I followed a different course in this round-up of new music than I usually do. Instead of focusing almost entirely on new advance tracks from forthcoming releases, this time I’m including three complete new albums or EPs for your listening pleasure, but only writing about one track from each of them. I truly wish I could write stand-alone reviews of those three, and I might still, but they are far too good to risk doing nothing to help spread the word.
I’m also including two new videos for individual songs that appeared within the last 24 hours, both of which I enjoyed. I’ve arranged the order of the music in this compilation in a way designed to keep you off balance, because an unbalanced mind is the devil’s playground. So without further ado, let’s play!
I was greatly surprised to discover that in our nearly 7 years of existence we have never posted anything before about New Jersey’s Helcaraxë. I’ve now added that failing to the list of things for which we’ve scheduled our monthly submission to a vigorous horse-whipping. Even now, only mentioning one song from the band’s amazing new album is pitifully inadequate.
(For the August edition of The Synn Report, Andy compiles reviews of all the releases by Sweden’s Apathy Noir, including the band’s 2016 album Across Dark Waters.)
Recommended for fans of: Opeth, In Mourning, October Tide
By my current reckoning I’ve got at least another two years’ worth of entries for The Synn Report lined up, and I don’t doubt that I’ll end up discovering even more bands worthy of inclusion during that period, so we’re in no danger of running out of potential candidates just yet. Hell, I’d hazard that there’s probably several other bands in my current collection who’ll be eligible by that time as well. So there’s no need to worry. This particular column won’t be ending any time soon.
For today’s entry we’re off to Sweden to touch base with Prog-Death duo Apathy Noir (formerly Apathy), the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Viktor Jonas, who have so far produced one EP and three stand-alone albums, the most recent of which, Across Dark Waters, was released in January of this year.
Now, to address the elephant in the room, I’ll acknowledge that the solemn Swedes owe a very heavy debt to early Opeth – particularly around the My Arms, Your Hearse period. But I’m confident you’ll find that there’s more to them than just that, particularly when they delve into the doomier, gloomier side of their repertoire.
Still, with Akerfeldt and co. treading ever further down the path of pure retro-proggery, there’s something of a vacuum out there right now, and Apathy Noir seem to be doing their damnedest to fill it!
(We present Austin Weber’s interview of the Swedish band Theory In Practice, with news about a new release, among other things.)
Some of you all may recall that legendary Swedish progressive death metal band Theory In Practice became active again last year and put out a – comeback, Evolving Transhumanism, which I covered here at NCS. As an über-Theory In Practice fan/geek, I had planned to follow up that post by interviewing the band about their unexpected return, but that got delayed due to my dumb brain forgetting to make it happen. But finally our brief interview was conducted, and here’s your chance to catch up on all things Theory In Practice related!
*Questions 1-6 were answered by Andreas Lyngmo (vocals) and Question 7 was answered by Peter Lake (Guitar/Bass),, with both joining in the answer to No. 3.
Beginning last fall, a band named Wormhole began releasing singles — first a track called “Existence Gap” and then early this year another song called “Nurtured In A Poisoned Womb”. These songs caught the attention of Lacerated Enemy Records, which is announcing today that they have signed Wormhole for the release of the band’s debut album Genesis. To celebrate this unholy event, we have partnered with Lacerated Enemy to bring you another new Wormhole song: “Symbiotic Corpse Possession“.
For those new to Wormhole, it’s the creation of a Baltimore duo, Sanil and Sanjay Kumar, with fearsome vocals by Duncan Bentley of South Africa’s Vulvodynia and Calum Forrest of Scotland’s Operation Cunt Destroyer and Engorging The Autopsy. Lacerated Enemy is recommending the new album for fans of Defeated Sanity, Aborted, Coprocephalic, Visceral Disgorge, and Abominable Putridity (among other slaughterers).
For those who may be unfamiliar with those bands, or with Wormhole, we have some introductory words:
This song is called “Erasing The Plane of Existence“. It’s from a concept album called The Frozen Moon of Erebath, with a story line that takes place in a galaxy other than our own where a race of beings have destroyed their own planet but continue to plot and plan a galactic conquest from the dead planet’s frozen moon. And the music is performed by men in corpsepaint. Feel free to guess what it will sound like, but you’ll probably be wrong.
