Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Salvaticus: "Hidden Manna"

I stumbled upon this Virgina band today, they released "Hidden Manna" back in May and I am not sure why it hasn't generated more of a buzz in the under ground circles, unless the fact that it is well recorded and actually sounds good , turned purists off. They make the most of the four songs presented here.  "Breeding Ground" has liberal doses of blasty mcnasty, giving way to their strong thrash roots evident in the fine art of galloping riffing. The clean middle section didn't surprise, it's rather Tribulation like in it's dark wanderlust. These guys are much more tightly coiled than Tribulation, their songs do not feel like they might just be jamming, the heavy parts are very blatant.

As with most metal of this ilk, the drummer Kevin Ardrey steals the show. I would not lump these guys in with technical black metal, such as Death Spell Omega, but they do showcase a finely tune sense of intricate punchy passages, that do not shy from spotlighting their chops. The big sound of the album doesn't hide this with cave like reverb for the sake of earning their corpse paint. Not that any American black metal aside from Wormreich is really slathering on the corpse paint, but these guys seem like they wouldn't be opposed to the idea. They are unapologetic for metal with a capital M , and not the west coast brand of navel gazing desert hipster black metal. Not that I don't some times enjoy good beardy black metal, I'm just a little over the 14 minute song that drones for seven of those minutes, unless we are talking doom.

With that being said these guys aren't writing three minute punk rock jams either and are more progressive than not. They just have more power than math. On songs like "Further" they balance a seething darkness with the urge to blast. The rasped vocals compliments of their bassist Alex Lee are largely a mid-ranged and more hateful than anguished. They are screaming real words and not just gurgling for sounds like the new Mutilation Rites seems to.

"Dark Rift" makes you think it's going to be run of the mill, blast right past you black metal and they go and stick a pretty catchy groove in it. It's the kind of songwriting that tells me these guys are going to heading to bigger audiences in the not too distant future. They are even able to convincingly drop down in an ominous doom lumber on command. Ardey pulls the Morbid Angel trick of speeding up his double bass under the slower riffing.

They do hit the atmospheric white noise drone of traditional black metal on "A Vulture's Feather". Hurtling at warp speed into a frenzied abyss of tooth gnashing tremolo picking. They eventually find their gallop to reclaim their knack for riff craft. By this time the ears have begun to numb, they can pick out an audible bass line that is keeping up with the guitars. The clean break, that seems to be another ingredient in their recipe shines out from the melee. They hang on this strummed part for a tad longer than suspected building it up into the kinda of ending this album deserves. As it takes what they have done thus far and makes it bigger sonically, even if for only a fade out.

I'll round this up to a 9, seems like those are being handed out left and right these days, but these guys earned it, since they came out of no where. They are hipster enough to let you name your price on their Bandcamp page below, so you have little to lose checking them out.  They also released this on limited etd cassettes , so they only handle their business like hipsters.

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