Little more than two weeks ago I discovered the existence of Psychotic Gardening — not the wildly popular pastime in many mental institutions but the band from Winnipeg, Canada. The occasion was the band’s release of a music video for their staggeringly heavy cover of Death’s “Open Casket” from the Leprosy album — and I frothed at the mouth about how good I thought it was.
One thing led to another, and here we are premiering an original Psychotic Gardening song named “Origin of the Infection”. Like the “Open Casket” cover, it will appear on the band’s forthcoming album Hymnosis, which is due for release on May 13.
Based on the interesting spin this band put on “Open Casket”, you could make an educated guess that they would be talented songwriters as well as skilled performers, but “Origin of the Infection” removes the guesswork.
Metal is such a diverse genre of music that you would need an enormous number of axes to diagram the spectra of its manifold characteristics (I’m using “axes” as the plural of “axis”, not that electrified thing you use to shred up a storm of notes or the implements you use to cleave the skulls of your enemies). On one of these axes I imagine two extremes at either end:
At one end there’s deeply somber, glacially paced atmospheric music, with few if any riffs and a pall of gloom and grief hanging heavy like a fog. On the other end — well, that’s where you’ll find Rocket Propelled Chainsaws: the place where you party ’til you vomit and mosh ’til everyone’s on their way to the emergency room with sirens screaming.
I found out about this band because it includes guitarist Sean Corkum, who’s also in a band I’ve written before named Eldritch Flamethrower. Obviously, either Sean hangs out with people who’ve got a gift for coming up with awesome band names or he’s got the gift. Either way, Eldritch Flamethrower and Rocket Propelled Chainsaws are mighty fine names.
You might think that having posted 23 very recent song and video premieres over the weekend (here and here), I’d be fresh out of new material to toss your way. But you would be wrong. Here are four more that surfaced over the last 48 hours that I’ve been enjoying, and the music is so varied — including two exceptions to our Rule — that I’m betting you’ll find something to like as well.
As I previously reported, on May 27 in NorthAm (and May 23 in Euope) Season of Mist plans to release a special 2-disc compilation entitled One And All, Together, For Home. The project was initiated by Drudkh’s Roman Sayenko and it will consist of 17 songs by eight excellent bands performing traditional song interpretations from their native countries, cover versions of folk songs, or the use of themes and melodies from their musical heritages in original compositions. All of the songs will appear exclusively on this release.
I’ve already streamed the track by Primodial (here) and today I bring you the song contributed by Norway’s Kampfar.
The song is called ”En Hymne Til Urd” (A Hymn for Earth)”. Here’s the band’s explanation about the song:
This morning I saw a positive Facebook mention about this band by Patrick Bruss (Crypticus), who knows a thing or two about old school death metal. Sentience is a one-man death metal band from Woodland Park, New Jersey, formed only this year by guitarist/vocalist Matt Moliti (ex-Dark Empire). He has recorded a three-song demo entitled Beyond the Curse of Death — and here’s what really caught my attention: It was mastered by the legendary Dan Swanö, who had this to say about the music:
“One of the best SweDeath projects I have come across in the last 20 years. The perfect blend of all the highlights from the Swedish scene from 89 to 91. Truly awesome!”
I mean, shit, that’s some very high praise, given the source! And who am I to disagree with someone like Dan Swanö when it comes to old-school SweDeath? And in fact, I don’t disagree at all.
(DGR reviews the new second album from Canada’s Unsacred Seed.)
Recently I’ve found myself playing with the idea of opening my reviews and articles with a description of how I found each band. Putting it politely, I’m probably a total idiot for doing so, yet I feel like I’m upholding some sort of noble cause by showing that sites like this one don’t entirely rely on whatever PR an agency leaves on our doorstep. Not to say that it doesn’t help to have such assistance, if not just to keep us from going out in public and looking like fools — but I do believe that by showing that there are other paths to getting noticed, perhaps it will demonstrate that putting a little faith in the universe and casting yourself out there can get you noticed. If not, at the very least it makes the process feel a little less “monied”. Maybe it’s just a sense that surfing the net to try and find music is a worthwhile and rewarding venture, one that doesn’t depend on just letting folks shovel stuff in front of you — although, come to think of it, that notion pretty much undermines the purpose of a site such as this.
In the case of Unsacred Seed, however, I cannot remember for the life of me how I found them. I think it may have been a random forum discovery, one of the many devoted to archiving much of what was released in 2013, where one of the band members was sharing his own work — their debut disc for “name your own price”. Thus, I wound up following the band, not only out of personal curiosity but also because I enjoyed that debut disc quite a bit. When I heard they had a followup in the works, that made things more exciting.
