Alright, it might be a stretch to call this song a “premiere”, because some of the lucky ones among you have already discovered this music for yourselves. The debut EP Yearwalker of Sweden’s Gloson was self-released digitally last year, but it’s getting a proper international release on vinyl this coming March 23 by Art of Propaganda and Catatonic State Records. Apart from satisfying the vinyl hungers of Gloson’s fans, this new release achieves another admirable objective: It spreads the word of Yearwalker to the previously uninitiated — which included me. And I’m damned glad I’ve now been introduced to this surprising new band.
“The Aftermath/Beginning” is the final song on this four-track, 32-minute release. Entrancing guitar notes transform into pile-driving riffs, dreamlike melody is overpowered by an avalanche of rumbling darkness, caustic howls scrape against vulnerable flesh. As the song continues to unfold, yet another entrancing guitar melody spirals over the crushing low-end rhythms, like northern lights shimmering over mountain crags. The sludgy power of the song will get your head moving while it casts a spell at the same time.
Tuomas Saukkonen (Wolfheart)
It’s the same old story. Metal is such an over-boiling cauldron of creativity that if you have to wait a few days to go exploring for new things, you find yourself up to your neck in hot water. Or at least that’s what happened to me yesterday.
Having failed to compile a round-up of new music since last Sunday, I felt overwhelmed when confronting how much I wanted to write about today. I had to make some hard choices about what to recommend, and even then I had to stifle my usual verbosity — time is a harsh mistress, and not in a good way. So, with a regrettable (to me) minimum of introductory comments, here’s a selection of what lit me up over the last 24 hours, presented in the order in which I saw and heard them. I’ll have a few more new items to share with you on Saturday.
Earlier this month Spinefarm Records re-released Winterborn, the fantastic album by Wolfheart that we praised to the skies (repeatedly) when it was first self-released by the band in 2013. The re-issue comes with two bonus tracks (“Isolation” and “Into the Wild”). Two days ago Wolfheart premiered a music video for the album’s first track, “The Hunt”, which shows scenes from the recording of the track. It’s a wonderful song (it was on our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs), and any excuse to hear it again is welcome.
Exactly one week ago we posted Andy Synn’s extravagant review of Kaiserschnitt, the extravagant new album by Germany’s Porta Nigra, which is being released today by Debemur Morti Productions. As of this moment, you can now download the album or purchase one of the beautiful physical copies — but perhaps most important, you now have a chance to listen to all of it before taking the plunge.
If you haven’t yet discovered the stream that just went live on Bandcamp, all you have to do is skip to the bottom of this post and there you will find it. And if you need any further encouragement to let it into your head, here are a few choice words from Andy’s review, with which I almost whole-heartedly agree:
(In this post our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks interviews Alex Schenkels, vocalist of the Dutch psychedelic doom/stoner band Yama.)
Yama have been playing their heavy and driving stoner for about five years, but their first full-length album Ananta was released only at the end of 2014. It was worth waiting for it — a bunch of strong, highly energetic, and catchy songs that evoke no less enthusiasm than the new works of more famous bands. Yet I don’t want to waste your time with a long foreword, ’cause Yama’s frontman Alex Schenkels is already here.
Hail Alex! You have released Yama’s grand debut about a month ago. How long did the band work for this release?
Hail Aleks! Yeah, Ananta has finally found its way to the public. It’s been quite a long process to be honest. We recorded Ananta approximately 1.5 years ago. Due to many factors the release got postponed several times.
I’ve been writing about Vancouver’s Archspire since December 2010, which is when I came across their All Shall Align EP. This morning I went back to that first post about the band and that EP, because even from the beginning, certain aspects of their sound really stood out — and one is particularly relevant in the context of the brand new video we’re about to show you:
“This is a truly eye-popping convulsion of tech-death, with schizophrenic rhythms, astounding technical riffing and drumwork, and tiny threads of reappearing melody that stitch the songs together into cohesive wholes. And I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a death-metal vocalist bark out the lyrics faster than Archspire’s, particularly on that second song; he’s like the vocal equivalent of those insane guitarists.”
