Category Archives: Djent

Persefone – Spiritual Migration

Spiritual Migration” is an album that has rightfully caught many people’s attention with its unique twist; bear with me here: It’s Death Metal about Buddhism. Yeah you’ve read that correctly. we’re talking about a feel-good extreme metal album. Sounds off? But the concept seems to work surpisingly well, thanks to epic arrangements and a seriously powerful vocal delivery; witnessing these “enlightened”-type positive lyrics being combined with growls is one of the refreshing things I’ve heard all year.

Now add to this bold concept an insane technical prowess that many guitar players will envy (I really don’t understand how anyone could play these riffs, let alone memorize them) and you got huge amounts of potential here. It’s a goddamn riff goldmine that’s what it is! All you gotta do is hack away, it’s all gold. Well..theoretically.

The problem is that this really-awesome-in-theory idea quickly falls flat on its face in reality, mainly because the album loses itself in its own complexity. And though there are countless technical acts who’ll bore you to death with their “musical” endeavours, I was especially disappointed this time around because the premise as I described is at first so epic and promising. Why? Why should we be tortured like this? When all we crave is a few catchy riffs, a killer rhythms section and memorable song structures?

I really don’t have an answer. I don’t know why this band decides to go breakdown on me every few minutes. Is that trend never gonna let up? And I don’t know why they complicate everything, disjointing their riffs into a labyrinth of frequencies and puzzling syncopations that no listener could possibly remember. These two issues seem contrasting but they share something being the most obvious, biggest traps bands can fall into, composition-wise. No matter how good the album’s concept is (and it is very good), the aforementioned frantic composition style quickly becomes obnoxious to my ears.

To offer an example demonstrating a possible opposite direction, as always when speaking about melodeth we can use At The Gates‘ “Slaughter of The Soul“, with its memorable but intelligent melodic guitar-playing, its uber-solid rhythm section and furious vocalist. Of course this is not a review of ATG and I am not saying all bands should take their path, I only imply that metal music is better off being to-the point and should not obsess over the hyper-technical on such a ..stupefying level !

Still, if you are by chance a tech-freak or devour djents for breakfast every day(that is a good idea for a new cereal isn’t it ?), “Spiritual Migration” just might be up your alley. However, if you happen to listen to this band in an actual alley, please choose the street furthest from this oldschool headbanger right here.

6\10 

Encryptor – All is Continuous

All is Continuous” is the natural continuation of the Djent fad which seems to be going in two directions these days: The original, creative one and the solely technical, I-can-do-it-too attempt by fans of Periphery, who basically write Periphery-worship guitar lines. Sadly, the latter is the case with projects like Encryptor. This album is basically a bunch of okay-ish riffs with some programmed sounds, I don’t even know what else can be said about it. I mean, the guitars aren’t technical than the usual, the mix isn’t impressive, and most noticeable – the musical progression is immature, the band wanting everything, going in all directions, and for that lack of patience not reaching anything substantial really, beyond OCD-inducing experimentation and..breakdowns.

I get the wish to separate Djent and x-“Core” music..but if you want to play a bunch of breakdowns, trying to disguise that as something more sophisticated just won’t work. The only redeeming factor here is the lead\solos on track 5 “Stepping Stones” and 7th track “The Cycle(Stage One)“, where a little feel creeps in on the guitar player. But for the most part, “All is Continuous” is so emotionally sterile it could have been written by a computer.

All this is too bad, especially since the melodic leads on “Stepping Stones” show the band is capable of writing much more intriguing and less one-dimensional music. Maybe they will have a go at that in the future, who knows, I hope they do. But for now, this hyperactive output is really incoherent. I’d give it a pass if it was presented as an amateur project or demo. But the band defines it as a progressive metal album, no less, giving me no choice but to rate it accordingly, no holding back, no giving breaks. Look at the scene around you, Encryptor – the bar is too damn high! I give this one a score of 3/10.

RXYZYXR – LMNTS

Considered(at least by me) to be the unofficial heirs to Meshuggah, RXYZYXR have finally released a full length album titled “LMNTS“, containing some strong tracks previously released by the band on Youtube, as well as a healthy amount of fresh new math metal material – and they have some really interesting un-metal cover art for this album. Take a look:

Listening to “LMNTS“, I was initially drawn to the tracks I already knew from before, such as “Denial of Death” and “Machine Hearts, Machine Minds“(previously titled “Orgazmic Ceiling”). In general, these work great just as before, but I must say I actually prefer the older Youtube versions – it feels like some mid-high frequencies got lost in the process of mixing\mastering, making me miss that RXYZYXR easy to recognize, organic sound. Still, “Denial of Death” is probably the guys’ best song and is highly worth checking out:

Of course, to understand the album as a whole you must hear the new material as it connects with the older tracks. These come together real great, much due to the album’s concept that, to be blunt, says: wake the f*ck up! Now there’s a good idea! The lyrics of course put it in more poetic fashion, and while at first looking as plain anti-religion ideas( “Multiverse” ,”Trancendal Needs“), these change & develop over the course of “LMNTS“, showcasing some real idealism, maturity and progressive thought regarding our society, our planet and how we manage those.

