be done: dizzyingly, quickly, furiously – but with the musicianship and songwriting to make it monstrously heavy and yet still listenable. This is the Japanese quartet’s third album and it is billed as the band returning to their “filthy, pulverising, classic and ultra technical sound”. I will have to take their word for it, as I have never heard their previous records.
It begins with an ominous violin-led intro to the opening song ‘Aeons and Ashes’, an instrumental which is dominated by a martial chug-chug-chug of guitar. It gets messy – and stays that way for the rest of the album – with the next song, ‘Impure Confrontation’. It begins like a free jazz song, but if Ornette Coleman chose flying-V guitars instead of a saxophone, before smashing us over the head with blast beats and throaty roars. However, among the hurricane of noise, there is some semblance of groove hidden within. And the extremely brief interludes of clean guitar (blink and you’ll miss it!) release the tension just enough to enable the listener to dive back into the maelstrom.
This theme is repeated throughout the album, which is barely half an hour long. Such as in ‘Ominous Harbinger’, which begins with Krisiun-style uncut death, before lurching over to a level of ferocity that approaches powerviolence, then back to regular death. And the musicians somehow not only manage to keep up with each other, but also throw in flourishes like bass player Daisuke Ichiboshi’s impossible arpeggios on his five-string instrument, or drummer Yuichi Kudo’s zillion-beat fills.
Then there is the guitar work, performed by Yujiro Suzuki (who also roars) and Yuya Takeda. Make no mistake, these guys can play. But as we have seen from the days of Frank Zappa to whoever played the piano on that ghastly song I heard on the radio last week, it doesn’t matter if you have the best musicians in the world if you ain’t got the songs for them to play.
And Desecravity do. Goodness knows what Suzuki is roaring about (it could be a dissertation on the merits of Tonkotsu ramen, for all we know – but with titles like ‘Bloodthirsty Brutes’, it is not likely), but he spews out his words in a rich bark. Yes, as odd as it may seem, vocals are important in death metal.
And tempo changes are frequent enough to keep you on your toes but not so often that your brain splits in fragments – and every so often the band break down into a groove that Gojira would be proud of, like in ‘Devoured the Psyche’, where the bassline could almost be funky. Almost.
A word should be said about the production, by Dan Swanö, the former Edge of Sanity vocalist. It is crisp and allows every note of every instrument to be heard – a necessity when there is this much going on in the record.
There will be those who shun anything with the label of technical death metal slapped on it – understandable, in the main, because there is a lot of noise out there – but you would be missing out if you overlooked Desecravity. If it helps, think of it as a really, really loud, super-angry, from-the-pits-of-Hades jazz record.
During the brief intro Aeon and Ashes, Desecravity give you a little taste of what is yet to come. Once the intro fades away, Desecravity kick everything in to incredibly high gear presenting you with sickening technicality and gut bursting brutality throughout the remaining seven tracks. Through and through Anathema is a wicked and ever skull sanding release, one that is as relentless as you would wish it to be and as chaotic and mind melting as you would imagine. From the onset, Desecravity usher forth a brutalizing sonic onslaught that tears you limb from limb with each passing minute, leaving your veins bled dry at the sound of the final note.
The technicality that Desecravity displays within this record is nothing short of mind warping and impressive. Through each track you are treated to mind bending tempo changes, insane fret work and mind boggling drumming leaving you completely stupefied. Anathema does a great job of turning your brain to nothing more than mush as it shovels out insane track after track that warps and contorts your for eight straight wicked cuts. The musicianship within this release is impressive to say the least, and with unearthly throat shredding vocals to add to the mix, you are presented with an overall slaughtering sound.
Anathema is the sound of impending doom. This is a spine twisting offering, one that shovels out track after track of nothing but top tier technical brutal death metal. Desecravity have created something malevolent and violent here with Anathema as it is a relentless onslaught from beginning to end. This is an excellent release through and through and one hell of a way to nearly end the earth before the new year barely has a chance to get started.
I’ll start by saying, I’m not a huge tech fan. As a matter of fact, “Erosion Of Sanity” would be about as tech as my normal listening day goes. But DAMN, these dudes know how to blow your mind with supreme technicality and throw in some solid DM grooves. You don’t get the “man, they rip but I gotta change it after 3 songs cuz it’s just too much” effect. Which is the outcome of my listening to many offerings from the tech side of death metal.
“Anathema” begins with an epic orchestral prelude entitled ‘Aeon And Ashes’. It gets you pumped like you’re slaying a dragon. Then ‘Impure Confrontation’ fades into a roller coaster of riffs riffs riffs, mind blowing drums, Glen Benton style lows/highs and time changes that’ll leave your head spinning.
