Released: Apri, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
SYCAMORE 3 are ready to unleash their first full length album in the form of Nihil, a record that brings together elements of Industrial Metal, Death Metal and Black Metal: think GRAVE-meets-GODFLESH with some SAMAEL on the side, and I think that may give you an idea of what this record sounds like, though I recommend you listen to it yourself and drawn your own conclusions. SYCARMORE3 originally began as a Black Metal project back in 1995 while founding member Hercolubus was still living in Puerto Rico. The band stopped playing for a while, and Hercolubus relocated to California, finally settling in San Francisco. In 2006, Hercolubus decided to revive the SYCAMORE3 name, and thus began a search to expand upon the band's sound, bringing in elements of Noise, Avant-Garde music, Grindcore and Industrial Metal to go along with the band's Black Metal approach. After a self-titled promo demo released in 2012, and an EP entitled "Enemy of the Sun", recorded with the aid of different musicians, Hercolubus has now hooked up with multi-instrumentalist Victor M. Rodriguez, who also plays in Ambient/Progressive Metal band Elixir of Opium, to bring us Nihil.
SYCAMORE 3 start Nihil off with "Paralles", a Thrash Metal-meets-Black Metal number which also has an Industrial Metal vibe thanks to the production job, making it sound at times like a mechanical killer on the loose destroying everything in its path. The song includes a very cool solo in the middle, which appears after some start-stop arrangements. The song is effective in setting the mood for the record, providing listeners with a taste of the band's Black Metal roots mixed with the new, diverse sound. In that category, we also get "The Truth That Kills", which is a nod to some of the more epic sounding Black Metal, but with the nihilistic, mechanical approach SYCAMORE 3 has. "Doom Pale Moon" is a heavy, sludgy number with low growled vocals and some awesome guitar riffs featuring pinch harmonics. "Of Oblivion", which was made into a promotional music video (created by the band themselves), is also a slow and heavy song in which the Sludge / Industrial Metal side of the band is in full display. On the faster side of things, "Monolith" reminded me of IMPALED NAZARENE's mixture of Grindcore and Black Metal, while the Death Metal influenced "Chromatic Abberration" ties in with "Black Hole Disturb", an experimental track that begins as a speed -ladden number with some pretty wild guitar fills, but then shifts into some odd tempo ala VOIVOD.
The production on SYCAMORE 3's Nihil record is quite raw and heavy, which will no doubt remind listeners of HEAD OF DAVID's early records or GODFLESH's Streetcleaner album, where dissonant guitar riffs, feedback and noise were integrated into the music to create a soundscape that evokes desolation and despair. The twist here is that the arrangements are more diverse, drawing influences from a wide array of sources, and managing to mix these in a uniform sound. SYCAMORE3 has achieved a record in which they have crafted a sound that is all their own.