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Unsigned and Unholy: Axioma, Animus Complex, Sidhe

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Axioma‘s press copy intrigued me with “members of Keelhaul and Forged in Flame” but hooked me in with “a dark unorthodox mixture of Neurosis, Morbid Angel & Gorguts style arrangements with bleak lyrical context and artwork.” That description holds up wonderfully on Opia, their debut album, which came out earlier this month.

Arizona’s Animus Complex aren’t reinventing the wheel, and their heavy use of clean singing will surely be a turn-off to some, but there’s something I can’t put a finger on that I’m really enjoying about their sound. For one, the singing is good — it’s not over-wrought or auto-tuned or cheesy — but I think it just comes down to the songwriting here; “A Distant Shore” is really solid harmonically and melodically. It’s kinda like death metal meets hard rock, which could go horribly wrong, but here very much goes right.

Northern Italy’s Sidhe combine doom, trad metal and occult rock into something that stands out from the pack, surprising in 2016 given how crowded all three of those genres are with generic soundalikes. I think it’s a) the songwriting, which is memorable and catchy, and b) the interesting guitar work, both intricate and simple, and c) singer Tytanja’s highly unusual voice that set this band apart on new album Contenebrat. Check out their video for “Calice di Sangue” below.

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