Monday, February 9, 2015

Satyrasis - ...of the Dead

Sometimes you make a discovery that changes the way you look at certain things. That is how I feel about Lansing, Michigan's Satyrasis. They play a mixture of progressive metal with thrash and melodic death and tech death thrown in. They are as all over the place as you can get. A member of the Metal Archives forum posted a song from their second full length album ...of the Dead and I found myself in awe. This band, formed in 2003 has only one other full length under their belts from 2008 and it took them seven years to follow it up...and I can see why. They were not about to release anything that they did not feel was pure perfection.

And it's that sheer perfection in this release is so apparent in each and every song on this album. As soon as you hear the opener, "A Foot in Each Grave" you get the idea where this album is going. Sheer technicality that does not sacrifice the riffs. Instead, the riffs on this album are plentiful and are crushing. Opening the song with pummeling thrash riffs and a death/thrash vocal sound that kinda reminds me of King Fowley of Deceased, the song goes in a different direction midway through with some blackish metal riffs and keys that sound like a mellotron. The riffs kick back in only to give way to another shift in direction with an acoustic guitars and keyboards adding a new dimension and some nice melodies. The song winds up with some dual lead riffing and more thrash riffs that abruptly end and the rest of the song is some eerie keyboards that fade out. "The Foreman's Face" kicks right in with more of the same, bad ass thrash riffing but with a technicality of tech-death. What sets these guys apart is there is emotion in their songs as well as the different directions that each song takes. This is what technical metal should be, showing your musical skills without sacrificing the riffs.

Of course there is wankery but it's done in such a way that it's not pretentious or give the appearance that they are showing off. The songs are not just one long solo or djenty odd time signatures just to show that they can do it. The ability of this band to write a great song sets this band apart. Most of the songs are over six minutes but you'll never know it because there is so many levels to them. The song that I was first exposed to and that was released as a sample, "Excision," starts off sounding like 8-bit midi then kicks in with a full on ass kicking riff fest. This song has so many riffs and is possibly the most straight forward song on this album. Mostly straight thrash/speed metal with the gruff vocals the song does deviate slightly to let you never forget that these guys are technically brilliant. At seven and a half minutes, if I had to pick this would be the best song on the album. It has that epic quality to it as well. But as you will see, this is one of those albums that is not a song album but something to be consumed in it's entirety.

The biggest surprise for me was their cover of Rush's "Circumstances." I was actually put off by it at first. The verse has a thrash/punk vibe to it with the chorus being just slightly faster than the original. The vocals are still that gruff death/thrash style. They throw their own spin in there in the middle as it doesn't seem to resemble the original at all but goes right back to the chorus. After a few listens, I finally got what they were doing and the album would not be the same without it. "In Ruins" rounds out the album and is the longest song on the album clocking in at just over eleven minutes. This song is slightly slower and less thrashy than the rest in most places, almost going off in a progressive doom direction. The riffs are there along with some dual lead riffing but with a slower tempo. The mid section starts with some bass leading to some seriously demented chaos only to begin the riffs again, this time sounding like some good prog metal.

Once in a while you come across something truly spectacular and this is one of those times. This album is nothing short of perfection. It has something for everyone. There's riffs, there's wankery, there's brutality, there's melody. This is essential for any and all metalheads!


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