(Austin Weber wrote the following introduction to our premiere of a new song.)
Singularity are an unsigned, mega-talented act from Tempe, Arizona, I have covered here before at No Clean Singing. Recently they were able make their upcoming self-titled debut album a reality through a successful Indigegogo campaign. The album will be out September 23rd, and trust me, you’re going to want a copy. Today we give you the first glimpse of their upcoming rise with “Throne Of Thorns”.
Singularity have been perfecting a musical merger they dub “technical black metal”, and it’s hard to argue with that description. In a way reminiscent of Fleshgod Apocalypse, the band use a type of classical and orchestral approach in their often technical death metal sounding music, and the end result is catchy without being cheesy. The symphonic rush and pomp is strong on “Throne Of Thorns”, interacting expertly with the twin inferno of tremolo-picked vortexes and onslaughts of precise, galloping drums, which display a fine battering-ram quality. As its militaristic peaks and pauses meet warp-zone level shredding amidst squalid, throaty screams, the cohesion of styles move from headbanging heights to scarring stampedes.
(Our guest Gemma Alexander, who recently brought us a three-part report on this summer’s Eistnaflug festival in Iceland, has delivered one more gift from visit to the festival: An interview with Guðmundur Óli Pálmason, the drummer of Sólstafir. As a bonus, we’re also including at the end of the interview a new video of Sólstafir performing the title track from their new album Ótta live at a large hunting cabin in the Austrian Alps. Visit Gemma’s own excellent blog here
When I talked to Sólstafir’s drummer, Guðmundur (Gummi) Óli Pálmason on the Monday after Eistnaflug, hardly anyone had heard their new album, Ótta. Some of the songs I had only heard played live at Eistnaflug. So at the time, neither of us knew what kind of response Ótta was going to get. If Gummi suspected that it was going to be the Sunbather of 2014, he didn’t let on.
Even without the glowing album reviews that have erupted since, it was already obvious that Sólstafir are swimming in bigger ponds than they were when I first spoke with them (here) in 2012. Then, touring the U.S. seemed like a pipe dream. This year marked their first small tour in North America, five shows plus Maryland Deathfest. Finding a supporting slot on a full U.S. tour seems like a reasonable next step. A headlining tour in Europe is planned for November. Have Sólstafir hit the big time?
“I don’t know. We’re still broke,” said Gummi before admitting, “People think that as bands get bigger things get easier. Actually, the opposite is true. You play more festivals, go on more tours, get less time off, and things get more expensive. We played 15 festivals this summer.” When a schedule change at Hellfest landed Sólstafir in the same time slot as Emperor, people started giving them condolences, and even their label warned them to expect a small turnout. In the event, their venue was packed. “People came to see us anyway. It was a big change to see crowds like that.”
Yes, I’m feeling much better today, thank you for asking. My day-long hangover yesterday was so catastrophic that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to any metal at all — so you know it was a really bad one. Having finally recovered overnight, I decided to do some catching up on this Sunday morning. In thinking about what music to package in this post from what I heard, I decided to make it a globe-trotting musical tour of the underground. It’s all death metal until the final two songs.
Sullen are a fairly new band from beautiful Isla Margarita in Venezuela whom I discovered after the band’s guitarist e-mailed us yesterday. They’ve recorded a four-song EP released earlier this month named Parasite In Agony, which includes a creepy intro, two original songs, and a cover of Venom’s “Resurrection”.
It’s a strong offering of tyrannical death metal that’s both thoroughly malignant and quite memorable. The songs are loaded with big, sour, earth-moving riffs, fine (and surprisingly soulful) guitar solos, viciously pugilistic percussion, and pleasingly throaty, blood-gargling vocals. I thoroughly really enjoyed this stomping, jagged-edged, skull-fracturing EP. It’s well-written, well-performed, and well-produced. Listen below.
I got hammered last night. I mean, really hammered. I feel like dog vomit today. The day is half gone already, and only now am I able to touch the keyboard without causing shooting pains behind my eyes. And I won’t tell you how my stomach feels because it would be too disgusting, even for you.
