Jul 312014

 

Well, well, here’s some just-announced tour news that gave me a thrill: This fall Belphegor will be headlining the Voices From the Dark 2014 tour in North America and will be accompanied by Rotting Christ (Greece), Beheaded (Malta), and Svart Crown (France). That is one insanely solid line-up.

The schedule is after the jump… and that’s all I have to say about this.

Jul 312014

Eno (photo by Richard Burbridge)

 

Yesterday I read two articles that jarred a few thoughts loose in my head. One was a feature (here) by Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker about the musician Brian Eno and one was a Q&A (here) between Kim Kelly and Bölzer’s guitarist/vocalist Okoi “KzR” Jones that appeared at Stereogum.

Eno is credited with coining the phrase “ambient music”. He first became visible through his membership in the band Roxy Music and his subsequent solo albums of pop and rock songs that made extensive use of synthesizers. He produced Devo’s debut album, produced and performed on three albums by Talking Heads, produced seven albums for U2, wrote music and performed on three David Bowie albums, collaborated with King Crimson’s Robert Fripp on multiple records, and worked as a producer and/or performer with many other musicians too numerous to mention. On top of that he is a visual artist, and he has continued experimenting in the creation of music to the present day.

When he spoke to Sascha Frere-Jones in 2013, Eno said:

“I think negative ambition is a big part of what motivates artists. It’s the thing you’re pushing against. When I was a kid, my negative ambition was that I didn’t want to get a job.”

Listening to Eno’s music and reading about the evolution of his life as an artist, you get the sense that his “negative ambition” extended beyond not wanting to get a conventional job. As Sasha-Jones wrote of his art, “Eno fights against received wisdom and habit”. Even in his work as a producer, “Eno often works with highly skilled musicians and then asks them to play against their own virtuosity”.

Jul 312014

I’ve collected in this two-part post seven very good new songs from four bands that I heard for the first time yesterday. All the songs are from forthcoming albums, and as the title of the post suggests, most (but not all) of them incorporate elements of black metal into the music in varying degrees, and they are all shrouded in darkness. The cover art for each album is also really good. The bands are presented in alphabetical order (Part 1 can be found here) — except for a last-minute addition at the end.

SWALLOWED

I found out about this Finnish band more than two years ago when I listened to (and wrote about) their self-titled 2010 EP (still available here). It’s been a long wait for their debut album, but it finally seems to be on its way. The name is Lunarterial and it’s projected for release on October 14, 2014, through Dark Descent Records and Me Saco Un Ojo. The cover art is the work of Swiss artist Peter Birkhäuser. The new song I heard yesterday is a track from the album called “Arterial Mists of Doom”.

This disorienting song’s huge, slow, nearly atonal chords vibrate with grotesque levels of distortion — and then erupt when you least expect it into ghastly pyroclastic flows moving at blinding speed. The visceral drumbeats and cymbal ticks seem to have a mind of their own, and their unpredictability is also part of what makes the song so arresting. The vocals match up with the doomed, blasted, destructive aura of the music — they’re maniacal, agonizing, horrifying. It appears that Swallowed have made a soundtrack for your nightmares…

Jul 312014

 

I’ve collected in this two-part post seven very good new songs from four bands that I heard for the first time yesterday. All the songs are from forthcoming albums, and as the title of the post suggests, most (but not all) of them incorporate elements of black metal into the music in varying degrees, and they are all shrouded in darkness. The cover art for each album is also really good. The bands are presented in alphabetical order (Part 2 will come next):

MONDVOLLAND

It was a sad day this past June when I learned that the Dutch band Mondvollond had decided to call it quits. Way back in January 2012 I lavished praise on Pestvogel, the band’s free, three-song EP that was my jumping on point. The title track in particular got its hooks in me, so much so that I included it in our list of 2012′s Most Infectiuous Extreme Metal Songs.

The knowledge that the band would be releasing a second album made the news of their dissolution somewhat easier to bear. The new album’s name is Kwade Vaart and it features wonderful cover art by Bob Mollema, who also created the great cover art for Pestvogel.

Two of the songs from the new album can be heard now, and they’re just as unusual and powerful as I would have expected. “Wanneer De Hemel Bloedt” begins slowly, with shimmering guitar notes, a booming bass, and clean vocals, and then rapidly escalates into a storm of tremolo-vibrating chords, thundering bass and drums, and caustic howls, with a piercing guitar melody. It’s an intense song, but no more so than the one that follows.

Jul 302014

 

Towers of Flesh are a UK-based blackened death metal band whose members consist of drummer/guitarist Anil Carrier (Binah, Theoktony, Necrotize, Purify the Horror, and more), guitarist/bassist Tom Hinksman (Hellsworn, Necrotize, Theoktony), and vocalist Jack Welch (Funeral Throne). They released a 2010 debut album through Dissected Records named The Perpetual Paradox, and yesterday I saw an announcement that they’ve now signed with Candlelight Records for release of their second album Antithetical Conjurations.

Less than an hour ago the band launched a YouTube stream of the new album’s first advance track, “Veiled Conception”, which you’ll be able to hear at the end of this post — and hear it you should. It begins like an electrified hornet swarm driven into a fury by the sound of machine guns, and then begins to boom and stomp, grind and dissect, jackhammer and jab, swirl and swarm, all the while enshrouding itself with an eerie, alien guitar melody and the hoarse howls of some equally otherworldly creature.

