Feb 232015

 

Australia’s Rise of Avernus are following up their 2013 debut album L’appel du vide with a new EP entitled Dramatis Personæ. It’s a five-track, half-hour affair that includes a guest vocal appearance by Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson (on the song “Acta Est Fabula”) — and today we bring you a stream of the EP’s penultimate song, “An Alarum of Fate“.

The booming drums and darting orchestral strings that start the song provide immediate elements of intrigue, and they are strong attractions to the music throughout. But they’re not the only attractions. Take the vocals, for example: They’re an appealing blend of flesh-scarring growls, skyward-soaring clean vocals, and ghostly whispers. And just as appealing is the music’s integration of heavy riffs, hammering beats, mesmerizing piano notes, warm bass tones, and dreamlike strings.

Feb 222015

 

Happy goddamn Sunday to one and all. I’m working on a THAT’S METAL! post this morning. It’s going to take me about an hour and a half to finish it. So I thought I’d leave a musical interlude for you before I resume toiling away on that other piece (which I may post tomorrow if not today). As the tag says, what follows truly is random fucking music — these are the last seven songs I listened to last night and this morning, presented in alphabetical order by band name. They’re all new, they’re all good.

ENDLESSHADE

KevinP tagged me (and about 100 other people) on a Facebook link to two songs by this Ukrainian doom/death band. Both songs are drawn from the band’s forthcoming debut album, Wolf Will Swallow the Sun, which will be released by Naturmacht Productions on February 22 (and can be ordered here). The first track is “Post Mortem” and the second is “Edge”.

These are long songs, in the eight-to-nine minute range. They create an atmosphere that’s both ethereal and crushing, both mystical and tangibly powerful, hypnotic and harrowing. The forlorn, keyboard-enhanced melodies are sweeping and memorable, while the riffs are titanic. The harsh vocals are gargantuan and vividly impassioned; the clean vocals are sombre and sorrowful — and both are impeccably performed by a woman (Natalia Androsova). Truly compelling music…

Feb 172015

 

I pride myself on having a breadth of knowledge that is very wide and very shallow. Sure, I could burrow deeply into particular subjects, and then be able to talk about 2 or 3 things in depth. You know people like that, don’t you? They bore the shit out of you, am I right? Broad and shallow, that’s the way to go (except when it comes to metal, about which I of course have near-encyclopedic knowledge).

For example, I know that statisticians have ways of reaching conclusions about large populations of items or people based on a small sampling of data. They have mathematical formulas for gauging the reliability of the conclusions based on their sample size. And that’s all I know about that. If I knew more, I’d probably bore the shit out of you.

I applied a sampling technique to the two compilations that are the subject of this post, because I didn’t have time to listen to all the songs. I’ve concluded that both comps are hot shit. I have no idea whether the conclusions I reached are valid. Fortunately, you can listen to all the songs before deciding whether to spend your hard-drive space on them — and that’s all you’ll have to spend, because they don’t cost money (unless you want to throw some cash at them out of the goodness of your coal-black hearts).

Feb 112015

 

I would actually like to review an entire album. Or even an entire EP. And I harbor hopes of finishing the rollout of our Most Infectious Songs list for 2014. But on a daily basis I continue to find new songs that I feel compelled to say something about, and so here we have another round-up of such discoveries.

VOICE OF THE SOUL

I first came across Voice of the Soul four and a half years ago via a MISCELLANY excursion. The band’s vocalist/guitarist Kareem Chehayeb was then based in Kuwait, with other band members spread around other locations in the Middle East. When I reviewed their 2011 EP, Into Oblivion, I found that it represented a large leap forward, or more like a stretching of wings — by a rapidly maturing raptor with big claws that could do some damage, and an even more impressive ability to take flight on the wings of some very memorable melodies. Since then, Kareem Chehayeb and guitarist Monish Shringi relocated to Dubai in the UAE, and recorded the band’s debut album, Catacombs.

Guest writer Gorger reviewed the album for us last October and gave it high marks. But despite his praise and my own history with the band, I stupidly didn’t dive into it. Too many other distractions, I suppose. And then yesterday I watched and listened to the band’s new lyric video for a song from the album named “Defiled”, and holy shit.

