Thursday, 31 July 2014

Extreme Thursday Presents: Grimtotem, Dreaming Dead and Sanctus Nosferatu

Thursday is once again upon us. The summer weeks are drawing on and the black attire of the Femetalism crew is proving increasingly unsuited to this damnable day star's constant barrage of heat. With Bloodstock Open Air on the horizon some reprieve from the hideous, ever-present tones of Happy emanating from every radio, stereo and television. I don't want happy. I want bleak.

On the subject of bleakness, this week for Extreme Thursday we're going to look at quite a range of different styles and genres of extreme metal that all pull in some sort of blackened influence. From the folk-ish overtones of Grimtotem to the grim tones of Sanctus Nosferatu and the melodic growls of Dreaming Dead, a certain hidden blackness is evident in each band's sound while never being out-and-out black metal. A little bleakness for every occasion.


Grimtotem is apparently the name of a tribe of Tauren nomads in World of Warcraft. It is also the name of a pagan/folk metal band from Chile, which is far more suitable for an Extreme Thursday Feature! Formed in 2011 they only have a single release to their name; a demo titled Wengan.

But perhaps demo is not the right word? That's how they describe it, and are giving it away as a free download via Bandcamp. While it is not particularly long (20 minutes or so), it is a fully formed concept album dedicated to the historic peoples of Chile and the Arauco war.

While perhaps not the greatest recording quality ever to grace your ears, it's still a well produced piece and is a pleasure to listen to. Vocalist Carolina Rebolledo takes on guitar duty as well, with a whole host of other musicians including the mysteriously named "Deathscythe" on drums.

I hope to feature more from this band in the not too distant future.


Dreaming Dead

Dreaming Dead is the new melodeath-ish project from the multi-talented Elizabeth Schall, formerly of Winterthrall and the all-female tribute band The Iron Maidens. Having been around for eight years now and having produced two albums, the band were put together by Schall and drummer Mike Caffell as an "answer to underground mediocrity and mainstream banality."

Using a mix of death growls and cleans, Schall takes on full vocal duty as well as guitar. 2009's Within One saw the band's debut that mixed the melodic death style with black and thrash elements, shifting signatures and shifting moods.

Dreaming Dead's second album, Midnightmares, was released in 2013 and takes on the topics of fear, control and isolation. A video by Pete Leininger captures the band's vision in a surreal mix of band footage and abstract scenes, swirling colours and hypnotic swirls.

Not content with producing studio recordings, Dreaming Dead are a keen gigging band and pride themselves on the energy and crushing sound they put out in live performances. With the recent addition of guitarist Chris McCarthy, Dreaming Dead are looking forward to more new material with a possible release pencilled in for 2014. One to watch for, certainly.


Sanctus Nosferatu

Sanctus Nosferatu are a Portugese blackened death metal band who, despite only having a demo and a single album to their name, put out a damn good, polished performance. Keeping the lyrical themes set around a mythological backdrop, their versatile vocalist Morticia handles screeches, growls and guttural roars with equal ease while the rest of the band put out grooves and riffs one might expect from far more established bands.

The band's output has been slow, considering they were formed in 2002, but as with Derkéta who we featured a couple of weeks ago, lack of quantity does not equate to lack of quality. Their debut album SAMCA, released in 2012, more than proves that. Sanctus Nosferatu pride themselves on Morticia's vocal range, describing it as "surprisingly versatile", but the rest of the band perform equally well.

At this point Sanctus Nosferatu only have a single track on bandcamp. I'm hoping that in the future they'll put the rest of their catalogue on there, and quite a bit more as well!


Originally posted by Craig Andrews on Femetalism.