Tag Archives: Artisan Era

Virulent Depravity- Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree 9.9/10 \m/

Virulent Depravity

Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree

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Releases April 7, 2017

Mike Low – Mixing
Zak Denham – Mastering
Justin Abraham – Artwork

 

 

I am thrilled to bring you guys my review of the highly anticipated debut Virulent Depravity album, Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree.

The line up for Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree is;                                                                        Colin Butler – Composition / Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Malcolm Pugh – Guitar
Kévin Paradis – Drums

Virulent Depravity band photo

I believe for the next album, the lineup will remain the same, with different guest appearances to look forward to. This is some of the most complexly composed material I have ever heard. The riffs are unreal, but retain catchiness, and are melodic in their own, incredibly technical way. Lots of great harmonizations and riff counter points.

Some songs with particularly great riffs are; “Beyond The Point Of No Return”, there is a SICK harmony melodic riff that repeats. Definitely one of my favorite riffs I have heard in a long time. The solos are insane. Some very creative licks and a unique, but epic feel utilized. All of the solo tones sound awesome, and fit, but sound individualized, especially the difference between Colin and Malcolm’s tones. Malcolm’s seems to sound more melodic, similar to his “A Loathing Requiem” tone, but still fit for this project. Where Colin’s tone seems a bit more alien in sound. The guest solos are all rather distinct as well. Mark Hawkins (Devolved) rips the first solo on the entire album with a very crisp tone right into a killer solo by Malcolm and a sweet melodic solo by Colin. The most similar of all the guest solos to Colin’s tone is Elijah Whitehead, who performs a killer solo after Colin on “Mechanized Defilement”. One of my favorite solos on the album by far as well.

This album isn’t just technically proficient though. Your mind will be blown with its feel and passion as well. “Only Human” begins with a beautiful, clean section into an almost classically influenced lead, into the brutality. It comes back to awesome soulful sections later on as well, one, after an awesome guest solo by Craig Peters (Deeds OF Flesh, Destroying The Devoid, ex-Arkaik), flowing incredibly with a nice bass part into a sweet groovy riff and beautiful solo by Colin. The song has some more badass verses, a chorus and a few more killer solos by Colin. The ending is very soulful as well and goes back to that Neo-classical vibe.
The closing track, “Crushed By Futuristic Filth”, is one of the most well-rounded. It is crushing and beautiful and so much more. It has an amazing soft section with a keyboard solo by Jimmy into a completely heart wrenching, beautifully written, emotional but uplifting solo by Malcolm. It is really fantastic! After smoothly going back to brutality it then sounds like it is over at about 5 minutes in and it kind of spirals into a beautifully written guest solo by the young virtuoso, Sims Cashion, over a soft section with keys and more beauty as well.

The bass isn’t overshadowed either. Often in albums when it is performed by the primary composer who is a guitarist, the bass gets the role of simply “holding down the low-end”. Not here. Not only does it have an “EXCELLENT” tone, but Colin steps in and out (mostly out) of the guitar work and throws in a lot of perfectly placed, totally sick fills. He mixes up the technique a lot as well. Between finger picking, slap parts and cool tap licks. The bass has it all on this album. All the tracks have awesome bass. We’ve established this, but some songs have especially great parts that are worth mentioning. Such as “Only Human” has a great bass part during a soft instrumental section in the middle of the song. “Mechanized Defilement” has awesome fills, strategically placed to grab your attention through the entire song, and there is a stop with a nice bass sweep which everyone loves when done right. In the last song, “Crushed By Futuristic Filth”, following the guitar solo is a piano solo with an amazing bass line under it. Not overly shred-dy, just so good. The piano continues after the rest of the instruments stop to give a bleak, but slightly hopeful sounding end.

The vocals are just “WOW“! He utilizes so many different tones as tasteful accents, while the main tone seems to be a low mid to a low that are very aggressive. The delivery is what really gets me here. Most of it is well enunciated and while crushingly brutal and technical, still fairly easy to understand. At other times he uses what I call, “vocal artistic integrity” and just massacres us with some of the sickest deliveries I have ever heard. Especially during certain techy riffs, the speed and ability to manipulate words slightly to fit perfect, is incredibly impressive. The vocal speed and delivery in “Serpentine Messiah”, some of the line in “Your Demise” and, the vocals in “Beyond The Point Of No Return” are ridiculous and some of the verses in “Crushed By Futuristic Filth” are nearly inhuman. Simply astonishing performance. Hard to keep up to even reading along at times. “Your Demise” also has some really great delivery in lines that are not incredibly fast. My favorite being “as you sleep in your cocoon of ignorance, night approaches and we are coming for you” before Malcolm’s solo. The delivery is simply sinister and perfect. The whole song has excellent vocals, not to mention the whole damn album.