I honestly don’t know how they do it. I had a hard time studying for tests in school. Desecravity, somehow, remembers and lays down hundreds of riffs (encompassing 5K notes) and a slew of time changes. All with spot on precision.
The stand out tracks for me are the final 3. ‘Secret Disloyalty’, being my favorite, begins with the OG DM chunk style riff that would lead many heads to tear down the bars like they’re in a Scorpions video. Then, BAM, the blastastic familiarity we’ve become addicted to. At 1:09, there’s almost Cynic(y) type guitar work layered with a beautifully hypnotic bass line and incredible high hat work. Once you’re in a trance, you’re (again) thrown into an aural hail of gunfire. Always keeping you guessing, the dudes, then reenter the Cynic section and up the ante with summoning a demonic version of Dream Theater that would leave Portnoy with a dropped jaw. After the song ending with more speedy tech onslaught, it left me skipping back in the track to soak it all in again and again.
‘Devoured The Psyche’ continues on with the formula that Desecravity has most likely made the listener a fan, if they already weren’t. Being smacked in the center of my two favorite songs, it’s still a massive massive tune.
“Anathema” comes to a close with ‘Beheaded White Queen’. To say the least, they go out with a bang. This track could possibly take over my #1 spot with more listens. Shit, it might be taking that spot as I’m typing. It’s got it all. Death metal chunk, tech, jazz, speed, grooves and vocals that I hope get the praise they deserve. Dare I say, right around 1:26, there’s a Timeghoul esque section tossed in the mix too???? Yep, I think this will take the favorite song throne, eventually. This track ends with the “Timeghoul” riff but at a slower nastier pace. WOH, what an ending!
For those weary of over the top tech death metal, listen to me (as someone who definitely prefers the traditional death metal style)….. “Anathema” is NOT an album by guys that want to out-tech the next band. It comes off as musicians that are top shelf with their instruments and want to offer a solid listen that will leave you in awe and wanting more.
I have one last thing to say: “Desecravity, if you are reading this, come to VA. I MUST see this live!
This is the type of devastating death metal that thunders by in a whirlwind of serrated riffs, jaw-dropping time changes, and barbarous brutality. The band’s relentless aggression and twisting technicality is warped and insane, seemingly kept in check only by the bloodthirsty carnage of the song structures employed.
Desecravity’s music manages to hit that oft-neglected sweet spot between an extremely technical approach and a direct, brutal one. Anathema definitely veers closer to the former than the latter, but it’s the balance between these aspects, rather than their equality, which is important here. Add to this songs that don’t allow the technicality to disappear up its own behind, as well as a singer with an impressive throaty roar, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable collection of tracks.
There’s a lot going on in these songs. Unless you’re a hardened connoisseur of the extreme metal arts it might be too much, but I urge you to stick with it regardless, as there are some real gems to be discovered here.
Anathema is a complete assault on the listener, combining head-spinning technicality with brutal savagery to great effect. I was looking forward to hearing this, and it hasn’t disappointed.
„Impure Confrontation“ eröffnet in NECROPHAGIST´scher Manier mit viel Frickelei und Fingerspitzengefühl. Jetzt schon ein Soli-Manifest, das sich gewaschen hat. Sänger und Klampfenakrobat Yujiro schreddert und brüllt sich martialisch von Riff zu Riff, dass die Funken nur so fliegen. Gelegentliche kurze Breaks runden die Songstrukturen regelmäßig ab und fügen sich gut ins Gesamtbild.
„Ominous Harbinger“ birgt fast schon Ohrwurmpotential, startet mit infernalischem Getöse, lässt es sich aber zwischendurch nicht nehmen, dem stark befeuerten Ohr kurz Luft zu lassen, nur um anschließend den mit Salz geschmückten Finger noch Tiefer in die Wunde zu drücken.
„Deprivation of Liberty“ lässt mit seinem Eröffnungsriff sogar kurzweilig so etwas wie Melodie erkennen, was dem bis dato relativ straighten Fingerkrampf-Geballer einen netten Anstrich verleiht – zwischendurch mal was Anderes. Auch hier kommen die Soli nicht zu kurz. Allerdings nimmt die Gitarrenfraktion nun, wenn auch nicht durchgängig, den Fuß etwas vom Gas und lässt dem Tieftöner mehr Spielraum. Insgesamt der vermeintlich abwechslungsreichste Track auf „Anathema“.
Während „Bloodthirsty Brutes“ in gewohnter Manier weiter erheiternd vor sich hinwalzt, fährt „Devoured the Psyche“ den Stoffwechsel allmählich runter, bäumt sich aber immer wieder auf, ohne dabei Intensität einzubüßen.
