Videoclip of the Month!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Smaragos - EP (2011)

Smaragos - EP (2011)

Smaragos is a technical death metal band from the USA who have released their 3 track debut ep/demo in the March of 2011. For anyone who is relatively up to date with the affairs of technical death metal you are bound to know that there are two types of technical death metal bands. You have the bands who are well organised, the music is well constructed and still makes sense. Examples would be; Fleshgod Apocalypse and Obscura. Then there are those newish bands that when you listen to them, you just stand back and say “what the…” the music is extremely unorganised and makes no sense at all. When done properly, this can be awesome but otherwise it just turns out into a pile of rubbish. Some examples would be; Brain Drill, Viraemia and Monumental Torment (they are all relatively new bands). So where would Smaragos sit? They are definitely sitting in the unorganised side of things.

Smaragos is one of those bands that seems to be obsessed with having an unorthodox approach to their music. It seems like their mind set is to make some of the weirdest things possible. When I mean weird, I don’t exactly mean Portal weird, none of this raw stuff in their music. This is more like a mutated version of Brain Drill. Smaragos are extremely technical but they seems just a tad more outrageous than Brain Drill. They throw in so many different sounds in their music that usually aren’t associated with technical death metal at all and computer generated sounds. There is even a part when the acoustic passage reminds me of playing the first game Mafia (for anyone who has played this, you’ll know what I’m talking about). I have a strong feeling that adding these extra elements into their music was an attempt to gain some more scope in their music. Although it might have worked, it’s a little hard to visualise how the music would without these extra elements due to the sheer complexity and unorthodox style.

Although there is a lot that is weird about this band, there is also a lot that is normal about them as well. Unlike Viraemia and bands alike, there are times where Smaragos’s music actually makes sense (yes ladies and gentlemen). They do have a progressive edge to their sound which essentially ties all their music into a nice little package to sooth your ears. The guitar tone that’s present in this album strongly reminds me of the tone that Fleshgod Apocalypse has, it just feels so powerful and heavy, and that’s just what we need here. I think that the music would have fallen apart greatly without this style of tone that they have wonderfully utilized here. But, at the same time, there are those wtf moments which are littered all over this 3 track ep which makes their music even better.

There is just one thing that I must point out, and its about the vocal style they have used. The majority of the time, it’s nice, smooth flowing growls which are awesome and perfect for their musical style. They do use one other type and it’s a little hard to explain it because it right up there on the wtf scale. It almost sounds like a chimp screaming for its life ( which isn’t a pleasant sound). Its extremely high pitched are very sharp. So beware to those who are sensitive to those kinds of sounds because it may cause seizures. The thing that I like most when these sections come along in the music is that it sounds awfully cheesy and I don’t know if tr00 death metal fans would count that as a plus or a minus, but count that as a plus. There is no death metal law that says death metal cannot be cheesy so Smaragos can do whatever they want.

Although Smaragos has so many different sounds and elements in their music which might make some people wet themselves, I don’t really think that they will start a revolution. They just don’t bring anything to the table that will make other bands want to follow them and quite frankly, the execution of the music isn’t even the best and its not a technical masterpiece. It still needs some polishing because it can be up with the ranks of the top dogs in the business.

Overall, this is a decent crack at some very modern, unorthodox technical death metal. I’m not sure if there will be many bands that will look to Smaragos for inspiration in the future endeavours but I’m sure that these guys are on the right track. These the sound that Smaragos has produced in this release, I’d say it would be smack bang on the fence line in between weird/wtf technical death and the more melodic and organised side, they contain traces of both. I recommend this for someone who is looking for something a little different that just your average, run in the mill technical death metal because it is definitely something different even though this ep is only 3 tracks long. I also recommend the track Furnace because I think it will provide the best listening experience and will show you the true colours of Smaragos.  I give Smaragos’s self titled ep a 14/20.

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