Review of Exiler by Construct Of Lethe

Band: Construct of Lethe
Album: Exiler
Release Date: 20 June 2018
Record Label: Everlasting Spew Records
Buy on CD ($10) or digital ($5) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Exiler by Construct of Lethe

Finally getting this Construct of Lethe review up on the site that we’ve had sitting on the back burner for a bit. Vivek wrote this piece about one of the most brutal death metal bands to have ties to our area. As usual you can stream songs at the end of the post, and there’s even some studio footage of the drums being recorded for one of the songs too!

Construct of Lethe is a death metal band based in Woodbridge, Virginia. According to their Bandcamp page, this band is Tony Petrocelly’s band to combine and release music from his previous bands, which are Xaoc, Dead Syndicate, and Betheldeign. Since then, the band has taken its own path. Exiler is Construct of Lethe’s second album after Corpsegod (January 2016) and their only EP The Grand Machination (October 2016). Exiler is a powerhouse that does not let up and has a barrage of twists and turns to keep the listener engaged. Before I discuss the album, let’s talk about who Construct of Lethe are.

Construct of Lethe are composed of the members Tony Petrocelly, David Schmidt, and Patrick Bonvin. Tony Petrocelly handles the rhythm guitar and bass duties, Patrick Bonvin handles the lead guitar work, and the lineup is completed with David Schmidt on vocals. Construct of Lethe recruited Kévin Paradis, of the French death metal band Benighted, to be the session drummer on Exiler. Petrocelly handled all of the recording, mixing, and mastering of the album.

On Exiler, Construct of Lethe showcase punishing and suffocating death metal, while showing off technical prowess as well. Lyrically, it’s a well-developed anti-Christian rant, filled with plenty of Deicide and black metal influenced anti-christian lyrics. Throughout the album, the listener is treated to death metal that is relentless. There is also a slight technical prowess and melody that underlie much of the aggressive death metal attack. This is topped off with Schmidt’s excellent vocal delivery. His voice elevates the music. It’s very much in the vein of Immolation and Morbid Angel.

In “Rot of Augury”, the opening and main riff is mid paced while having a punch to it. It paints an image of an army marching across the battlefield and has a similar vibe to something like Morbid Angel on Gateways to Annihilation. Around the two minute four second mark, “Rot of Augury” uses plenty of blast beats to transition into a more intense second riff. This transition works because of how it grabs and holds on to the listener and keeps the them hooked for the rest of the song. It also has a very good use of pinch harmonics to show off a dissonant riff. This speedy and dissonant riff is great because of how rough yet technical the riff is. The use of pinch harmonics in this riff are very engaging too, they are a cool little flash which keeps the listener attentive to the song. This moves into another fast and chromatic riff that is used as a segue into the lead. It sounds great as a transition into the lead. The lead has a slight melody which makes it good to hear. After this lead, the track goes into the breakdown, which serves as another transition into another lead. The use of a lead to finish the breakdown is smart, it continues the breakdown without giving the feeling of it dragging on. Once after the solo is finished, the song concludes with the main riff.

On the album’s third track, “The Clot,” the Immolation influence begins to peak. This track in particular is where Construct of Lethe show off their technical abilities at their best. From the intro alone, we are treated to a song that has all the anger, brutality, and greatness of something that came out of New York in the 90s. The main riff is a very blasting and harmonic riff, it sounds as if there is a nonstop jackhammer pounding away. It’s fast and right up in your face and has a very powerful kick to it. “The Clot” incorporates a slightly melodic riff as a way to contrast the machine gun-like roaring riff that was done before. The second lead on this track is supported by the intro riff which enhances the lead. It makes it very abstract and surreal. Lyrically, in contrast, this is where the Morbid Angel influence peaks. Especially the Gateways to Annihilation and Formulas Fatal to the Flesh Morbid Angel too. One example of this, “His wings are numbered hexakosioi hexekonta hex.” Another example of this:

“I undertake katabasis to descend to the Hetoimasia
Affliction amongst deities
Crawl from the desert with phulakterion bound to the limb
Regurgitate the schema: listen, hear, do unholiness Sanctify to me!”

