(We welcome back guest contributor Gorger, who reviews a new split release by three Greek bands — Awe, Vacantfield, and End. For those with Scandinavian linguistic skills, check out Gorger’s Metal.
Me writing this post was triggered by the fact that this release was leaked more than a week prior to the release date. What kind of a person with actual love for metal would even consider doing such a thing? I can, to an extent, understand why some people download (that is a different discussion altogether). However, I can not understand those who supply others with pirated metal. Is it the need for admiration? To be respected like some generous Santa? At least bloody wait ’til the album’s released, you fucking retard!
But I’m not going to do a lecture on the subject of pirating. Rather, I’m going to promote this split and give three good bands some well-earned attention. What you see above is a marvelous rendition of the Moerae. Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough. It was painted by Vamon VII, who also created the rest of the gatefold paintings.
Three Greek black metal bands with varied years of experience each contribute to present one (approximately) 17-minute-long song. All of them offer rawness, intensity, and suggestion (hypnotic, that is), and the tracks suit each other surprisingly well, despite differences in production, which is something that is also fitting, as they are bonded together by a concept. It feels natural to do this short review, song by song, band by band.
This year’s edition of the METAL ALLIANCE TOUR features an eye-catching line-up: Deicide, Entombed A.D., Hate Eternal, Black Crown Initiate, and Svart Crown. And earlier today Deicide leaked the initial round of dates on their Facebook page (and thank you Vonlughlio for tipping us to this news). As Deicide wrote when they posted the schedule, “it’s still being booked so don’t get your freak on cause ya don’t see your town, more to come!”
I’ll pretend I’m interested in what other cities will be visited, though the truth is that since Seattle is already on the list I can now tune out any further announcements.
Here’s the first round of dates and places on the schedule:
(In this post, Grant Skelton reviews the forthcoming debut release by Foehammer, which has taken us by storm here at NCS.)
2015 is shaping up to be a good year for doom metal. The recently reunited Goatsnake have a new album due out on Southern Lord in June. That record label likewise just remastered and rereleased Warhorse’s buried gem As Heaven Turns To Ash (thanks to blend77 for turning me on to that!). Ahab are back in the studio crafting some new opus of seafaring sorrow. Most recently, I became hooked on a certain drum-and-bass duo from Seattle whose disconsolate dirges channel spirits of those who met untimely ends (Bell Witch). Also, Hooded Menace have absconded to whatever crypt they slithered from to record something new. The last I read about Sourvein, they were finishing up recording vocals for their new album. While my musical palate for doom has yet to be satiated, the latest morsel whetting my appetite is the debut self-titled EP from Annandale, Virginia’s Foehammer.
I first learned of Foehammer when Islander posted a Miscellany roundup that included them (here). That post introduced Foehammer with a song called “Stormcrow,” one of the names of Gandalf from Tolkien mythology. In the Tolkien universe, King Théoden christens Gandalf with that title because his arrival usually bodes ill for the denizens of Théoden’s kingdom. And the Tolkien references don’t stop there. The name “Foehammer” comes from a translation of Glamdring, a sword which proves most deadly in Gandalf’s employ. Storms of crows and hammers of foes are accurate imagery to describe this band’s music.
Every metal fan has a mental list of musicians whose every creation they will check out, regardless of which band’s name flies on the banner above them. Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, Missing, Chrome Waves, Abigail Williams) and Neill Jameson (Krieg, Twilight) are two of the names on my list. When I heard they were collaborating together in a new project, I got a little surge of adrenaline in the bloodstream and an itch of curiosity in the brain. One thing led to another, and now the itch is partially scratched, but the adrenaline is still flowing: We bring you the premiere of “Ghosts at the Deathbed” by Le Chant Funebre.
This song is the title track on the band’s four-song debut EP, which will be released in digital form next month with a CD to follow, via Disorder Recordings and Black House Industries. In Le Chant Funebre, Wilson plays guitar, bass, and synth; Jameson provides vocals and drums; and guitarist Jason Phillips (Bringers of Disease, ex-Acheron) completes the line-up.
Given the nature of these musicians’ past projects, you might guess that black metal will play a role in the music, but this time that’s not the dominant style of the music.
(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)
The French are weird (but we knew that, so it’s not really weird). Dark Descent Records just came up a little short. Ever realize the island country of Cyprus had metal bands? Let’s eat some Vegemite and sauerkraut. And the Greeks have returned to the countdown. Now, let’s get on with it.
5. Corpo-Mente – Corpo-Mente
If you are a fan of Gautier Serre and the thoroughly warped Igorrr, you may have heard of this side project of his. Featuring the lush operatic vocals of Laure Le Prunenec (Öxxö Xööx, Rïcïnn), it’s much more, shall we say, “tame”. It’s a classical journey of baroque, trip-hop, and acoustique. It’s by no means a metal album, but that doesn’t stop it from being one hell of a piece of art.
Naas Alcameth, best known for his work in Nightbringer, has had a separate project since 2009 known as Akhlys, whose second album will be soon released by Debemur Morti Productions. The new Akhlys album is entitled The Dreaming I, and as the title suggests, it was inspired by its creator’s uncommon dreams and the role of such lucid para-somnia experiences in esoteric belief and practice. One track from the album has previously premiered (“Consummation”), and today we have the pleasure of bringing you the debut of another track, the one that opens the album: “Breath and Levitation“.