Not long after hearing the song, I discovered that Candlelight has established a Bandcamp page for the album where a second song can also be streamed. That one is the title track, which immediately precedes “Veiled Conception” in the running order. It’s an introductory instrumental piece marked by tumbling drums and a grim, bleak melody that functions as a fitting prelude to the menacing atmospherics of “Veiled Conception”. I’m including a stream of that track below as well.

Jul 302014

 

I had planned to save this news item for our next “Seen and Heard” post, but the more I thought about it the more I thought it deserved to stand alone: God Dethroned are reuniting. Last November I speculated that this would happen based on a sequence of posts on the band’s Facebook page, and now it has come to pass.

In January 2012, the band played a farewell performance at the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, and today the band’s frontman Henri Sattler announced that they will be returning to the stage at the January 2015 edition of 70000 Tons of Metal. From the band’s last line-up, only Sattler and drummer Michiel van der Plicht will remain, to be joined by guest musicians whose identities haven’t yet been announced. But Sattler also made clear that this will not be a one-off performance — additional shows are being planned in 2015.

Sattler’s statement didn’t explicitly address whether the reunion will consist of more than new live shows, but we can only hope that a new album will be coming, too.

Here’s Sattler’s statement in full, followed by a bit of God Dethroned music. For more info about the new 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, go here.

Jul 302014

 

Amogh Symphony began as the solo project of an Indian musician named Vishal Singh. I’m pretty sure we’ve never written about Amogh Symphony before, though we’ve written on three occasions about another project with which he has been involved — Robots Pulling Levers. Amogh Symphony has recorded a new album (the band’s third) named Vectorscan, which this time is no longer a solo work but a collaboration between Singh, Jim Richman, and Andrey Sazonov.

One of the new songs on the album was posted for streaming on Soundcloud within the last 24 hours. Its title is certainly intriguing: “1289, voyeur will shine, fight for distinction, evolution is mine”. The Soundcloud page includes a lot of information about the album that I read before listening to the song, and that information is certainly intriguing, too. For example:

There are at least 8 guest artists on the album, including vocalist Kasturi Singh, who is Vishal Singh’s mother. The instruments used on the album by Singh or his guests, which were recorded in 8 different studios, include microtonal guitar with bow, Hangs, saxophone, harmonica, violin, accordion, guitar synth, Hawaiian and slide guitars, microtonal trumpet, fretless bass, electric piano, and Santoor-guitar hybrid.

The music also includes a loop of  cicadas recorded by Richman in the woods of Virginia. And the lyrics were written by Singh’s late grandmother, musician and singer Labanya Prabha Nath, in 1941 and were taken from her “book of songs”. The full lyrics are printed at this location, though they are mainly in Assamese.

Jul 292014

So far today we’ve written about Canadian post-hardcore, Japanese rock performed with traditional instruments, Phoenician death metal, German chthonic cervical exhalations, and whatever it is that Junius play.

Still, it’s possible we haven’t yet succeeded in confusing everyone, so here’s a new video of Felix Martin covering a song composed by neoclassical metal guitarist Jason Becker in the late 80s, followed by something that will tear off a few dermal layers from your face without so much as a topical anesthetic, followed by… well, you’ll see.

FELIX MARTIN

During the video, you can read what Felix Martin wrote about the techniques used in his performance. It’s Greek to me, but the performance left me awe-struck and slack-jawed. I mean, more than usual.

Jul 292014

 

Less than one week ago we had the pleasure of discovering the existence of Germany’s Khthoniik Cerviiks, whose debut demo tape entitled Heptaedrone will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on August 15. At that time, two impressive tracks from the album were available for streaming, and after only a small amount of pathetic begging we obtained authorization to premiere a third one — because this band’s music really deserves to be spread like the mutant plague that it is, and we want to be help carry the infestation. The song we have for you today is the album’s first track, “Khthoniik Cerviiks Exhalement”.

We still don’t have confirmation that our guess about the meaning of the band’s name is correct, but muse upon it anyway: Our guess is that the band’s name is a variant spelling of the words “chthonic” and “cervix”, especially after learning that “chthonic” (which means subterranean) is from the Greek word khthon, a word for “earth”. Per The Font of All Human Knowledgekhthon “typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land…. It evokes at once abundance and the grave.” And then consider what exhalations may emanate from the chthonic cervix…

If your imagination is failing you, open yourself to the imaginings of the band, as the opening track exudes a disturbing fog of ghostly wails, obscure proclamations, and skittering noise. It makes for a fitting introduction to the unpredictable but wholly transfixing and otherworldly black/death savagery to follow.

Jul 292014

We first came across Arizona’s Lago in early 2013 after discovering a two-song demo named Tyranny they had recently released. It made a strong impression in short order, and now the band are on the verge of releasing their debut full-length, bearing the same name: Tyranny. Today we bring you a taste of what’s coming with the intergalactic premiere of the album’s first advance track — “Concede To Oblivion”.

There’s a lot to like about this new song, from the high-voltage riffs, to the rumbling bass line, to the blistering drum work, to the flamethrower soloing, to the thoroughly cavernous vocals. Lago deliver top-shelf death metal, like some hellish blackened offspring of early Morbid Angel and Disma, fully armed with an arsenal of impressive technical chops and infectious hooks. The music is suitably ominous and fearsome, but performed with distinctive flair. From this song alone, Tyranny has vaulted onto our list of highly anticipated 2014 albums.

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