Al-Namrood is an anti-religious Saudi Arabian black metal band, which has to be a dangerous way for them to spend their time. The first and last time I wrote about them was in 2012 when their third album Kitab Al-Awthan was on the brink of release. Now their sixth album is due for release on CD and vinyl by Shaytan Production on May 16. Its name is Enkar.
Editor’s Introduction: On the night of February 17, 2017, the Swedish black metal war machine Marduk brought their just-concluded U.S. tour to the Regent Theater in Los Angeles, and photographer extraordinaire Levan TK was there to capture the performance on film.
Once again we’re fortunate to be able to share Levan’s work with you, and hope for more opportunities in the future. Without further ado, feast your eyes:
One look at the title of this post will tell you that I’m drowning in new music that I want to recommend — seven bands are named, and this is already Part 2 of a SEEN AND HEARD collection for this Friday, and I’m already working on a third part, which I probably won’t finish and post until tomorrow. But, you know, it’s a good kind of drowning.
There’s always a risk of sensory overload when I let these collections get out of hand, or at least a risk of people running out of time before they’re able to sample everything (much less read all these damned words). But rather than retreat, I’ll just borrow the words of Shakespeare as expressed through King Henry V to his soldiers: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more….”
I do my best to unearth good music from bands I’ve never heard of, but I also answer the bell like Pavlov’s dog when something new comes out from a band I’ve liked for a long time. Evocation are one of those bands, a group whose music I’ve been addicted to ever since ever since their resurrection in 2007 with Tales From the Tomb. Which is why I’m kind of embarrassed by not learning of these first two songs sooner than I have.
(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Darkest Hour.)
Now Darkest Hour’s last album was… how do I put this delicately… a big fat disappointment.
Anodyne and formulaic to a fault, it sounded less like the thrashing melodeath maniacs we’d all come to know and love, and more like a band trying desperately to streamline and sanitise their sound in pursuit of some (arguably long overdue) crossover success.
Heck, the band pretty well said as much in interviews at the time, citing their disappointment at seeing so many of their peers garnering a tonne of mainstream (by Metal standards, at least) attention and commercial success, while they were still struggling for their “big break”, as one of the driving factors behind their shift towards a more generic, Metalcore-friendly sound on their (ultimately sub-par) self-titled endeavour.
But it takes a big man (or, in this case, a big band) to admit when they’ve made a mistake. And, although it may not say so in so many words, Godless Prophets… is not only a heartfelt mea culpa from the DC destroyers, but also just happens to be their heaviest, angriest album since Hiddens Hands…
We’ve had some enthusiastic words of praise for North Carolina’s All Hell going back to their second release, The Red Sect, in 2015 (“It’s a thoroughly electrifying romp, a ripping rampage of thrashing riffs, punk rhythms, and mad-dog snarls. Hooky as hell and as nasty as a famished wolverine…. It hits that Toxic Holocaust/Goatwhore sweet spot”). Prosthetic Records soon signed the band and reissued that album on LP and CD, and now Prosthetic is bringing out the band’s new album, The Grave Alchemist — from which we gleefully bring you the premiere of a black thrashing track aptly named “Vampiric Lust“.
The new album was produced by Kris Hilbert (The Body) and was mixed and mastered by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust), both of whom also worked with the band on The Red Sect. The album is described as “a narrative-driven horror concept album that weaves a tale of alchemy, necromancy, and vampirism over the span of three centuries.”
I try to have something new ready to post every day by around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. Pacific time, which is the awkward time zone in which I live — awkward, because the vast majority of people who visit this site are in time zones that are between two and 12 hours later than the one that organizes life here in Seattle, which is why I start things so early (for me). Sometimes I get the starting post ready before I go to sleep the night before (which is what I did with this one), and sometimes I get up in the darkness and do it the day of.
As you can tell from the title of the post, I’ve collected some new music to spread before you today. What you can’t tell is that the collection is ENORMOUS. It’s so big that last night I couldn’t even finish what I had planned for Part 1. So I decided to pick one band included in Part 1 and defer the others to Part 2… and Part 3.
So how did I choose the one band to tide you over until I finish the rest of this musical flood? In a nutshell, Sarkrista are a remarkable discovery. Allow me to explain.
The timer on a bomb has been ticking down, and tomorrow time runs out. February 24th is the release date established by Unique Leader Records for Palace of the Pessimist, the new album by L.A.-based So This Is Suffering. But we’re speeding up the clock and providing a premature detonation today as we host a full stream of the album.
So This Is Suffering were founded in 2006, self-releasing a trio of previous albums, including 2012’s A Deathscene on Delay. This new one marks their first release on Unique Leader.
Mountain God‘s new album Bread Solstice is a fascinating trip, an immersive, trance-inducing affair that’s nevertheless harrowing, and as heavy as an avalanche coming through your splintering skull. The centerpiece of the album is an 11 1/2 minute monolith named “Nazca Lines“, and we’re giving you the chance to hear it now in advance of the album’s March 24 release by Artificial Head Records.
Brooklyn-based Mountain God first began to take shape in 2012 and the band’s line-up now consists of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi, bassist/keyboardist Nik Kamineni (ex-Alkahest), and drummer/vocalist Ryan Smith (Thera Royal). This new album follows the band’s 2013 EP Experimentation On The Unwilling and their 2015 single-track monument, Forest of the Lost.
Last October we had the pleasure of premiering an absolute bonfire of an album by the French band Sordide, displaying (at a high level) a kind of dissonant, atmospheric, intricate, multifaceted black metal with progressive and doom inclinations and a display of technical prowess that frequently veers into jaw-dropping territory. And if that seems like a wordy genre description, it’s because the music resists a simple classification.
That album, Fuir la lumière (“escape the light”), was my introduction to Sordide, and it made me an instant fan. Now we bring you another Sordide premiere, a cover of a song named “Industrielle“.
The song was originally recorded by the French grind/black-metal band Satan (on their 2015 album L’Odeur du sang), with whom Sordide will be releasing a 7″ split in April, timed to coincide with a European tour by the two bands. Although Sordide’s cover of “Industrielle” won’t appear on the split, it will be released on-line as a digital download at a future date.
Plague Throat are a death metal power trio from Shillong, the capital of a state in northeastern India named Meghalaya, which is separated from the main body of the sub-continent by Bangladesh. Located on a highland plateau surrounded by rolling hills, it’s the wettest region in India and one of the wettest places on earth, yet also one of the most elevated regions in the nation; Meghalaya means “the abode of clouds” in Sanskrit. From my reading, it looks like a beautiful and interesting place, with its own very distinct history, tribal cultures, and languages.
I mention all of this because the Plague Throat song we’re premiering today, which comes from their debut album The Human Paradox, itself bears a traditional name — “Ma Nga” — and the lyrics are in a native language rather than English. I also learned from an interview that the recording of the song was interrupted by an earthquake — though when you hear it, you might be inclined to suspect that the song is what set off the tremors.