The drum performance is also totally crazy. Ridiculously fast blasts with meticulously placed but sporadic at the same time fills. He is capable of basically any type of beat he demonstrates. He tastefully and strategically places occasional gravity blasts, but mostly keeping to jarring blasts and crazy bursts and fills. The snare beats and kick bursts in the first verse of “Serpentine Messiah” is just nuts. Incredible doubly kick speed and stamina through the whole album. especially on that song, “Spineless Obedience, Your Demise”, “Bad Drug”, “Beyond The Point Of No Return”, and “Only Human”. As well as super tasty cymbal word with the changing between crashes / Chinas / splashes and even super tasty hi-hat use between hits. It is my understanding that Colin composed all of the riffs, and wrote general ideas for the drums, but it was all basically Kevin. He even records in his home studio. Which is a huge plus to me. The drums have a very refreshingly organic sound, which can especially be heard during the softer instrumental sections. The cymbals sound amazing and are panned great. Everything about the drum performance, engineering and mix is completely stellar in my opinion.

One thing I really love about the album is that while being absolutely mind-boggling-ly technical, it remains cohesive, and often even has a psychedelic vibe. At times the lead tone helps achieve this, such as the solo in “Spineless Obedience” and a lead section, in “Desecrating Eden”, which comes back at the end also and I just love it and the way the guitar mixes with the Keyboard solo in the middle. This is a largely unexplored sound in the genre and it has been demonstrated magnificently here. With classical level intricacy in the composition and a modern spin to the technicality and riff style mixed with the perfect levels of brutality and passion in the right places. There is even some Neo-classically influenced licks. If this isn’t one of the most creative and well-rounded albums in Death Metal history, then I must have a lot to learn. Definite contender for album of the year! Get on this people! Soon! … I want vinyl.

For fans of Spawn Of Possession, First Fragment, Anomalous, Archspire, Inanimate Existence, Ending Tyranny

9.9/10 \m/

 

Guest Musicians:
Jimmy Pitts – Keys (Track 4, 10)
Mark Hawkins – Solo (Track 1)
Nick Padovani – Solo (Track 6)
Craig Peters – Solo (Track 8)
Elijah Whitehead – Solo (Track 9)
Sims Cashion – Solo (Track 10)
Nathan  Bounds – Guest Vocals  (Track 10)

LINKS
https://www.facebook.com/virulentdepravity/
https://virulentdepravity.bandcamp.com/album/fruit-of-the-poisoned-tree
https://theartisanera.bandcamp.com/
http://www.theartisanera.com/
Check out the early stream from Tech Death Tuesday HERE

 

 

-Brett   /,,/(°o°)/,,/

Visit our FACEBOOK page \m/_(><)_\m/
http://www.badgersmetalbreakdown.com

 

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The Devil’s Due- Dec-4th Equipoise- “Birthing Homunculi” album review 7/10 \m/

Today’s Band of the day for our Devil’s Due segment is Equipoise, with their E.P. “Birthing Homunculi” released August 5th 2016 and we couldn’t let this one not make the list.


Equipoise

 Birthing Homunculi

Released August 5th 2016

Stevie Boiser- Lyrics, Vocals
Nick Padovani- Song composition, Rhythm/lead guitars, drum programming, Keyboard/piano, Lyrical concept, percussion
Zach Hohn- Song composition, Rhythm/lead guitars
Hugo Karout- Fretless bass
Jimmy Pitts- Keyboard arrangements, Keyboards/synths

 

 

  1. Alchemic Web of Deceit

This track begins with acoustic guitars playing a cool melody for just shy of thirty seconds until drums and guitar distortion joins in. and then right at the :45 mark the song picks up in tempo and power.  I really enjoy being able to hear the bass being played, when you have a talented bassist it is really rewarding for the listener to be able to hear that talent. I really dig Steve’s vocals on this one. At a few moments in the song it maintained a solid tech death feel to it, but bring sounds reminiscent of old man’s child. The 1:25 mark is an example of this, it totally reminded me of a section you would get from pagan prosperity.  The fact that the beginning of this track has acoustic guitars with a specific feel to them, and then this section. There are so many aspects of this song that display a great foundation of influences. Now add in the lyrical content and you have something more than just a song off an E.P.  I’d say the only downside is the production sound seems a bit fuzzy. But music wise this song is a killer track to kick off the e.p. with.

