I have a large and broad array of music in this Sunday’s Shades of Black collection. In some instances I’ve stepped outside the usual boundaries of this series, mainly because I didn’t want to wait for an arguably more appropriate way to feature the music. Hopefully, this playlist will prove interesting to you, even if you came hear expecting nothing but black metal.
Earlier today we premiered a song from a band on the Naturmacht label, and the first music in this collection also comes from Naturmacht. It’s a complete album released on January 8 called Lopun Alku, by the Finnish project Author. The photo that comes next shows a full live band, but on the album one man (J.V.) did everything — vocals, lyrics, guitars, bass, keyboards, all music.
Almost exactly nine years ago Misery’s Omen released their debut album Hope Dies . . . and have released nothing else since then, although they seem to be dormant rather than dead. The album is very good, which perhaps should be expected, given that this Australian trio’s members have participated in numerous other bands including Mournful Conregation, Martire, Sacriphyx, Johnny Touch, and Cauldron Black Ram.
Hope Dies is almost an hour long, and it begins with the title track, which tops 11 minutes and is the album’s longest track by a significant margin. It’s also a remarkable song, and that song alone is the subject of this Sunday’s Rearview Mirror column.
Tales of the Enchanted Woods is the second album by the Siberian atmospheric black metal band Grima, and it is now set for release by Naturmacht Productions on February 25. Today we bring you the premiere of the album’s second track, “The Moon and Its Shadows“.
Grima is two-person endeavor (Velhelm and Morbius) that has existed since 2014 as a studio-only project, with a pagan ethos “based on the worship of the elder forest, its power and magic, where the Grima is a supreme god… a powerful spirit, who protects only those who live in a forest, and punishes everyone who does not respect nature”.
For the 15th installment in our Most Infectious Song series I decided to create a death metal immersion, with three songs that all have old school flavors, the first most strongly of all, but are all different from each other in interesting ways, too. I’ll also mention that all three of these tracks were recommendations from my comrade DGR, who has a thing about speed and a certain kind of drumwork, although a couple of these songs were also on my own list of candidates that grew as 2016 rolled along.
For those who might be joining this rollout only now, you can browse the previous 14 parts by clicking this link.
After eight albums going back to 1992’s Subconscious Lobotomy and a dozen shorter releases, Sweden’s Centinex disbanded in 2006 — but they crawled out of their grave in 2014 and released a comeback album named Redeeming Filth, which was a hell of a comeback. And I put a deliciously morbid track from that album (“Moist Purple Skin”) on my 2014 Most Infectious Song list. In 2016 they released a killer follow-up with Doomsday Rituals, which is the source of the first song in this installment of the 2016 list.
In 1901, as part of his research on the rates of salivations among dogs, Ivan Pavlov developed a “conditioned reflex” in his test animals. He learned that when a buzzer or metronome was sounded in time with the presentation of food to his dogs, they would first salivate when the food was presented, and then later, after coming to associate the sound with the food, would salivate simply upon hearing the sound itself.
I am like Pavlov’s dogs — when I hear a mighty HM-2 pedal at work, the saliva starts flowing. I’ve gotten especially slobbery over the new album I Have Seen Death from Brisbane’s The Fevered. Through 10 tracks of Swe-death-style d-beat hardcore mayhem, they’ve rumbled my guts something fierce. Put your bib on to protect against soaking your shirt in slobber and join us for a full run through the album.
(We present Andy Synn’s review of the debut album by The Drowned God from Lansdale, PA.)
Never underestimate the value of good artwork. That’s my advice.
I frequently despair at some of the absolute crap that some bands, both new and old, choose to represent their music. If I see one more badly-drawn “Metal monster” cover that looks like it was produced by a toddler with more crayons than brain cells, or one more soulless and shiny photoshop rendering of a woman standing awkwardly in front of a generic post-apocalyptic landscape, it will be too soon.
Because, like it or not, your album art is often the first experience a potential fan has of your music. And first impressions count. As the old saying goes, the first bite is with the eyes…
Case in point, the fantastic artwork for Moonbearer by Can Pekdemir which you can see above immediately grabbed my attention the moment I laid eyes on it. Eye-catching, evocative, and a little haunting to look at, it immediately raised questions in my mind, questions like:
Who was this band?
What was the connection between their music and the strange, shadowy silhouette which adorns their cover?
And where the hell was I…?
I’ve let two days go by without a further installment of our Most Infectious Song list, because my time is not wholly within my control, but whose is? To make up for lost time, I’m doubling up on the size of today’s edition.
But the goal of catching up isn’t the only explanation. As I pondered which songs to roll out today, these six seemed to step forward and proclaim “We belong together”. When you hear them one after another perhaps you’ll perceive the connections between them as I did, and if you do, perhaps you should seek psychiatric care. (The preceding songs on this list can be seen here.)
The first track today is “Flammen im Vakuum“, and it comes packaged with a very well-produced video by Melanie Werner that I enjoy watching almost as much as I enjoy the song.
(Wil Cifer wrote this review of the new album by Code Orange, which was released on January 13 by Roadrunner.)
The kids are all grown up now, so welcome to what could become 2017’s equivalent of You Will Never Be One of Us. This album shows a band going from a more post-hardcore sound to refining themselves into a snarling machine.
It’s also worth mentioning before we dig into the nitty-gritty of Forever that the guitar tone on this rather well-produced album is mean as fuck. Gone is the reckless punk attitude, replaced with very precise execution, and the syncopation is ridiculous more often than not. After the opener you are ready for whatever they are going to throw at you, so to my ears it did not feel jarring.
If you’re in dire need of a big wake-up call, you could jam a live power line down your throat or you could listen to this new split by the Polish barbarians in Witchmaster and Voidhanger. The effect would be pretty much the same either way.
The name of this electrifying barrage is Razing the Shrines of Optimism, and it’s set for release tomorrow (January 20) by Third Eye Temple. We’re delighted to bring you a full stream of all the audio murder today.
Both of these bands infuse their music with the poison of black metal, along with the energy of a power plant in overdrive, but as you’ll find out, their approaches to the task of firing up an audience follow different strategies.
(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Deviant Process from Québec City, Québec.)
Whichever way you slice it, last year was a very good year for fans of the more technical side of Death Metal. From the weird and the wonderful, to the brash and the brutal, 2016 offered a wealth of diverse delights and hidden gems across the length and breadth of the ever-expanding Tech Death spectrum.
And one of those hidden gems was Paroxysm, by Canadian destroyers Deviant Process.
So, as yet another part of my ongoing attempt to catch up with some of last year’s most overlooked and underrated albums, here’s my succinct summation of the band’s full-length debut.
It’s awesome. Now go buy it.
What? You wanted a bit more detail than that? Fine… but never say I don’t do anything for you!