Conjonctive – In The Mouth Of The Devil
Location: Nyon, Switzerland
Label: Tenacity Records
In the early-to-mid 2000s, a new strain of metalcore began to emerge (particularly in North America) that incorporated elements of hardcore, black metal, and death metal, into a new, brutal sound. Led by bands like Whitechapel and Suicide Silence, this genre caught on like wildfire, with labels scrambling to pick up the next big name. Swiss deathcore outfit, Conjonctive, formed in the latter part of the era, back in 2007, and released their debut Until The Whole World Dies, which earned them much acclaim in the Swiss metal scene. Eager to follow that success, Conjonctive have now unleashed their sophomore effort, In The Mouth Of The Devil, released through Tenacity Records.
Conjonctive have a unique approach to the deathcore genre, in that they have two lead vocalists, male and female. The layered high-pitched shrieks and guttural death growls give the crunchy, breakdown-oriented tunes an extra layer of heaviness on tracks like “You’re Next” and “Down Into The Abyss.” Also notable is a black metal edge that really shines on tracks like “Let Blow The Grim Wind,” which has some of the fastest speed-picking on the record, and features some of the pig-squeal vocals that are so famous in the deathcore genre. There are plenty of moments of brilliant technicality throughout the record but these, unfortunately, get weighed down at times by an over reliance on breakdowns, with some tracks sounding slightly like filler punctuated by brutal breakdowns. Still, if you’re into a really good breakdown in your heavy music, there are plenty of them here to choose from.
The mixing and mastering on In The Mouth The Devil is fantastic, with plenty of guitar, drums, and vocals in the mix, with the vocals in particular being a focus. That two vocalists can be screaming at the same time and not sound too busy showcases both the skill of the producer and the tightness of the band. If you’re into Whitechapel and Oceano, In The Mouth Of The Devil should be a welcome addition to your collection, and Conjonctive are well on their way to being a big name in the deathcore genre.
Wormwood – Wounds From A Bleeding Earth
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Label: Non Serviam Records
Formed just in 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden’s Wormwood give the impression that they’ve been a working unit for much longer than their actual time together as a band. The band’s first EP, 2015’s The Void: Stories from the Whispering Well, featured a black n’ roll meets folk metal sound, which left the band feeling unsatisfied. This year, Wormwood have released a new batch of tunes that are much more in line with their vision, Wounds From A Bleeding Earth.
Those of you that actually read my inane ramblings about anything and everything metal know how much I love melodic black metal. No matter what mood I’m in, I can always put on some Naglfar or Dark Funeral, and it seems to always provide the perfect soundtrack. That’s where Wounds From A Bleeding Earth comes in; the vocals, occasional blastbeats, and tremolo-picked guitars peg Wormwood as a black metal outfit, but their sense of melody is absolutely perfect. “Godless Serenade,” for instance, is a melodic masterpiece, with melancholy riffs galore, and guitar tones that making some truly heartachingly beautiful melodies, whether distorted or clean. The melodies and rhythms on songs like “The Universe Is Dying” are still reminiscent of the folk metal leanings of Wormwood’s debut EP, but there is a bit more aggression this time around, with a more mature approach in songwriting.
There are a number of shifts in tone throughout the course of each and every track, which have been captured perfectly in the studio and production. The transitions in tempo and tone are flawless, and the overall ebb and flow of the album progresses very naturally. A particular favorite track of mine that highlights this is the super melancholy “Beneath Ravens And Bones,” which has some melodies that rival just about anything Wolves In The Throne Room ever did. If you like your black metal with a bit more melody, and with some folk influences, look no further than Wounds From A Bleeding Earth by Wormwood. They may be a new band, but Wormwood already show a lot of potential, and I believe they have a very bright future ahead of them.