  1. A Suit Of My Flesh

This song has a slowed down tempo, and that bass is still very pleasing to hear.  The song maintains the beginning melody and tempo for about fifty seconds before going through its first tempo change. Which is also the same time when vocals kick in, and they are more ferocious on this track than the previous one.  Steve, expands on his range for this song. Not to mention the fact that around the 1:38 mark besides Steve there are guest vocals that add to the uniqueness of this track.  While I do love the bass lines I will say, drum programming is a bit of a turnoff for me.  The guitar work is great, but having programmed drums has an element that a human drummer has. And for that I have a hard time with the drums.  On the other hand the drums programmed for this song sounds solid.

  1. Birthing Homunculi Part 1: Shrouded

This song begins with acoustic guitars playing and fading in, with the rhythm being tapped on the side of the guitar like a drum.  It’s a nice little filler/ instrumental track.

  1. Birthing Homunculi Part 2: Sigil Insidious

This track is a faster track certainly heavier than the previous song. It basically grabs you right from the get go.  It has a groove about it that you can adhere to. This is hands down my favorite track on this E.P.  as it satisfies my need for songs that are rapidly fast, soul crushingly heavy, and has ample amounts of technicality and groove.  The very beginning reminds me of Anticosmic Overload, by Obscura. I love it, it’s fast, its heavy, it pulls you in.  Right around the :33 second mark, Steve hits us with that classic, guttural, blurted vocalization.  I just want to go on record by saying I love it when a vocalist does this, (just as long as it is at the right moment in the song) he pulls it off perfect here.  For me that just makes a song more enjoyable, call me crazy but when I am rocking out to a song, I am going along with the words, and then they drop a “blech” before a section change to me it sounds badass. I love it, it makes the song fun to listen to. It’s a signal that lets the listener know something is about to change, maybe shit is about to get fucked up, and most importantly it’s fun to make noises, especially an offensive sounding noise.  So, Steve ups the points for bringing that bad ass split second blurt to the table. Now let’s talk about the solos, yes the two solos on this track.  Both are awesome, and both come at a great point in the song. The first happens right around the 1:55 mark in the song and playing till the 2:26 mark. Coming out of that is a hell of a sinister section where Steve is laying down some evil vocals, and the rest of the band are whipping us with the precision technicality and high tempo. The second guitar solo comes at the 3:44 mark and is straight up shredding for fifteen seconds roughly. They come out of that solo and really give us everything they have got left in them for this song.

 

  1. Birthing Homunculi Part 3: Reincarnation

This track is like an instrumental outro track. It does progress a bit more than Shrouded, however it is still really an instrumental track. I dig the guitars and the rhythm being played on what sounds like hand drums and also the side of an acoustic guitar.

 

 

All in all this was a pleasantly surprising E.P. it came out back on and slipped right below the radar.  It’s a solid effort, and while the sounds quality isn’t the best, the musicianship is what I am focusing on most.  The bass is awesome, the fact that you can hear the bass gets points, because they have a talented bassist on this, and it’s good to be able to hear that talent.  Often times I find that the bass is masked by all the other instruments and vocals, but with Equipoise, Hugo shines.  I do have to point out the programmed drums. While I get it, its flawless, as you can “program” them, it lacks a human element.  Drummers that have tech death talent are, hard to find. However, there are still a handful of drummers out there that are session drummers.  Drummers for hire if you will, like Kevin Talley, pretty sure you can throw any tech death sounding project at him, and he can pull it off.  That’s what Equipoise needs, either a drummer, or to get someone like Kevin Talley or Hannes Grossman to do the drums.  You will get the quality of programmed drums, but it adds the human element, and that gives the music more power.  The E.P. has a few instrumental tracks and while they are enjoyable, I’d prefer there was more tech death to go along in this E.P.  Maybe the next release will have more, I will certainly be looking forward to any other music coming from Equipoise, and I also would like to point out that Equipoise has been donating all proceeds to Jason Becker’s Foundation. Not sure who Jason Becker is, google him.  If you are a guitarist and don’t know him, you should do some homework, but for all others if you don’t know him, check him out.  He has influenced many guitarists you are a fan of. So all in all I have to give this E.P. a 7/10 \m/ it’s an E.P. which don’t get me wrong I love E.P.’s but there was a lot of instrumental. The sound quality could have been better, but this is the first release by Equipoise. Nick is a killer guitarist and we feel they will  hit us with something far heavier, far more complex, and raise the bar in the process in the near future. Not to mention the rest of the talent in the band/ on this E.P. you can tell when their is a lot of talent and the members have a strong appreciation for the music.  Also its worth mentioning that they recently joined the Artisan Era family.  So yeah shits going to get real soon.

 

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-Badger \m/

 

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