Feb 112015

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Norway’s Enslaved.)

The phrase “The more things change, the more they stay the same” is almost beyond cliché at this point, yet I feel that it still retains some value… as long as you use it in the right place, and at the right time.

Case in point: It seems to apply to Enslaved more than to most bands I can think of, as few other artists seem to have perfected the almost zen-like balance between progress and preservation as the Norwegian natives.

If you see the band live these days you’re likely to hear material from across the length and breadth of their career, from Frost to Monumension to Axioma… all seamlessly integrated and interwoven together… and it’s truly amazing to be able to hear songs like “Allfǫðr Oðinn” and “Death In The Eyes of Dawn” next to one another in the same setlist, forcing you to realise that no matter how far they’ve come or how much they’ve progressed over the years, Enslaved are still very much the same band they always were at heart, and that there’s no era or element of their sound that doesn’t represent who they are.

Feb 032015

 

Here’s yet another example of why music videos matter. Distance are a metal band from Madrid, Spain, whose debut album I was released by Mighty Music in November 2014. I overlooked the album when it was released, but the video we’re about to premiere has put it on my radar screen, and I hope it will put it on yours, too.

The video is for a song from the album named “Seeker of Truth”. It was made by one of the band’s guitarists, Alfredo Fernández, and by Miguel Mateos from Firefront Pictures. It combines a lot of interesting imagery, including computer animation as well as creatively framed shots of the band’s performance, and it suits the music.

Jan 212015


Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

 

I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.

In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post.

Jan 202015

 

This is a collection of recent music I heard over the last 24 hours that I want to recommend. As the post title suggests, the music is loosely connected by elements of black metal — and I do mean “loosely”, especially in the case of the first song.

URFAUST

I first learned of the Dutch two-man band Urfaust when our long-time supporter Utmu wrote about them in a guest post two years ago, a post I would commend to people who are new to Urfaust. Even today, I’ve still only dabbled in the band’s previous recordings, but enough to recognize that their approach to black metal is highly distinctive.

More than four years have passed since their last album, but Germany’s Ván Records is now poised to release a new 12″ vinyl EP from the band. Entitled Apparitions, it features painted artwork by ThornyThoughts Artwork.

Jan 192015

 

I was getting bored with those “Seen and Heard” post titles, so I changed  it for today — but that’s still what this is: a collection of new songs that I spotted and heard over the last 24 hours and would like to recommend to you. And since it’s Monday, you know what kind of mood I’m talking about.

P.S. This is a holiday in the U.S., and although I still have to work, we won’t have the usual volume of posts today. Hope you enjoy this one, and the next installment of our “Most Infectious” song list, which will be up a bit later.

PYRAMIDS

When I first saw the album cover (above) for the new album by Texas-based Pyramids, I quipped to some friends: “This is what happens when you let monkeys play with a tape dispenser”. I’m still not sure what the photo signifies, but the music is no joke.

The new album is named A Northern Meadow and it’s set for release by Profound Lore on March 17. And on this album the Pyramids line-up is augmented by some notable guests: Vindsval of Blut Aus Nord; Colin Marston of Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, and Krallice; and composer/musician William Fowler Collins. This will be my first exposure to the band’s music (so far as I can remember), but I’m now very eager to hear the album because the first advance track has now premiered.

Jan 172015

We have arrived at Part 21 in the continuing rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

The two songs I’m adding today aren’t as loud and extreme as the majority of what’s on the list. They’re also exceptions to the rule embodied in the site’s name. But they’re both very good, very infectious songs — and they have some other things in common, too. Prepare for some satanic rock.

THE HOUSE OF CAPRICORN

Morning Star Rise marked a conscious change in sound for New Zealand’s The House of Capricorn, a change exemplified by the song I’m adding to the list today. Relatively speaking “Ivory Crown” is one of the more subdued tracks on the album — if you’re looking for tracks that drive harder on the mayhem end of the spectrum, then I’d recommend “The Road To Hell Is Marked” or “Our Shrouded King”. But “Ivory Crown” is built around such killer melodic hooks that it’s powerfully addictive.

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