Leeds melodic death metal trio Pteroglyph offer up a fascinating fusion of old school death metal and modern technical metal. It’s an approach they delightfully describe to us as “feral and violently technical songs.”
As frontman Jimmy MacGregor (vocals, guitar, production) explains: “We’re all heavy into modern technical metal and thinking outside the box when it comes to songwriting. If you like it fast, heavy and angry it’ll keep you on your toes and hopefully get you all riled up. A lot of violent riffs, lots of double kick, and memorable and over the top choruses!”
The band began as Jimmy’s one-man project from his bedroom. But in 2018 he began working with Ansley Prothero (lead guitar) and Bradie Nixon (drums) to fine-tune their live show and turn the project into a fully-fledged band.
We first discovered the band through their huge latest single Solaire, which comes from a six-track album of the same name that was released at the start of November. And the new music, along with having the full band on board, represents the result of honing a more aggressive sound over the last couple of years.
As Jimmy tells us: “The idea for this album was to just make it entirely relentless and with leaving as little room for breathing as possible! The tracks were written in way so that they sound aggressive and technically demanding, whilst being accessible and following an almost traditional approach to songwriting. The songs are expansive and dominating, utilising everything in our arsenal at once. They’re determined to get heads nodding.”
Solaire, which is also the opening track of the album, opens up with heavy stabbing guitars and huge screamed vocals in an intense intro. That drops into big chugging guitars and little technical flurries under repeats of “This world spins no more,” which flows into a big chorus of drawn-out vocals “Gods of man, We’ll bleed out our sorrow, Consume our faith, We burn our pride, Our light will come with us to die, Come with us and die.”
More of the cool drawn-out vocals are supported by a lively riff, then stabbing guitars with distant atmospheric synths. That feeds into a huge section of powerful vocals, chugging guitars and wandering riffs, then big chugging guitars and the synths take us to a heavy ending. Check it out in the video below:
The album is packed with powerful, aggressive technical metal tracks, including second track Black Death, which is just as savage as the name suggests it should be. Check it out in this playthrough video:
But a personal favourite is Feed The Wolf, which opens up with fast-paced guitars and drums answered by low-tuned guitar stabs. Savage vocals take over alongside big pounding guitar chords then a huge chorus that ends with a cry of “Feed it to the wolf.” That drops into a sinister instrumental bridge then another huge atmospheric chorus, which gives way to a little guitar solo. A key change takes the intensity up a notch as the song comes to a heavy ending. Give it a listen here:
While final track Crown of Bones opens up with a terrifyingly good blast of high-pitched guitars, then a funky diving guitar riff kicks in and continues under Jimmy’s huge vocals. The intense opening guitars return in a brutal instrumental section mid-way through, supported by wild screams. Check it out in the video here:
The Pteroglyph sound is inspired by technical and progressive artists like Gojira, Meshuggah, Sylosis, Architects and Devin Townsend. As Jimmy says: “Anything that is generally loud, angry and full of groove and girth tends to tickle the right parts in us.”
And their writing is inspired by something that sounds as dark as hell, but is unfortunately an all too grim near-reality. As Jimmy explains: “The songs for the new album were loosely based on an apocalyptic scenario revolving around climate change, mainly the world heating up, everything dying slowly and everything that would go with this morbid eventuality. Tracks are based on ideas of social unrest and disease ravaging the earth, mixed with our own personal anxieties…. not exactly cheery but unfortunately apt these days!”
Despite what’s going on in the world, there’s plenty going on in Pteroglyph’s world. In the absence of gigs for now, Pteroglyph are filling their time by live streaming across various platforms and releasing as many playthrough and performance videos as possible. They’re also putting the finishing touches on a follow-up record to Solaire, which they hope to get into the studio with as soon as possible. And they hope to be able to get a tour together next year.