Both of these examples show how creative and well developed these blasphemous lyrics are. It’s clear Construct of Lethe know their anti-Christian language and they have no problem spouting such lyrics, even if the listener has no clue what they mean. I looked up the meanings behind some of these and “hexakosioi hexekonta hex” is ancient Greek for 666. It takes the language used by orthodox Greek Christianity for blasphemy. It’s well thought out and delivered.

The vocals provided David Schmidt are excellent and have many demonic elements to them. It’s the perfect death metal vocal style for Exiler. Throughout the album, the vocals provided by David Schmidt, have a traditional, yet very gruff edge to them. There is also a strong “traditional” demonic sound to them. It makes the delivery of the blasphemous lyrics evil and it sounds like they are coming from hell. One example is the track “A Testimony of Ruin.” This is a slower track which helps to showcase the strength of his vocals. Schmidt’s vocals are guttural and have a strong bellow to them. Schmidt is able to inject a lot of energy into each word because of the slowness of the song, it makes the delivery of the lyrics a lot more harsh because the anger in his voice is channeled in full. On “Soubirous,” Schmidt’s vocals are at their most sinister. The listener hears how much of a vile and raspy growl Schmidt can produce which shows off his range as a result. This is occurring on the fastest track on the album. Schmidt’s vocals enhance the music of the track and makes the music even more evil. The vocals on “Soubirous” act as another instrument and really pack an unholy jab to the listener. While on this track we see the heights of David Schmidt’s vocals, on the track “Fugue State,” is where weaknesses are present. Mainly in the clean and spoken word parts of the track. I can understand why the sections where the spoken word vocals are used. That said, Schmidt’s normal voice for these lyrics makes them more comedic than sinister. His normal voice is funny to listen to after hearing all of the growling before. It has a cheesy feel to them and makes the lyrics seem amateur. I laughed at line “I come to the realization that I have in my hand, the head of Jesus fucking Christ.” I laughed even harder at the backing vocal of “Christ.” The clean, spoken word vocals occur for most of the song and bring the song down as a whole. However, this only occurs on “Fugue State” and do not appear on the rest of the album. It’s a hiccup at worst. For the most part, Schmidt’s vocals compliment the riffs and the music enhances Schmidt’s vocals. It is the symbiotic relationship between these two elements that shines very bright in Exiler.

Exiler is one of the best local releases I have heard in a while. It is a showcase in traditional and dissonant death metal, with a touch of technical prowess and hints of melody. Construct of Lethe take these musical elements and combine them with a sinister and bellowing vocal style that puts the tracks into overdrive. Combining all of this with sophisticated and blasphemous lyrical content make this record an ideal example of how death metal is done right. This is a great continuation of what was started on Corpsegod.

Drums recording for Rot Of Augury

Horrendous to play first metal show at Adroit Theory Brewery

Horrendous at Adroit Theory

Adroit Theory brewery in Purcellville, Virginia, is hosting their first metal show ever on Saturday, January 26th! Pennsylvania based death metal band Horrendous is one of the hottest underground metal bands around right now and they’re set to headline this first metal show at Adroit Theory with support from Outer Heaven and Foehammer. And because we’re so excited about this show DCHM is going to give away a pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite metal album of all time. Then at 5pm EST this Tuesday, January 22nd, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets to this show. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets here.

