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“Nightmares of our Own Design”: The Conjuration of Svengahli (Song Premiere)


If the hearty list of guest musicians doesn’t give it away (Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts, Rafael Trujilo of Obscura, Anup Sastry ex-Jeff Loomis’s eponymous project, and more), new progressive death metal project Svengahli‘s debut promises to go beyond “just another solo release by another respectable musician.” Here, the mastermind is Alex Weber (of Exist, and also ex-Loomis), who clearly poured significant thought and consideration into Nightmares of our Own Design but still had room in his paradigm for the influences of others. And what a combination this is, because across soaring clean and harsh vocal melodies and dense churning instrumentation, Svengahli feels sparklingly progressive and nimble without losing the edge and bite that proper death metal always begs for. Dive into this saturated, complex world with a stream of the EP’s second song “Nightmares of our Own Design I: Echoes of Prejudice” below.

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One thing I immediately respect about this song is that it asks for a bit of patience with its extended introduction; trust me, though, the mood-building is worth it. Svengahli banks on that emotional pull (and the requisite level of attention), so it’s not just the precision of the artists’ technicality that makes this music worth diving into. Doubtlessly, though, there’s no need to wax poetic about the amount of raw talent shared among the group here (which also also sees Charlie Eron of WAIT and Matt Rossa also of Exist). It’s better instead to just recognize how synergistic this project feels despite the music’s sometimes angular, harsh attack — like how this particular song closes out, it’s heavy as fuck in all the right and jagged ways.

Nightmares of our Design listens like a dream, showcases some hilariously great talent without showing off, and says a damn whole lot in four nasty, cohesive songs. Consider me already signed up.

The Nightmares of our Design EP releases March 6th. Preorders available via Bandcamp. Some quick background from Alex Weber regarding the release is below:

I had written these tunes with potentially using them for Exist in mind but they ended up turning out slightly different than what we’ve been musically doing. I had been considering starting my own project for quite some time but I didn’t fully decide to start the project until about a year ago and didn’t decide on the name until earlier this year. Some of the original ideas for these tunes came as earlier as 2015 but I didn’t fully finish these tunes until a little less than a year ago.

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