You really couldn’t ask for a better time (which really means a worse time) for a new Phobia album. There’s a lot to be pissed about these days, and for a lot of us, one of the biggest reasons is squinting off the cover of the band’s new album, Lifeless God. Of course, these Orange County anarchists have always been pissed off, but I bet they’ve got more than the usual amount of fury to discharge at high speed in this sixth full-length.
Lifeless God comes out on June 2nd via Willowtip Records, and includes among its 20 tracks such titles as “Escalate To Madness”, “Human Default = Suck At Life”, “Everythings Vicious”, “Death To Freedom”, and “New 4th Reich” (you get two guesses what that one’s about, and one guess doesn’t count). It also includes a track named “Party In Hell“, which is the one we’ve got for you today.
As I mentioned earlier today, I returned to Seattle very late last night after a 4-day road trip for my day job. While away, I didn’t have time to pull together round-ups of new music that I was noticing, so I have some catching up to do. This is the first installment of that catching-up exercise, which will continue with at least one more part either later today or tomorrow. The music here is organized in alphabetical order by band name, and I’ve tried to provide variety in each of these installments.
I wasn’t familiar with Anima Nostra before hearing this first song, but I’ve learned that it’s a collaboration between Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (Sweden) and Margaux Renaudin (France). The two of them released an album named Anima Nostra last year, and now they’ve taken that as their band name.
Their second album, Atraments, will be released by Malignant Records (digitally and on digipak CD) on June 2nd. I gather from press announcements that the sound now differs from their first collaborative effort, “taking the more intimate ritual ambient aspects of the debut, and incorporating them as part of towering constructs that blur the line between death industrial, doom metal, and neo-classical”.
(DGR turns in this review of the new album by Bavarian grind merchants Genocide Generator.)
This one took a bit to review. Not because there was some conflict or confusion as to how Genocide Generator did things, but mostly because III is an album that does almost exactly what I was hoping the band would do after their debut album I — you’ll note, there’s no II yet — which was to double-down on all of the elements they had used to make their first disc.
I was hoping they would double-down on the speed, on the grind, on the usage of electronics, and on the heaping helping of just outright absurdity that they splattered over the top of everything. And that’s what they did on III. So if you can remember way back to the olden horse-cart days of the internets and our review of I, and if you enjoyed that, then III is perfect for you. What took a while with III, though, is that since the self-described “grindustrial madness” band doubled down on everything, it’s hard to pontificate about much with the disc. And it also raises a few interesting questions.
One question is that since the band have so much fun inserting dumb sound effects and cranking on random electronic noise to go along with the high-speed adrenaline rush that is their music, how does one possibly review grind like that? How does one talk about grind that takes on an almost carnival-like atmosphere with its big-top bombast and the joy of how anarchic some of the songs become? How do you review an album of grind that sounds like it was made for a funhouse?
I left Seattle on Monday for my job and arrived home again near midnight last night. I woke up four hours later because there is very little justice or fairness in the world. Before my eyes would focus properly, I saw messages from friends on Facebook that alerted me to the two new tracks I’ve collected here. I have a fuckton of other new music to sift through since I didn’t have time to assemble a SEEN AND HEARD round-up while I was out of town, but I decided to get these two tracks up on the site without delay, even before the coffee kicks in.
Three years after Blood Mantra, Poland’s mighty Decapitated are returning with a new album named Anticult, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on July 7th. Last night the album’s memorable cover art appeared on the web, and this morning, before the sun rose out here on the U.S. west coast, Decapitated detonated a video for a new song named “Never“.
Abkehr is a reclusive duo from northern Germany, a new entity who are rising from the shadow lands of black metal with a debut EP named In Asche. It will be released on May 19th by Sentient Ruin Laboratories. The EP consists of four impressive tracks, one of which premiered at CVLT Nation not long ago, and we now bring you another one.
The tracks are unnamed, identified with Roman numerals, and the one we have for you is the opener. It proves to be an unsettling but charismatic way to begin In Asche.
