Music is like the rational numbers: it is dense. (Wait, what?) For all rational numbers a and b, no matter how close they are, there exist infinitely many rational numbers x such that a < x < b. This property is called density.
For the sake of analogy, music is dense too. No matter how rigourously you define the
subgenres, or even the sub-subgenres, there is always some place for new music to come in.
Since death metal has been with us for more than thirty years, it is not easy to spot the remaining tiny gaps. Bizarre, with their first full length Invocation Codex, did a great job at finding them.
To be clear, Bizarre is not exploring far, untouched areas of metal as Gorguts, Deathspell Omega or Ulcerate did. Instead, they are exploring well-known old school death metal territory, but with a detective diligence.
First of all, I have to say that Invocation Codex may be the best album I have listened for a while. Bizarre’s secret of success is this: First, they introduce a dissonant, unorthodox riff without losing the feeling of old school death metal. Then, they repeat the riff for almost the entire song.
They develop the riff, sometimes by adding new notes and sometimes by adding new sections to the repeat pattern. Moreover, they sometimes completely abandon the riff and then after a few seconds they reintroduce it with a fresh approach. Ultimately, you get used to the riff. It is like a short lesson which they teach you to analyze bizarre riffs in several minutes.
Production is old school but clear. Vocals are drier than most death metal vocals, but still quite low. This combination makes the vocals unique in some sense. I need to mention The Shadow Over Innsmouth’s scream at 0:30. Overall, this song is probably the most melodic one on the album. A good choice if you like more melodic sections.
Guitars and drums sound organic, which is a big plus for me. Souls In Formaldehyde is built around the heaviest riff of Invocation Codex. The quality of guitar production shines out during the rhythmic sections of the song.
Souls In Formaldehyde is also a good example for Bizarre’s aforementioned abandon and reintroduce policy. After being abandoned for more than two minutes, the main riff is reintroduced at 4:20 with an extra guitar on the back. This part is clearly a highlight of the album.
Another highlight is lying in the bridge of In the Bowels of Voormithadreth. All of a
sudden, one of the catchiest riffs of the album is introduced at 2:27, showing that there is life in this album deep into the B side.
Bizarre is here to show us that there are still many gaps to fill in death metal. Ex Oblivione is one of the best death metal songs I have ever listened, and the whole album is undeniably top notch. In the end, all I can say is “thank you”. Thank you Bizarre, thank you for reforging death metal.
Bizarre will release Invocation Codex on Friday 29th October through Transcending Obscurity, who put all digital albums up for NYP so pick it up potentially for free here.