Bands seeking to play death metal in 2013 are faced with a curious conundrum: they grew up with undeniably great records that inform their knowledge of the genre, and yet their potential audience in this current generation clamors for simpler material with more digestible melodies. Bands then have to decide to what extent they will incorporate the “modern metal” influence into the death metal which is their reason for playing in the first place.
Armaroth play a fusion of death metal and speed metal, with some modern melodic metal influences introducing cross-generational appeal. Death metal riffs drive the songs forward, providing the backbone for the other elements to build upon. The riffs in their best moments are darker than the typical modern death metal fare, bringing out a sense of foreboding that has more evocative impact than just pure aggression. Speed metal lends itself to connecting riffs between verse and chorus, providing motion with palm-muted riffs that introduce rhythmic variation.
These sections are solid in themselves, but the band often moves from one to the next without giving sufficient care to set up transitions, leaving songs at times feeling as if they’re collections of riffs thrown together rather than conceived with a purpose. Moments as such are aggravated by the modern metal elements, such as embarrassingly catchy choruses and ambiguous guitar wankery which sharply contrasts with the more polished material.
The band recently released their first EP, False Vision. In their future material, if the band were to focus on and improve what they already do well and abandon the tendency towards including concessions for the newer generation, their material would be well above average in the current milieu.
Tags: armaroth, death metal, Speed Metal
9 thoughts on “Armaroth – False Vision”
Could Altars of Madness and Piece of Time be the answer to modern metal’s dilemma? Atrocity’s Hallucinations is carved from the same twisted world of guitar playing as Trey Azagthoth’s rhythm work, but is only a means of expressing something distinctly their own. Same could be said with the first Invocator and the Roadrunner records Sadus releases, which are reminiscent of Piece of Time’s more full throttle works. The knowledge within these albums could be the templates for some quality metal in the future. Even Pathologist’s second album seems to utilize the Symphonies of Sickness style in a way I’d imagine an Antti Boman tribute to Carcass would sound as opposed to what novelty bands like The County Medical Examiners do with it. Then again, you could say this with Breeding the Spawn or Transilvanian Hunger, but the thousands of hopefuls cut in that mold are severely lacking. The few Voivod worship bands I’ve heard know the chord shapes but only know how to write mid era Testament songs with them at best. Still, Altars of Madness and Piece of Time could be the key to inspire a new generation to create something great instead of the overly flashy Unique Leader suburban angstcore or Drudkh/Krallice post-xanax depression.
Would you consider first Invocator death metal or speed/death metal? People tend to refer to bands like Solstice (Florida) and Hellwitch as primarily speed metal which i think is a mistake. Your views?
Speed/death, similar to how Sepultura and Nocturnus used death metal elements on Beneath the Remains and The Key. I only heard a Hellwitch compilation produced by one of the Hoffman brothers when I saw them open for Deicide during their Scars of the Crucifix era, and I would say that applies to them as well. The Invocator album seemed to be a riff salad where riff styles from both genres made an appearance on every track, similar to some Piece of Time songs.
Here are some truly evil old school Death Metal forgotten gems that every metalhead should check out, especially Bitterman!!
God Dethroned – The Christhunt 1992
Necrosanct – Incarnate 1992
Death Vomit – Death Vomit 1993
Dark – Sex ‘n’ Death 1992
I only heard one song from each, and here’s my take on their albums:
God Dethroned – Hordes of Lucifer (from The Christhunt): After a really dumb intro, the music proper sounds like a mash-up between Baphomet and Kreator’s Pleasure to Kill, repeating the same riffs over and over again for about 6 minutes. Didn’t like this at all, really annoying. I suppose the “Cogumelo” style riff played under the blast beat was the death metal part, the rest really sounded bouncy like something from the Bay Area given an aesthetic makeover.
Necrosanct – Solace (from Incarnate): I’ve owned this album before, so I chose to watch the music video to not be bored. After a Bay Area intro, a Kreator-esque fast riff over blasting, followed by a Possessed/early Morbid Angel twisting tremolo riff, then back to Kreator riff, back to death metal riff, and the song ends. A generic Morbid Angel ripoff is what I remember them being, but this is really simple, like most late 80s bands crossing over from speed metal to death metal by way of finding out about Sepultura. Possessed style vocals are cool, but the song is very repetitive. I heard another song, and it’s safe to say this band is mediocre at best and best left unheard. If they had concentrated more on the Morbid Angel riffs, they could have gone somewhere.
Death Vomit – She is Dead (from Death Vomit): This is more interesting than the other two bands for sure. Sounds like a hybrid between the first Sinister album and Deicide S/T rhythmic violence played by a grindcore band. Not particularly impressive, and speed metal riffs creep in, but the song (and the one other I heard) seemed to get death metal from the Vader school of compact, intense musical violence. No big deal though.
Dark – The Focus of Pus (from Sex ‘n’ Death): Was sharing these albums supposed to be an elaborate joke? Doesn’t matter, I subjected myself to musical torture worse than this (Cradle of Filth). Attitude wise, it’s like late 80s Extreme Aggression era Kreator in that songs have a high energy but seem to go nowhere or want anything more than to set the stage for headbanging moments. Musically, this reminds me of Morta Skuld or Baphomet style chunky mosh death, but with Retribution era Malevolent Creation’s tendency to mix up the groove parts with a Morbid Angel-esque blasting riff.
I guess these bands accomplished what they sought out to do, but at the time of it’s release and now, I can’t see why someone would put these albums at the same pedestal of forgotten gems or at least under-noticed albums like Todessehnsuct and the Altar/Cartilage split. Time would perhaps be better spent sifting through the “production values” of Breeding the Spawn and finding it to be Suffocation’s masterwork (and one of the genre’s finest) than listening to these releases.
For an example on why many of these albums are left forgotten, take a band like Sororicide (relatively unknown), who played a strange fusion between Mental Funeral derived cryptic doomy death metal and early Immolation. They might have had a more distinguished sound than other bands and may have been the greatest band to emerge from Iceland, but in the greater macrocosm of death metal at the time, failed to create an album where the whole is more than the sum of its parts (i.e. the techniques good, but not much more to say). Many bands were working with interesting ideas then, but a lot of them failed because of hasty implementation or lack of ambition with their utilization (like Necrosanct, where newer musical ideas were ill-fittingly sandwiched between the old).
That first God Dethroned album is quality. Bitterman simplified the music in his description – so much so that I wonder if he listened closely enough.
Seek it out for a good B grade listen.
I’m at an odds with the term “modern metal” to describe bands that are sprinkling glitter on their sound. Would “semi-pop metal” suffice?
I like this term. “Modern metal” is a useful descriptor but it is much too general in my view. Cruciamentum is modern, but good.
Semi-pop metal it is.
Comments are closed.