Thursday, May 29, 2014

Otoño-Something Metal This Way Comes

Human Cyborg Productions

The month of May might seem like an odd time to cover a Halloween-themed album, but if we can keep the spirit of Christmas alive in all of us year long then why not a whimsical night when all the little ghouls and goblins come out to play? For sure it isn't always about Halloween for Hollister, California's Otoño (Spanish for "autumn"), even if this trio (first formed in 2003 as Human Cyborg Relations before the name change in 2009) seems to be generally inspired by horror, but here on their latest/second overall full-length release the band does it right by covering tracks like "This is Halloween", "Phantom of the Opera" and "Ghostbusters" and including samples from movies such as "Evil Dead",  "Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "The Shining", "The Exorcist" and The Omen"! Oh, and did I mention the fact that Otoño also pays tribute to Peter Steele with a sweet little cover of  Type O Negative's "Black No.1"? I didn't? Well, I am now and I'll tell you what else my friends, there is a lot going on for this group (even if they are off of most peoples radars). For a group whose roots run deep down into the depths of high school (talk about a real hell on Earth for many of us!), when founding members/guitarists/vocalists Eldridge and Bangulo covered their fave groups (Metallica, Slayer and Diamond Head) while looking for that one magical line-up to take them to the top (enter bassist/vocalist Angel in 2008), and one which started off as more of a straight-forward (if slightly enhanced by black metal and thrash elements) melodic death band, "Something Metal This Way Comes" is a real charm, a progressively-enhanced ambient charm! Said to be inspired by "different genres of music ranging from metal to classical… and snippets of everything in between" or, better yet folks, "a fusion of various musical influences" (Opeth, Gwar, Persefone, Metallica, Sepultura, Agalloch, Edge of Sanity, Liquid Tension Experiment, Torchbearer, Machine Head, Buckethead, Katatonia ) Otoño tires on a sore's worth of different hats on "Something Metal This Way Comes". And it's that exact reason why Otoño should be setting off alarms on people's (metal) radar! To be sure a band like Otoño is probably best described as (melodic) death metal first and foremost (so as to offer fair warning to anyone who might be scared off by such an "extreme" format), but this trio doesn't exactly follow any standard set of rules other then say, paying homage to many a great film, book (or, in the case of a number like "Room 237"*, both film and books!) and band. And why not? It's these different forms of media that helped groom the band for what would come about, later on, and it's all done in a manor so that everything just meshes together! Available for free right here: this is one of those release which is clever and, yes, plain fun! Sure, Xentrix first did it back in the early nineties, but doing a headbanging version of the theme from "Ghostbusters" is just awesome! As is the band's instrumental take on "Phantom of the Opera". Featuring some killer solo work**, which shows up on just about EVERY track here(!), "Phantom of the Opera" is covered in metallic fashion and while it might not be my fave moment here (I love "The Book of the Dead" which also features stunning lead work!) it's still a nice addition to "Something Metal This Way Comes". Most assuredly this album is worth downloading and for Otoño it's a great addition to an every growing catalog***. Moving forward Otoño could/should deliver on the promise of an album like this one and REALLY make a hell of dent on the melodic death metal scene, but who can say for sure? Today's scene is so fickle and for every worthy (and original/interesting!) band that pops up doesn't it just seem like labels bypass them in order to scoop up and sign a dozen bands who all look and sound alike? Yeah, it sucks. So, like I always say support band's like this! Get up and go! See them live, buy their merch and show them real love! And with that you can follow these guys via these links:

*Audio sample on "Room 237" were taken from 1980's "The Shining" and the track also features excerpts taken from the novel. "The red death held sway over all" (originally in Edgar Allan Poe "The Masque of the Red Death") was used by Stephen King in the novel. 

** Solo on "Phantom of the Opera" by virtuoso guitarist Allen "Robot" Van Wert.

***The band also appears on Sinister Path Promotion's "Unsigned Metal Band Compilation Volume 1"

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