I had more than the usual amount of time to explore new music yesterday. As usual, I found a lot to like, so much that I’ve divided the discoveries into two posts. In this one, I’ve collected mostly recent videos from six bands.
In September I reviewed Ryšys, the excellent new album by the Lithuanian black metal band Luctus, along with a full stream of the album. Luctus have now released an official live video for their cover of “He’s turning blue”, originally recorded by Carpathian Forest. It’s not the first time Luctus have covered the song — it appeared on their 2011 album Live at Intro (which is available here on Bandcamp).
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Solution .45.)
I’d be rather curious to see a proverbial show of hands in the comments on the question of who still gives a shit about Christian Älvestam metal. The guy, despite having been regarded as one of the “it” vocalists of modern metal’s evolution, seems to have a loyal underground fanbase and not much more these days. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that his bands have all been a spin on the same sound in some fashion or another (including even his Unmoored-to-Scar-Symmetry transition if you look at Unmoored’s last album) and I could see or imagine that for some people it just got really old.
It’s only been recently that he, along with his cohorts in his various bands, most notably showed an effort to branch away from this with Miseration’s last album, which was a full-on death metal record with an oddly peculiar attack. Solution .45, though, with their debut For Aeons Past showed themselves to be a culmination of every single facet of the bands with Älvestam at the helm, and also the closest you could get to Scar Symmetry for sure. There were shades of them in the record, as well as Unmoored and Miseration, and overall the album was really solid, although I found myself taking more of a liking to what Scar Symmetry was doing after his departure.
Around the world, this fall has been a season of tragedy, an ugly reminder that death takes the innocent every day. And it has included some especially terrible reminders of that fact for music fans. The slaughter at the Bataclan music venue in Paris on November 13 has of course dominated the news in recent weeks, overshadowing another tragedy that happened on October 30 at a club in Bucharest, Romania.
On that night, at an album release show at Club Collectiv for a local band named Goodbye to Gravity, an explosive fire broke out that has claimed the lives of 60 victims so far, including two members of the band, with more than 100 people still hospitalized, some still in critical condition. The catastrophe led to three days of national mourning, massive protests in the streets, and the resignation of Romania’s prime minister.
To raise funds for the victims of the tragedy (for both medical bills and funeral expenses), the noted Romanian graphic artist and musician Costin Chioreanu, whose name will be familiar to readers of this site, has released a collection of music entitled The Quest For A Morning Star via Bandcamp, and I think it’s worth your time and your money.
Every year there seem to be one or two metal albums that become particular lightning rods of controversy. This year Myrkur’s debut album M was one of those. On the one hand, it has drawn praise — for example, it has just appeared in the Number 28 spot on DECIBEL magazine’s list of the Top 40 Albums of 2015, described as “a collage of icy vibes”, “haunted by demons and angels alike”, “true extreme metal, not intended for the weak, -hearted or -minded”. On the other hand, it has been the target of unpleasant assaults by various devotees of underground black metal who seem upset to the point of resentment by the attention it has garnered.
Well, the point of this feature really isn’t to rekindle that debate, it’s to share a video that’s an example of the positive interactions that can happen between musicians and their fans — a kind of feedback loop in which each inspires the other. It’s far from the only example, of course, but it seemed to me one worth spreading around.
Last spring we had the pleasure of premiering a killer song from Above the Unworthy, the debut album by Italy’s Demiurgon released in June by Ungodly Ruins Production, and today we bring you the debut of a lyric video for a brand new Demiurgon song: “Teatro Del Coito“.
This new song is destined for release as part of a split with another Italian band, Valgrind. It’s a bit of an experiment for the band, as they recorded the song using drop-A tuning and wrote the song with lyrics in Italian. And for those who aren’t conversant in Italian, well, let’s just say that Demiurgon welcome you to the theater of sex.
The experimental, Chicago-based metal band Scientist have recorded a follow-up to their self-titled debut album. This new album includes more vocals than the debut (contributed in part by some notable guests), but that doesn’t mean the music is any more conventional. It simply adds more dimensions to music that is still fascinatingly difficult to pin down.
