The second DMU song contest has been closed and the results have been compiled. More than fifteen contestants ranging from the hilariously bad to the inspiringly potent have shared their works for brutal and honest criticism. Our ever growing Discord community has submitted a few of these compositions,here is a permanent invitation for those wishing to partake in various discussions on the subject of metal and other related Hessian activities.
Without further ado here is the first part of this two part piece where a winner shall be declared.
Behold the first half of our contestants.
Nintendo-esque synths in conjunction with a typical hypnotic riff inspired by Burzum’s Filosfem that quickly strays into post rock. The drums hold down a steady repetitive beat before the whole compostion drifts off into atmospheric Black Metal. The composition finds itself returning to the initial idea before fading out softly. For such a young band, this does have some promise as they are able to identify a set of motifs to work within but like most modern bands do not have the patience to stick within a set style and to expand from that point. What Peymakalir need to do is to concentrate their efforts on a set musical language and then to find their own voice. Also of note are the high controlled shrieks combined with the low growls of the young vocalist who in due time may develop into a particularly diverse vocalist. Time is on the side of this young band but that time is not now, let us see what the future holds for Pemakalir.
A long bass intro noodles around in the phrygian mode before leading into a chugging heavy metal riff that loses all momentum by leading to a cliché Gothenburg passage where a male and female voice harmonize and take center stage. The male vocal lacks refinement in both tone and timbre as there is little control on the gruffness and a few wrong notes that are immediately obvious due to the female vocalist staying in key quite well. The growled vocals all emanate from the throat and thus lack power on top of the stereotypical metalcore riffs that get in the way of what could be decent rock music if all pretensions of making Melodic Death metal were cast aside. The duo do surpass the temptation of the overused growled verses, melodic chorus dichotomy but are obviously lost without the pop arrangements as there is no development nor increase in tension that leads to a climax or some form of conclusion. Though one riff hearkens back to the initial bass intro it is just a few drops in this sea of riff salad structure that remains stagnant. The ending outro is based on the main passage of this composition and shows decent musical vocabulary from the bassist that has unfortunately been ignored. What this band needs to do is to allow the ideas introduced by the bass to shine more while reminding themselves of the mantra less is more when it comes to the riffs while working on the interplay and the connection between the vocalists. Not much good can be said about this piece except that the band has the ability to surpass heroes Trivium and later In Flames if they can just find what it is that they wish to express.
Hitwood “Our Streets”
From the beginning the listener’s senses are overridden by obnoxious Metalcore that wallows in self pity. At times we are treated to a few long tremolo picked sequences that in isolation could lead to other interesting sections but as typical of this genre, it all leads nowhere but to that annoying indie rock chorus. One iteration of the long tremolo picked melody, keeps building in tension proficiently but leads into a copy pasted clean guitar section which just destroys any momentum generated up to this point and what follows feels like a different song altogether. Hitwood do understand the use of the cadenced tremolo riff as a lot of these could be used in much more convincing ways elsewhere but this band needs to get rid of all the indie/emo poppiness and focus on creating narratives with these long melodies that fit into the scope of a singular composition. The singer is hilarious as he cries throughout this song in a way that makes the «Pig-feet man» from Silencer extremely virile in comparison. Hitwood need to stop sulking over their teenage years and focus on truly conveying that melancholy by locking themselves into a room and understanding how Maleficarum and At the Gates created such beautiful music from these emotions. Until that day, stay away from this and attack anyone who wishes to make you listen to this.
Asgardsrei “Lustful Shadows”
An instrumental death metal demo with a strong Black metal influence glides through effortlessly as multiple melodies come and go. An initial motif makes itself heard before fluidly morphing and progressing further along until it reaches balance but then quickly increases tension by introducing a malicious cadenced tremolo riff that marks itself as the central motif of this composition. Variations are performed over this melody as this composition becomes more and more chaotic before returning to the initial motif and eventually finding some sort of conclusion. The Death metal riff maze is fully embraced as each riff has multiple directions to diverge and each of these riffs well connected. For what could have been an incredible song, the greatest setback is within the overall arrangement of the piece which lacks a unifying vision. The tension increases well but does not find its way to a point of release and the conclusion is slightly lackluster as there is no finality in this composition but rather an exploration of what can be achieved with a few motifs and a firm understanding of Death metal arrangements. The note selection is reminiscent of Sentenced’s North From Here with the use of the Finnish Death metal scale which is essentially the minor pentatonic scale with added chromatic notes and Asgardsrei can create long Black metal melodies with those notes without ever sounding like an attempt at revivalism. What is lacking here though is the ability to convey powerful emotions from such notes and though at times this is achieved it is not with enough consistency. This piece does succeed in conveying malice but warrants greater attention to the whole in order to truly conjure the image of lustful shadows but the way it stands in its current incarnation it is superior to most metal being currently produced but with better planning and less divergence in the riffs, Asgardsrei could definitely release one of the greater records of this decade rivaling bands like Ectovoid and wherever the composer decides to go from this point, this will at worst remain enjoyable music and either way here at DMU we shall be waiting impatiently to see what the final version has to bring.
