Negativa: Self Titled EP

Arguably like a blob fish, an ugly baby, or Shane MacGowan, the beauty within the self titled EP from technical death metalers Negativa, is one which only a mother can see and love. Well her and those of us who find discord and chaotic imagination the only truly fresh thing in music today. The release really is a thing of beauty, a corrupted and disfigured beauty for sure, but still something starkly beautiful and intrusively stirring.

The three track EP first came out in 2006 as a limited release of 1000 copies, making physical copies highly sought after and near impossible to find. Now re-released through PRC Music, the release shows the band not only ahead of their time but probably still streets ahead of what mass consumption is ready for.

The Canadian band was formed by guitarist/ vocalist Steeve Hurdle (Gorguts ,Purulence)and guitarist/ vocalist Luc Lemay(Gorguts). The EP also sees drummer  Etienne Gallo (Augury, Neuraxis, Aborted) and bassist Miguel Valade (Ion Dissonnance) bringing their distinct imagination and skills to the canvas that was Negativa. The music the quartet spawn is staggering and in just a trio of tracks leaves most other bands struggling to match ideas let alone their realisation. The band since the original release of the EP has seen line-up changes with Lemay one to leave, but all things found true perspective with the passing away of Steeve Hurdle in May of this year aged 41. The release is an impactful and impressive aural monument to Hurdle and the band which leaves a saddened pleasure to its colossal magnificence.

Opener Chaos In Motion preys on the senses immediately with crippling scythes of guitar dishing out blistering destructive discordance. With rhythms from Gallo expelling the breath from the body through its vicious and disorientating attack and vocals as abrasive as high grade sand paper upon the ear, the track is an immoral and delicious sonic cluster bomb of intent and originality. Though a completely different genre the track takes one back to bands like The Fire Engines and Diagram Brothers from the eighties, two more who use discord as a full ingredient , exploring its textures and properties. Negativa go much further igniting its life and shadows with a madness of creativity which envelopes and challenges every synapse and a power which is equally demented and far reaching .

The following epic Thedium Vitae is a monster of a track. It crawls and prowls all over the body disrupting all senses, thoughts, and emotions. The track throws a spanner into rational thought and emotional safety to confound and cripple sanity during its venomous mesmeric assault. From its consuming energy the track intensifies into a brawling clash of rhythms, riffs, and indecipherable but wholly contagious scarred notes. The track is ever evolving, a seemingly maniacal improvisation, but all is perfectly and ingeniously structured to singe and scorch deeply with intense thought and imaginative creative malice the conjurors. The sounds and release as a whole, is a nightmare in sonic form giving no escape and perpetually incessant in its intent, and most of all simply blackened annihilatory beauty.

Closing with the slightly jazzy Rebellion, if that term can be applied to sounds which almost defy description, the release is incredible. This song treads and ultimately stomps over the debris already left in the wake of its conspirators to unleash its own dazzling and dehabilitating majesty. The EP is confrontational and inspiring, ruinous and so refreshing, and without doubt one of the most impressive things heard in a long time. Thank goodness there has been another and for some of us a first chance, to enjoy its towering brilliance.

Negativa is tagged as progressive death metal primarily but this goes far beyond that to have its own unique stature and world. As stated earlier the kind of references and comparisons which come to mind are far from being death metal bands, those earlier unique sounds added to by at a push the likes of Kunz, Coilguns and Dope Body, maybe even Morkobot to try and give some idea of the genius at play on the EP, but it is something distinctly different and special. If you want something to bring back the thrill, danger, and menace which has been generally lost in music, then go and let Negativa do their glorious worst.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

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Deadly Remains – Severing Humanity

Brutal and destructive with a technical violation as corruptive as its intensity, Severing Humanity is an impressive debut album from US death metal band Deadly Remains. It is an album which leaves one crumbling under its assault and at times hypnotised by its invention and intelligent enterprise for full satisfaction and to set an even greater promise for the band ahead.

Formed in 2006, the Santa Rosa quartet first drew a concentrated attention with their 2008 demo Moral Crusade. This gave them a platform to build a strong fan base through gigs around California. The following year saw the release of Before The Nothing and a marked progression in the skill and sound of the band. From that point the next few years offered the band shared stages with the likes of Napalm Death, Flesh Consumed, Sepsism, Colonize the Rotting, Septycal Gorge, Cerebral Incubation, Condemned, Embryonic Devourment, Putrid Pile, Arkaik, Pathology, Inherit Disease and Vulvectomy as well as a show supporting Pathology at the famous Whisky A Go Go. The band spent 2011 working on and recording Severing Humanity which is released through Deepsend Records and seem destined to explode into a much wider recognition with this aggressive and striking introduction to the world.

The foursome of vocalist and guitarist Ian Andrew, guitarist Josh Kerston, bassist Chris Dericco, and James Royston on drums, are a band going by Severing Humanity, which has no place for mercy in their vocabulary. The album from first note to the vicious last ruptures ear drums and violates the senses with a deep glee which soaks every sound. The album is oppressive at times, almost a punishment too far but brought with an accomplishment which is unmissable and invention which is compulsive. Admittedly a lot of the uniqueness and intelligent play is lying beneath the raging wall of noise which crushes all in its path but for the effort needed to reveal all the quality on offer the rewards are greater.

The album opens up its rage with Apocalyptic Birth and immediately floors the senses through the crisp and mighty rhythms of Royston and the incendiary guitar play of Andrew and Kerston. The riffs rip air and flesh asunder whilst the sonic flashes flay the ear with no regard for respect. The track bombards and bruises consistently leaving no time to blink let alone breathe and squeezes tighter and tighter with the onrushing consumption of intricate play and violence. Every aspect of the track is immense but the bass work of Dericco is stunning. As ultimately proven through all tracks the musician is a future legend in the making, his lines and sounds a constant snarling beast which gnaws and chews on the senses with intensity and technical aggression which leaves one smarting and drooling in pleasure.

From the tremendous start things only get better, the following Cosmic Necrosis is a track almost indescribable in its intensity and malicious ingenuity. From the opening bass rummage through the ear into the dehabilitating riffs and rhythms the track is like watching decomposition on fast forward. The sounds and intensity falls from the atmosphere like flesh from bone to pool in a torrent of raging malevolence. The searing guitar play which attacks after the onslaught has left its toll is a scarring pleasure to further open up the sores and all combined together makes a corruptive pleasure to immerse and drown within.

Lyrically who knows what is going on, the vocals of Andrew as ferocious as the sounds and just as rabid so no word finds clarity but it is their texture which is important and that is a valuable companion to the cyclonic force around them. Further songs like Instincts Of Flesh, Psalm Of Impurity, and the excellent closing title track,  continue the sheer turbulence around and within the listener, but every song on the release is powerfully satisfying and leaves one with great expectations for further efforts from the band.

There is a similarity across some of the album on the surface which only real focus disperses but it is not a major issue as that sound is so strong. Deadly Remains and Severing Humanity will delight fans of the likes of Gorguts, Disgorge and Suffocation but all death metal lovers will find plenty to feed upon and be excited by with the album.

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RingMaster 06/08/2012

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