The album’s title is 10100II00101, and it’s scheduled for digital and CD release on December 11 (with vinyl coming later from Hell Comes Home). For those who haven’t yet encountered Scientist, it’s the collaborative vehicle of these talented musicians: guitarist, vocalist, and founder Eric Plonka (Yakuza), guitarist/vocalist Patrick Auclair (Taken By The Sun), drummer Justin Cape (Taken By The Sun), and bassist Mathew Milligan (Making Ghosts).
I’ll also mention up-front the names of the guest vocalists: Stavros Giannopoulos (The Atlas Moth), Andre Almaraz (Pale Horseman), Anthony Cwan (Without Waves), and James Clayton Bowman. Aw hell, I might as well mention a few more notable names who are associated with this unpronounceable new album:
(Here’s Part 4 of our Norwegian friend Gorger’s entertaining multi-part feature on bands we seem to have overlooked at NCS. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here; Part 3 is here. And be sure to check out Gorger’s Metal.)
With Islander back in the saddle, I felt no hurry to complete this fourth part of Beneath the NCS Radar.
This was initially intended as the last episode of the series, but then the producers decided to give Season 2 a chance. I’ve discovered more music that deserves a larger audience. This leaves me with a question, though.
If this were to become a regular feature, the name would sort of bite its own shiny metal ass. If it’s presented on NSC, than it’s no longer off the NCS radar, and thus the very title becomes contradictory. Perhaps this minute dilemma is so
small it is negligible. Moving on…
Everything about Extreme Cold Winter’s debut EP is massive, frigid, and pitiless. Compared to what I’ve heard from the music of founder AJ van Drench’s previous death/doom band Beyond Belief, Paradise Ends Here is slower, more desolate and forbidding, and more brutally staggering in the force of its impact. The word DOOM belongs before “death” this time, and it deserves all the capital letters.
In keeping with the band’s name, the song titles and the apocalyptic lyrical themes are devoted to the extinction of heat, joy, and life. The music and the words — which can be heard clearly in the well-rounded and monstrous growls of vocalist Pim Blankenstein (Officium Triste, The 11th Hour) — conjure feelings of desperation and dread. When Blankenstein roars, “We came from far, from raging worlds to kill again the sun and moon!”, you can easily imagine that he’s talking about the band, even though he’s not.
(DGR reviews the new album by Arkaik.)
The idea of a “tentpole” band is something that has been playing on the darkest reaches of my mind lately. Like an idea that has its claws slowly wrapping around you, so the tendrils have slowly wormed their way into my thoughts over the course of my album listenings for this review.
I’m definitely the most unqualified person in the world to opine about how the record label business is conducted, but I’ve always been under the impression that a lot of many label’s rosters often don’t exactly generate tremendous amounts of money, and under some business models there are usually two or three fairly huge bands that happen to bring in most of the money, and that tends to get kind of spread out amongst the rest of the label.
If it isn’t the profit factor, sometimes these bands I’m thinking of just happen to be the ones that seem to define the ethos of the label. In other words, there will usually be a band or two per label that seem to define what much of the roster sounds like, or they embody huge swaths of the sound — the exemplaries of the label, so to speak. In my mind, this is the case with Arkaik and their label Unique Leader.
Spawning Abhorrence from Leeds in the UK have finished work on their second album, The Sleepless One, and they’ve just released one of the new songs (“The Writhing Rhetoric”) for streaming. Even though we’re a few hours late to call it an actual premiere, we’ve decided to help spread it around because it’s an obliterating listening experience. And what better way to close out the weekend and get our game faces on for the new week than by getting obliterated?
I could probably just leave it at that, but I can’t resist adding a few more words of introduction, just so you have a better idea how the obliteration will proceed.
It will happen in a torrent of furiously writhing, viciously jabbing, and mercilessly grinding death metal riffs, accompanied by hyper-speed drumming and ghastly roars. And in the second half of this barrage, some interesting things will happen as the band give the song added texture, when a brief moment of near-silence paves the way for a combination of percussive blasting and dark, shimmering melody.