Choosing Death Fest goes down one month from today in Philly at Union Transfer. To celebrate, we’re asking many of the artists performing to list some very specific “death metal top 5s.” At least that’s what we asked Misery Index guitarist/vocalist Mark Kloeppel. And here’s what he did!
In light of playing the Choosing Death Fest… a festival decidedly dedicated to the well-known death metal and grindcore days of yore (thanks to Mudrian’s masterful re-released work), I have decided to go in the opposite direction with the following selections. Instead, check out my top five favorite fresh, slightly obscure, and genre-bending selections, loosely nestled in the extreme metal genre:
1. Barishi “In the Hour of the Wolf”
Barishi is very hard to pin down. They don’t go far off in any particular genred direction. Rather, they are going in their own dark and grungy direction. This track is off their last EP entitled Endless Howl, which contains some very aggressive, yet spacious, riffing overall. There are brief sojourns into math core/rock (whatever you want to call that stuff), post-hardcore, as well as some modern edge type stuff. Very cool!
2. Momentum “Bury the Eyes Once Gold”
I fell in love with this band when I first heard “Murderscene” on their first 3-song EP in 2006. They seem to only release one record every four to five years, and really only have two full length albums. Baritone clean vocals, gutturals, and tons of atmosphere permeate the entire record as is apparent on track one “Bury the Eyes Once Gold.” Such reinforces the Momentum sound that was incredibly distinct on their prolific 3-song EP in 2006. Masterful work from the land of fire and ice.
3. Gloom “Entity”
Maybe you’ve heard of these guys… maybe you haven’t, but Gloom from DC is a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, what in the hell to you call them? Amidst the standard fare of extreme metal, these dudes will seamlessly go from heavy post-hardcore to black metal. That’s literally what happens in the first 30 seconds of this song. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know those two things don’t really go together. Yet there they are… and sounding damn right together, too. Anticipate a lot from this band!
4. The Lion’s Daughter “Wolves”
Before The Lion’s Daughter released the critically-acclaimed Existence is Horror in January of this year, with media sources (such as Decibel) likening it to a perfecting, or at least perfectly representing, a kind of Neurosis-type sound, they had teamed up with a folk music group known as Indian Blanket to release The Black Sea EP. This EP is a 100% songwriting collaboration, and, as the band tells me, was a huge undertaking. “Wolves” embodies the dark and distinctly folk and metallic seamless blend that occurs throughout the EP. If you loved their latest record like I did, listen to this for their characteristic unique sound with something that goes even more unique.
5. Sulphur Aeon “Diluvial Ascension”
Ok, some may argue that this is straight up death metal. However, there is an undeniable level of atmosphere, ala Portal, going on with this band. To me, these guys are like Portal, but with riffs and bit more clarity. As much as I like and get Portal’s vibe and production, there honestly isn’t enough clarity and riffage for my true tastes. That’s where Sulphur Aeon pick up the ball. Nasty dark atmosphere like you are drowning in an ocean of blackness, and enough riffage to drown headbanging. Moreover, the vocal diversity is also present. You see much more of that in Extreme Metal these days, ala the last two Cattle Decapitation records. As much as the ‘true’ metalhead in me wants to be opposed to this concept, I’ve loved it since Dan Swano did it on Crimson (Edge of Sanity).