Before we really get to the meat of this meal, allow me to state that there are three things that I absolutely love about Canada’s Unsacred Seed:
Belgium’s Aborted will be delivering their new monstrosity Necrotic Manifesto via Century Media on April 28 in Europe and April 29 in North America (available for pre-order here). Last month we featured the album’s title track, and today the band unveiled a lyric video for yet another song — “Coffin Upon Coffin”.
The song delivers flensing riff flurries and brutish hammering, machine-gun percussion and a blistering solo, multisyllabic linguistics and vocal excretions that will leave scars on tender skin. The video also makes Par Olofsson’s grisly cover art come to life.
In other Aborted news, the band have been uploading the results of a horrific photoshoot to Facebook, and after you listen to the new song after the jump, you can gaze upon their modified visages, which strangely seem like fitting improvements upon the faces that nature gave them.
Sólstafir – photo by Gediminas Bartuška
(In this post Andy Synn voices his opinion about the most important unifying factor in all great metal.)
Ok, so, hyperbolic title aside, this is an issue I’ve been thinking about for some time.
The question of why.
Why I love the sound and fury of metal. Why I love certain bands and not others. Why I love this genre, over any other. What it is, beneath all the noise and chaos and bloody-minded catharsis, that truly connects with me.
In many ways it’s something instinctive. Or at least it feels that way. Sometimes it seems like there’s no rhyme or reason behind it. Yet it’s also something that seems ripe for analysis and self-reflection. Something that says just as much about me as it does about metal.
So, in pseudo-analytical fashion, I’ve been attempting to identify some sort of underlying factor that contributes to my love of metal as a whole. Something that explains my love of the genre in its varying forms, from the live performance to the recorded art, and something which explains why it stimulates me not only to wax lyrical about the genre here at NCS but also to create lyrically in two bands of my own.
And that something is simple.
With a new album named Morning Wood, colorful cover art depicting nymphs bestowing their pastoral charms on a massive bull, and a description of themselves as Swiss farmers who “abandoned their shovels and harvesters to take on a different type of instruments, with the goal of becoming icons of sex, alcohol and rock’n’roll”, you might conclude that Voice of Ruin don’t take themselves too seriously. And you would be right. But their “horny farmer metal” kicks bushelfuls of ass, as you’re about to find out.
Today we have the pleasure of premiering the band’s official lyric video for the new album’s third track, “Through the Eyes of Machete”. Both the song and the video are an homage to the central figure of the Machete movies of Robert Rodriguez and a celebration of, well, killing and fucking. What could be more metal?
As for the music, it’s a high-voltage, jackhammering, heavy-grooved romp, with guitars that swarm like hornets when they’re not punching holes all over the landscape, and a vocalist who sounds like a timber wolf. Apparently, they harvest hops in Switzerland with chainsaws and heavy artillery, with occasional pauses for catchy melodic drinking songs.
John Martin: “The Deluge” (1834)
As I mentioned yesterday, the past week brought good song and video premieres in a flood, which was unfortunate only in the sense that I didn’t have time to write about all those discoveries day-by-day as they happened. So this weekend I decided to just flood you with them, leaving behind all but some short snippets of my own sparkling prose and mainly delivering the streams, along with release info.
Yesterday I collected 11 (!) new songs and videos, plus a couple of tantalizing news items, and today I’ve got 12 more, plus a few more news items. Once again, I present them in alphabetical order:
The Song: “Apotheosis of the Hangman”
From: Dismembering the Image of God
Release info: self-released by the band on April 7; below is a new video for the opening track
Vicious melodic death metal with flying fretwork that gets more interesting and seductive as the song progresses. Punches pretty damned hard, too.
Sadhak is a Norwegian band (from Trondheim) about whom I’ve found very little information. I learned of the band through a message from Shadow Kingdom Records, which released Sadhak’s self-titled demo on cassette tape last month (Sadhak originally released the demo on tape and digitally last fall). According to the message, the band is a side project of Andreas Hagen, who is a member of High Priest of Saturn. I’m not familiar with them, but Shadow Kingdom’s message compared Sadhak to Warning and 40 Watt Sun, and that was enough to lure me in.
The demo consists of two long songs, “On the Arrival of Man” and “The Perfection of Wisdom”, and I found them both immensely appealing. They very effectively draw you away from the world around you and into a place where the light is failing and the void beckons.
In both songs, Sadhak employs slow, distorted guitars, gut-rumbling bass notes, and the powerful whump of drums and vibration of cymbals — everything drenched in reverb. Of the two, “On the Arrival of Man” is the more desolate and fatalistic, though the bleak melody proves to be thoroughly entrancing as it loops through the song. With two minutes left, the otherworldly quality of the music is underscored by a mesmerizing guitar solo — ethereal, psychoactive, and rapidly shimmering — and then leviathan-sized riffs will hammer you back to the edge of oblivion.