This is a rather super-sized edition of Shades of Black, collecting new and recently discovered music in a blackened vein. But believe me, this could have been much bigger still, because I’m sitting on a ton of other releases I’d like to include. I’ll put them in the fridge so they don’t spoil and defrost them later (though of course they’ll never completely de-frost).
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of this Belgian band’s previous releases, and have managed to write about most of them (collected behind this link). And before I get to a brand new LVTHN song, I’ll mention that the band have recently made their 2014 compilation release The Grand Uncreation available for “name your price” download on Bandcamp (here).
I’m still trying to catch-up on the rollout of this annual list since I didn’t get even a single new entry up last week. So, in addition to the three songs I added yesterday, I’m adding four today — all of them black metal, and all of them very good songs in addition to being highly memorable. The other songs on the list so far can be accessed through this link.
It’s hard to name many bands who are 20 years into their lifespan and still putting out music of the quality that Norway’s Kampfar are releasing. As Andy Synn wrote about last year’s Kampfar full-length (here):
“Much like its predecessors, Profan blends massive, cutting-edge riffage and raucous, almost punkish, energy with a sense of dark majesty and grandeur that’s both firmly rooted in the ancestral traditions of Black Metal, yet not utterly beholden to them. And, much like its predecessors, it continues to set an almost ludicrously high bar for those who follow after.”
We missed out on a Rearview Mirror post last Sunday, so I thought I’d double-up for this Sunday’s edition. As usual, we’re looking back at metal from past years, and in this case providing a bit of music from two bands that no longer exist (though one of them still officially seems to be “on hold”). The careers of both bands overlapped, and both were favorites of mine while they lasted.
Himsa were founded in Seattle in 1998, taking as their name a Sanskrit word that means “harm” or “violence”. In June 2008 they announced their demise, and in August 2008 they played their last show. In between the beginning and the end, the band released four albums and two EPs on such labels as Revelation Records, Prosthetic Records, and Century Media.
I hang my head in shame. I let a whole ‘nuther week go by without posting anything new in this 2015 year-end series, and here we are already near at the end of January. I obviously got some catchin’ up to do.
I could call this “The DGR Installment” in the series, because all three of the following songs were recommended by him when I started compiling this list. They are also favorites of mine, and I thought they would make good companion pieces for each other, too. Time to griiiiind….
Apex Predator-Easy Meat hit almost exactly one year ago, and DGR reviewed the album the next month, beginning with a mythic story that had an anti-climactic finish as a shamanic figure uttered after a convulsive trance: “Napalm Death are an important band”. And then he came full circle at the end of that review:
We don’t spend time writing about metal scandals, metal gossip, or other forms of salacious but largely time-wasting subject matter (aka click-bait). It’s not that I blame anyone for reading that stuff — I do it myself from time to time. It’s just not part of our mission.
But this video is powerful, no bullshit, from-the-heart stuff, and I thought it was worth sharing. And I’m posting it despite the fact that I tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to noxious ideologies and hateful speech by members of metal bands, as long as it doesn’t hit me right in the face through the music itself — which I will probably continue to do. Besides, preaching to people about what is or isn’t suitable content for what they should be listening to isn’t part of our mission either. But I still think this is worth sharing.
Here’s Machine Head’s Robb Flynn getting some important things off his chest. If you happened to have missed out on the recent controversy he’s addressing, you’ll find out about it in the first seconds of the video. Your comments, as always, are welcome.
Are you sitting down? If you aren’t you probably should. Or, if you kind of like the idea of experiencing vertigo and falling through a window or off a ledge, then maybe you should stand up and move someplace where you can do the most violence to yourself when your inner ear gets put through a sonic centrifuge — because that’s what’s about to happen.
The song we have for you as a disorientation experiment is “Two Mountains“, and it’s one of eight delightfully perplexing and irretrievably deranged songs on Plethora, the new album by a French quartet from Lyon named Michel Anoia.
I knew Seattle’s Gabe Tachell was something special when I discovered Duality, the 2011 debut album of his then-solo project Rhine (briefly reviewed here). When I heard it, I became intrigued about what he might do next. But as head-spinning as Duality was, it still couldn’t have adequately prepared anyone for the almost boundless extravagance of the band’s new album An Outsider.
Since Duality, Tachell has surrounded himself with a talented group of other musicians for the band’s live performances (which are strikingly impressive) — guitarist Alex Smolin, bassist James Porter, and drummer Carlos Delgado. But for An Outsider, if I have my facts right, Tachell did everything again other than perform the drums, which were handled by Sean Lang — and that makes the results even more astonishing.
(Austin Weber wrote this review of the new album by Odyssey from Spokane, Washington.)
Beyond being perennial favorites of a few of us here at NCS, Odyssey have always stood out to me as an instrumental act operating on a different wavelength than most of the instrumental metal I listen to. And I say that as someone who listens to a lot more instrumental metal than most people. While I try not to inject too much personal commentary in reviews, I won’t have time to do as many reviews here in 2016 at times during the year, at least compared to my past output. So I figured, what the hey, let’s do a fun and in-depth one while I have a moment of time currently to do so!
As I mentioned in the write-up for the premiere of “Before There Were Eyes To See” here at NCS recently, Odyssey have mastered the art of writing instrumental metal that doesn’t forsake an aggressive bite and headbanging pulse. But beyond that, Odyssey has always had their own thing going on. And by that I mean that they existed and started developing their sound long before groups like Animals As Leaders, Chon, and countless other newer (by comparison) instrumental acts inspired a paradigm shift and explosive growth for various strains of instrumental metal. A lot of which I love to be sure.
And I think part of what makes Voids special is the sheer sonic diversity from song to song and moment to moment. Odyssey weave together a larger tapestry of influences and ideas than many of their peers. And the special touch they bring to their craft shows across all ten tracks on the album.
This is the second of two new-music round-ups I’ve compiled for this Thursday. Considering the two together, it’s a very large collection of new songs and videos that I think are worth your time, with so much variety that I would guess most metalheads will find something to enjoy. Of course, I like all of it.
Sometime soon I will have to start paying more attention to other things, like reviews and that Most Infectious Song list that has been stalled in its tracks while I’ve flitted from one new piece of music to another. But not today.
I’ve been beating the drum for this new album since news of its advent began circulating last fall. Today, finally, the first song from from Psychopathology debuted, and it’s the title track. The question is, does the music justify all of the eager anticipation for this long-running band’s first new album in four years?
(Comrade Aleks is back! And he brings us this interview with Vikk from the Italian band Funeral Mantra.)
Rome-based stoner doom outfit Funeral Mantra is heavy, brutal, and full of primordial power. The gentlemen have worked out their own sound, heavily influenced not only by doom classics but also by such bands as Motörhead, channeling that raw energy and masculinity through their riffs. Their first album Afterglow consists of ten songs that embody sheer and unstoppable doom rock ‘n’ roll from hell!
Funeral Mantra certainly know how to gain exposure for themselves, and the songs sound really killer, dynamic, and professional. Mantra’s bass guitarist Vikk will do a brief excursion into Funeral Mantra’s world.