(We welcome back to NCS Argentinian writer Matías Gallardo, who brings us the following interview of guitarist M.K. and vocalist A.J. of the Icelandic band Draugsól, whose debut album Volaða Land was released in January by Signal Rex and can be streamed in full after the interview.)
It seems ‘Icelandic’ and ‘black metal’ are two terms that work extremely well together. If you have doubts, just listen to Volaða Land, the debut album by Reykjavík-based trio Draugsól. In less than 40 minutes, these newcomers display a unique approach to the vicious sounds we’ve heard coming from the land of eternal ice.
In fact, the mixture between classic Scandinavian black metal riffing, ambient-like passages, and epic melodies sounds extremely personal for such a new band. Now, read what guitarist M.K. and vocalist A.J. has to say about the album that might turn Draugsól into one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.
Resilience is the name of the debut album by Integral from Bergamo, Italy. It will be released on May 5 by Ghastly Music, and we have a taste of the album for you today through our premiere of its first advance track, “Mechanical Existence Construction“, which features a guest vocal appearance by Obscura‘s Steffen Kummerer.
By way of introduction, it may be useful to note that the album is recommended for fans of The Black Dahlia Murder, Beyond Creation, The Faceless, and Gorod — and those do seem like useful references and fair comparisons as you embark upon the experience of “Mechanical Existence Construction”.
Disorder from El Salvador began the first stirrings of life in the mid-90s as its principal creator Jorge Montesino (M.Q.) began recording songs with an acoustic guitar on his tape recorder at home. The first demo was released in 2001, and the first album the next year. More than 10 years passed before Disorder‘s second album was released (by El Salvador’s Morbid Skull Records), and now the band’s third album is primed for release on April 21 by Symbol of Domination Productions (Belarus) and Morbid Skull. The album’s name is Fuego Negro, and today we premiere a song from the album called “Existencias Paralelas“.
This is the kind of music that ought to appeal mightily to thrash purists. It doesn’t aim to push the boundaries by incorporating progressive flourishes or throwing other genre styles into a blender. But it’s fast, it’s aggressive, and it delivers a big adrenaline surge — and if you like your vocals raw and vicious, Disorder satisfies those tastes as well (the album features guests on vocals and lead guitar, in addition to the talents of the band’s two main members).
(We welcome back guest writer Lonegoat, the Texas-based necroclassical pianist behind Goatcraft, whose latest album Yersinia Pestis was released in 2016 by I, Voidhanger. In this piece, Lonegoat provides a review of the new double-album by the one-man Australian project Midnight Odyssey.)
Atmospheric metal is made difficult as much of it is mere texture. Most of it is deduced to a worship of texture and a hard limit of production. The long chain of simple but meaningful sounds has led listeners to acknowledge its harmonious preservation from one sound to another and the coalescence thereof.
Midnight Odyssey shows that these are necessary textures, how the mind comes to be furnished by a lush experience and leads to a heroic catalyst of reflection. It derives our internal operations of mind by all of its vibrant tones, simplicity, and often an exuberant usage of repetition, most often to the point of repletion.
Atmosphere in music is not an empirical concept which has been derived by ordinary external experience; it is a prime character in and of itself. Midnight Odyssey exemplifies an inner character much like the dusty plains of eastern classical where its focus is that of an internal expression, whereas western art is an external representation and unites its representations in our consciousnesses (albeit consciousness itself is an epiphenomenon). Tonal action and reaction should be equal in atmospheric synthesis.
(March nears its last gasps, and Andy Synn slips in under the expiration wire with the 83rd edition of THE SYNN REPORT. The spotlight this month falls on the discography of California’s Dreaming Dead, which includes their just-released third album.)
Recommended for fans of: Death, Arsis, Horrendous
There are some bands who just never get their due. And, in my humble opinion, Californian quartet Dreaming Dead are one of them, as their proficiency in the metallic arts is absolutely second to none, and yet their status as underground underdogs has led them to fly under most people’s radar.
Often tagged, erroneously, as “Melodeath”, it would be more accurate to characterize the band as a furious hybrid of Death and Thrash Metal, with a penchant for brash, technically demanding riffage and a knack for incorporating multiple threads of moody melody without lessening the heaviness or impact of their sound one iota.
Formed in 2006 on the mean streets of LA (note: said streets may not have been as mean as portrayed on TV), the band have undergone a few line-up changes in the intervening years since then, although the core duo of Elizabeth Schall (also of NCS-beloved grindsters Cretin) on vocals/guitar and Mike Caffell on drums has remained constant throughout.
