At the end of this post we bring you the premiere of a multifaceted song named “Harrowing Winds” from the self-titled third album by California’s WRVTH, which will be released in June.
WRVTH (pronounced “wrath”) were once known as Wrath of Vesuvius, and this new record follows a 2009 EP (A World In Peril) and two previous albums, Portals Through Ophiuchus (2010) and Revelation (released by Mediaskare Records in 2013). But even if you are familiar with the band’s previous efforts, the new album reflects some changes in musical direction, along with that alteration in the band’s name — and “Harrowing Winds” is a signpost to those changes.
When I first heard the opening minute of the video clip for the song, I was having trouble squaring it with the little “Unique Leader” logo in the bottom right of the video frame. The shimmering, reverberating guitar harmony is tranquil, even transcendent. But as the song evolved, that Unique Leader connection became more understandable, just as the song became darker, more extreme, and more unpredictable.
Those with long memories may recall that last October we reviewed two tracks that had surfaced from a forthcoming demo by the Swiss band Antiversum. Since then the Irish label Invictus Productions has arranged for the release of the demo — entitled Total Vacuum — and we now bring you the premiere of all four of its songs, in all their horrifying glory.
The demo is well-named in one sense: Total Vacuum creates an atmosphere of bone-freezing gloom, summoning immense vistas of a heartless, malignant cosmos. The demo begins and ends with eerie ambient sounds that include deep groaning tones and piercing electronic shrieks, effectively summoning sensations of dread and implacable menace. But in between those chilling bookends, Antiversum embark on a void-faring excursion that’s loaded with harrowing encounters. There is life in this vacuum, even if it is utterly alien and frighteningly voracious. And unlike a vacuum, it’s massively heavy and disturbingly oppressive.
(Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming sixth studio album from the Ukrainian band Kroda — GinnungaGap-GinnungaGaldr-GinnungaKaos — and we also have for you the premiere of the album’s fourth track, “Чорні Хребти Карпат” (Carpathian Black Spines).
There are some albums you just never really get on with. Not that they’re necessarily bad, but albums you just don’t “click” with, for whatever reason. Where the pieces just don’t seem to line up properly and the overall package just seems lacking.
Then there are albums that you fall in love with instantly, where even their tiniest flaws seem to have a necessary place in the grand scheme of things.
This is one of those albums.
Yes, it’s true, we shove about 100 new songs in your face on a daily basis, but we know your face holds a lot of songs, so we need to keep shoving. Be sure to chew them well and don’t try to talk while you’re doing it, ’cause you could choke to death.
Surely you know about Gruesome by now, because we’ve certainly written about them enough, and we even premiered a song from their debut album Savage Land. They give new meaning to the phrase Total Death Worship.
As of yesterday, the whole album became available for streaming. I don’t know why you wouldn’t go listen to it, unless you’re in a coma, in which case we wish you a speedy recovery and a pain-free removal of the catheter. Don’t forget to share photos of that for our collection. We’re thinking about turning them into a large-format NCS coffee-table book, The Art of Catheter Removal.
Where was I? Oh yeah, there’s a stream of Savage Land at Decibel. It’s an exclusive, so you and your catheter will need to go here to listen, and you’ll both be glad you did:
(Wil Cifer reviews Aldafǫðr Ok Munka Dróttinn (“Óðinn and the God of the Monks”), the new album by the Icelandic/German pagan metal band Arstidir Lifsins.)
This trio features members of Helrunar and Carpe Noctem, so you know they are going to get at least the Viking parts right.
It starts with a twelve-minute epic, with the first three minutes building up to the metal being introduced. Largely there is a chorus of baritones bellowing out the vocals, but these give way to black metal snarls. The first and second songs run into each another, as if this were a Wagnerian opera. Like opera, the sensual magnitude of the scenes they are creating here is impressive.
At times you might be inclined to refer to the music as blackened folk metal — the third song has some old-school black metal nastiness to it — though the bass playing is raised to an audible level, where many black metal bass players stay submerged beneath the waves. Here the theatrics that take center stage, rather than trying to recreate any pagan folk elements, more often work within the song rather than making it feel overblown, though in some portions of the album they come across more like interludes rather than the style of a band like Negura Bunget, who use those elements more fully as working parts of the song.
As usual, I’m drowning in excellent new metal. There seems to be no ebb and flow this year — it’s a flood tide all the time. And so, perhaps even more so than usual, what I’m collecting in these round-ups is the result of impulsive choices. “Random Fucking Music” indeed.
