Through skilled composition and arrangements, Ibex have found a way to keep extreme music fresh and exciting, and that is no easy task.
Speaking both critically and constructively about death metal can be a complicated task. So much of the genre’s character receives so little in the way of true innovation, save for a change in guitar tone or something equally subtle. And even though “guitar tone” can represent an infinite range of sonic possibilities, death metal, being the white cap on a mountain of subgenres, can claim little in the way of true innovation outside the work of its founding fathers. The predominant prerequisites – incredibly heavy guitars and growling vocals – can place some severe limitations on any group’s development. Those seeking growth and change must turn their attention to one of the many subgenres death metal has inspired. Or simply create their own. Like deathcore, for example.
As its name suggests, deathcore draws together elements of death metal, hardcore and metalcore, essentially creating a balancing act between three forms of extreme music. If you are not a fan of heavy music, this description probably sounds like a load of gibberish. But if you are, it might make sense to you. And if this trifecta of intangible sonic weight piques your interest, you should probably seek out The Irrefutable Weigh, the latest from Moncton deathcore trio Ibex.
On this release, Ibex succeeds as a trio playing incredibly complex and challenging music. The EP offers a fountain of riffs that draw from all corners of extreme music backed by a rhythm section constantly shifting gears between full-on blasts and hardcore breakdowns. The Irrefutable Weigh is a dizzying listen, especially to anyone trying to grasp all that is happening and any given moment.
The biggest challenge facing any of death metal’s numerous variations is always the vocals. I say this as a listener, but it must be a challenge for any group as well. No creative mind wants to keep repeating themselves. And with death metal, you can pour your heart into the lyrics but the reality is, the majority of listeners will never take the time to read them. And no one will learn them. Guaranteed. So what do you do? How does a band effectively employ this albatross and use it to their advantage? The answer is: space. Give the vocals space, use them like an instrument, and allow the other voices in the ensemble to be heard.
With arrangements that now rival some of the most complex classical compositions, the current wave of death metal derivatives are finding new ways to employ the genre’s signature growl. In the case of this new release from Ibex, the vocals weave in and out of predictable placement which allows their purpose to be achieved without dominating a song’s structure as they do in most other forms of music, extreme or otherwise. Through skilled composition and arrangement techniques, Ibex have found a way to make it all work, and that is no easy task.
Band photo by Pierre Morrin