Josefarno “Food is Gone”
Exceedingly high pitch screams meet random chords in what transforms to basic At the Gates Metalcore as a percussionist slaps his body out of rhythm to create this adolescent improvisation that shows autism at its apex. Initially one would think this was just a joke but very quickly this becomes apparent that this is a cry for help. Hopefully Josefarno is a decent functioning human being. Either case this track should be used as a way to deter children from Metalcore.
S.O.C.O.M.D “Sandfriend Attack”
This speed metal demo shows a main idea that is surprisingly good only to then devolve into an obvious groovier pattern that eradicates all the built up momentum before ending abruptly. The issue with demos like these is that they show a very condensed version of the composition where the ideas aren’t fleshed out fully. What is impressive is how the staccato section coming in at around eighteen seconds in lifts the track and could be a climax or an excellent springboard for other ideas as though it heavily on rhythm, the melody breaks through cleanly and with the perfect fifth that grabs the most attention sounding completely triumphant and powerful. Though it is the most commonly used interval in the more consonant strains of metal here S.O.C.O.M.D makes the listener wait for it before unleashing it fully. This is an interesting study for what could be a motif based Speed metal song and by avoiding the easy bait that is syncopation as point of interest rather than melodic content, a great fully fleshed out record. We await a full version of Sandfriend Attack!
Yass Waddah “The Return Home”
Moody synths set the theme of this composition before going through a chromatic ascent that barely connects to a vicious Mayhem-like riff while the synths distract by attempting the epic gimmick that fits in from a theoretical point of view but in practice sounds like the superposition of two pieces. The synths distract from this piece throughout its entire running time and very rarely add something worthwhile. The arrangement of this song is heavily indebted to the Speed metal method of repeating the verse and chorus twice before having a section like a breakdown that increases the tension to end on a grandiose solo or the verse riff played with more urgency. Yass Waddah do execute this quite well but the breakdown just bores the listener and the subsequent climax is completely uninspiring except for the short keyboard solo which is more comedic than anything else. All the riffs except the first one are the scraps from bands like Dimmu Borgir and The Black Dahlia Murder. The vocals sound weak and lack rasp in the style of the later Melodic Death metal bands as the drums are triggered far too much completely eradicating any sense of brutality that this could song could possess. Yass Waddah are stuck in the shadows of their influences and are a sheep in this flock of directionless modern metal bands that pretend to play Black metal. Fans of this style will stick to the typical Nuclear Blast mainstays while the rest will ignore this. Barring the intro and the initial riff there is nothing redeeming to be found here and for this band to be taken seriously they have to start accepting that this style was already annoying when it appeared in 2006 and that twelve years later it is just headache inducing.
User 2220902 “Appolonian”
Nu metal that alternates between bursts of melodies and the same chuggs we all have heard. Without the vocals on top of this track one can really tell how much this style really on basic Hip-Hop rhythms to carry it through. The chorus has an interesting melody playing a half decent staccato riff that progresses through aptly through the minor scale that adds interest by dipping slightly into the harmonic minor scale through the augmented seventh that builds just enough tension before finding resolution on the root note. The end features a lot of little fills that develop well on that interesting melody and conclude well the song but it is little too late. The artist realizes that the entire composition is based on this idea and that the rest is there to lead towards it. As strong as an idea is, every segment leading to it needs to have some purpose. A song based around a singular melody becomes boring and tired as the desire to listen to that one melody fades very quickly. A remnant of pop writing where the whole point is to bombard you with one obnoxious melody until you can’t remove it from your head. Remove all the Nu-metal, expand on the initial idea and the melodies leading to it while not falling into the pitfall of overt technicality and you may be able to get a decent instrumental metal album. The way this stands for now, it is of not of any real interest to anyone.