Australia / New Zealand has an amazing scene for refreshing new interpretations of death metal. Altars, Portal, Départe , all very unique ambassadors of an extreme and innovative form of death metal. The next band from Australia that totally fits into this line is CONVULSING from Sydney.
To be true, this band consists of only one member, Brendan Sloan, responsible for all instruments (including drum programming) and vocals. But his first output “Errata” is very outstanding and does not sound like a one-man project. It blends monotonous and nightmarish atmosphere of Portal with the obscure riffing by Altars, the avantgarde-thinking of Gorguts and the same mindset of Ulcerate to an extremely brillant mixture.
Over almost 50 Minutes there is no song that is nearly similar to the other ones. One moment is more simple, but nevertheless effective. The dark and discomforting atmosphere is omnipresent. Both in the more reduced and the more playful parts. There is no difference if Sloan plays more harmonic moments of Post-Rock that remember of Neurosis, the calm Moments of “Coloured Sands” by Gorguts or some ideas of Ulcerate or if he plays reduced, minimal yet grinding riffs in the vein of Portal on the other hand. “Errata” is always dark, gloomy and dense.
And on this generally high standard CONVULSING easily includes great hits as well. Starting with the more straight-forward “Severed Hemisphere” to the more dissonant and discomforting “Dis”, where quiet, almost whispered vocals add another layer to the versatile sound. The main theme of “Eleven Sigils” is really nasty but catchy. Same for the obscure riff of “Invocat” which is supplemented by post-rock, nice atmosphere and harmonies. And the ending song “Dragged” kills again with more reduced but totally nightmarish guitars.
So in a nutshell “Errata” is a great album in complete. But the greatest tracks are on the second half of this record. This includes the totally awesome cover of Porcupine Tree’s “The Sky Moves Sideways”. The combination of clear and calm vocals over post-rock with harsh and pushing death metal is just outstanding and fits into “Errata” as if it was written for this record only. I’m really impressed.
In this mixture of Post-Death Metal, Doom, Post-Rock with dissonant and nightmarish atmosphere, CONVULSING delivered an awesome debut. It is discomforting and innovative, incorporating beautiful and catchy elements as well. It seems that Australia/New Zealand maintain to be the most important spot for the future development of extreme music. I hope Sloan continues with CONVULSING and serves another record in near future.