PUTRID DEATH METAL, CROATIA’S GOT TALENT AND PIRATE COSPLAY ON THE LATEST METALLUM MILITIA
Knotfest’s newest guest columnist Alexander Jones of Undeath explores the uncharted terrain of extreme music’s obscure – at random.
In another installment of Metallum Militia, death metal frontman and Undeath vocalist Alexander Jones braves the digital unknown and explores the “Random Band” button of Encylopedia Metallum – which upon clicking takes you to the entry of one of the 169,016 bands (and counting!) currently logged in the encyclopedia.
Jones seizes the opportunity to use that magnificent button for good by traversing the expansive, elusive depths of the Metallum. Ever the optimist, Jones’ take is, “there’s got to be some good stuff in there that no-one’s ever heard of, right?”
METALLUM MILITIA is a reoccurring column where Jones delves into the first three bands that the “Random Band” button spits out.
Here’s the latest via the Random Button.
BAND #1: MOLD
Country of origin: Denmark
Location: Copenhagen, Hovedstaden
Formed in: 2011
Genre: Death Metal
Last label: Extremely Rotten Productions
Years active: 2011-?
Jones – Talk about a lucky break for the first spin of the new week – this shit fuckin’ rules. MOLD. No prefix, no suffix, just the same ol’ mold that was good enough for your grandparents and will be good enough for you too if you know what’s good for ya. These guys also capitalized on the ultimate death metal “perfect discography” cheat code, too: form your band, release two demos and then immediately break up. Flawless execution, no notes.
Fans of quality death metal from this century will also have clocked the fact that both of Mold’s demos were released by Extremely Rotten Productions (David from Undergang’s label), which is just about as good of a seal of quality as you can get in this subgenre. I had a hunch that this must have been one of the first things that the label put out, and sure enough both of Mold’s demos are Extremely Rotten’s fourth and seventh releases, respectively (although Mold’s first demo received the frustrating catalogue number “ERR666”, but that’s probably only interesting to perverted sickos like me), which is wild considering how ahead of the curve these guys were in terms of the latest death metal resurgence. If their “Cremated Alive” demo, which is fantastic, came out in like 2019 instead of 2013, these guys could have landed themselves a nice fat Century Media deal, even though I’m sure that’s the absolute last thing they would have wanted.
BAND #2: WE COME ONE
Country of origin: Croatia
Location: Požega, Požega-Slavonia
Status: On hold
Formed in: 2005
Genre: Neoclassical Power/Progressive Metal
Last label: Unsigned/independent
Years active: 2005-present
Additional Notes: Qualified in the semi-finals of Supertalent (Croatia’s Got Talent) and were placed 3rd in their semi-finals, but the judges decided not to pass them into finals.
Jones. – Look – I consider myself to be a very forgiving and generous person. I tend to overlook a lot of things in the interest of keeping the peace and maintaining some base degree of sanity. Remember this when I tell you that Croatia’s Got Talent semifinalists, We Come One, are trying my fucking patience. The cover of the band’s only album to date, “Utopia”, displays a circle of hands throwing up interlocking horns in what can best be described as a 14-year-old metalhead’s interpretation of those finger star photos that the girls who bullied you in middle school always posted. “But Alex,” you protest, “we’re not here to pass judgement on bands based solely on their album art! We need to give the music an honest shot!” And you’re so right. So let’s do that!
Let it be known before I go any further that I have nothing but love and respect for the United Metal Brotherhood and, uh, the Fighting Spirit of the Croatian People, but this is just a bridge too far for me. I’m sure that marching band toots could somehow make for good bedfellows with melodious shredding in the right hands, but I’m not convinced that We Come One are up for the task. I do fully agree, however, that band geeks and metal dorks should absolutely stick together, but only if they’re aiming to be more like Sigh and less like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
BAND #3: ÆXYLIUM
Country of origin: Italy
Location: Varese, Lombardy
Formed in: 2014
Genre: Folk Metal
Themes: Celtic/Norse mythology, Folk tales, Pirates, Legends
Current label: Rockshots Records
Years active: 2014-present
Additional Notes: Founded in 2014 by Matteo Morisi and Roberto Cuoghi.
Jones – I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know my ass from my elbow when it comes to folk metal, but judging by Æxylium’s “renaissance fair Village People” Metallum pic, I feel like I might be better off living in blissful ignorance. I’ll also readily admit that I am currently typing this in a room that contains more than one anime figurine, which immediately disqualifies me from passing any sort of judgement on anyone else’s interests or hobbies, so there’s that. Maybe this is the sign that it’s time to don a puffy shirt, grab my flute and journey into the Italian alps in search of Yggdrasil or whatever to expand my musical horizons.
I checked out the band’s most recent album, 2021’s “The Fifth Season”, which per the press release promises “a concrete step towards growth and musical maturity with its offering of festive ballads, tighter riffs, advanced orchestrations and heavier dark songs that are all inspired by Norse Mythology.” Word. I’m not exactly an expert on “advanced orchestrations”, but I am a guy with two eyes and two ears and those all tell me that the video for “Mountains” is fucking dope. I’d imagine that if you’re a fan of this kind of shit that this video is like catnip for you. It’s like they brought their backline and a 4k camera to a cosplay meetup on a hiking trail. There’s a dueling violin and flute solo too, which leads me to believe that this band almost certainly kills at festivals populated by the drunkest and horniest people currently living. Viva Italia!