Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Neoplasmah: Auguring the Dusk of a New Era (2014)
To be fair, this is much more of a progressive death metal album in the vein of Mithras and Nocturnus. The bass in particular reminds me very strongly of Nocturnus's classic The Key. The science fiction theme, complicated song structures, otherworldly bass sound, and deep vocals combine into a cohesive sound that really does give off the feel of a sci-fi concept album.
Each of the musicians is extremely gifted at their instruments. The bass is definitely the star of the album but the drumming and lead guitars are also top-notch. The drumming, while not as complicated as some progressive metal drummers (i.e. no polyrhythms and multiple time signatures) drives the music with its precision and intensity. The lead guitar work provides a lot of the melody of the songs and can go from almost neoclassical shredding to dissonant chord progressions fairly quickly.
The vocals of singer Sofia Silva are delivered in a raspy tone that calls to mind Sabina Classen of Holy Moses, who is one of my personal favorite female extreme metal vocalists, so I am on board. There is not frequently a lot of dynamics to the vocals, but they nonetheless fit well with the urgency of the music. On occasion the band utilizes clean backing vocals which provide a nice dichotomy to the otherwise more monotone vocal style.
One thing I did really enjoy with this release is that, unlike a lot of progressive metal bands, Neoplasmah craft complete songs, rather than a collection of musical segments. Songwriting appears to be just as important to this band as showing off their technical skills. The band takes things one step further by being able to blend all of the songs into a complete album rather than just a collection of separate and distinct songs.
This is an album that sounds better and better with repeated listens. There is a lot going on musically that can be missed and revealed in hearing it again and again.