(Andy Synn contributes three more reviews of releases from 2016, focusing on the music of Bedowyn (North Carolina), Koronal (Poland), and Melding Plague (Finland).)
Ok, last one. Deep breath. Big finish.
Here are the final three albums from 2016 which I have handpicked for your listening pleasure.
I hope you enjoy them, and I sincerely hope you’ve all discovered a gem or two over the last few weeks of these “catch-up” posts.
I’ll probably be following up on a few of my personal favourites over the next month or so, so we’re not quite done with 2016 just yet, but, for the most part, I’m now going to be switching my focus to albums and EPs from 2017, as I’ve built up quite a backlog over the last several weeks.
In the meantime, however, why not get stuck into the cavalcade of humongous riffs, ear-catching melodies, and badass grooves provided by this triumphant triptych of bands?
Sometimes, song titles turn out to be examples of truth in advertising — no puffery, no exaggeration, just the truth and nothing but the truth. When London’s Craven Idol named the song we’re premiering “A Ripping Strike“, they weren’t fooling, and they’re not fooling around on the song either. It really is a ripping strike — a non-stop primal rush of electrification straight to the brain stem. And it proves to be damned infectious as well.
“A Ripping Strike” is the second track on Cravel Idol’s second album, The Shackles of Mammon, which will be released by Dark Descent Records on April 14. It follows the band’s eye-popping debut album Towards Eschaton, released in 2013.
Over the course of four albums and a handful of split releases since 2001, Nightbringer have established such a prominent presence in the shadow realms of arcane black metal that every new release must now be regarded as an Event, with a capital E. Their fifth full-length is named Terra Damnata, and it’s scheduled to appear via Season of Mist on April 14. We’ve previously praised the first single from the album, “Serpent Sun“, and now it’s our privilege to help premiere the second one — a track named “Misrule“.
Nightbringer described “Serpent Sun” as the “theme for a god, solar soliloquy, incubated to rise for the fall.” That song is a barn-burner — fiery, immense, dramatic, casting an aura of ominous and savage majesty. The sweeping keyboards and sparkling guitar melody are as gripping as the giant boom of the drums and the wild ferocity of the vocals. It’s enough to make normal humans cower like mice beneath the swooping shadow of a great raptor overhead. The newest song also takes no prisoners.
I admit that I went berserk posting about new music this past weekend. Pretty sure that I set a weekend record for our site in the number of releases I included in those five posts between Saturday and Sunday. You’d think I would have exhausted what I found last week that got me excited — but no, not even close.
I really like all three of the songs I’ve collected here, and I also think they complement each other when heard one after the other, even though the genre styles are different.
“There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery”.
Those words, written by Dante Alighieri in The Divine Comedy almost 700 years ago, begin the video that you’re about to see. Powerful words, and profoundly true. There’s also tremendous power in this video, and in the song for which it was so beautifully made.
In this Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK I’ve collected advance tracks from four albums plus two full recent releases, all of which I hope you’ll find are worth your time.
FALLS OF RAUROS
I’ve been immensely enjoying the new Falls of Rauros album, Vigilance Perennial, though berating myself for not yet collecting my thoughts in a review. With luck, I’ll get that done in the coming week. For now I’ll just offer a few words about the first advance track from the album, “White Granite“, which premiered at DECIBEL on Friday.
We usually begin Sundays here on our metallic island with a REARVIEW MIRROR post, but I decided this week I’d rather use the time to spread around some more new music — even though I did a shitload of that yesterday.
I was also motivated by the fact that the music of the following four bands — three of whom I discovered in the last 48 hours — seemed like it would all go together pretty well, because they’ve all got varying degrees of punk or hardcore in their DNA (though they’re all metal as hell, too). By the time you get to the end of this post, you’ll be smiling through broken teeth.
First up is Expander. They’re ensconced in my old hometown of Austin, Texas. I paused in my musical explorations to check out some music from their new album Endless Computer when I spotted the very recognizable artwork of Luca Carey on the cover. The fact that the album is being released (on May 16th) by Nuclear War Now! was an added inducement, and another nail in the coffin came when I saw that the album was engineered by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Joel Grind.
This is the last part of a three-part round-up for this Saturday. Unlike Part 1 and Part 2, this installment is devoted to new music and videos released last week from groups whose names have a pretty high profile, and I would guess that all of the following songs have already made the rounds through much of metaldom without me needing to say much about them.
So, I’m going to just present the songs and videos without commentary, preceded only by some basic info about the releases. But, as always, you should certainly feel free to share your own thoughts in the Comment section.
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: February 24
Saturday may seem like an odd day to open the flood gates on new music at our site. Page views usually drop precipitously, which I guess proves that lots of people are visiting our site at work or school rather than at home. Or maybe lots of people are just too hungover to put heavy music in their heads. Anyway, I do this as much for myself as for anyone else, so on we go….
I paired the two bands featured in Part 1 for obvious reasons, and in Part 3 I’ve collected new stuff from bands who have no trouble getting attention but I’d like to mention anyway. In this middle part I’ve picked more underground names, with a lot of variety in the sounds (though I’ve siphoned off the black metal for tomorrow’s Shades of Black post).
Actually, I don’t yet have any full songs to share from this first band, only a teaser, but I have high hopes based on the people behind the project.
I’ve accumulated a big list of songs and videos to recommend since the last round-up earlier in the week, too many to cram into a single post. It seemed like an obvious call to chisel these two bands off the assembled monolith of music, even at the risk of deepening the confusion between them that probably already exists.
The thing is, the music of each band is materially different from that of the other, though there are a few points of intersection in the elements of black metal that they each draw upon. And both of them are very, very good. Maybe the confusion will turn out to help, as people searching for one band will discover the attractions of the other.
I flipped a coin and am starting with the band whose name is two words and no “s” on the end.
A couple of nights ago NCS contributor Grant Skelton asked if I knew of any “psychedelic death metal”. He said he’d been hunting for that and was finding the search to be a difficult one. One song in particular leaped to my mind immediately, but I decided to do some further thinking and word-searching through previous posts at NCS. And by coincidence, I also came across an announcement about a new band that seemed relevant.
What I’ve compiled below is the playlist of songs I sent Grant later that night. I’m probably stretching the boundaries of the term “psychedelic death metal”, though it’s not exactly a recognized genre label. But I had fun putting this together and thought I’d share it. But I’d also like to ask you to chime in with ideas of your own in the Comment section.
So I thought I’d start with that announcement about a new band (pictured above), the name of which is John Frum. The announcement caught my eye both because of who’s in the band and because of the source of the band’s name, which is quite interesting. Here’s the explanation: