Tuesday 3 January 2017

“11 is one Louder”: Construct of Lethe guitarist Tony Petrocelly chooses his Top 5 Death metal albums

Construct of Lethe's intense form of death metal traces its roots through the old school with songs that also display hints of tech death, thrash and black metal. The band released their punishing debut LP 'Corpsegod' to critical acclaim on New Years Day 2016 and would go on to  release their new EP 'The Grand Machination' EP on October 7th 2016. Once again anchored by the furious riffwork of Tony Petrocelly and raging drums of Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus/Misery Index), “The Grand Machination” marked the debut of lead guitarist Patrick Bonvin (Near Death Condition), whose playing brings an extra dimension of atmosphere and aggression to an already vicious sound.

One of the few extreme metal bands who place equal emphasis on lyrics as well as riff-writing, Construct of Lethe presented “The Grand Machination “EP as a concept album, with lyricist/vocalist Dave Schmidt reinterpreting and perverting Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth" to tell the tale of Lucifer after the fall as he views the rise and fall of Christ.

Today Contruct of Lethe guitarist Tony Petrocelly gives us an insight into favourite death metal albums, as we turn things up to 11,  in this weeks crushing edition of “11 is one Louder” where our favourite choose their favourite records from the very genre they crafts their own music.  Here is Tony with the lowdown

Hi, Tony Petrocelly, guitarist of Construct of Lethe here. Picking my top five death metal albums is an exercise in hand-wringing to be sure; I've whittled it down to the following, though I really need to include some honorable mentions: “Pierced from Within” by Suffocation, “Turn Loose the Swans” by My Dying Bride, “Sickening Erotic Fanaticism” by Mortal Decay, “Considered Dead” by Gorguts, “None So Vile” by Cryptopsy, “Todessehnsucht” by Atrocity, and Hypocrisy's self-titled album. And all of Hypocrisy's other albums. I need to stop myself there, or I'll be going on all day.

Scarve – “Irradiant”

I'm not sure how to quanitify this album, other than to say it's inimitable. I had picked up their previous album “Luminiferous” on a whim around 2003, and was really struck by how strange and powerful it sounded. When Listenable Records announced “Irradiant”'s release, I could barely wait to get my hands on it; the wait was worth it and then some. The sound is simply massive, yet the songs have an almost ethereal quality to them--they weave perfectly between passages of subtlety and intense aggression, and their ability to build and release tension is second to none. In addition to the overall sound of the record, the songs are structured for maximum impact, feeling epic without overly-long runtimes. Scarve featured two vocalists, and they complimented each other perfectly, providing dynamics when the other instruments were charging hard forward. Check out “Hyperconscience”, a great representation of all the things Scarve brings to bear on “Irradiant”.

Angelcorpse – “The Inexorable”

The riffs...good god, those riffs. Those riffs, and that unadulterated speed. And those vocals. I'm no friend to all this over processed, sound replaced, quantized, perfect production bullshit that's been dominating metal for years now. The less edited and processed an album is, the better the performances captured need to be; “The Inexorable” is pretty much as stripped down as a death metal album can hope to get, and it's pretty much flawless. I'm a sucker for a great riff, and this album is choking with them. Every single song is a violent, guitar driven assault, and it's all catchy and memorable. Tony Laureano's drumming is relentless throughout and really pushes the album into warp speed. Pete Helmkamp's vocals suit the music perfectly, a proto-death metal, almost black metal croak that's just soaking in viciousness. Album opener “Stormgods Unbound” goes straight for the throat, and the album doesn't let up until it's finished. Highly, highly recommended.

Bloodbath – “Nightmares Made Flesh”

Bloodbath started as a side project for Dan Swano, Mikael Akerfeldt and a couple of the guys from Katatonia; the idea was to play dirty, old school death metal as an homage to their countrymates Dismember, Entombed and others. Early on they put out an EP and an LP, both fun, sure...but in 2004 they really came into their own with “Nightmares Made Flesh”, an absolute monster of an album. The most immediate differences are Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren taking over on vocals, the more polished (but still dirty) production, and the eschewing of hackneyed Swedish death metal melody. Tagtgren's inclusion gives the album a much more visceral feel, which plays directly into the much darker atmosphere this album has compared to its predecessors. And holy shit, is it heavy. The riffs really take on a life of their own; though Bloodbath was really the impetus for the HM-2 movement/revival we're seeing these days, their musical sense really separates them from everyone else. Check out “Eaten”, quite possibly the heaviest song ever recorded.

Morbid Angel – “Altars of Madness”

There's a lot of contention as to who the first death metal band was, Death? Possessed? Does it matter? “Altars of Madness” might not have invented the genre, but it blazed a trail and made the roadmap for countless bands to follow (including my own). Morbid Angel is one of the first bands to eschew the thrashier aspects that death metal was still clinging to so tightly. This is death metal's “Reign in Blood” to me--an album that in hindsight seems so obvious because of its effective simplicity. All of its parts are perfect. The lyrics, atmosphere, riffs, drumming...everything. Even the parts that aren't perfect are perfect in their imperfection because they're what needed to be done. So hard to pick just one song, but I'll go with Suffocation”, if only for the riff that starts at 2:06.

Theory in Practice – “Colonizing the Sun”

It might seem hard to imagine nowadays, but there was a point in time where not every death metal band was stuffed full of virtuoso musicians and because of that, Theory in Practice stood out like a sore thumb during their initial run. Their first three albums are all great in their own right, but “Colonizing the Sun” is really where they perfected their approach. I'd hesitate to call this tech death because of the subgenre of the same name; in 2002 it was an adjective, not a genre. Technical death metal bands weren't homogenized and samey like they are now, their sounds were varied, and Theory in Practice (And Quebec's Martyr) were at the top of the heap for me. “Colonizing the Sun” features the impeccable guitar work of Peter Lake; their riffs aren't just riffs, they're spiralling, maddening adventures worthy of Watchtower's finest moments...but better. Jazzier, but not overwrought. The whole affair stands tall on a foundation of semi-melodic Swedish death which acts as glue to keep it from getting away from itself.

Construct of Lethe’s latest record “The Grand Machination” is available via their bandcamp page

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