When someone starts a metal blog that only focuses on albums that were released 20-ish years ago, pinpointing the source of the nostalgia isn’t an exact science. Yeah, the Black Rain mission statement professed a desire to prop up an underappreciated era, but really, no sane metal fan is going to dive headfirst into a dead subgenre if they aren’t somewhat disillusioned with the scene’s current trends.
So here we are. A month removed from the 2017’s death and mired in a transitional rut. Favorite bands are growing long in the tooth, and even the ones that presumably have something left in the tank (Primordial, Anaal Nathrakh, etc.) struggle to generate excitement; you can only repeat the same variations on a theme and re-paste the same logos on festival lineups for so long before attention drifts.
So you look to what’s new and see what you might’ve missed.
But what’s new is actually…pretty old. Or pretty ugly. Or just too damn serious. PROOF:
- People still like OSDM
- Sounding like Pallbearer can still get you places if you put a wizard on it
- Sludge/doom is still a thing because curating SICK TONE and stretching one killer-ish idea across eight minutes is the best way to cover for your vocalist that just goes BARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-UHHHHHHHHH
- The avant-garde weirdos that are actually pushing the genre into new territories don’t sound like they’re having any goddamn fun
All things considered, the month-long break we took for year-end list mining wasn’t a success.
But lo! A handful of PRESTIGE ALBUMS came out last month! What treasures await?!
- Watain’s Trident Wolf Eclipse proved that they’re still more about posturing than potency, yet the release set them up nicely for a US tour with over-the-hill shitheels Destroyer 666; the people that go to Mayhem shows to chuck sieg heils at Hellhammer must be stoked
- Mammoth Grinder’s new one is fine but Underworlds was better
- Both Robb Flynn and Phil “Aitch” Anselmo released albums in 2018 and certain segments of the population actually expected them to be enjoyable (they’re not, you fucking rubes, stop doing this)
- Portal and Tribulation secured their spots in the next Decibel Top 40
Conclusion: Metal is still boring!
(Unless you’re Hellripper. Hellripper kicks ass.)
Now that we’ve utilized Black Rain’s brief hiatus to establish that heavy metal is going through it’s WWF 1995 phase…
…let’s fast-forward to 1998.
A Canorous Quintet won the last poll, besting No Fashion labelmates Ablaze My Sorrow for the featured slot. The percentage gap is a bit deceiving due to low voter turnout because no one remembers a damn thing about any of these records:
…but dammit, all these albums are cool as hell, especially the Ebony Tears, so if you wanna brush up on your third-tier melojams for the next go-round, this is a solid slate to start with.
The modestly-monikered A Canorous Quintet was/is comprised of journeymen that, among other ventures of varying success, logged hours with acts like Amon Amarth and October Tide. The Only Pure Hate brought their initial run to a close after only two proper LPs, but the band recently reformed and self-released a live album three weeks ago (it’s on Spotify and it sucks) after spending over a decade toiling in the Metal Blade bargain bin under the equally uninspiring name This Ending.
This isn’t the most exciting resume, admittedly. Literally no one gave a shit about This Ending, so why should anyone care about the band’s early struggles?
Because they weren’t struggles. Some prospects peak early. A Canorous Quintet is one such prospect.
By modern melodic death standards, The Only Pure Hate is super raw in its execution. Acclaimed bands of the latter days–Insomnium, Be’lakor, Wolfheart–employ a regal, refined, arguably rigid approach. If they represent the …And Justice For All / Rust In Peace era, A Canorous Quintet is whips around in melodeath’s Rrröööaaarrr / Endless Pain phase.
And that fuckin rules hard.
Cool thing about this record is that it’s wholly nestled into the genre, yet something of a convergence of microstyles; there’s some Jestery folkstuff on “The Void,” blistering, blown-out Scandithrash on “The Complete Emptiness,” and sick Sacramentum-ish blackness on “Land of the Lost.” It’s a bunch of young dudes throwing a bunch of rad shit at the wall without leaning on the alternate picking rifftropes that lower-card acts would crutch themselves on. This is melo as fuck, but it’s not following the rules because they really hadn’t been nailed down yet.
However, song titles like “Embryo of Lies,” “Everbleed,” and “Realm of Rain” are straight fuckin archetypal, so they did their part.
Artistic Badness: 5
Yeah, there’s some bad shit here. The logo sucks. The font they used for the song titles and album title sucks. If anyone could figure out what the cover image is supposed to be, it would also be accused of sucking.
The package isn’t horrific, tho, it’s just low-budget and forgettable, which makes it decidedly less fun. And, sadly, another reason why this band’s reputation has been collecting dust.
This is some good shit right here:
Got that basic melodeath look down–middle-part Jesus hair, plain black t-shirts, one tribal tattoo strategically pointed towards the camera–but with some sick studded belts and gauntlets thrown into the mix. Keeping it old-school while still nailing that wispy, forlorn mopestyle. Quality.
This ain’t essential. I didn’t fire this thing up and immediately kick my own teeth down my throat and choke on my Lady Doritos for sleeping on A Canorous Quintet for 19 years. But this is a super-underrated melodic death metal offering. Nasty tone, a wicked vocal delivery, a blackened edge (there are blasts!)…this is high-quality, high-speed shit right here. “The Complete Emptiness” goes especially hard.
Fire it up.