Cholera – Prophecies of Annihilation

Today we’ve got another unsigned band, Cholera from Ottawa, Canada, a progressive death metal band. The band consists of multi-instrumentalist Raphael Weinroth and Matthew Buller. Raphael contacted me about reviewing them and I’ve had a hard time fitting them into the rotation, sorry for that, but I’m getting them in there now. Their bio sheet says they were both 16 when recording their first demo in 2007-2008, so I’m guessing that makes them around 19-20 now. I’ve said it before with other young bands and I’ll say it again now. I’m very impressed with how technically talented some young musicians are these days. The level of musicianship on this album blows my mind to know it comes from guys so young.

There are only five songs on this album but the running time is 66 minutes. All of the songs but one are over 11 minutes, and one, “The Lost Traveler”, clocks in at an astounding eighteen minutes twenty three seconds. These are not simple songs, on the contrary, there is a lot going on here. Alongside the usual death metal suspects of drums, guitar, and bass there are also keyboards, piano, cello and other instruments I can’t identify by ear.

I feel like there is a real Death/Chuck Schuldiner influence to Cholera, though they do not list him as an influence. I could be thinking this due to the tight technical sound of the guitars. However, the progressive elements take this music to a more ethereal place than Chuck took Death. They do list Opeth as an influence, and while they don’t remind me of Opeth in sound, the long complex song structures are certainly a similarity.

For the most part the vocals are death metal harsh, but there are clean vox interspersed throughout some of the songs. The vocals aren’t the draw here though; the music and the songwriting are the strong points.

Yesterday I talked about my typical expectations of sound quality for unsigned bands, and Cholera is an example of the other side of the coin. The sound quality isn’t too bad, but it doesn’t have the polish you would generally hear from a signed act. It’s pretty obvious that the first two tracks were recorded at a different time than the last three. But honestly that doesn’t matter to me, because really all that matters is whether the songs are any good. Much like the early Misfits albums, sound quality can be awful if you have really good songs. And the sound quality here certainly isn’t awful; I would just love to hear what they could do with a big budget studio.

So I’m going to give Cholera a thumbs up and wish them luck. I think if a label would come along and pick these guys up they could make a very impressive album and any of the metal labels would be lucky to have them on their roster.