Following another intro, at track 6 is the excellent Meshuggah-of-a-track, “Polar Knights“, that opens with a classic quote: “In a decaying society, art must reflect decay”(Ernst Fischer?). The guys have certainly nailed it concept-wise, and have a few more quotes they integrate into their lyrics, strengthening the content of the songs(“The dark night of the world’s soul” is a good twist.. ). Of the new material, I find “The Things” and “We Dominate” to be the best tracks, possessing a rhythmical flow that’s intricate but very fluid, and putting the lyrics aside for a second, isn’t that what RXYZYXR are all about? hell yeah.

To sum it up, “LMNTS” has a lot of what you could call “personality”. From a purely sonic viewpoint, the tracks are a bit of a hit and miss, but when the guys hit their sweet spot you can feel something unique is going on. Definitely a strong release, and one that’s unafraid to present the listener with some harsh truths. The band manages to be heavy without the so-called “must have” overbearing technical nonsense that other albums in the genre suffer from having. RXYZYXR should be standing firm among the bigger names in Prog\Djent, and I look forward to hear more material from them in the future. If you want to hear the entire album and form your own opinion of it,  just head to their official Bandcamp page.

7.5/10

Abhor – Abhor


This self-titled EP by US DM/djent band Abhor begins with an intro that approaches you like a predator, slowly but with brutal intentions; a wicked synthesis of BDM and Djent begins, as a downtuned guitar seething with anger beats you down to a pulp. Promising? maybe. Disappointment is a promise too sometimes.

Expecting imminent sonic punishment on track two, you are instead treated to a beautiful piano prelude, when suddenly a set of colorful guitar leads erupt, together creating a surprisingly diverse sound. Accompanied by death vocals, the downtuned beatdown of guitars returns to this song(“BAMFasaurus Rex” is its title), feeling a tad too familiar and monotonous, however when the leads and piano come back, the combination is intriguing, if not fascinating.

Track three “Trifecta” begins with a more traditional DM groove, but the guys in Abhor can’t seem to go on for long without their breakdown fix – can you guess where this is going? anyway, trying to handle these two styles together successfully in the short time frame of 4 minutes feels a bit forced, and had me rather confused here.

Neverest” shows Abhor implementing more elements of Djent & Mathcore, once again arriving at a breakdown of sorts, when suddenly clean vocals appear out of nowhere. Live, this is probably the point where the oldschool DM crowd leaves the concert. Hey guys! don’t leave me here alone!!

This album is very, very “Core”, and whoever titled it “Progressive Death Metal” seriously needs to be slapped in the face. If you like the whole “Modern” Djent\Core style and want to hear it together along with some more traditional metal, who knows – this might be your thing. But to me, this union of styles seems unholy – in the bad sense of the word. The whole chugging thing can have its place in metal, but there’s nothing progressive about it for the most part, and saying otherwise is a mocking to real extreme prog metal groups like Opeth, Edge of Sanity and Gorod, to name a few.

Putting this little rant aside, I’m not saying Abhor don’t have any good ideas – they do and these initially drew my attention. However, those enchanting leads, those piano touches heard in the beginning of the record quickly vanish as if they had never existed. Why? Call it a lack of experience by the band, or maybe an incoherent creative vision. The bottom line is this album lacks innovation and falls flat.

4/10

Polarization – Chasing The Light

I’ve recently found about Polarization on Angry Metal Guy, and must say I’m blown away by the instrumental groups’s talent and the way they utilize it to create not just a great riffs, but a fantastic, melody-filled atmosphere!

To understand the band’s approach to melody and composition, you can safely forget all your ideas regarding djent. “Chasing The Light” has zero extreme metal\metalcore aspirations. The music here aims to reach a higher musical plane, and when it does succeed to arrive at its destination, rising from this flawed genre is something very different and real, an unparalleled gem.

Meshuggah gave birth to djent with coldly calculated rhythms, and its followers, headed by Periphery, tried to infuse it with impressive technicality. But technicality can only get you so far! Taking this path, somewhere along the way many modern metal bands fell into a coma-like unemotional state, both sound-wise and musically. And even if they intended to go on that path, it eventually became a limiting cage, choking the meaning out of their music.

Breaking out of this pattern, Polarization wakes you up and sets you free, spreading a certain energy, emotion and power thought lost; Not the negative kind that demonstrates destruction, but a never ending melody that creates & instills feelings of strength, hope and god forbid, happiness within the listener. All instruments are used to achieve that, by building a soothing aura that feels dream-like & relaxing, yet equally heavy. Sounds too good to be true? have a listen:

I’ve waited a long time hoping for an incredible band like Polarization to emerge, and finally we’re here. “Periphery II” may have beat and outdid the subgenre, but “Chasing The Light” transcends it entirely. What an inspiring album.

9.5/10

The Band’s FB Page