Unsigned and Unholy: Priest, Judd Madden, Variscythe


Priest follow in the vein of Entombedcore bands like Nails and Black Breath, but here’s where I think they excel: they bring a much more technical element to the mix that most of those bands completely shy away from. Want your HM-2 fuzz and nasty grind spazz with a healthy dose of blast beats and tech-death riffing sprinkled in? Look no further than Priest’s new EP Rust and Grief; the combination is glorious.

Does music need distorted guitars to be considered metal? Judd Madden certainly doesn’t think so, and I’m inclined to agree. The first couple of tracks of Waterfall II have a decidedly metal feel despite the guitars being confined to the acoustic realm; it’s reminiscent of Wino’s acoustic material, if not quite as dynamic, and the album’s more experimental tracks like “Waterfall” call to mind the solo work of Neurosis singer/guitarist Steve Von Till. From there things just get heavier and heavier and dive further into the post-metal zone, with tracks like the monolithic 16-minute “Ocean” feeling oppressively heavy and, yes, very distorted.

Variscythe offer a melting pot of American metal styles from the past decade or so… only they’re from the Netherlands. The same way bands like Allegaeon and Battlecross offer a pan-metal style that’s very pleasing to the ear and supremely well-written even if it isn’t pushing the envelope, Variscythe are incredibly adept at putting together a memorable song full of both superb musicianship and strong hooks.


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