Indigent - Simulacrum
Parsnipcore Records
Progressive Death Metal
9 songs (42'20)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Crims
Surprise of the month

Indigent is one-person band from the United Kingdom, consisting of Richard Tomsett. Throughout Simulacrum I could never really tell though. I had listened to this release about three times before I looked up the band members (ended up being band member) and it never crossed my mind to think that one person was responsible for all vocals and instrumentation. It should be noted, however, that a drum machine is used, but it's not that noticable, thankfully. So the question is what has Tomsett conjured up in this lone-venture? Well, during the first few listens the off-beat rhythms and strangely hypnotic atmosphere reminded me of Death Metal in the vein of Immolation or Incantation. However, after listening more closely the rhythms the main riffs are actually more similar to Opeth complete with odd bass guitar breakdowns. Is this then Opeth worship or does Indigent bring something new to the table?

I would say that Opeth is definitely a main influence. As mentioned the style of riffing is heavily influenced by Opeth. I stress influenced because it’s not an exact copy but the chord progression is similar on most riffs. Absent, however, is the ever popular (or ever hated) Opeth acoustic/clean break. In its place is a good manner of weird, atmospheric breaks that perhaps would be more at home in Agalloch or vaguely Death/Doom riffs which actually do sound more like Immolation (Ages Past Weeping is an example) which is probably why I heard the Immolation influence in the first place. Another “out there” influence is a little-known German Death Metal band named Apophis. If anyone ever listened to their release Heliopolis (go check it out if you haven’t… if you can find it) there are striking similarities to the guitar tone and certain riffs sporadically placed throughout the CD. For those of you who don’t know, Apophis had (maybe still has) a style of Death Metal riffing that had a chord progression that was strangely melodic in a completely non-Swedish Death way that created a very dark and unique atmosphere. That is present here as well on about half of the songs; mostly in the mid-track listing.

Vocally there is mostly one style used. Tomsett uses a Death Metal style that is deep and is adequate for the music and is better than most, though it fails to add anything either. I suppose that’s better than taking away from the music but it is one dimensional. At the beginning of the title track is one of the few examples where the vocals enhance the music due to not only their aggressive-ness but Tomsett takes on more of mid-ranged style (think God Dethroned but more garbled) which perhaps would be better for the rest of the songs. The bass guitar also makes an appearance every now and then. Sure enough it gets lost in the noise for most of the CD providing low-end and not much else, but occasionally the bass will take the forefront and provide us with a nice contrasting break down to the guitars.

The strong point of this CD is some brilliant song writing. The best example of this is the title track. With all these influence you might think the songs are quite long but in fact most are in the 3 to 4 minute range. One of the exceptions is the title track. Starting off very aggressive it eventually goes into quiet break that features a tribal drum beat with heavy atmosphere buildup that eventually goes into an amazingly well executed solo that leads into a complete change of the background rhythm. The solo eventually blends into an explosion of blast beats and melodic riffing that almost sounds like something Naglfar might have done on Diabolical. What I liked most about it is the subtle transitions during the break that show case not necessarily technical proficiency, but rather a strong knack for song writing that shows how powerful simple song writing aspects, when combined properly, can be. As mentioned most songs aren’t all that long but they feel long, in a good way. You leave each song with a sense that a lot has happened (and a lot has with constant mood and riff changes) and a strong feeling of satisfaction rarely felt when seemingly progressive songs end so soon.

The odd throw away song or riff is present (most of The Hidden Epidemic and the plodding Doom track The Life Parade) but I was really impressed with the overall song writing of Tomsett. A strong atmosphere is present throughout the CD and the combination of different riffing styles and progressive tendencies showcase a potential for future greatness. One aspect I feel needs to be refined however is the quiet breaks in between the heavy/aggressive sections. Maybe this band actually needs clean vocals over these parts, I’m not sure. What definitely is needed, however, are better transitions. Sometimes “the noise” just comes too abruptly. It worked on the title track because there was a consistent build-up, but other times it just gets heavy again without any real reason. For those of you looking for a different spin on your extreme music you might want to try these guys. There is a good amount of refinement needed but there are enough good things on this CD to warrant a purchase if you’re into the style.

Killing Songs :
Voice From The Head, Ages Past Weeping, Simulacrum, Lost
Crims quoted 78 / 100
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