Old school death metal band Remains from Mexico has unleashed its debut full length Evoking Darkness on Ablaze Productions. This professional release will be available worldwide and features this up-and-coming highly creative band and their unique take on the original style of death metal.2 Comments
Old school death metal band Remains returns with its fourth release Evoking Darkness which shows inspiration from the Swedish and American greats of mid-90s death metal merged with the type of bluesy and infectious integration of classic heavy metal that made Clandestine a powerful album, albeit placed in a style that is closer to a cross between older Dismember and Unleashed. The band does not attempt to innovate in aesthetics but creates a sonic charge with the energy and unsettling corruption of mainstream archetypes which defined death metal during its heyday.
The band produced an impressive body of work with its 2012 demo “The True Essence,” the …Of Death EP the following year and Angels Burned in 2014, and follows up on those with simpler, tighter songs that eschew pure grinding in favor of a well-blended integration of metal styles designed to be both audially compelling and unnerving in the method of classic death metal. Songs rotate around a central break from the verse/chorus pairings, repeating themselves in both introduction and egress from that core confrontation. Lead guitars drop in with a variety of styles integrated into organic but energetic explosions of clusters of notes and lengthy fret runs. Vocals take on the gruff exhortations of older Dismember and give it the percussive rhythm of American death metal like Malevolent Creation, crafting a narrative of violence with a lining of excited morbidity. Remains shy away from the melancholic and dark side of death metal and instead converge on its region of pure energy, with music that delights in the finely-picked textures of Swedish death metal alongside the percussive power of Florida death metal. Herein lies where Remains can improve this work, which is that the hard rock/heavy metal integration into the death metal does not always emerge triumphant and often consumes the death metal portion, and extremely basic chord progressions which do not give songs much room to expand in structure or melody. The aesthetic, energy and atmosphere remain perfect and can expand over time as this band matures.
Most people will be floored by how Evoking Darkness not only stays true to the old school sound but gives it life through a voice of its own which is not expressed in style but in these songs themselves and their unique takes on the riff forms from the past forty years of metal. Where Remains shows its power is in the fitting together of these meticulously crafted rhythms so that riffs both flow and contrast one another; while greater harmonic or melodic death would enhance this, it alone makes Evoking Darkness more listenable than all but a few of the retro-death albums which fit together blockily or unevenly. These riffs balance each other in dissymmetry and create a sense of an evolving lacuna which propels the listener forward to see what comes next. Not only do riffs counterpart each other well, but their internal rhythms show a study of the power of the riff itself, and the album flows past without lapses or discontinuities. It shows vast improvement over the previous album from this band and signals a path to their future, since Remains has built a framework upon which more complexity, both in complexity of structure and use of tone, can be built.36 Comments
If there is ever a death metal album to break your heart, it is Remains Angels Burned: a collection of excellent riffs and ideas which never fully make it to realization, resulting in an album with filler and disorganization predominating over concepts that should stand on their own.
Many of these riffs show a detailed study of the past three decades of death metal and picking up on patterns which had potential to be developed in other ways, and doing so, but the songs feel like sketches where great riffs form the center but much of the rest is filled-in with junker riffs, e.g. bounce on the same chord a few times or a chromatic fill with no shape. Inevitably it will be compared to Suffocation Breeding the Spawn, which similarly created a “hasty” feel with many good ideas suspended in technique alone. With more time to think through these songs, Remains could have isolated the point they wanted listeners to get to as a culmination, instead of repeating it and then patching together a song.
Two basic conditions destroy death metal albums: being predictable and being disorganized. This falls under the latter, with as a consequence of its disorganization, a tendency to fill in song form without content. This is a crushing shame since there are so many amazing riffs and fertile ideas which get lost in the flood. If I had a wish for the new year, it would be that Remains get back in the practice room — not the studio — and rework this album until its brilliance outshines its disadvantages.3 Comments
Mexican death metal band Remains have provided their first two releases, 2013 EP …Of Death and 2014 LP Angels Burned, for free download to fans. The band composes mid-paced death metal with atmosphere derived from the interplay of visceral and evocative riffs.
The band added a simple statement: “Download for free…If you like it… BUY IT!!!” Many longtime observers of the music industry wish others would follow this model, since there are basically two types of people who listen to metal, the day trippers and the lifers, and the lifers tend to buy everything they like if they possibly can. This model will not work for the latest Beyonce album or even the interesting-for-two-weeks-maybe legions of hipster metal, metalcore, indie metal, blackgaze, etc. bands, but it does work for death metal.
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A promising recent entry into the old school death metal world is a new band from Mexico named Remains.
Burly, basic, and uncompromisingly fit together like ancient stonework in the war room of occult martial artists, the old school death metal of Remains is casually minimalistic but smoothly fit together into a series of visions of dark passages through life. Instrumentalism is good, composition is promising, and we’d like to hear more from this band.
Luckily, we were able to catch these up-and-coming metal wizards for a brief interview…
First of all, thank you to the support to our band; we are very happy to know that the EP has been well received.
Now, the questions…
Can you give us a brief history of the band? How did you start, how did you meet, how long have you been a band and what other projects do you have?
Miguel, Emmanuel and Leonardo knew each other because they are studying at the same university. On the other hand, Edoardo and Miguel know each other because they were in an old project some time ago.
Remains was originally proposed by Miguel and the project was born at the beginning of 2011 with a different line-up, but it wasn’t until of the middle of 2012 that it stopped being a project and became a band. With the present lineup Remains recorded the demo “The True Essence” and then in 2013 the EP …Of Death.
