Nile guitarist and occasional vocalist Karl Sanders has been living death metal for as long as the genre has existed. From a brief but storied stint living with Morbid Angel to Nile’s breakthrough in 2000 with Black Seeds of Vengeance, Sanders has been there. It is then all the more remarkable that his songwriting and lead playing have been ratcheted up another notch for Nile’s newest full-length, At the Gate of Sethu.
Extreme metal band Meshuggah tends to do exactly what it wants. That attitude has spawned some of the heaviest and most progressive metal of the past two decades. On its 2005 album, Catch Thirtythree, its disregard for convention came in the form of programming software, used to produce all of the drum sounds on a long-form score-style epic. Drummer Tomas Haake and vocalist Jens Kidman explained the process of making the album, and the advantages and stigmas of the “Drumkit from Hell.”
The Drumkit from Hell and the Making of Catch Thirtythree
Tomas: Basically, the Drumkit from Hell is stuff we use on a daily basis whenever we’re writing songs, and the main difference with Catch Thirtythree is that instead of me as the drummer learning the songs, we just kept them programmed on the record. There are a few different reasons for that. Mainly, what we wanted to do with that album — this was an idea that we had for probably 10 years — we wanted to do an experimental piece that was just a one-track full-length album. That album was the first and only album that we’ve written as a band, sitting around the same computer, just trying to improvise and come up with guitar riffs and stuff like that.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
Enslaved abandoned black metal long ago in favor of expansive rock songs coated in darker aesthetics. This release continues in the tradition of post-Syd BarrettPink Floyd by creating compositions of textures over a few simple rock riffs.
First up is the third album from California’s Decrepit Birth, Polarity. This album is a great example of the band’s name and the album’s title bringing to mind two completely different things. “Decrepit birth” sounds like a schlock-y gore-grind band, while “polarity” suggests spaced-out, progressive rock. Truth be told, it’s a bit of both.
Like Necrophagist before it, Decrepit Birth sticks to the old-school, growled, and slightly raspy styles of vocals in addition to its very complex, other-worldly music. This tactic is employed as a foundation: it doesn’t matter what Bill Robinson is growling about; it just matters that he does it consistently and with enough force to keep the album grounded throughout. With that being said, Robinson chooses his phrasing and placement of vocals well, allowing plenty of time for the rest of the band to do its thing, which really begins a minute and a half into Polarity, when there’s a Spanish-influenced guitar break out of nowhere.