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Auroch Think You Shud Give Them a Shot

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It’s no secret that I’m pretty damn fond of Profound Lore’s roster. But even considering the label’s past greatness, 2014 is a banner fucking year for them. A big part of that are huge contributions from new blood. Artificial Brain came out of nowhere and dropped a jazzy, Gorguts-ian slab of tech-death in our laps, and Profound Lore’s penchant for death metal continues with the latest from Auroch. Not that I haven’t loved PL’s notable DM releases so far (Mitochondrion, Impetuous Ritual, Dead Congregation, and, oh yeah, motherfucking Portal) but there’s a ferocity and technicality to Taman Shud that makes the band less ominous and more dangerous. While many of their label-mates get lost in the misty noxiousness of Incantation, Auroch stem from the exposed roots of Morbid Angel and Suffocation. But with a sly sheen of black metal and plenty of atmospherics provided with a soft touch, the band stand out from their scraggly peers. Taman Shud is a concise, nasty record. The band that made it would be an asset to any label, let alone Profound Lore.

I feel guilty using Auroch’s label as a framing device, as it draws attention away from them. They’re really fucking good at what they do, and their latest is a fine distillation of it. Taman Shud crams everything you’d expect from a next-level-yet-brutal death metal record, but without any of the fat. And I mean any: Shud clocks in at 25 minutes but feels completely substantial. Auroch don’t specialize in grindy tech-death, either; there are big, fat-ass grooves and muddy tunneling riffs that sound like they were swiped from Morrisound sometime in the mid-‘90s. And while there’s atmosphere, Auroch stay completely on point. There are two instrumental tracks, and they’re so well-woven into Taman Shud’s aesthetic that they’re more than just a part of the scenery. Death metal has a tendency to get lost up its own ass when trying to include a little quiet in between slam-a-thons. Auroch sound like they may not even know where their ass is.

This isn’t a beige exercise in brevity, though. Taman Shud is loaded with personality. The hairpin tech-death riffs that provide the backbone of “Novemportis” sound initially dissonant for the sake of dissonance, but a closer listen reveals that they’re well-sculpted and declarative. “Noxious Plume” manages to sneak a slam into things without sounding forced or desperate (and this is after a decade or so of every guy in a Suffocation longsleeve shoehorning as many into whatever he could find). But that only provides a tether back to the genre’s roots, as it’s surrounded by fetid Immolation grooves and some thrashy stuff to throw a solo over. And like any good blackened death metal record, the “black” is sparingly but effectively used: “Octavo” introduces it as a tool instead of as an example of how diverse Auroch can be. Taman Shud is both thoroughly averse to bullshit and coming from a little-explored pocket of the death metal galaxy. I don’t know if you’ll hear anything this simultaneously succinct and expansive for a while. Plus I’m pretty sure the title track has some didgeridoo at the end.

Auroch’s Taman Shud comes out June 24 on Profound Lore. You can stream two tracks here and pre-order the album here.

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