Last night I was talking with my NCS comrade DGR about the fact that we never just copy and paste PR announcements, and about how uninteresting we find most announcements about new music that don’t include actual music. But of course there are exceptions, such as the two featured in this post, where the artwork alone is enough to catch my interest. Also, I’m more inclined to make exceptions when I’ve been out carousing late the night before and have awakened with a hammering hangover and all of today’s posts in various stages of incompletion. Hypothetically speaking, of course. I’m not saying I did that last night. But would you please speak very, very softly for the next few hours?
I have no new music from Revocation to share with you, unless you count the few song fragments that appear in the studio videos I’m going to stick in this post. What I do have is the artwork (above) for their fourth album, which I really like. It’s by Orion Landau, who has created album covers for the likes of Dying Fetus, Obscura, and Nile.
I also have a release date: August 6 (via Relapse). I have the track list, but I don’t know who really cares about song titles. There are ten of them. I also have the album title: its name is Revocation.
And then I have those two studio videos that have been released so far, plus I have tour dates. Most of these dates are for the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour. Come to think of it, I don’t think we’ve yet posted the SUMMER SLAUGHTER schedule, so that might be interesting to some of you. Mainly I’m writing about Revocation because I’m a big fan. Also, could you please try whispering?
While you’re waiting breathlessly for the next full installment of THAT’S METAL!, I have a couple of items I’d like to share, to make the pain of waiting somewhat less traumatic.
For my first item, I give you the mantis shrimp. Not long ago, The Oatmeal prepared a comic strip about the mantis shrimp that made the rounds on the interweb. It described facts about this creature that make a strong case for anointing it the MOST METAL THING ALIVE, including some of these (I sourced other facts included below from this article):
Our eyes have three types of color-receptive cones (green, blue, and red). Butterflies have five, enabling them not only to see two colors we don’t even have names for, but also a massive spectrum of color that our brains can’t process. The mantis shrimp has sixteen color-receptive cones.
The mantis shrimp is one of the most creatively violent creatures on earth. It has two hinged arms normally held under its head. In the “spearer” species, the arms end in an impaling spike, while the “smashers” wield crushing clubs.
(DGR bears witness to the May 18 performances in Sacramento of The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Faceless, Royal Thunder, and Journal.)
It’s been a bit of an odd concert season so far this year. I heaped tons of praise on the Sacramento music scene last year because it seemed like there was show after show, after show, hitting within the span of a few months, to the point that between seeing local bands and bigger acts I actually wound up doing something like seven shows in one month – which was fucking awesome. This year though, work has overtaken a lot of what I’ve been up to. The year has just devolved into an endless stream of overnighters on the job, which have insured that in the span of five months….I’ve seen a whopping three concerts.
This one in particular was very exciting because it meant I’d get to see The Dillinger Escape Plan again. I’d seen them once before with Mastodon, which was a very weird experience. That time it seemed like a lot of people were there because they wanted to hear that one song that Mastodon had on the radio, so something like Dillinger was going to sail right over folks’ heads. This time though, you had a crowd who really wanted to see them and were enthusiastic as hell about it — and no band can create a feedback loop of energy quite like Dillinger can.
Of course, there were other groups on the bill, and whilst I had no idea what I was in for with Royal Thunder outside of the basic description from their Facebook, I did want to see Journal (again) and The Faceless for the first time on this end.
Adfectus Exundant - Adfectus Redundant
Beyond Nile and Through The Eyes Of The Dead, not a lot of well known metal has come from the state of South Carolina. As a former decade-long resident of that state, that makes me sad. Fortunately, I recently heard of a fantastic group of forward-thinking metallers from Columbia, S.C., that are amazing. Their name — Adfectus Redundant – is a bit of a mouthful, to the point where I think it’s so uncatchy that it’s uniqueness returns it right back to being catchy.
Overall, Adfectus Exundant are shred-heavy death metal, but are prone to frequently chopping and bookending their aggression with softer progressive moments and interesting jazz breaks that in some parts remind me of Psyopus. All of that is accompanied by an underlying wall of grooves hovering in the backround. Adfectus Redundant is a complex work that takes multiple listens just to take it all in. This is due to their skill in writing long songs that never lose your interest, music that carefully navigates through multiple movements with a reservoir of calm repreives, and softer clean sung passages.
In this post I’ve collected a small group of new songs that I came across while wandering through the interhole over the last 24 hours.
I’ve been keeping an eye on this Finnish band (pictured above) since hearing their 2012 EP Hate Infected. When I reviewed it, I characterized the music as “the military-industrial complex of the nether regions, an effective fusion of titanic death metal might and melodic black metal hooks” and compared the band to the likes of Behemoth and Hate. They now have a new album on the way entitled Death March, which will be released in the fall of this year by Violent Journey Records.
Yesterday they released a music video for one of the new songs, “Life=Disease”, which is now available digitally through Amazon and probably elsewhere. The song reminds me less of those Polish behemoths than Hate Infected. It has more of an old-school death metal flavor, with a bit of a charred crust. It hammers and howls forcefully, with teeth bared and claws raking.
(As the title says, this is an interview with Michiel Dekker and Robin Kok of The Monolith Deathcult. I feel sure they are in this photo somewhere. I also feel sure you will thoroughly enjoy this interview. Speaking for myself, I laughed, I cried, I experienced the whole range of human emotions. And that was just while I was writing the questions. If somehow you don’t know about TMDC’s new album Tetragrammaton, read Andy Synn’s review here. The excellent photos accompanying the interview were taken by Raymond Groenink.)
Thanks for taking these questions. Not that you have anything better to do, but I’m trying to be polite. Is it working?
Robin: About as polite as an Anal Cunt song.
I’ll count that as a “Yes”. I was told you have a new album that’s now out. Is this true? I’d just like a little warning so I can make sure my bomb shelter is well-stocked and ready for occupancy.
Robin: I would like to officially state that whoever is spreading this misinformation, is spreading malicious truth.
Very well then. I understand the new album is named Tetragrammaton. I did some research, and it seems that “tetragrammaton” is the ancient Greek word that refers to the Hebrew theonym יהוה (transliterated to the Latin letters YHWH), which is considered in Judaism to be a proper name of the God of Israel used in the Hebrew Bible. Some people might think you’re putting on airs. Why did you pick this as the name of the album?
Robin: Mainly so we could wallow in our own grandiose pseudo-intellectual wank and get interview questions that are marginally more interesting than asinine tripe such as “could you please introduce the band to us” or “tell us about your new album” or “Thanks for taking these questions. Not that you have anything better to do, but I’m trying to be polite. Is it working?”. We picked this title for several reasons. 1) To keep in line with Trivmvirate (III = our third album), we needed a word that meant something to do with ‘four’ without actually being ‘four’. Tetra- means ‘four’ of course, so that’s that covered. The four letters could mean YHWH, but what they don’t tell you at bible study is that it really means TMDC. So no, we’re not putting on airs: we’re in full-on self-congratulatory mode!
Michiel: We also chose tetrAgrAmmAton as album title because of the triple A in it, to emphasize our major role in the music scene as we know it and because AAA stands for “PRIME” which is of course a reference to the narrator on this album.
What drew my attention to Rituaal were the band’s members: They consist of guitarist/vocalist Justin Stubbs from Father Befouled and Encoffination, drummer Jake Rothlisberger from Nashville’s Mourner, and vocalist/guitarist Mike Meacham from Loss – killer bands, all of them. That trio formed Rituaal a little over a year ago and recorded two songs in September 2012 that will be released as a 7″ vinyl EP by Portland’s Parasitic Records this summer. Recently, Rituaal put up both songs for streaming on Bandcamp — “Ordo Walpurga” and “Datura at the Astral Sabbat”.
Imagine a musical black hole deep in a gravity well that’s inexorably sucking all light and matter down into its powerful vortex, and that will give you some sense of “Ordo Walpurga”. It’s a massive, groaning dirge of distorted chords and ponderous drum and cymbal hits, emanating a morbid melody and echoing with the cavernous roars and disemboweling shrieks of the vocalists.
“Datura at the Astral Sabbat” vibrates with unholy blackened energy. What begins as a ritualized chant of abraded vocals and thumping percussion accelerates into a buzz of tremolo-picked guitars and then slows to a crawl, still shrouded in distortion and breathing with the life of shimmering occult melody. This trade-off between ghastly doom/death and blackened misery continues until this beast gasps its last horrific sound.
Deafheaven’s new album Sunbather will be released by Deathwish on June 11. Today the band premiered the 10-minute title track on a site called Fader. I like it very much. A transporting astral symphony with vocals by a man being turned inside out. This is it:
Previously, the band debuted another track from the album named “Dream House”. I already wrote about it here; I like it, too. It’s now available on YouTube. And this is it:
Heads up folks: If the blindingly orange cover art didn’t tip you off, we’re discussing Shining (Norway), not Shining (Sweden), whose latest album Andy actually reviewed here in December of last year. Also, this review is written from a really weird perspective of someone who is not really able to be neutral, but instead really worshipped Blackjazz – thus I found myself drawing quite a few comparisons between these two very different discs. Just a fair warning.
I think listening to Shining is one of the things I do when I want to pretend I am smarter than I actually am, the other being attempting to occasionally put up a coherent couple of paragraphs here at NCS. It’s an intellectual exercise designed to prove that I’m not just some drooling idiot, though trying to string together some sort of descriptor of what these guys do and why it appeals to me feels like a futile effort because, frankly, almost everyone in Shining is highly intelligent and qualified on their instruments and I am as dumb as a rock.
As one of the people who absolutely fell in love with their Blackjazz release – I have a very layman’s understanding of how these guys meld jazz song structures and musical theory with heavy metal and the occasional prog flourish. I just can’t explain exactly what is going on and I think that, even in the group’s uglier moments when what they are doing seemingly makes no sense, that is what draws me to them. It was the humongous challenge of trying to understand the cacophony of Blackjazz that had me constantly coming back to it, so the prospect of seeing what the band would do next, either expounding upon their initial construction or changing it up with One One One, was exciting as all hell.
If there is one charge that you could never level against Shining, for sure it would be that they are resting on their laurels, because One One One is a very different album from Blackjazz.
(NCS writer Andy Synn still seems to be under the impression that the best way to promote his band Bloodguard is to praise the competition. Go figure.)
So you’re all still voting for us on that Bloodstock poll, right?
I only ask because we’ve been selected as part of a limited number of bands to compete for a slot on that ever-so-badass Northern Darkness Festival which Islander posted about a little while back, and might be needing some more votes for that pretty soon…
So in return for your continued loyalty here’s three more cool bands, one of whom I was already aware of, another I discovered through the competition entries, and the third… well we’re doing some dates with the third band next month, so there’s a little bit more of a self-serving agenda behind their inclusion!
UNDER BLACKENED SKIES
Situated firmly on the thrashier end of the Melodic Death Metal spectrum, Under Blackened Skies (pictured above) are a real workhorse of a band who I’ve seen live several times now, and who always bring their A game. Impressively tight, yet with a savage sound always teetering on the edge of chaos, they’re the sort of band I could see Carnal Forge fans falling head over heels in love with.