When black metal goes off exploring the cosmos, the results are often frigid, atmospheric, and ambient. But the band Cell from Winnipeg, Canada, have found their inspiration not in the desolation of the void but in visions of chaos, and their stories are narrative metaphors for humanity’s own self-destructive greed, hate, and lust for power.
(We’re happy to report that Neill Jameson (Krieg) has returned to his series on black metal from years long past, adding a fourth part to the first three (which are collected behind this link). And he still hasn’t exhausted the subject, so if you continue to support this project as you already have, maybe we can convince him to keep going with it.)
I’ve decided to come back to the idea of black metal records and bands that flew under the radar or were well known during their time but have gotten a bit of dust on them over the years as people go for bands in witch hats or whatever the fuck they’re using now. It’s probably something I could do a dozen pieces on, honestly, just by listening to shitty tapes of the radio show I did in the ’90s/early ’00s. I guess it all depends on who gets sick of it first; you, the fine folks at NCS, or me.
My money is on one of the first two.
(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by the Swiss band Khaldera.)
It was just over two years ago when I stumbled across Relief, the debut EP by Swiss instrumentalists Khaldera, and was immediately captivated by its distinctive blend of meditative calm and perfectly proportioned power. It quickly became one of my “go-to” EPs, and has remained in regular listening rotation for me ever since.
As you might imagine I was thrilled when, earlier this year, I discovered that the band were hard at work on the follow-up, to be titled Alteration, and seeing as how said follow-up was finally released on Bandcamp last Friday I felt compelled to at least write a few words about it, in the hope of introducing some fresh ears to the group’s signature brand of what I have chosen to call “Progressive Mood Metal”.
It may go too far to proclaim that every fanatical lover of metal, regardless of genre, will love Triumph of Gloom, or that the album captures every good and fundamental thing that makes metal worth our passion. But if those claims would go too far, they wouldn’t overreach by much.
On the Bandcamp page where this new album by Rebel Wizard is waiting for your attention like a caged animal that’s just picked the lock, you will see these genre tags: “black metal”, “thrash metal”, “heavy metal”, “nwobhm”. That list definitely isn’t overreaching — the album embraces and fluidly moves among stylistic elements of those genres, and more, without sounding like any one of them. It pulls them together and installs the union on a blazing throne, leaving us to bow down in wonder.
(John Sleepwalker of Avopolis returns to NCS as we share his interview of Andreas “Heljarmadr” Vingbäck, mainman of the Swedish black metal villains known as Grá.)
Sweden’s Grá is a notorious black metal outfit that makes no compromises in aesthetic, despite a subtle evolution unfolding one step at a time. They form the kind of entity that’s hopelessly marked for Death, but Death is only a part of their evolution, according to a rather interesting interview with their mainman Andreas “Heljarmadr” Vingbäck.
It is now obvious that their latest opus, Ending, simply marks the final part of their Charon suite, as well as a crossroad towards new, unexplored territories. The band is already looking forward to hitting the road to promote their latest album, by scheduling a short European tour consisted of seven dates in total. Here is the schedule, followed by the interview:
If I were compelled to choose one word to describe Ignobilis, the new album by Belgium’s Oldd Wvrms, it would be “psychoactive”. Yes, I mean that in the sense that it has powerful hallucinogenic properties akin to those of certain trance-inducing chemicals, but the music is capable of producing visions even for those who don’t have a taste for tripping. It sets the imagination roaming through esoteric landscapes populated by visions of witches and warlocks gathered at woodland rituals, shrouded in aromatic smoke and lit by the rising embers of preternatural flames. Or at least that’s what I imagine.
Ignobilis was preceded by two EPs that Oldd Wvrms released in 2015 (Mater Serpentum and NØT) and a full-length named Ritae released earlier this year, which includes the band’s two EPs plus three previously unreleased tracks — re-recorded, remixed, and remastered with the band’s new singer. Since then, the band and that vocalist have parted ways, leaving a trio on this new album consisting of drummer Cho, bassist Oli, and guitarist Ben. In place of the kind of vocals that appeared on the band’s last release, they have added different voices that mesh with and enhance the music’s hallucinatory qualities.