About other projects… Leonardo and Miguel have a melodic death metal project called “Fractal Entropy.” Emmanuel plays in two more bands which are “Sinister Mind” (black metal) and “The Light Of Dark” (brutal death metal) and Edoardo has a black metal project named “Fog of Chasm.”
This is a two-part question: (a) what bands influenced you most in your composition and songwriting; and (b) what bands do you think you sound like, even if you think you sound a little bit like more than one band?
a – Death Metal in general, bands like: Grave, Carnage, Dismember, Autopsy, Edge Of Sanity, Vomitory, etc.
b – Maybe something of Grave and Edge of Sanity, you know… old school bands, someone said that Remains sounds a little bit like Master.
Why did you decide to make old school death metal in a time when most of metal has gone on to newer styles, or just given up and become nu-metal?
The principal idea has been never been fashion; we don’t try to follow every new tendency. In my own opinion (Miguel) I grew listening to death metal because of my father (Miguel Angeles – Darkcreed, Pyphomhertum, Foeticide) I mean … death metal is my forte.
So… Remains was born as a tribute to the bands that gave origin to the Death Metal.
Do you think there is a metal “sound” for Mexico? How do you think of yourselves in the lineage of bands such as Cenotaph, Transmetal, Mortuary, Toxodeth and Xibalba?
Maybe there are features which distinguish a Mexican band from others, but is difficult to say that there’s a pure Mexican sound. Those bands are the best we have had in Mexico and we would like to continue that lineage and not lose it with the birth of new bands and styles.
We believe we can do something so the scene grows and doesn’t forget with the passage of time.
You decided to release your first EP, “…Of Death,” online as MP3 files in a downloadable zip archive. What made you decide to do this? How do you think it will help you? Are you worried that people will just pirate the MP3s and not buy the EP? Do you think musicians can make money even if they give away their MP3s? Does it matter?
The idea of the band has never been to get money. When we put out the EP we decided that it would be in the free MP3 format because someone who really likes what he hears will go looking for the CD or tape. (Now we do not have a label) If you want to buy or download our music… whatever, you are listening us and… that’s good for us.
What’s next on your agenda? Are you going to write more material, go on tour, or do something else?
Right now we are working in our first LP and we hope it will be ready in September of this year (of course, when we finish it, we would like that you listen to it).
These songs (on “…Of Death”) are well put-together, where every riff has its place and they fit together well. How did you compose these songs? Did you spend a lot of time after you wrote them, going over them to get the details right and make sure all the riffs fit together?
Every song came to its moment. When Miguel composes a song he always has a clear idea of what he is looking for in every riff and the way to adjust and mix them; then, every member of the group put their personal stamp on Miguel’s composition. We don’t spend too much time in details; if something doesn’t work, it stays out.
What do you think are the origins of death metal? Is it still relevant as a style of music today? What do you think motivates people to want to enjoy and eventually create death metal?
Since the metal was born, the trend always has been to be more aggressive. Bands like Possessed or Mantas gave us the guideline for this style; it continues being relevant since more bands of Death Metal are born every day, maybe what motivates people to listen to it is the aggression, the force that has death metal’s song as well as the theme of the lyrics of every band or the technique that is necessary to make it possible.
If someone wanted to hear some death metal bands from 2013, what newer bands would you recommend to them?
Maybe not bands but releases of Lie in ruins, Corpsessed, Massacre, Entrails, Hail Of bullets, Necronomicon and/or Carcass.
“…Of Death” has a very professional sound. How did you record this album, and how long did it take from songwriting to finished product?
It was recorded in MAT STUDIO under Miguel’s production, trying to respect the sound of the old school keeping the essence of the aforetime recordings. It took us approximately 4 or 5 months in total.
- Miguel Angel – Voice & Guitars
- Leonardo Valdez – Guitars
- Emmanuel Guerrero – Bass
- Edoardo Gascon – Drums
Thanks for the support, Death Metal!!!4 Comments
Old school death metal requires technique, content and discipline to rise above the norm. Technique itself makes the music “sound” like old school, but without content, it rarely holds together.
The hardest part however is the self-discipline to edit the material until all the riffs work together, like an internal conversation within each song, so that the songs are both memorable and have enough labyrinthine changes to be interesting.
Mexico’s Remains create music in the old school death metal style straight out of 1992 when bands were first exploring adding more complexity without adding needless technicality; this release is musically competent, played tightly and without glitching in its conception, but it also stays away from throwing technique into the mix where there’s not something being said by the songwriting itself.
Using the school of heavy muted riff played against fast-picked open phrases that made bands as diverse as Therion and Monstrosity powerful, Remains pit detuned rhythm riffs against soaring melodies and from this clash create compelling songs. Sometimes the riffs get slightly bouncy but this is offset by a tendency toward a dark churn and mutation so that the song stays focused.
Over the length of this album, Remains visit a number of older metal styles including the melodic metal style of later Swedish death metal, but the majority of the material is old school death metal with basic riffing in complex arrangements designed to draw the listener into a morbid place and then make them enjoy it.
…Of Death is like reading an H.P. Lovecraft story where the characters are stuck in some terrible situation, and yet the reader wants to be there, to fight it out and survive along with them. In that sensation, this album demonstrates the power of old school death metal as an imaginative device, and presents one of the best examples of intelligent OSDM seen in recent years.
Free download offered by the band: Remains – …Of Death