There's a lesson to be learned when understanding music as creator's art versus professional's product. Even though both angles coexist with some degree of harmony, you can strip everything away (PR blurbs, label marketing, even the cover art) except the music and, well, still have the music. And that's what we are here for, no?

Yes. And while services like Bandcamp have helped level the playing field between "one-man DIY extreme metal project" and full bands with far more structure and support, we still mentally distinguish "signed vs. unsigned" or "home studio vs. real studio." I am not here to tell you this distinction is bullshit, but that we cannot ever take for granted an important fact: even with absolutely zero outside support or structure, perhaps even without listeners, heavy metal will continue existing.

It's because the artist creates not for you, but for themselves, ultimately. This is literally the beating heart of why I love exploring for new music, especially heavy metal which is already DIY in ethos even when it's not always in practice -- all told, few things in life come with this level of genuineness or purity.

I've felt this way about Tampa-based deathgrind project Estuarine ever since stumbling upon their Bandcamp page a few years back. Those days, project mastermind Hydrus was penning sprawling deathgrind epics (over ten minutes long per song sometimes) with distinctive "creatively loose" guitar riffage and absolutely bonkers drum programming -- the contrast here with the subgenre's lack of attention span was stark, as these songs required quite a bit, and paid off in spades for it.

Now Hydrus is back, and as gnarly as ever, with a huge change: all the songs on their upcoming album "Nyarlathotep" (out next month) feel like spastic reverberations from the prior, lengthier work, almost like accelerated feverdreams from an already all-encompassing experience. The album indeed comprises a selection of these explosive and technical forays into deathgrind, still avant-garde but less obviously so.

It's almost over before it begins, and that feels like the deathgrind way. Estuarine has super-elevated their percussive and complex riffing style, opting for one-two punches now instead of playing the long game, which translates into an absolutely infectious listen. It's amazing to see projects like these ever-shifting as they discover not only new sounds but new ways of manifesting their vision -- here, it feels like Hydrus has discovered the bare mechanics of their talent and placed it on display as context for both the past and future of this project.

Hear (and see) all this for yourself with a new single and playthrough video below.



Watch other Estuarine videos here, here, and here.
Nyarlathotep will release independently on March 19th, 2021 via the band's Bandcamp page.

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