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Unsigned and Unholy: Jugurtha, Aziza, Third Island

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The effect that Gorguts, Dysrhythmia and bands of their ilk have had on metal, particularly in the past ten years, cannot be understated; skronk metal is now a thriving sub-genre all its own. One band bringing the skronk particularly hard is Toronto’s Jugurtha, who use arpeggiated, ringing chords for atmosphere (ala Ulcerate) but also incorporate the frosty tonality of  black metal and the unhinged chaos of death-grind into their sound. Check out recently released album Empyre below.

Minneapolis sludgy hardcore outfit Aziza titled their latest EP High Hopes are at an All Time Low, a sentiment that not only seems apt in today’s world but which the band’s bleak music does a remarkable job of communicating. Fortunately for Aziza their music isn’t just angry; they express the nuance of complexities in modern life through the use of proggy, odd-time signature arrangements sprinkled into their fuzzed out, hard-hitting riffs.

For an EP based on nightmares and sleep disorders, Dusk — the debut release by Ireland’s Third Island — sure is a peaceful listen. Third Island should appeal to fans of doom-based, ethereal, atmospheric classics such as Anathema and Paradise Lost, but unlike those bands’ latter day releases Dusk has an element of grit to its production. Not that razor-sharp mixing is a bad thing, but in this case the rawness lends a needed element of uneasiness to Dusk’s message.

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