Beneath the Remains July 2019: Aphrodite, Dream Tröll, and Possessor
Welcome to Beneath the Remains, the monthly column in which we highlight a few select releases that might otherwise slip under your radar!
It’s July, which means the weather’s hot — just like these upcoming releases.
Aphrodite – Lust and War (Fighter)
An anti-supergroup consisting of members of underground Canuck metal/punk acts nobody’s heard of like Ice War, Colorsfade, and Outline, Aphrodite go the conceptual route for their debut Lust and War. It’s an appropriate concept, too — songs about lust and war from Greek mythology. What you see is what you get, what you hear is what you hear, and what you hear is hyper-fast speed metal played so enthusiastically that sometimes the players seem to be existing in different mythological realms entirely. It’s honestly hard to tell what words Tanza Speed is spitting without looking at the song titles. That said, they excel at unhinged bursts of Herculean fury like “Ares, God of War” and “Hades in the Night,” the kind of amateurish metalpunk anthems that can only be executed by professionals.
Dream Tröll — Second to None (Self-released)
If you’re dreaming about trolls, I’d be worried about your mental well-being — unless that’s the sort of thing you’re into, in which case, hey, you do you. Dream Tröll have the all-important umlaut to distinguish them from run-of-the-mill nightmare orcs, and the Leeds-based quintet’s approach to trad metal distinguishes them from run-of-the-mill Priests-come-lately. “The Art of Death” combines Blind Guardian’s epic songwriting chops with Iron Maiden’s grit, “Checkmate… Annihilate!” posits a world where Van Halen came from Birmingham instead of Los Angeles, and singles “Steel Winged Warrior” and “Chrome Skull Viper” just plain kick ass. Most hour-long metal albums get old after a while. Not this. There’s a great riff or surprising twist under every bridge, dreamt or otherwise. It makes other trad metal bands look lazy.
Possessor – Gravelands (APF)
You want to hear some great metal? Give some longhairs an amp stack, a case of beer, and a Shudder subscription and see what happens. Possessor hail from London, and they play the kind of filthy stoner metal that only comes from too many late nights watching Dracula A.D. 1972. Their fourth full-length, Gravelands, features ugly sludge tones, distorted lyrics about monsters and mayhem, and lots of beard hair. It lands somewhere between late-period Corrosion of Conformity and mid-period Entombed on the gnarly scale. That’s a pretty good place to be if you’re telling stories like “Flight of the Mutilator” and “Hitchhike to Hell.” At a brisk 32 minutes, it’s on the short side, but if it were much longer it’d outstay its welcome — horror flicks are most effective when they’re efficient, and this trio delivers all killer, no filler.