„Beheaded White Queen“ läutet das Ende der Reise ein und nimmt das Tempo gekonnt heraus; das Ziel wurde ohnehin längst erreicht – quasi ein formelles Fazit des Albums. An dieser Stelle ist das dann auch gut so, hat „Anathema“ dem Otto-Normalmetaller doch Einiges abverlangt. Ein letztes Aufbrausen, bevor man den Hörer, komplett unter Strom stehend, in den wohlverdienten Feierabend entlässt.
DESECRAVITY suggerieren den Eindruck, man hätte es mit einem ADHS-Metallarbeiter auf Speed zu tun, der seinen Entspannungskaffee mit Red Bull verfeinert. „Anathema“ stellt hier quasi das musikalische Äquivalent zur Synapsenbildung im Hirn dar: Feuer frei aus allen Rohren! Das japanische Quartett hat hier ein imposantes Riffgewitter kreiert, das dem wohlgesonnenen Fan technisch-brutaler Metallkunst viel Freude bereiten wird. Freunde der Kategorie ORIGIN, NECROPHAGIST und Co. dürften sich hier vor einem reichhaltigen „All-you-can-eat“-Buffet wiederfinden. Neulingen dieses „Wir-pflücken-gemeinsam-Blumen-im-Park“-Genres sei daher vorsichtiges Herantasten geraten, denn hier wird harte Kost serviert.
Anspieltipps: Impure Confrontation, Ominous Harbinger, Devoured the Psyche
The intensity and quality flow through this album constantly as the unpredictability continues to blow your mind with breakneck speed and pinpoint accuracy, this is by no means a relaxing listen and is so complex that you cannot appreciate it with a single listen. The first listen blows your mind, whilst subsequent experiences allow the full intricacies to be heard and appreciated.
The vocal is as brutal as the music is technical and the drumming is so pummelling and precise that it will rattle your brain and laugh as you try and recover.
This is an early contender for album of the year and certainly sets the bar for all releases that are to come throughout 2019 and also gives notice to all other Technical bands, this is the level you need to try and reach.
It is difficult to pick stand out tracks as the album is flawless from start to finish and the intensity and brutality is incredible and oppressive as Desecravity have created an album that simply crushes.
Recorded at Unisound Studio by the master of the clinical production, Dan Swanö, Desecravity have made a name for themselves for meshing the type chaotic of fretboard gymnastics that only the truly proficient can achieve with effective Death Metal churn – the chug two-minutes into ‘Impure Confrontation’ is grimace-inducing satisfaction.
There is a thin dividing line between hot mess of narcissistic widdle and effective technicality that impresses, and Desecravity know how to retain both brutality and hook and stay the right side of sensory overload, while not ignoring the need for a good headbanging groove, ‘Deprivation of Liberty’ in particular delivering on that front. ‘Ominous Harbinger’ is the album highlight, showcases their complete arsenal from the machete Melodeath introduction, via the bazooka of the grooving, sprawling middle-eight, to the shrapnel burst of pinching, slicing, speeding guitar scythery.
Who said Technical Death Metal is dead? This Japanese powerhouse knows how to churn out the heavy, technical fury, and they hold nothing back. While Tech Death is a somewhat niche genre because not everyone is into the heaviness mixed with the noodling, Desecravity will hold the attention of even those who don’t normally dig the genre. 8 / 10
After a beautiful intro on the epic side in Aeon and Ashes the technical brutality is unleashed on Impure Confrontation, the single I’d heard many times before but still haven’t got tired of. The utter chaos is created with such a technical precision it’s almost silly. Bands like Defeated Sanity, Origin and Cryptopsy will be proud to know there are bands like Desecravity out there that keeps the legacy going for years to come. If you think Impure Confrontation left you breathless then wait for Ominous Harbinger and Bloodthirsty Brutes which are two of the heaviest tracks I’ve heard in a long time and an instant favorites of mine. Anathema never lets you breath either, track after track it hits you with fast, technical and skull splitting tunes for you to devour and after the ride is over you will need to sit back, relax and take in just what the hell just happened to your now blown mind. It isn’t an easy feat to create such well crafted, well balanced, brutal techdeath that Desecravity has done. While their previous efforts were good in their own rights they weren’t finding that sweet spot between chaos and order. Now they have and we as metal fans can only be joyful that Japan gives us a band that can challenge any 2019 best of the year list in January already.
This is Desecravity’s best album yet, a band that keeps exploring and striving for improvements, and I only wish they can keep this lineup intact so that we can get even more of this insanity for years to come! A must have for any fan of the technical death metal scene.
Written by J.B.