Immortal Bird – Empress/Abscess

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When you see bands described as “genre-defining” or “indescribable”, the usual outcome is that they’ve got the odd weird bit, or they’ve bolted some styles together that are strange bed-fellows, yet when that gaze of Sauron is brought to bear on Immortal Bird it holds truer than most, as Empress/Abscess (Broken Limbs/Manatee Rampage) builds on the promise of their self-released debut EP Akrasia, and sees them moulding their ideas into more focused, while concurrently increasingly divergent from each other, beings.

The brainchild of Rae Amitay, who has relinquished duel duties to focus purely on vocals with Garry Naples picking up the varied tempos from behind the drumkit, and guitarist Evan Berry, Immortal Bird take influence from all manner of fuels including sludge flecked crusty punk (‘Neoplastic’) controlled melodic black(ened) metal (‘Saprophyte’ and ‘To A Watery Grave’) and Scandinavian death rock (‘Sycophant’), while opening their scarred arms to embrace mid-tempo discordant jangles, djent shudders and thrashing, all supporting Amitay’s envenomed snarl and captured in a granite encased production courtesy of Pete Grossman (Veil of Maya, Weekend Nachos) and mixed by Colin Marston (yes, he of Krallice); the pair finding the requisite abrasiveness of tone, so that each note is clear, defined and scouring your inner ear like sandpaper on rough bark.

All this is clasped together by an impressive force of personality that allows the entity to be Immortal Bird all at the same time, yet, like an ethereal membrane holding together a writhing mass of hungry, angry bacteria (should said bacteria be sentient), listening to Empress/Abscess means being subjected to a complicated relationship as the brain seeks to strengthen its hold on the music within, to find hooks and make sense, to strengthen its ability to contain the multitude of collisions that ultimately lead to breaches, and a feeling of the parts, actually, being greater than the whole… as a collective organism, it just doesn’t quite all work, regardless of the potency of each of the contained pieces.

There is plenty to enrich within this thirty minute explosion of anger, sorrow and frictional metallic exploration, and immortality has to begin somewhere. With the open minded and progressive, musically dissonant talents needed to nurture the host already in situ, once this ornithological wonder fully spreads its wings in years to come, it will display a most vitriolic and impressive plumage. The chick just needs time to grow.

 

7.0/10

STEVE TOVEY

Immortal Bird – Akrasia (EP)

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Distinctly disturbing and beautifully harsh are words that best describe Chicago’s blackened death metal upstarts Immortal Bird. Although their debut release Akrasia (Closed Casket Recordings) has a scant four songs on it, the songs take the listener on an icy veined adventure to the soul. Running the gamut from classic black metal tropes, to modern death metal writing skills, a touch of thrash and some other impressive musical avenues too.

 

Masterminded by vocalist/drummer Rae Amitay (Thrawsunblat), she co-wrote all of the songs on guitar too, showing off her versatility in stepping out from behind her drum throne. Many times with projects like these, you get the impression the music is a foil for a singular vision, but the tight recording and strong performances of guitarist Evan Berry (Wilderun, Replacire) and bassist John Picillo sound like a true band. The production team of Jeff Ziolo, Kurt Ballou mixing at Godcity Studios, and mastering by Brad Boatright definitely eschews the no-fi tactics of most of the genre. The first track ‘Spitting Teeth’ exemplifies this approach with an unsettling guitar riff which gives way to a maelstrom of beats and screams. There are some great riffs and exciting tempo changes in this track that might be lost with lesser production values.

 

‘Ashen Scabland’ is just a hellish track. It definitely has an ebb and flow to it, with some mellower parts blunting the caustic slam of the thunderous drums. Fittingly the lyrics are equally as rough as the track, perfectly melding thoughts of regret and rage as much as the music does. ‘Akractic Seminar’ might almost be classified as avant-garde- blackened thrash and doom. The song kind of sneaks up on you with a discomforting tone. You get lulled by some discordant guitar work and a slight bit of clean singing, before getting your ears and your ass stomped in again. ‘The Pseudoscientist’ not only brings back the lyrical intellect, but being the shortest track on Akrasia, it has a sick urgency to it. The harrowing scream of pain at the halfway mark will curdle the blood of the toughest kvlt brood. The first flight of Immortal Bird is a bleak, but pleasing one.

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9/10

Immortal Bird on Facebook

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes