Feb 222012

I swear, this was completely coincidental, just a pleasing serendipity (or synchronicity, or both): Yesterday afternoon I got press releases about three bands whose new albums I’m interested in hearing, and the names of all three bands begin with U. So, in this post I’ve collected (i) album art and other details about the next album from Unleashed (Sweden); a new song from Unsane (NYC); and a new video teaser from Ufomammut (Italy). Plus, I’m throwing in some additional music from two of these bands.

By the way, The Used also released a new single yesterday, but U know I ain’t goin’ there.

UNLEASHED

Can you believe that this band is about to release their 11th studio album? Not many extreme metal bands have had careers spanning such a length of time, and fewer still are capable of continuing to generate interest in what they’re doing. Conceptually, the new Unleashed album — Odalheim — will continue to tell the story from Norse mythology about the end of the world (Ragnarök) and what comes next.

The album art, which you can see above, was created by Sebastian Ramstedt. According to Unleashed vocalist/bassist Johnny Hedlund, it depicts the new world (Odalheim) built by the warriors who survived Ragnarök, shown “at the break of dawn at the Birka shores, and just before the attack of White Christ.”

I didn’t know there was a White Christ in Norse mythology. But there was certainly a period in which Christianity began spreading to Viking lands, eventually succeeding in killing off long-held “pagan” beliefs. I suppose this may be what Hedlund refers to as “the attack of White Christ”. For more background, check out this very interesting article I found on the subject (which discusses the meaning of the phrase “White Christ”).

In addition to the artwork, yesterday’s news brought the track list from Odalheim:

01. Fimbulwinter
02. Odalheim
03. White Christ
04. The Hour Of Defeat
05. Gathering The Battalions
06. Vinland
07. Rise Of The Maya Warriors
08. By Celtic And British Shores
09. The Soil Of Our Fathers
10. Germania
11. The Great Battle Of Odalheim

I swear by Red Thórr, I’m looking forward to hearing Odalheim. The album will be released on April 20 (Europe) and April 24, 2012 (North America) by Nuclear Blast. Here’s the title track from the band’s last album, As Yggdrasil Trembles:

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The next U-band is . . .
 

UNSANE

New York’s Unsane is another band who’ve been around a loooooong time. In fact, they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary with the release of their 7th studio album, Wreck, which will be out March 20 on Alternative Tentacles. Pitchfork has already premiered one song from the album — “No Chance” — and yesterday Decibel premiered a second one called “Ghost” (here). The song stream at Decibel comes with some interesting remembrances of past Unsane shows in Seattle.

Based on this song, it doesn’t sound like Unsane have lost any of their starving-attack-dog mentality or their ability to set the frenzy loose in a mosh pit. Speaking of which, they’ll be touring with Melvins in April and May, and the dates can be found via that Decibel link above.

 

 

UFOMAMMUT

This band is a relatively new discovery for me. I had heard nothing until sometime early last year when I heard a few tracks from their last two albums, Eve (2010) and Idolum (2008). The music was outside the style of my usual listening preferences, but man was it heavy, and interesting.

I still can’t say that I’m an expert on their discography. I can say that their new album is one I want to hear. It’s called Oro: Opus Primum and it will be released by Neurot on April 17. There’s no music from the album streaming yet, but yesterday the band uploaded a strange teaser video with footage filmed during their recording sessions in Rome.

The video proceeds one instrument at a time, and then at the end unites them in a two-minute glimpse of what the album holds in store; if you get impatient to hear that, skip to 7:30. Because we don’t actually get a full song out of this video, I thought I’d include one I like a lot from the Idolum album right after the vid. It’s called “Stardog”.


 

“Stardog”

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So, there you have it — three Underground bands whose music is Utterly different from each other but whose new albums, in my opinion, will Unquestionably be worth investigating.

9 Responses to “U-DAY: UNLEASHED, UNSANE, AND UFOMAMMUT”

  1. Gaia says:

    Oh man! I want that Ufomammut record so bad. Eve was colossal and Oro can only build on that.

  2. Tommy says:

    The Used are the greatest!

    …also Unsane, pretty good!

  3. Andy Synn says:

    Now I’m slightly confused. It was my understanding that Rangarok was unusual in religious dogma in that it posited a very final END to all things. Either that or certain interpretations see it as a cyclical thing.

    Either way, the idea of something new, of a “new age” afterwards I thought was an influence of Judaeo-Christian mythology, with Baldur (I think) being a shinign Christ-like figure come to lead people to salvation. Which fits in with the statement by Hedlund about the surviving warriors fighting the encroachment of “the White Christ”, a potent metaphor for Christian infiltration and usuarpation of Norse beliefs.

    BUT – my understanding was that Ragnarok as a myth/prophecy (rather than as a metaphor for the overthrow of native religions by a hegemonising external religion) posited that no-one survived. So yeah… there’d be no-one left to fight anything. In fact there’d be no-one left at all, believers or unbelievers.

    • SurgicalBrute says:

      According to the Poetic Edda, yeah, some of the gods were always going to survive Ragnarok (as well as a couple of humans). Now, you could definitely argue that there were some changes made to the legends by the people who wrote them down, but theres no real way to know

    • Islander says:

      I can’t say I’m a serious student of Norse myths, but I also thought Ragnarok was the end of everything, or at least the death of the gods. But I found this in The Font of All Human Knowledge, with the source being the 13th Century Prose Edda:

      “Chapter 53 begins with Gangleri asking if any of the gods will survive, and if there will be anything left of the earth or the sky. High responds that the earth will appear once more from the sea, beautiful and green, where self-sown crops grow. The field Iðavöllr exists where Asgard once was, and, there, untouched by Surtr’s flames, Víðarr and Váli reside. Now possessing their father’s hammer Mjolnir, Thor’s sons Móði and Magni will meet them there, and, coming from Hel, Baldr and Höðr also arrive. Together, they all sit and recount memories, later finding the gold game pieces the Æsir once owned. Völuspá stanza 51 is then quoted.

      High reveals that two humans, Líf and Lífþrasir, will have also survived the destruction by hiding in the wood Hoddmímis holt. These two survivors consume the morning dew for sustenance, and from their descendants the world will be repopulated. Vafþrúðnismál stanza 45 is then quoted. The personified sun, Sól, will have a daughter at least as beautiful as she, and this daughter will follow the same path as her mother. Vafþrúðnismál stanza 47 is quoted, and so ends the foretelling of Ragnarök in Gylfaginning.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnarok#Aftermath_and_rebirth

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