I’ve seen Oli Rae Aleron’s vocal style referred to as “shotgun vocals”. “Death metal rap” would work, too. In this just-released video, he does a vocal playthrough of the Archspire song “Fathom Infinite Depth” from the band’s 2014 album The Lucid Collective. And it’s a lyric video. Which means you need to be prepared to read fast — I mean, really fast.
Not long ago we included a feature about the title track to a new album by Poland’s Kurhan in one of our occasional round-ups of impressive new songs. Now we have the pleasure of bringing you a full stream of the entire album, the title of which is Głód (“hunger”).
When I first heard the title track, it really grabbed me by the jugular. I compared it to taking a ride on a whirlwind, or something like being caught in a swarm of bats embarking on a night of feeding at full speed. But in addition to unleashing a plethora of technically impressive high-speed riffs and hard-hitting percussion, Kurhan made the song a rhythmically dynamic work and threaded appealing strands of dark melody into their blazing tapestry as well.
Now having heard the entire album, more metaphors come to mind. Listening to it is like being dropped into a war zone, with shrapnel flying fast and furious and bursts of adrenaline flooding the bloodstream from all the imminent peril.
As I announced a few days ago, we’ve launched a new series at NCS in which we’re inviting readers to submit pieces for publication with the goal of putting the spotlight on lesser known bands from the towns, cities, and regions you folks call home — whether in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. For details about this project, go HERE.
Yesterday we posted the inaugural piece in this series by Grant Skelton (who had the idea for the series in the first place). Hot on the heels of that, I received a submission by Seattle resident Eric Bauer (who has his own blog — “High Defamation” — here). As it happens, Eric’s piece puts the spotlight on a Seattle band that’s one of my favorites — and they’re also a group of very cool people on a personal level.
But I thought, in keeping with Grant’s original idea, that a “Local Focus” piece on Seattle ought to include a few more bands, and so with Eric’s permission I’m adding three to this post following his own feature.
(In a continuation of his recently inaugurated NCS series, KevinP runs down his list of the best releases from the month that’s about to end.)
Last month I had what seemed to be a reasonable amount of music to wade through, 24 releases. This month, I was at 40, so naturally there were some tough cuts I had to make. Nice problem to have, no complaints really. Like last month (and every month), please feel free to share your comments, thoughts, and favorite releases in the Comments section below.
5. Devouring Star – Through Lung & Heart
Very little is known about this Finnish band, who came onto the scene in 2014 with a two-song demo, and they now release their full-length album through Daemon Worship Productions. While you will see them listed as a black metal band, it’s quite another story.
I’m way behind on plans to collect new discoveries for our usual round-ups, but I thought I would leave just this one new disorienting thing for your listening and viewing pleasure before calling it quits for this Wednesday.
The architect of the video you’ll find at the end of this post is Nick Vasallo, the lead vocalist and songwriter for the excellent technical death metal band Oblivion – who also happens to be assistant professor in the Music Department at Cal State Polytechnic University (Pomona) and a composer of contemporary classical music whose works have been performed internationally.
For this piece, which is entitled “Inches From Freedom”, Dr. Vasallo conducted an experiment, using the talents of five performers scattered around the globe. Here’s how he describes what you’re about to see and hear:
(Our man Austin Weber turns in this review, with his photos, of a recent performance by Felix Martin and company in Louisville, Kentucky.)
Beyond it’s aggressive attraction, metal at its core is about evolution and will, a desire to explore experimental and uncharted musical territory. In just the past few years, 14-string guitarist Felix Martin has been wowing audiences and expanding upon his unique blend of genres, playing largely in an eight-finger, two-handed tapping manner, one hand on each neck of a double-necked guitar configuration. His playing spans metal, jazz, blues, traditional Venezualuen music, country, and other genres that you’ll discover as as you delve into his back-catalogue, starting with his first record, Bizarre Rejection, a record that I’m proud to own.
Recently here at NCS, I wrote about his latest video, and also mentioned his most recent tour. Unfortunately for me, though, his tour date in my hometown of Louisville was added at the last minute, so I was unable to request time off work. This meant that I had to rush to the venue after work and missed the set of NCS favorites Barishi, arriving just as Felix Martin and his band were setting up. Really pissed that I missed Barishi because of work, but I tried to make it up to them by having Barishi and Felix Martin and his band stay at my place for the night.