The portal to the Abysscape is about to open again. Or in more prosaic terms, a new Ævangelist album is almost upon us. Entitled Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss, it will be released by 20 Buck Spin on October 9 in North America and October 23 in Europe. Today we are fortunate to host the premiere of the album’s first advance track, a transfixing torment called “Levitating Stones“.
With three albums in as many years and a trio of EPs, Ævangelist have already abundantly proven their ability to cast spells of nightmarish power and conjure visions of claustrophobic, otherworldly terror and despair. But listeners who have followed the band’s tortured path since 2012’s De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis already know that their arcane creative inspirations have not left them rooted in a fixed place. “Levitating Stones” shows them moving again, navigating a new (and twisted) course within the alien hell they call home.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Sweden’s Mephorash.)
One unfortunate consequence of the way that much of our musical culture has developed over the years, particularly with the rise of digital dissemination and access, has been that many of us are much less likely to allow a band the time to develop over multiple releases before we “invest” in them fully – too often we unfairly demand that a band appear “fully formed” on their first release, or else we end up writing them off before they’ve even had a chance to find their feet.
And while I can see both sides of the reasoning behind this attitude, it’s not always the fairest way of assessing a band’s future potential. Sure, it may have raised the bar for debut albums/EPs (though this is hard to quantify), but it also means we’ve probably missed out on a lot of bands who took a little while longer to really hit their stride.
Case in point, I didn’t really give Swedish occultists Mephorash the time of day until only very recently, as although I’d heard both their previous albums, nothing from them really stood out to me. Those are not bad, not by any means (my advice is to ignore the rather venomous reviews on Metal-Archives), but they just didn’t captivate me. They didn’t have that X-factor that makes an album stand out from the pack.
Thankfully, the times, they are a’changin’…
(Our good friend from the Dominican Republic, Vonlughlio, returns to NCS with this guest review of the new album by the Italian band Putridity.)
To the readers who have seen my top year-end lists, it would be safe to say that one of my favorite genres in metal is Brutal Death Metal. Some of my favorite bands in this genre are: Gorgasm, Cerebral Effusion, Seminal Embalmment, Cenotaph (Turkey), Defeated Sanity, and Putridity.
The band Putridity is from Italy and was formed in 2005 from the ashes of Obscene Perversion and in 2007 they released their debut album Mental Prolapse Induces Necrophilism. But I found out about this band in 2012, a year later after the release of their second album (shame on me I guess) and purchased it along with their debut album. I have to say that I was blown away by this band’s performance in both of those releases. Great riffs with superb drumming and killer vocals.
Now flash forward to early 2015. When the band announced their new album Ignominious Atonement I was at work, but somehow a “fuck yeah” escaped my mouth. Since it was released via Willowtip I have lost count of how many times I have listened to it. My first impression is how much the people who recorded that album — Davide “BrutalDave” Billia (Drums), Paolo Chiti (Vocals), Andrea “Ciccio” Aimone (Guitars), Paolo “Panino” (Guitars), and Alessandro Cravero (Bass) — have grown as musicians, with such strong performances. They just flat-out released one of the best BDM albums of 2015.
My UK-based comrade Andy Synn alerted me to an event and an accompanying music compilation that he and I thought would be worth your attention. First, the event:
On September 26, 2015, a festival called Hordes of Belial will have its 6th Verse — its sixth installment since the festival began in 2010. It will take place at Beat Generator Live in Dundee, Scotland, and it will feature 15 extreme metal and hard rock bands on two stages.
To help promote the festival, its organizers (Critical Events) have released a “pay what you want” digital compilation featuring music by 13 of the bands set to appear this year. The music spans a range that includes thrash, death/sludge, prog, brutal death, doom, and other genres as well.
(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)
August was been absolutely stacked with quality releases, which caused me to make a few hard choices (i.e., cuts). A few albums worth your time that didn’t make the list were from: Krisiun, Ogotay, and Sources of I. Also, I went back and forth on the ranking between numbers 2-5, and really, depending on my mood, I could change them up, that’s how much I enjoyed all of them. This month’s numero uno though was head and shoulders above the rest, and released by a perennial NCS favorite.
5. Creeping – Revenant
This is the third full-length by this New Zealand trio and the first one I’ve heard by them. Why exactly are these kiwis not more well known? That kinda baffles me. Black doom with a healthy dose of death metal goodness thrown into the mixture. It’s grimy, it’s dark, and it’s just a visciously good album.
(We welcome back New Zealand-based metal writer and broadcaster Craig Hayes, who brings us this interview with Elise Gregg-Schofield of New Zealand’s Cephalopod, whose new EP was released this summer.)