Being unable to think straight, I had no good ideas for what to write today. And then Raven S. sent me a couple of links that gave me the idea for what you’re now reading. They’re links to what must be the most expensive digital albums on Bandcamp, and therefore probably the most expensive digital albums ever.
The first album is by a band whose name sounds like a noise I made a few minutes ago when my stomach turned a particularly nasty flip-flop. Vorbkt are from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Their latest Bandcamp release from April 2014 is entitled Tragedy, and it’s available on Bandcamp for free. But their first demo from January 2009 costs $1,000 for a digital download. The name of that one is La Mort d’echantillon. Its cover appears to be an altered version of a painting I recognized — The Suicide, by Edouard Manet. Which is fitting, because that’s what I’ve been contemplating all morning.
At slightly more than 25 minutes in length, La Mort d’echantillon costs about $40 per minute. That’s some pricey listening. Of course, you can listen for free because the album is available for streaming on Bandcamp, but if you want to carry it around with you wherever you go, that’s going to run you $1,000.
Those of you who can’t let a day go by without visiting our humble site, by which of course I mean all of you, have undoubtedly noticed that I haven’t been very good about posting round-ups this week. There are reasons, but I’ll just acknowledge my failure, express my deep regret, ask for God’s forgiveness, and try to turn the page (I got that sentence out of the Official Politicians’ Handbook For What To Say When You’re Caught In Bed With A Dead Girl Or A Live Boy).
Many, many things have happened over the last few days that are worth noting, but I’ll just mention three of them for now.
The resurrection of West Virginia’s Byzantine has been all but complete, with the release of a stellar comeback album in 2013 and the commencement of work for a follow-up record (To Release Is To Resolve) now in progress. But one thing has been missing: A Tour!
Well, finally, it appears that’s going to happen, too. Today the band announced the Release To Resolve Tour, which will be their first tour in 7 years. It begins and ends in West Virginia and includes an appearance at the CMJ Showcase in New York City. They will be supported by New York’s IKILLYA and by Thy Will Be Done from Providence, RI. The schedule as it currently exists (with a few specific locations still to be announced) is below:
(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks returns with another interview. This time his conversation is with Sami Hynninen, who has been involved in a diverse array of musical projects over a 30-year career, now including Opium Warlords and Azrael Rising.)
Sami Hynninen is one of most extravagant men in the Finnish artistic world. He has explored realms of the musical underground for about 30 years, and some of his excursions are well-known by metal heads (especially “doom” heads) of this miserable planet. For example, Reverend Bizarre were a damned famous band of the traditional doom new wave. As this band is long gone, Sami continues his searches with Opium Warlords, Spiritus Mortis, March 15, another his electro projects, Tähtiportti, and the black metal band Azrael Rising. Maybe I’ve forgotten to mention something… well, in this case Sami will correct me. Terve Sami!
Terve Sami! This year you have reached an interesting date — the 30th-year anniversary of your musical career. It’s a pretty long road, but dare I ask how you would sum up the experience of these years?
First of all I have to point out that those early years 1984 – 1990 were very rudimentary, but still, all of that chaotic noise I started with has connection to what I do now, so I think it is appropriate for me to celebrate these thirty years. It is all the same journey I am still on.
My career as a published music maker – first with noisecore tapes released by underground “labels” – started when I was sixteen or seventeen, and since then I have done the same thing that I keep doing today. Because of this I have never felt getting older, in the same sense as some people I used to know are really starting to look tired with their lives. I am that same sixteen year old boy. I have just gained some experience, and knowledge, and intelligence. But emotionally I am just as fragile as I was back then.
Ukraine has produced many outstanding pagan and black metal bands whose music is rooted in the native cultures and traditions that produced them — bands such as Drudkh, Khors, and Kroda. Now we must add one more name to the list: Stryvigor.
This new band, founded in 2012, take their name from a mountain river that flows through the Carpathians. Their debut album Forgotten By Ages will be released by Svarga Music next month. The songs, sung in Ukrainian, were inspired by the landscapes of the region and the warrior traditions of the people. Today we bring the premiere of the new album’s second track, “Mysteries of Darkness”.
Voiced by moving waves of tremolo-picked guitar, the song’s atmospheric melody turns like the firmament in the night sky, flowing like clouds passing the face of the moon or icy rivers coursing through snow-covered forest. Beneath the affecting melody, which exudes warmth as well as cold, the rhythm section provides a heavy foundation, and the scarring vocals add an extra dimension of passion to a song that comes across as genuinely heartfelt.
Editor’s Note: Terry Butler has had an enviable career as a metal musician. He was one of the early members of Massacre (along with Kam Lee, Rick Rozz, and Bill Andrews), a band whose comeback album Back From Beyond was released earlier this year. He was a member of Death from ’87-’90, playing bass on Spiritual Healing (which is being reissued in remastered form by Relapse next month); he was a member of Six Feet Under from 1993 to 2011; and he became a full-time member of Obituary in 2011 and appears on the band’s new forthcoming album Inked In Blood, which is due for release by Relapse on October 28 in the U.S.
This week NCS contributor KevinP talked with Terry about Inked In Blood, Obituary’s decision to release it through Relapse after successfully completing a Kickstarter campaign to finance the making of the album, Obituary’s forthcoming tour with Carcass, Massacre’s comeback album, and more.
K: We are less than 2 months away from the new Obituary album, Inked in Blood, how do you think it turned out?
T: I think it sounds amazing. We took our time writing the album, after all it had been several years since the last one, so why rush it. We mixed it ourselves and took time to make sure we liked the mix.
K: It just dawned on me that this was your first album with the band. Feels like you’ve been there much longer for some reason. It’s been over 4 years now, right?
T: Yeah, I started helping out in Feb 2010 and joined full time in March 2011.
K: Do you think being there that long before recording/writing an album helped you and/or the others?
T: It definitely helped as far as knowing how Donald and Trevor approach writing and arranging songs. I’ve known the guys for over 25 years, so we definitely get along and understand each other.
Horrific tearing noises accompanied the sundering of space-time, and through the rent in the dimensional membrane we received the latest transmission from the void-faring entity known as Ævangelist. Today we share with you this new hymn, as we deliver the premiere of “Præternigma”.
Although the band’s album, Omen Ex Simulacra emerged from the Abysscape only last fall, Debemur Morti Productions will soon be releasing a new full-length named Ævangelist III – Writhes in the Murk. It’s shrouded in striking cover art created by Andrzej Masianis, who also painted the cover for the last Ævangelist album.
From its inception, the music of Ævangelist has been devoted to the creation of mental imagery, emotional response, and physical sensation. The dense atmospheric sounds resist classification, as if a cyclone had scoured the musical landscape and caught up within its chaotic spinning mass the broken shards of death metal, black metal, dark ambient, industrial metal, powerviolence, and black noise (and the new album also includes saxophones and cello). Though guided by the same philosophy, the third Ævangelist hymnal is their most varied and immersive work yet, as the band employ new techniques for exerting their grasp on the imaginations of listeners.
Right about now, as this article is being posted on our site, Iceland’s Sinmara will be revealing the contents of their new album Aphotic Womb at an official listening party at the Beyond the Gates festival in Bergen, Norway, where the band will also be performing live tonight along with an impressive list of other extreme metal bands. But even if you’re unable to teleport yourself to Garage Bergen to hear the album, we’re hosting our own listening party right here through our U.S. premiere of Aphotic Womb.
Sinmara (formerly known as Chao) now includes members of other impressive Icelandic bands – Wormlust, Svartidauði, and Rebirth of Nefast – and I’ve written enthusiastically about each of the songs from the album that have premiered to date:
The squalling dissonance of the riffs, the extremely creative drum rhythms, the extraterrestrial atmosphere of the melody, the sheer vehemence of the acid-spray vocals — all of that combines to make “Verminous” a song that’s both utterly unnerving and utterly riveting. And the album’s title track is an otherworldly flowering of poisonous thorns, shrouded in a miasma of tremolo chords, serpentine leads, thrumming bass notes, and fantastic drum work that you can feel in your spine.