The band having just released their third album, Funeral Twilight, last month, now seemed like the perfect time to wax lyrical about them, and hopefully introduce some new listeners to their signature brand of audio extremity.
Last spring we had the pleasure of premiering the opening song on Wistful, the second album by Norwegian composer and multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine. On that album, Sylvaine again composed all the music and performed vocals and almost all instruments, with Alcest’s Neige and Stephen Shepard splitting the drum performances and with additional guests Coralie Louarnika and Thibault Guichard performing violin, viola, and cello on the title track.
Aided by Sylvaine‘s ethereal voice, the album is entrancing and enthralling, a beautifully layered atmospheric work that’s capable of transporting listeners far away from the mundane aspects of daily existence, though the places it may take you are deep inside the crevasses of your own memories and emotions.
In this post we bring you an interview of Sylvaine by John Sleepwalker of the Greek web zine Avopolis.gr, which has also recently been published at that site.
We’ve been following the Danish band Hexis since 2012, posting reviews of their early split with As We Draw and Euglena, their 2014 album Abalam, and a remarkable video for the song “Septem“, which will appear on the band’s new album, Tando Ashanti. Hexis have also participated in split releases with This Gift Is A Curse, Primitive Man, and Redwood Hill, while also releasing a trio of EPs and playing more than 300 shows across a range of nations.
The new album will be released on April 14 by by Init Records on CD, by Halo of Flies and Alerta Antifascista on vinyl, and by Bloated Veins on cassette tape. The strength of the band’s previous releases should be reason enough to spend money on one or more of these editions, without more inducement, but today we have an exclusive full stream of the album to take any remnants of guesswork out of the decision.
This is the second part of a post I began on Sunday, collecting recent music in a blackened vein that I’ve been enjoying. As is often the case, other obligations derailed my plan to post this on Monday, and of course I found a few more things since then that I also want to recommend.
The truth is, I’m drowning in dark new releases that I want to recommend, many of which (unlike what’s in this post) are full albums and EPs. I’m stewing about how to solve that problem, since reviewing all of them is an impossibility. But let’s put that conundrum aside and dive into some very good videos and advance tracks.
A few days ago the Romanian band Sincarnate released a lyric video for a song called “Curriculum Mortis” from their new album In Nomine Homini, which will be released on April 1 by Hatework. This is one of those full releases I mentioned above — from what I’ve heard so far, it’s excellent, and I hope to find a way to come back to it in print here at our site. But for now, I’m focused on “Curriculum Mortis”.
(We present Austin Weber’s review of the new album by the Dutch band Dodecahedron, recently released by Season of Mist.)
Back in 2012, Tilburg, Netherlands natives Dodecahedron came out of nowhere and dropped a rightly revered self-titled album, one that was far ahead of the curve for black metal at the time as well. When you release a black metal album as forward-thinking and nightmare-inducing as Dodecahedron, where exactly does one go from there?
It’s a bit of a long answer since the band write such complex and dynamic songs, but basically the music they’ve come up with on Kwintessens hits even darker while frequently dropping into lighter and oddly calming flourishes as well. A lot of new elements are at play here, and it’s also a slightly trimmer effort at 41 minutes versus their self-titled album, which was 52 minutes long. Simultaneously more deranged, yet also littered with a stronger prog influence and an influx of heavy grooves to their arsenal, the album also includes some grind-gone-technical black metal moments that caught me off guard too.
(Andy Synn reviews the new second album by Australia’s Earth Rot.)
As much as some people hate it, I find making comparisons between bands to be very useful when writing reviews, as they help me to set the reader/listener on the right path, and allow me to put them in the right frame of mind when listening to a new album.
But picking and choosing the right references to make is more of an art than a science, and inferring what other bands may have influenced a certain artist is more complex still.
Case in point, during a recent conversation about the heavy influence of Dismember and early Entombed (particularly in their cutting, buzzsaw-through-bone guitar tone) I hear when listening to Earth Rot, two of the band’s members happened to chime in to inform me that, as a matter of fact, none of them are massive fans of either group, and would all consider both Dark Funeral and Emperor to have had a much greater impact on their sound than anything from the Stockholm scene!
Like I said, it’s an art, not a science…
Still, now that it’s been made painfully clear I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, what else can I actually say about Renascentia?