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DEMO/EP ROUNDUP - Subtype Zero and Lychgate

Diving in again into the murky world of extreme metal EPs, singles, mini-albums and demos ...

Cuffing us across the head first is Ohio's Subtype Zero with Ceremonious Extinction (Seeing Red Records), a four-track, twelve minute EP of true hardcore thrash. The vocals are of the shout variety, lending this a tint of crossover in its sound, while some of the guitar squeals provide a slight death metal hue as well. However, the abundant Slayer references and the muscular guitar riffage make it clear that Subtype Zero's core sound is unquestionably in the gristly thrash vein. Choice cut - the punishing 'Etherial Spirit'. (7)

Switching things up we turn to London, England's Lychgate for their four track, twenty-one minute Also sprach Futura EP of avant-garde black/doom. These veterans, who already have three full lengths to their name, truly shake things up by incorporating strange keyboard accompaniment to their tracks, sounding like a late-term syphilis-infected church organist was given free rein at the keys. When I listen to this I keep thinking about the scene in The Pink Panther Strikes Again where crazed former Chief Inspector Dreyfus plays the organ. The inclusion of some dissonant notes and odd male background vocals only helps in elevating this to its appropriate "avant-garde" tag. The sub-genre is admittedly one that I don't usually visit, but this has enough heft, listenability and originality to warrant a thumbs up. (7)

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