Brendan Auld recently came out with his debut release, a bold and diverse four track demo under the name of his Snorlax project. Come along for the twelve minute dirty death metal journey – blast beats, audio samples, and sonic ferocity provided at the door.
While I definitely could name about ten Pokémon characters that sound way more metal, Snorlax might be my eleventh pick. Clocking in at just over twelve minutes in length, the debut demo is a choreographed yet altogether chaotic assembly of drums, guitars, and maniacal vocal performances. While best labelled as death/black, Splintering Demo plays more towards the murky and turbulent side of death metal to the likes of Torture Rack and Siege Column’s outputs. There is also a friendly pinch of a grindcore element to be found, with the frantic vocals and various “crunchy” guitar/drum combinations to be found throughout the release.
Right off the bat, the various vocal deliveries on Splintering Demo make the release for me. While the main vocals present as a more traditional, old-school guttural yet decipherable type, Brendan often erupts with a more screechy black metal vocal with a very dry and echoing rasp. There is also an Undergang-esque lengthy growl to be found towards the end of “Righteous Virtue” that sounds like someone is trying to make the best use of their last breath but their voice is hidden behind a wall of regurgitated blood. Anyways, the differentiation of the vocals on the release keep the vibe fresh and unique and they couple splendidly with the slow eerie riffs played under them during the main vocal sections.
The prevalence and diversity of the drumming also contributes to how much this release works in my opinion. The guitars seem to be turned a little lower than usual within the mix which subsequently emphasizes the drum patterns, who in their own right are masterfully executed. There are so many different sections of basic rhythmic pounding, fills, and blast beats to be found for the listener, which all hit harder due to the less-prevalent guitar inclusions. The mix choices ultimately create this driving and forward-moving atmosphere to the music that keeps you on your toes.
The four track demo best serves its purpose as a sample of Snorlax’s material to come, as it shows off Brendan’s wide creative ability and proves that his ambitions can be executed perfectly on tape. The release itself is widely diverse and contains a masterful mix of audio samples, crafty riffs, murky production, and hectic vocals – there’s even an instrumental track thrown in the bag. The demo also manages to culminate towards the “completed” side of the spectrum and serves as more than just a compilation of creative directions put on tape. Splintering Demo’s wavery screeching sounds found at its intro and outro couple with the numerous breaching audio samples to ultimately create a “faulty radio transmission” theme that works well with the vibe of the music, especially since its only physical release format is on cassette. Putting that tape into your cassette player and pressing play must feel like you’re intercepting a radio transmission from hell or something.
The well-anticipated Splintering Demo officially hails on Spotify, Bandcamp, and Itunes as of July 13th and you can pick up your cassette via Caligari Records. Don’t sleep on this release. If the primitive nature of the demo isn’t for you and you’d prefer to wait for a more official release, make sure to keep Snorlax on your radar as his future content will not be something to miss if it ends up maintaining the same level of quality as Splintering Demo.