Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Bismarck - Vourukasha


Now this one is a stunner. Vourukasha is the third full length from doom metal masters Bismarck. Those familiar with the Bergen scene have known for a while now that Bismarck are onto something special, with their mix of post metal, sludge and doom eagerly embracing a range of other influences in order to craft something potent. This new album though feels like another step up for the band. Vourukasha is the sound of a band driving to new heights, pulling their influences together and doing something greater than the sum of its parts. 

Bismarck shine on this album because it feels like many of the elements that long lingered under the surface of the band have now been fully realized. The riffs have reached a new breadth, and the exotic touches, like elements of Middle Eastern music are given a little more space to breathe. Meanwhile the ambient passages, as on the epic album closer, "Ocean Dweller" feel more articulate than ever before. It's encouraging to see the band able to bring these visions to fruition and guide listeners ever further on their unique quest. This is an album though that allows the band to showcase a dynamic that is starting to reach dizzy new heights. 

Vourukasha is impressive, but it feels like it is only the beginning of the road for Bismarck. This album sees them honing their craft to a fresh polish, but I get the sense that there is a lot more to dig into coming from the band. The wealth of styles they are able to bring together and the Neurosis-esque vision that helps to fuel a lot of their work is mesmerizing. Bismarck are a doom metal fans doom metal band, understanding perfectly the artistry of the genre and what it can be at its highest points. Indulge in the madness and find yourself dragged to hell.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Urzah - The Scorching Gaze


Urzah are a veritable force. Their brand of post metal is electric, unafraid to borrow from a broad swathe of influences, ranging from sludge metal to metalcore, and doing so with aplomb. They have taken classic sounds that I think many of us were enamored with and then distilled them into something greater, poetic and simply fascinating. The Scorching Gaze shines because of the breadth of the compositions and the vision behind what Uzrah are doing. Their songs elegantly blend styles to craft something that is truly impressive. 

I think what captures my imagination the most about The Scorching Gaze is the breadth of the songwriting. Just when you think the record can't continue to impress anymore, they drop female vocals, or a surprisingly tasteful metalcore riff, or one of countless other songwriting tricks to show that there are infinite possibilities in the musical world of Uzrah. And on a similar note - the willingness to acknowledge metalcore as an influence is actually really refreshing. So many bands grew up with the stuff but most seem to want to act like they are too cool for it. Uzrah bring those elements in with grace and dignity befitting their craft. 

The Scorching Gaze is a triumph, make no bones about it. It's the sound of a band coming into their own with a vision that is diverse and exciting, speaking to a bunch of different influences but winding up with a post metal record that is ambitious, exciting and with a clear vision for the future. Urzah are a veritable force and it is a delight to sink your teeth into what they have crafted for us. This is another win for the always excellent APF Records. 

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Monday, April 15, 2024

Atræ Bilis - Aumicide


This is absolutely crushing. Atrae Bilis are a frightening and logical extension to the world of progressive death metal. Aumicide is an absolutely punishing release from the band, one with finger breaking riffs, devastating brutality and a sense that Atrae Bilis are starting to touch on a whole new side of death metal chaos. The unrelenting assault that the band brings to the table on Aumicide is addictive and its tempered with some of the most innovative use of effects and progressive songwriting elements that I have heard in a good long while. 

This is a dense record, not an album that will speak to everyone, and in fact not an album that should speak to everyone. One gets a sense as they delve into the world of Aumicide that Atrae Bilis want their work to feel obscure and punishing. They want listeners to get lost in the terror and chaos of what has been done here and allow listeners to indulge in the horror of what has been painted before us. This is death metal done with a vision that few of the bands peers have and it's hard to pull away from the flagrant darkness that Atrae Bilis lay out before us on this album. Aumicide is a sonic firestorm like few others I have recently experienced. 

With all sorts of bizarre digital effects that only add to the layers of cyberpunk wizardry that define the album and a relentless buzzing terror underpinning the music, Aumicide is the sound of the future coming apart. Atrae Bilis have made a significant impression on me with this release and I get the impression that the scene at large is about to turn their heads at this one. Innovative, daring and just a little bit scary, Atrae Bilis is a one of a kind force in the underground. Experience Aumicide and be forever changed.

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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oberst - Toil


For a few years now I've been following the growth and development of Oberst. They're a really interesting and quite different Norwegian band, drawing from a huge blend of influences. On a given track you can hear touches of black metal, emo, melodic death metal and so much more all coming together for an end result that feels almost visionary. The band has been at it for a good few years now, but this record seems to be the sound of it all coming together. Toil is a bold offering and one that seems to consistently drive towards dizzy new heights. 

Toil thrills because of the atmospheres that Oberst are able to conjure up. The spiraling guitar lines on tracks like "Mules On A Mountain" are thrilling and speak to a band who understand the fundamental beauty of the metal genre. Oberst understand now better than ever how to craft meaningful and exciting songs that lure you in and remind us exactly why we were all enamored with this thing in the first place. Toil is a record that is unafraid to draw in a diverse set of elements and turn them around into something that is distinctly Oberst. If this was a band who struggled to find their sound in the past, now the group has contributed something meaningful to the canon. 

Oberst have me truly impressed with this release. Their ability to push their own boundaries as creators and unveil something greater is endlessly charming. I got to see the band a few weeks ago in Norway and was impressed at how the songs came together live. They feel just as organic on stage as they do on the album, and one gets the sense that this is exactly how Oberst like it. I could see this record being a sleeper hit and starting to help the band make some meaningful forward motion. It's a labor worth of it's Toil after all! 

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Friday, April 12, 2024

Terminal Nation - Echoes Of The Devil's Den


Every once in a while a record hits your inbox that makes you go 'Holy shit, this is the next level.' Echoes Of The Devil's Den is one such record. This is the sound of a band coming into their own, reaching a higher place and proving that they are among the modern greats. Such is the enduring power of Terminal Nation's new album. This is a record that showcases a band at the height of their abilities unleashing hell and proving that they have what it takes to stand shuolder to shoulder with some of the best bands in the underground today. 

Terminal Nation impress on this album because of their ability to take their core death metal sound and push it to all sorts of weird extremes. The band clearly knows how to fucking riff though, and this is the core of everything they do. The punishing assault on a track like "Empire In Decay" is addictive. Meanwhile you gotta love the ability to surprise listeners, as they do with the ballad-esque "Merchants Of Bloodshed" which features none other than Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach. Echoes Of The Devil's Den builds on so much of the early promise of Terminal Nation and seems to hint at so much more to come from the band. 

Echoes Of The Devil's Den is a skull cracker. It's a record that seems to consistently push above and beyond and which reminds listeners time and time again just how special Terminal Nation are as a band. The guys in this band are supremely talented ,and it feels good to see, that after years of hard work they are finally starting to have a moment. I suspect that Echoes Of The Devil's Den is going to feature prominently on year end lists especially among the Decibel reading set. Be sure to get in on this band before they blow up harder.

Pre-order the album!