The Norwegian duo known as Deathhammer have a new album named Evil Power set for international release by Hells Headbangers on June 30. Having been a big fan of Onward To the Pits (their last album, from 2012), that date can’t come soon enough for me.
This morning I heard the first advance track from the album, a tornado named “Warriors of Evil”. It’s the first song on a Soundcloud compilation of 2015 music created by Fenriz (of Darkthrone fame). There happens to be a ton of other good music on this playlist, and I’ll include the song list below, since the stream isn’t divided into separate tracks. But as for “Warriors of Evil”, it’s thoroughly electrifying black thrashing speed metal with thoroughly rancid vocals and the kind of riff mastery that causes furious headbanging followed by a desire to prostrate yourself in humble worship and pathetic pleading for MORE OF THIS! RIGHT FUCKING NOW!
One of the most marvelous things about music, of any kind, is that it’s an inherently interactive experience. No two people will hear music in exactly the same way, because what we hear is necessarily influenced by who we are, by our own life experiences, by the turn of our own imaginations, by the entire complex of ingredients that make up our own unique identities. And what we hear may not be entirely consonant with what the creators of the music were feeling or intended when they made the music.
There’s a reason why I’m starting this post with those thoughts, and I’ll come back to it at the end. But for now, let me tell you some other things about the new (third) album by Chicago’s FIN — The Furrows of Tradition — and about the song from the album that we’re premiering today: “Bliss Apparition of Sunlight”.
Some black metal albums are rightly described as icy cold. The Furrows of Tradition is hot-blooded. It’s a boiling inferno, overheated to the point of running a life-threatening fever. To mix my metaphors (which I have a tendency to do when carried away by an album), it’s a rip-roaring black metal hurricane that rushes by with torrential speed and power and leaves you breathless in its wake.
(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Nightrage.)
Nightrage are a band who seem to exist by force of will. They have gone through numerous lineup changes and, across their discography, a whole smattering of frontmen have appeared, many of whom are names within the realm of melodeath. Since 2011′s underrated Insidious, an album that is easily one of their best and pretty much the spiritual sequel to earlier release Sweet Vengeance (including cameos by the same musicians who appeared on that album), Nightrage have once again found themselves in flux — with members leaving and then slowly being replaced. In the end, Nightrage have become a much smaller group than they were before, with founding guitarist Marios Iliopoulos and bassist Anders Hammer being the remaining constants. They are joined by new vocalist Ronnie Nyman to complete the three-piece that is the current incarnation of Nightrage.
Needless to say, four years is a long time for a band to be out of the limelight, and their new album The Puritan is itself a slimmer beast, one with sleeker and more to-the- point songs that reflect Nightrage’s new, slimmer line-up. It also shows that despite their ever-in-flux membership, Nightrage are still damned good at hitting a melodeath fan right in the pleasure centers of the brain.
Reviews are useful, but there is no substitute for listening. Six days ago I gave very high marks to Below the Hengiform, the stunning new EP by Malthusian, and although I’m going to remind you of why I’m so enthusiastic about this release, the main purpose of this post is to give you the chance to hear all of it for yourselves.
First, the reminder: Below the Hengiform represents a large step forward for a band who had already made a striking debut with their 2013 demo. In addition to creating a powerful atmosphere of imminent catastrophe and generating overwhelming maelstroms of violent sound, Malthusian are doing what few practitioners of blackened death metal are able to do: They are crafting memorable songs.
(KevinP puts five questions to Liam Millward, composer/guitarist/bassist/mandolin-player/backing-vocalist of Theoktony from the UK, whose new album you can stream in full at the end of this post.)
K: Cliff notes history lesson: You started as Pulverized in 2001, released one album in 2002, changed the band’s name to Theoktony in 2005, released a debut album in 2008. It’s now 2015 and you are about to release your sophomore effort, Loss, via Dissected Records. Tell us about it.
L: Loss was actually written a couple of years ago, its just taken a while to pull together and record. Musically, I tried to keep with the original modus operandi of Theoktony, to just write and see where it took me. I try not to restrict myself to a genre. Lyrically, I took inspiration from recent history and tried to stay on point, deal with ‘Loss’ in general, whether that be of faith, sanity, or life.
K: Who’s responsible for what on this album? (Writing, playing, producing, etc,)
L: On vocals we have Anthony Jody Myers; drums were played by Anil Carrier; guitars, bass, mandolin and samples were all by myself. As far as writing is concerned, all music and lyrics were written by myself, with the exception of the drums for the songs “Apostate” and “Eritrea”, which were written by Anil. I also produced the album, so if you hate it, I guess I’m to blame. Haha!