Losing the primary songwriter from any band often means the demise of said band is sure to follow. However, although New Zealand metal band Cephalopod lost one of its key founding members a few years back, the group has ended up making a giant compositional leap on their new EP, A Bad Case of Unreality. The band’s last release, 2012’s Materialization, featured plenty of high-energy thrash mixed with vocalist Elise Gregg-Schofield’s howls. But when it came time to record A Bad Case of Unreality, Cephalopod clearly had a whole new set of goals.
Not only is A Bad Case of Unreality is more complex and adventurous release than Cephalopod’s previous EP, but Gregg-Schofield’s vocals are far more dynamic, too. Far from sounding like a band recovering from the exit of a key songwriter, A Bad Case of Unreality finds Cephalopod revelling in new energy and renewed enthusiasm. The EP sees Cephalopod inject intense layers of intricacy into ten-tonne pandemonium on “Ape Brain” and “Loose Teeth”.\, while “Blue and Righteous” and “A Bad Case of Unreality” dig into brutal technical mayhem like Cephalopod have never done before.
All up, A Bad Case of Unreality presents a band that’s free to experiment with a wider range of influences and creative inspirations. No Clean Singing recently caught up with Cephalopod vocalist Gregg-Schofield to discuss A Bad Case of Unreality, and those changes in the band’s sound and attitude.
(Wil Cifer reviews what may be the final studio album by a band named Iron Maiden.)
Iron Maiden is right behind Black Sabbath when it comes being one of the most revered classic metal bands of all time. This is for good reason, as they have maintained tons of integrity over the years, even if they did break down and use keyboards and made the poor choice of trying to replace Bruce with Blaze. Line-up changes and tweaks to nuances in their sound aside, in the bigger picture of their legacy, they have never really whored themselves out by appearing on American Idol, which sadly is something Rob Halford cannot say. So for me the bar is held really high when it comes to this band, and if you have any questions as to my devotion, all I need say is that I have The Number of the Beast album cover tattooed on my left forearm… what do you got? So I have been upping the Irons since 1984.
Going into this album, the trepidation I had in regard to how it would uphold their legacy was due to the Dickinson’s much publicized battle with throat cancer and how that would affect his voice. Then there was the cowbell-infected lead single off the album, “Speed of Light”, which might have quelled my fears of “will Bruce still have it” and replaced them with “will this album be filled with cheesy rock n roll”?
Mgła ‘s new album Exercises In Futility crept up upon us, like some stealthy night creature. One day, not long ago, there was simply an announcement out of nowhere that it was finished and would be released, and a song appeared. And then this weekend it pounced for all to see (and hear).
The album was to be streamed publicly for the first time on the day of its release, but then some asshole leaked it, and the band then promptly decided on Saturday to upload all of it for streaming on YouTube. The cause may have been deplorable, but the action was like a gift to those of us who relished their first two albums and have been impatient to hear this one.
I encourage you to read the lyrics before listening to the album. Apart from the insights they provide into the music itself, they are as fascinating, as well-formed, and as harrowing in their poetry as what you will hear.
One reason I’m perpetually far behind in my planned reviews is a tendency to unexpectedly and impulsively get caught up and carried away by new music. That’s what happened this afternoon.
I was just about to start writing something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time when I noticed that a friend had sent me a link to a stream of a forthcoming EP entitled Pedicabo Mundi by a band from Providence, Rhode Island, named Sangus. I decided to delay my other project just long enough to listen to the EP’s first song. I mean, that first track was less than three minutes long — how could that hurt?
Man, that first song hit me like a lightning bolt, and with all my nerve endings twitching like mad, I damned well couldn’t turn away, now could I? And so I listened to the rest of the EP, and then listened again, and then began flailing away at this write-up.
These THAT’S METAL! posts have become so irregular that I’ve taken to counting the weeks that separate them in order to quantify the extent of my shame: The last one was five weeks ago. It isn’t that I’m disinterested, it’s that they really do take me a long time to put together, and I’m usually caught up in the throes of metal music during free time on the weekends and often have trouble pulling myself away from listening and writing about that. But here we are again at last, with a large collection of images and videos that I think are metal even though they’re not music.
I’ve written about the corpse flower before in this series, but it’s worth a return visit today. The scientific name of these enormous plants, which have grown to heights of more than 10 feet, is Amorphophallus titanum. I can’t imagine why that name was chosen, can you?
The corpse flower can take eight to 20 years to initially bloom, and they may not bloom again for another seven to 10 years, so it’s kind of a big deal when it happens — and this month it has happened (and is happening) twice in U.S. botanical gardens.