(We welcome Neill Jameson (Krieg) back to our site, who in this post recommends music by some of the more obscure U.S. black metal bands, mainly from the ’90s — some of whom have new releases in the works.)
This past weekend was the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest, and while I was proving to the world I can’t hold my liquor I ran into some people like Austin Lunn who can actually carry on the kind of conversation about black metal that gives me pause, and also the motivation to do something like this. I also ran into a few old friends who were a part of the burgeoning ’90s US black metal scene, members of bands that I find criminally underrated.
Between that and all the talk about what “USBM” should and shouldn’t be, I figured I’d talk a bit about bands that are from a time where Antifa wasn’t throwing smoke bombs into apolitical shows or bands didn’t get name-dropped on Chris Brown’s vest.
(In this post Andy Synn reviews the new EPs by Mantar, Maré, and Mesarthim.)
So I’ve officially now reached a point where I am so far behind in my writing that the balance has fully shifted into the negative, with more new albums and EPs being added to my review queue – almost on a daily basis – than are being scratched off of it.
What to do, what to do…?
Well, the only answer, it seems, is to hammer out a bunch of quick reviews, and try to make some sort of dent in the ever-growing pile of streams and promos currently clogging up my inbox/mp3 player.
So, without further ado, here’s three great EPs, two from bands we’ve covered before, and one from an entirely new discovery of mine.
Now more than 20 years into a varied musical career, Spain’s Akerbeltz has released more than a half-dozen demos and splits as well as five albums under the name shared by its sole creator. The sixth full-length, Satanic, is now set for a June 2nd release by the Spanish label BlackSeed Productions. As a sign of what the new album holds in store, today we present a stream of the second track in its running order, “A Deed Without A Name“.
Akerbeltz (the musician) has participated in a variety of other musical projects since 1989, not all of them in the vein of black metal. Among other endeavors, he has played guitar for Countess, Beheaded Lamb, and Harridan; appeared singing and playing drums in one song of a Sale Freux album; performed vocals for a Winter Frost demo; and has been the drummer for Körgull The Exterminator since the band’s inception. But Akerbeltz (the band) has been his oldest and longest-running project.
Over the course of the 15 years that have passed since the spawning of Irae in the Portuguese black metal underground, the project has been prolific, with Irae’s music being released in two dozen demos and splits, as well as compilations, live recordings, and three full-length albums, with the last album of new music being 2008’s Hellnation. On May 12th of this year, Altare Productions will release a new album by Irae entitled Crimes Against Humanity. One track from the album (“Genocide Journey”) has debuted previously, and today we bring you a second one, the song that opens the album, “In the Name of Satan“.
Operating from within a Portuguese alliance known as the Black Circle, Irae’s sole creator Vulturius has pursued a nihilistic vision of malice and misanthropy, and in this forthcoming album (to quote Altare) Irae “explores the lawless aesthetics of hate, extermination of feeble mankind and allegiance to the Adversary”.
By their own account, Minneapolis-based Aziza play “Thunderpunk”, combining “sludge, hardcore, and heavy metal”. “We play buttrock for the thinking man’s metal head”. Aziza released a debut demo in 2014 named Thunderpunk? Jesus., and an EP in 2016 called High Hopes Are At An All Time Low. Now they’ve got a new EP on the way named Council of Straitjackets, and today we’ve got a dual premiere: the song “Imposters” from the new EP and an official video for the song “Mana Razor” off the last EP.
Let’s talk about the video first. It’s a hellacious amount of fun to watch, and to listen to. “Mana Razor” is a real ass-kicking bruiser of a song, with lead-weight riffs, gut-punching bass, and head-cracking drums doing their damnedest to fracture bones, and a vicious vocal squall that underlines the song’s bleak and violent undercurrents. Highly mosh-worthy, too.
The music may be a dark piece of battering nastiness, but the video looks like a hell of a good house party among friends.