(DGR reviews the latest album by Sylosis.)
For a long time, there were few bands out there that I was willing to evangelize as much as Sylosis. Long before I ever got into the writing game, I would tell anyone who would lend me their ear about the band — a group I had initially checked out on a whim when my policy for checking out new music consisted of looking into albums that scored an eight and above on Blabbermouth.net’s review scale, a criterion that Sylosis’ 2008 release Conclusion Of An Age happened to satisfy.
To explain why the group held such a strong appeal to me, I have to own up to the fact that three genres were really my entryway into heavy metal, and they were melodeath, metalcore, and thrash metal. It’s probably a common event that those three tend to be the welcome mats, since a lot of what I view as “gateway bands” tend to fall into those genres, but I just had to highlight it, in part because, to be incredibly reductive, Sylosis‘ sound is a combination of those three genres.
Munich-based Thulcandra have been a favorite of this site since we discussed their origin story and reviewed their debut album Fallen Angel’s Dominion back in 2010 (here). Their third album Ascension Lost was released in late January by Napalm Records, and today we’re proud to bring you the premiere of an official video for the album’s seventh song, “The Second Fall”.
The mid-paced song is both hard-rocking and threaded with an icy melody that proves to be as memorable as it is dramatic. The song is highlighted not only by magnetic riffs and a pulse-pounding rhythm section but also by a beautiful extended guitar solo that stands in stark contrast to the skin-flaying vocals of frontman Steffen Kummerer.
Once again, I’m behind in posting round-ups of new music and videos. I have a long list of new things that emerged this week, just not enough time to write about it… because once again my day job has sent me away from home. More about that in a later post today.
But although I can’t write about all the good new things I saw and heard this week right now, I’ll throw a few diverse tracks your way in this post and try to collect more tomorrow.
I’m going to start with the most unlikely of choices for a site like this one — it’s an exception to our inconsistent “rule”.
Eternal Champion are an epic heavy metal band from Austin, Texas, named after a character premise in Michael Moorcock’s fictional universe and featuring an ex-Iron Age vocalist (Jason Tarpey) and Power Trip’s lead guitarist Blake Ibanez.
Transient’s Krysta Martinez
(About two years ago we posted a five-part series on metal culture [which can be found here] by cultural anthropologist and dedicated metalhead David Mollica, based in part on his Master’s dissertation and interviews he conducted in preparation for writing it. He is embarked on a new study, and we’ve agreed to help him recruit participants.)
Hey all. You might remember me from my guest series about my research on the culture of heavy metal. Well, I’ve somehow managed to convince another group of professors that letting me study metal is a good idea and I need some help with the project. In my post about women in metal (here) the content was mostly based on conjecture and anecdotes mentioned by men that I had interviewed because only one woman agreed to be interviewed for my research. Well, I’m finally getting around to addressing that issue.
I’m currently working on a research project that looks at gender in the heavy metal community and what it means to you to be a metal head. I’m looking for 10 guys and 10 girls (must be 18 or older) who are willing to be interviewed over the phone, via Skype, or by email. The interview will take about an hour.
(NCS Russian contributor Comrade Aleks interviews Archie Hunt of North Carolina’s Atten Ash, whose excellent new album The Hourglass was released by Hypnotic Dirge Records in February and whose similarly excellent split with Lycanthia was released by the same label in January.)
Hypnotic Dirge surprises me again! The label has another killer release after a one-year hiatus, and this time it’s by a melodic death-doom band from North Carolina named Atten Ash. The band’s name literally means “near the ash”, and this trio has created a fantastic – and I use this word very rarely – a really fantastic album, The Hourglass. The album was completed three years ago for digital release by the band, but lay on the shelf until Hypnotic Dirge suddenly found it.
I think you need to know that the band consists of three members – Archie Hunt (who roared with Legion of the Fallen) on vocals, with James Greene responsible for the great clear vocal parts and most of instruments, and Barre Gambling of Daylight Dies playing guitars and keyboards.
The Hourglass is a perfect gift for those who like the old death doom stuff of Katatonia from the Brave Murder Day period, the progressive and emotional works of Opeth, and the melancholic and melodic works of Daylight Dies as well. Without any delay we’ve done this interview with Archie Hunt, with the help of Nic Skog, the head of Hypnotic Dirge.
(Guest writer Grant Skelton returns to NCS, singing the praises of a new song by Gruesome.)
Some fans may wish to write off Gruesome (which features members of Exhumed, Possessed, Malevolent Creation, and Derketa) and dismiss them as a knockoff or throwback. The band do openly promote themselves by affiliating with Death, particularly the Leprosy material. To that I respond, “What’s wrong with nostalgia?”
One of the advantages of living in the time that we do is that fans can have access to material from bands who had their heyday in the pre-Internet age. To that end, Gruesome (and their forefathers) can sound completely fresh to younger fans who may just be discovering them. To the veterans, Gruesome offer something classic that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. They bear the Florida death metal torch, and they bear it well.
Although the vast Indian subcontinent has its fair share of notable metal bands from across the musical spectrum, melodic death/doom isn’t a genre that first springs to mind when thinking about Indian metal. In that sense, Dormant Inferno from Mumbai are something of an outlier — but they clearly knew what they doing when they released their notable debut EP in 2011, entitled In Sanity.
Today we’re premiering one of the new Dormant Inferno tracks that will appear in early April via the Transcending Obscurity India label on a split release with Pakistan’s Dionysus. As good as In Sanity was, the new song reveals a band who have become even more self-assured and powerful. The name of the new split is Beyond Forgotten Shores, and the track we’re bringing you is “Deliverance”.
(In this post Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by Exgenesis, whose members are from Sweden and Columbia.)
As far as I can recall, it’s usually in the first quarter of every year when I discover one of my big new musical surprises. Previous examples of this (admittedly, rather vague) trend were my discovery of Restoration by Amiensus in 2013, and the self-titled debut by Ion last year. So, as you can imagine, I’ve been keenly awaiting this year’s discovery, whatever it may be… and Aphotic Veil is definitely it.
Exgenesis is the fruit of a collaboration between two men, Jari Lindholm (Sweden) and Alejandro Lotero (Colombia), which delivers a fantastically fresh and frankly rather ferocious take on Melodic Death/Doom metal a la Daylight Dies/Swallow The Sun/October Tide, breathing new life into this well-worn sound with little more than a keen grasp of dynamics and superior song-writing ability.
The five tracks which make up Aphotic Veil weave together an enviable series of groaning, titanic riffs and grim, torturous growls with punishing flourishes of bone-cracking drum work and touches of darkly beautiful melody, wrapped up in a claustrophobic atmosphere of brooding shadows and haunting half-light which hints at some blackened marrow in the band’s bones.
(Leperkahn provides this Local Focus feature, putting the spotlight on bands from two towns. For details about this Local Focus project, go HERE.)
A little while back Grant Skelton came up with the idea for Local Focus, which I find to be a great idea. Since I now split my time between Chicago for school and San Diego at home, I figured I’d do a double-feature of sorts on both, since I have things to talk about for both of them. With that, we’ll start with my hometown, San Diego.
These guys are a relatively new stoner doom crew, forming in 2013, featuring Martin Arguelles on guitar, Lewis Davis on bass, and Ross Zafar behind the kit. They released their debut EP, Razorleaf, in November of last year, though I just recently got around to hearing it. It features three songs, though all of them are at least nine minutes long, and the final two are more than eleven minutes long.