This show is part of Adroit Theory’s 5th anniversary celebration, known as Dawn Of A Dark Day Fest V. The fest starts at 1pm with 48+ Adroit Theory beers on tap, including variants of some of their best big stouts like Dia De Los Muertos, Death Of Cthulhu and Black As Your Soul (B/A/Y/S), plus another 45+ guest beers from other breweries. You’ll need a ticket to the beer fest part which you can get here (make sure you switch it to the regular ticket for $40, not the VIP, unless you REALLY want the VIP). The metal show will start at 6pm and anyone with a ticket to the beer fest portion of the event will be allowed into the show for free. Please note that the tickets we are giving away are just for the metal show, you won’t have access to the earlier beer fest portion of the event unless you buy a ticket to that. If you’re interested in other metal shows going on at area breweries be sure to check DCHM’s <a href="https://dcheavymetal.com/upcoming-concerts/&quot; upcoming metal concert calendar as Oliver Brewing in Baltimore has a show coming up and of course there are many on the schedule for Atlas Brew Works in NE DC. Now, a bit about the bands…

Horrendous released their debut album, The Chills in 2012 to much fanfare in the underground but their 2014 album, Ecdysis, was their true breakout. It was reviewed very highly in many metal publications and by fans alike and the band started showing up on tours with some big names. In September 2018 they released another modern classic of riff based death metal when Idol showed that this band can still bring the riffs along with the super fun live show they’ve been perfecting from heavy touring. Support band Outer Heaven is also a death metal band from Pennsylvania and they’ve been gaining popularity for putting on some truly brutal shows around the region. Their 2018 full length Realms of Eternal Decay is a pummeling album of demonic death metal. The opening band, Foehammer, is a Northern Virginia based doom metal band that is very slow, very loud and ultra heavy! Their slow, churning riffs carry the weight of oceans and drown the listener in their fuzzy wall of sound. Now leave a comment telling me what your favorite metal album of all time is and check out videos of the bands playing Adroit Theory’s first ever metal show below!

Horrendous – Soothsayer

Outer Heaven – Into Hellfire

Foehammer – The Seer

Gwar ticket give away

Gwar at the 9:30 Club

While much of the holiday season seems to revolve around materialism I’d like to remind you what is really important about this time of year: GOING TO SEE GWAR!!!! That’s right, our alien scumdog overlords are blessing us with a performance at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, December 29th! To get you all in the holiday spirit, we’re giving away the ultimate holiday gift to one of you lucky DCHM readers: a free pair of tickets to this very show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite song to drown out all that annoying holiday music they’re playing everywhere right now. Then at 5pm EST this Tuesday, December 18th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly here.

Nothing gets you more in the holiday spirit than getting covered in blood and other bodily fluids at a Gwar concert! I expect to see everyone on Santa’s naughty list at this show. And get there early because no matter your denomination you’ll enjoy the crossover thrash of support band Iron Reagan. And everyone is getting their stockings stuffed with the dirty speed-rock of Detroit’s Against The Grain when they open the show. Now check out these videos of the bands below and leave a comment saying what your favorite song is to drown out holiday music (seriously, I need some good suggestions).

Christmas caroling with GWAR

Iron Reagan – Fuck The Neighbors

Against The Grain – Cheated Death

Ministry ticket give away

Ministry at Fillmore Silver Spring

Al Jourgensen is bringing Ministry to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Wednesday, December 5th, for a night of industrial metal! We’re so excited about this show that we are going to give away a pair of tickets to this show. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite metal album of 2018 is. Then on Monday, December 3rd at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Live Nation here.

Ministry has been an innovator of the industrial metal subgenre for decades. On the band’s latest album, “AmeriKKKant,” Al Jourgensen voices his frustration with Trump’s America. Performing as Ministry’s direct support will be French synthwave artist Carpenter Brut. The opening band is an up and coming melodic thrash band from New Zealand, Alien Weaponry. Now check out these videos below of the bands playing and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite metal album of 2018 is!

Ministry – Victims of a Clown

Carpenter Brut – Turbo Killer

Alien Weaponry – Kai Tangata

Behemoth ticket give away

Behemoth at Fillmore Silver Spring

Poland’s masters of the dark arts, Behemoth, return to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, November 2nd, with a killer line up that includes At The Gates and Wolves In The Throne Room. We’re so excited about this show here at DCHM that we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me which of the three bands playing you’re most excited to see. On Wednesday, October 17th at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Live Nation for $29.50 here.

