Tech-Death Tuesday: NOSTRIL CAVERNS Reach A New Zenith Of Shred Madness On Their “100 Parts A Song” Focused Album, Sanity’s Unnecessary Elaborations
Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual reminder that if you're looking for more sick music, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
Nostril Caverns is an ambitious one-man band project from Toronto that is led by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Chris Balch. I’ve been following his music ever since one of his 2016 albums, Repressed Memory Games came out. Not all of his releases are technical death metal, but his recently released new album, Sanity’s Unnecessary Elaborations definitely is, and it’s some of the most complex and maddening music in this style I’ve ever heard. Chris has been working on this album since 2016 and in 2017, instrumental demos for some of these 100 parts a song material was released and blew me away. The idea alone is ballsy, but that it’s pulled off so strongly really makes this a must listen to album. You’ll be lost in its depths for a long time, and it’s highly enjoyable all the way through.
In between the three 100 parts a song portions of the release (Track 1, Track 3, and Track 5) that form the bulk of the album, there are some great key and synth-led interludes that give your ears a necessary reprieve from insanity before the next onslaught kicks in. They remind me of the Vangelis score from the first Blade Runner with a restrained spacey vibe. Outside of their use as interludes, the killer synth work features prominently in other songs on the album that aren’t within the 100 parts songs as intros or inside of full-throttle insanity on tracks like “Imaginary, Illusory 1” , “Imaginary, Illusory II”, and Imaginary, Illusory 3” which perfectly cap off the album. Nostril Caverns list Sanity’s Unnecessary Elaborations as “experimental technical black/death/math/prog, a spot on descriptor of the albums approach to using sheer musical density as a weapon. To give you a rough ballpark regarding the music here, think Gorguts and Artificial Brain spliced with Discordance Axis spastic technical grindcore style, then add in a ton of Krallice and Dysrhythmia’s combined black metal and dark progressive metal influences, weave in well done spacey keyboard layers across the album, and a bit of mathcore to round out the connective tissue between ideas. In a nutshell, the music here is amorphous and unorthodox and all the better because of that.
Sole member Chris Balch who performs all of Sanity’s Unnecessary Elaborations vocals, guitar, keyboards, and drumming, sums up what the album is quite well when he says “I'm extremely proud of this album. Musically, it can be described as experimental tech black/death/math/prog. Most of my favorite styles can be found here, along with some arbitrary songwriting rules (gotta love those). Track 1/3/5 each have 100 different sections and none of them repeat. The riffs/timings/tempos change constantly, some sections only last one second, so don't blink or you'll miss them because you won't hear them again (or just listen to the songs a hundred times). These songs really put my memorization and playing skills to the test, and I had fun being a riff factory. Track 2/4/6 are ambient synth interludes that are basically outros for the 100 sections songs. Track 7 is probably the weirdest song on the album where the extreme metal and ambient styles from the previous songs join together to create a song that reminds me of a black metal version of the Gorguts album "Obscura". Track 8/9 are a bit more straight-forward black metal songs with synths. Lyrically, the album deals with the overlooked truths and immoralities of existence and other fun stuff.
Nostril Caverns has consistently proven itself to be one of the most demanding and creative one-man technical death metal projects around. This time, the project has hit a new peak that is endlessly fascinating to listen to and slowly makes sense over numerous spins and very careful listening. Sanity's Unnecessary Elaborations takes the absurdity and intensity of tech-death and takes it into a new place with it’s intricate beyond belief compositional approach and unique manner of combining a variety of metal styles together. Be sure to jam the album below, and pick it up through Bandcamp if you’re digging it. You can follow the band through the Nostril Caverns Facebook Page as well.