Dreaming is the thematic subject of the album as well as the source of its inspiration, but we’re not talking about mundane, commonplace dreams — and the music is anything but mundane or commonplace. Clues to what lies within may be found in the name of this project. To quote from a recent interview by Nass Alcameth:
[Akhlys] was said to be the personification of the “death mist”, the clouding over of the eyes upon death, and in turn personified death, misery, despair, and so on. She was also said to have been an original personification of primordial darkness/night that existed before chaos. What we can determine from these fragments is that she was associated to both death and profound darkness, the two of which indicate a crossroads, or an inlet from life into the darkness beyond life. This crossing of the veil has much synchronicity with the crossing that can be experienced via certain lucid dream states and there is much intimacy between these parallels, that of death and of dreams.
(Austin Weber reviews the debut album by Irreversible Mechanism from Belarus.)
The story of how Irreversible Mechanism were signed and the subsequent re-release of their briefly heard debut, Infinite Fields, is an interesting one. I was initially tipped off to the band by Essence Of Datum, an instrumental death metal act based in Belarus, who mentioned them to me in early November. Irreversible Mechanism are also based in Minsk, and are highly technical as well. The band then released Infinite Fields in December, and I only got to hear it in full twice before it was pulled from Bandcamp after only a single day. It turns out that after hearing only one track the night before the release, Finland’s Blood Music immediately wrote to propose the signing and an agreement was quickly reached, though not before the band had launched the album on Bandcamp — for one day. That should give you a hint as to how impressive a debut Infinite Fields is.
On a side note, the way this happened is something I’ve noticed other labels doing recently. It’s an interesting way for newer labels to find talented new bands and help make them more well known.
On my first two listens, I will admit to thinking that I had heard very similar riffs, leads, solos, and drum-beats from Cosmogenesis-era Obscura and The Faceless, with some definable though less prevalent Necrophagist influence as well. But my opinion of the album has changed and grown, and I’ve become quite fond of this record. Although the two main major musical influences I just cited are at the heart of Irreversible Mechanism’s gravitas, the band really do a lot to add more layers and different influences and they have created something that can definitely be considered its own unique take on technical death metal.
With a weekend of listening behind me, I’ve got a stack of new songs I want to recommend that rivals the height of a mighty redwood. Unfortunately, my brain is only the size of a mighty walnut, and I didn’t get enough of a head-start to pull them all together for a round-up today. So, here are three, and more will come tomorrow.
As regular readers know, I have a debilitating weakness for old-school Swedish death metal. If I don’t get my fix on a regular basis, I start to get the shakes and have even more trouble formulating complete sentences. Fortunately, one of the best of the current purveyors of obliterating Swe-death has a new album coming our way via Metal Blade, and this past weekend I caught up with the first single. The band is Entrails, the album is Obliteration (of course it is), and the song is “Beyond the Flesh”.
The roots of Entrails in this style of music go deep, the band having achieved their first incarnation in 1990. And despite moldering in the grave for a full decade, they’ve turned in one winner after another following their reanimation with 2010’s Tales From the Morgue. If “Beyond the Flesh” is a good indicator, the new album will be another one.
(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of another new song by Scalafrea.)
Recently here at NCS, we premiered a phenomenal track called “Perceptions Of Time”, by Colorado-based Death Metal band Scalafrea. The track comes from their upcoming EP, Opposites In Polarity. I covered the band’s background and dissected the elements of their sound in that first Scalafrea premiere, so instead of rehashing myself, those who want some more information on the band can go here.
Since I’ve always been a big fan of Scalafrea, and really think that their latest material is an impressive experience worthy of getting hyped about, we bring you another new song entitled “The Bastard One”. For those unfamiliar with the band, they play a very hodge-podge and spastic form of technical death metal with a progressive bend that’s also very well-written.
(In this post Comrade Aleks returns to take us off our usual beaten paths with an interview of J.N., the creator behind Picture Ann, Signalfeide, and Sagntid.)
I learned about the projects of this Danish artist because J.N. was a part of the atmospheric doomy band Sick Room 7, which was a good band and one I miss. But after (or during) Sick Room’s disbanding, J.N. continued to compose dark music, but of another kind: He put his hands onto atmospheric, guitar-based, and ambient songs with deep and murky feeling. What new does J.N. have for us today? Let me clarify it.
Hail J.! How are you? How does your creative life go?
Hails Aleks, all is well here. I have no complaints whatsoever regarding my creative life and it is somewhat constant and solid in a sense. I am always either creating, planning, or thinking about something in relation to music and lyrics. It never really stops… and I do not want it to stop either!
J., you have finished a new record in 2015. It is a Picture Ann full-length record, The Darkness Had Texture. How has this project evolved since its first album?
In a certain sense there are quite a few similarities between the very first PICTURE ANN album, the one named Blaspheme 2009, and the brand new one that you are referring to, the one entitled The Darkness Had Texture. The linear drum patterns, monotonous melodies, hypnotic moods, and trance-like atmospheres are thoroughly back in place on this new album of mine, and I could not be happier with how that turned out. The album that came out last year (A Bone Case for Papery Skin) was slightly more varied, dynamic, and weird, but now that some time has passed, I consider that particular album my least favorite of the three full-length assaults. However, I think my new record sounds pretty focused, and all five songs complement each other and underline certain thoughts and emotions perfectly well. I hope that the open-minded listeners out there will give it a spin or two on a dark and stormy night. I am very proud of The Darkness Had Texture, as you can probably tell.