Behemoth just released a new album, I Loved You at Your Darkest, on Nuclear Blast Records this month. Now, after a successful summer performing as one of the support acts for Slayer’s farewell tour in North America, they’re returning to the US for a proper headlining tour. At The Gates is one of the most important bands from the famous Swedish Gothenburg death metal scene. They will probably always be most remembered for their masterpiece album Slaughter of the Soul but they also put out a new album this year, To Drink from the Night Itself. The opening band is probably the most influential US black metal band, Wolves In The Throne Room. They’re from Washington state and are one of the bands that helped make atmospheric black metal popular with a wider audience. Now go check out the videos below by these bands and leave a comment telling me which one you’re most excited to see at the Fillmore Silver Spring on November 2nd!

Behemoth – Wolves ov Siberia

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Wolves In The Throne Room – Born From The Serpent’s Eye

Paradise Lost ticket give away

Paradise Lost at Baltimore Soundstage

The legendary Paradise Lost is coming to Baltimore Soundstage on Tuesday, October 2nd, along with Sólstafir and The Atlas Moth. Their dark style of doom metal is perfect for this season where the weather starts to turn so we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this show to a lucky one of you DCHM readers. To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite metal band to listen to in the Autumn months. Then on Friday, September 28th at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Master for $27.50 here.

Paradise Lost formed in Halifax, England, in the late 80’s and is one of the Peaceville Three, along with Anathema and My Dying Bride, who all formed a much darker take to doom metal in the early 90s while all signed to Peaceville Records. In fact it was Paradise Lost’s sophomore album, Gothic, that the genre of gothic metal gets its name from. They’ve influenced countless bands yet somehow Paradise Lost, who still features all their original members aside from the drummer, manage to put out solid material. This isn’t an old band that just plays their old classics, they still put out solid material, including their 2017 album Medusa, which was #1 on Decibel Magazine’s top 40 albums of 2017. In addition to the rare chance to see Paradise Lost in the US the tour has some excellent support acts. Sólstafir from Iceland blends post rock with viking metal, adds a pinch of country western and a heavy dose of melancholy. The opening band is The Atlas Moth, a post metal band from Chicago that has been getting better and better with every album. Now check out these videos of the bands below and leave a comment letting me know what your favorite metal band to listen to in the Autumn is.

Paradise Lost – Blood And Chaos

Sólstafir – Silfur-Refur

The Atlas Moth – Holes In The Desert

Review of Damnatio Memoriae by Grethor

Band: Grethor
Album: Damnatio Memoriae
Release Date: 26 January 2018
Record Label: Edgewood Arsenal Records
Buy on CD ($10) or vinyl ($19) or digital ($10) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Damnatio Memoriae by Grethor

We’re a bit behind on getting some of our local album reviews posted here on DCHM but we’re working to get back up to speed. This one is about an album released by Grethor back in January, but it’s still worth noting in case you missed it. Vivek wrote this detailed piece about it and as always you can stream a few songs at the end of this post to give it a listen.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of Star Trek. When I found out there is a local blackened death metal band named Grethor, the klingon word for hell, it grabbed my interest. Albeit, its spelled differently than the actual name, Gre’thor. In late January, Grethor released their debut full-length album, Damnatio Memoriae. Grethor are composed of four members. Marcus Lawrence handles the vocals and wrote all of the lyrics. Brian Frost is on the guitar and Tony Petrocelly handles both guitar and bass duties as well. The lineup for this album is completed with Anthony Rouse on drums. On Damnatio Memoriae, Grethor showcase a variety of complex and simple death metal riffs with varied drum patterns and a strong blend of black metal mixed in as well. Lyrically this album is also varied, there are social issues discussed as well as plain fantasy stories thrown in.

Throughout the album the listener is treated to a variety of riffs that have strong influences from Obscura-era Gorguts and Altars of Madness-era Morbid Angel. Some examples of this include the tracks “The Last Manifesto,” “Enantiodromia,” and “From this Rot so Shall We Be Remade.” There is also an interesting black metal influence throughout the album. Think Deathspell Omega, very avant-garde and using weird elements. Some examples would be in several sections of songs, such as, “The Imminent Unknown” and “Requiem for a Strawman.” While this can go very wrong, Grethor keep all of these factors cohesive. They make sure none of these elements outweigh each other. One track where this is highlighted very well would be the third track, “The Last Manifesto.” In this track, it begins with a complex and blasting intro riff. The song transitions into the main riff, which is a simple, mid-paced, and slightly melodic black metal riff. This is a nice contrast between the more death metal riffs that are present throughout most of the album. Rouse speeds the drums up by using a skank-beat and then everything else gets faster, before transitioning into a more death metal oriented riff. This is a nice transition into the first guitar solo. The solo in this song is simple and effective, it fits the purpose of this part of the song and does not try to do more. The solo isn’t too long or too complicated. The song has a quick breakdown, which transitions to the main riff again, but this time, the main riff is played even faster. The main riff develops more of a melody which, to my surprise, enhances the song and gives it a stronger punch for the listener. Eventually, another solo begins and this time it’s accompanied with complex blasting. This solo is complex and shows off that Luc Lemay influence. It’s a great solo too, it’s complex without being overbearing and is not too fast. The listener can absorb all of the notes from the solo and experience it as opposed to just hearing it. It’s a great way to close a great song. Lyrically, this song is also a rallying cry against many of the common injustices and hypocritical rhetoric that is relevant in society.

Marcus Lawrence, uses plenty of descriptive language to get his message across. It’s simple descriptive language too, which makes his point easier to understand. One example would be in the song: “Embracing Oblivion,” the lyrics “Besieged by a pointless devotion. To one’s own ethnicity. When there is nothing special about you. You must feign authenticity. You value nothing beyond. Your empty desire for validation.” showcase this. In that, they provide a criticism of nationalism and show how such an ideology is flawed. As I mentioned earlier, the lyrical content of the album discusses social issues and other topics. Throughout the album, whenever a political or social topic is discussed, the lyrical delivery of said topics is an interesting blend. It is straightforward, for the most part. It is very descriptive and understandable, while being cerebral as well. It gets me to see another person’s perspective on things. Lawrence also keeps the language in the lyrics broad enough, so that you understand his perspective and it doesn’t become preachy. Both the music and vocals feed off of each other and give the tracks have a strong punch to them. Lawrence’s vocals are a more traditional black metal snarl and shriek. However, there are times when the Lawrence’s vocals become too snarl-like. In that, his vocals are so snarl-like that they sound like an elderly cat screaming at their owner. One example where this happens would be in the song “Tongue of Argent.” These snarls appear at the 1 minute and 17 second mark. When these particular snarl-like vocals appear, they sound so saturated to the point where it is nauseating. Whenever they appear, the overbearing snarls can bring down the section of the song that they are in. They bring down the whole momentum of the song and as a result, it weakens the song as a whole. However, this only happens about two or three times throughout the album, I mentioned one of those times, the other times where this happens are in the tracks, “The Last Manifesto” and “Weaponized Madness.”

Damnatio Memoriae is the most complex local release I have heard in a very long time. It is technical, avant-garde, simplistic, and has hints of melody at times. Despite all of these complications present, Grethor manage to juggle them in a proficient manner. Grethor manages to balance each of these elements giving them the right amount of attention. There is a strong blend of cohesion between the black metal and the death metal elements on this album. Grethor manage to combine these parts along with some direct and thoughtful lyrics, which makes for a very complete and fulfilled album. There are a lot of great moments on this album and I can see Damnatio Memoriae, opening many, many doors for Grethor. It’s a great debut album from a focused band.

The Last Manifesto: