I’ve been gorging myself in newly released (or newly discovered) songs and a few EPs over the last 24 hours. If music were food, I’d be this guy by now — just one more bit of song and I’d explode. To make matters worse (i.e., better), I liked a large percentage of what I saw and heard. So that I can begin getting some of the music up on the site, I’ve divided the collection into multiple parts. More might come today, but definitely tomorrow.
Fleshgod Apocalypse have been teasing about a new video, and we’ve been speculating internally about which song from their new album (King, reviewed here) would provide the subject matter. Now we know, because today FA premiered their new video for “Cold As Perfection”. Before you watch it, here’s a statement about the video by drummer Francesco Paoli, who also directed the clip along with filmmaker and photographer Salvatore Perrone. The video, by the way, is NSFW.
(DGR weighs in on the new album by Chicago’s Mechina, as you knew he would.)
The January 1st album release has become a comedic undertone to my writing as of late. It’s never one that I have advanced warning for, nor is it one that I am ever truly adequately prepared for. Instead, it just serves as a reminder of the relentless march of time and the constant – and reassuring – pressures of being a writer for this site. It’s strange, but I have found comfort in this sense, the idea that I am already late and that I have fucked up.
Without that pressure, life seems aimless, and so, as it has been for the past handful of years, I have Mechina to thank for the fact that I am once again dragging ass on a review. The sun has risen in the east and set in the west, the sky is still blue, and all is right with the world – because as I take longer and longer to write out this review out, each moment means that I am later than I was before. Always the hare in Alice In Wonderland, and in that way continuing exactly how I felt last year and the year before.
It’s that consistency that one needs as a reminder that while the year has ticked up one notch, things haven’t really changed and the world is a mess. God forbid any actual events happen. This ladies and gentlemen, is how I start my year.
Sometimes I worry that we bombard you so heavily with new music that it might become exhausting, or just unrealistic to follow what we’re throwing at you. I’m kind of feeling that way today, which is why I changed the title of this post from the usual “Seen and Heard” headline — since this would be the fourth of those in four days. But despite the different title, that’s still what this is — a round-up of recently released music we want to recommend.
It seems like only a week ago that Season of Mist released the last advance track from Rotting Christ’s new album (featured here). Actually, it was only one week ago. But yesterday another track premiered. And of course I’m writing about it because I think it’s just as strong as the ones that have preceded it.
Pure Divorce is the name of the new album by the multi-state band True Cross, set for release on January 22 by Seeing Red Records. In some striking ways, it’s quite different from much of the music to which we devote attention at this site. But we’re featuring a full stream of the album here for good reasons, despite the fact that it’s off our usual beaten paths.
The music on Pure Divorce is difficult to sum up in simple terms, which is precisely part of its attraction. It’s heavy and hammering, it’s moody and mystical, it’s drenched in grief and it’s exultant. There are mesmerizing passages of great beauty, where chiming guitars and reverberating clean vocals cascade like a sonic aurora borealis, with flowing melodies that are moving and memorable. And there are places — often within the same song — where huge riffs hit with staggering force.
On May 17, 1814, the Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll signed the Constitution of Norway, which remains one of the oldest in the world. Inspired by the 200th anniversary of that event, Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved and Einar Selvik of Wardruna joined forces to compose and perform a concert piece called Skuggsjá, which means “mirror” or “reflection” in the Norse language. Skuggsjá was first performed at the Eidsivablot festival in Eidsvoll on September 13, 2014, to commemorate the anniversary. But Bjørnson and Selvik decided that the Skuggsjá project should live on and be expanded.
Last fall the duo signed with Season of Mist, taking Skuggsjá as the project’s name. On March 11, 2016, Season of Mist will release their debut album, entitled A Piece For Mind and Mirror. Today we bring you the premiere of a song from the album named “Vitkispá“.
This is the Hungarian installment of our Most Infectious Song list (to see the songs that have preceded these three, go here). If you’re unfamiliar with the albums from which they come, you’ll discover that two of them include mainly clean singing and are thus Exceptions to our Rule. But the vocals are a significant element in the songs’ appeal. Not only is the singing very good, the singing is in Hungarian.
I suppose there are other ways in which some of us hear music in a way that differs from what others hear, but linguistic differences certainly seem to be an inarguable example. And in my case, as a native English speaker, there is something about the texture of the Hungarian language when used in a song that really resonates with me. But even apart from that aspect of the music, all three of these songs are highly infectious.
I lavished attention on Sgùrr, the latest album by Thy Catafalque, with a premiere, a review, an interview, and other features leading up to its release. I did this because I love the album (I’m not the only one around here who feels that way — Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, who first introduced me to the band, put it at No. 3 on his year-end list earlier today).
(Andy Synn reviews the new tenth studio album by Borknagar.)
Show of hands, how many of you have heard of Theseus’ paradox? A few of you? Good to know.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it refers to questions of identity and continuity, and whether an object can be considered to be the same entity even after all its component parts have been steadily replaced over time, piece by piece.
Now, obviously, there are some parallels here with how bands work. I can tick off a number of names in my head of some of my favourite bands who no longer have any original members left and yet are still, in some ephemeral fashion, the same band.
Prog-Metal overlords Borknagar, of course, have something of an advantage in this area in that their existence has always been anchored (to stretch the nautical metaphor a little further) by the presence of mastermind Øystein G. Brun, but it only takes a quick glance at the Membership Timeline on the band’s Wikipedia page to see how many different members and line-ups the group have gone through over the years, while somehow still retaining the same creative drive and overarching musical identity that first brought the band together.
So perhaps it’s fitting that the line-up featured on Winter Thrice represents perhaps more distinct incarnations of the band at one time than ever before… reaching right back to their earliest days, while still forging boldly, progressively forward.
As the old year gasps its final fetid breaths, it’s time to start looking ahead to the new one. On January 22 Debemur Morti Productions will bring us the third album by the UK band Latitudes. Entitled Old Sunlight, it will be a good way to help launch 2016. But you won’t have to wait until January to explore the music, because today we bring you the premiere of a new song: “Body Within A Body“.
As you listen to the song, you may be scratching your heads in puzzlement over our site’s name once again, because this is an exception to our “rule” — but one that’s well-deserved. Beneath the high, clean vocals, drifting like wispy clouds, there is a storm breaking in the music. Mammoth riffs and bruising drum beats smash like a deluge, while dissonant, flickering guitar leads flash like lightning.
Welcome to Part 5 of our list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs for this year, as selected by me and only me from the massive list of candidates received from numerous sources, as well as my own notes haphazardly created as the year rolled along. To learn about the selection criteria and to discover the songs that have already been named to the list, go HERE.
For each of the first four installments in this series I included three songs, grouped together because they seemed to go well together. And I’ve done the same thing with this installment, though beginning tomorrow I plan to drop down to two songs per post.
ALTARS OF GRIEF
In June we had the pleasure of premiering for you a fantastic track named “In Dying Light” by the Canadian band Altars of Grief. It appeared on a split release entitled Of Ash and Dying Light that also included excellent tracks by the band Nachtterror. I’ve been a huge fan of the song ever since and never had any doubt about including it on this list.
And so it begins, the last piece of our year-end LISTMANIA extravaganza: For the seventh year in a row, I present my list of the year’s “most infectious extreme metal songs”. As I’ve done in the past, my goal is to roll out this list gradually, with one installment per day (including weekends and holidays) until I’m finished, and usually with two songs in each installment. This is a goal, not a promise, because life is too damned unpredictable.
I will add that, as in most other years, I’m starting the rollout before actually finishing the list. Because it’s a work in progress, I don’t know how long it will be. My goal (not a promise) is to finish it before the end of January. To be clear, this is an unranked list; there’s no rhyme or reason to the order in which I’m announcing the songs.
To get a running start, I’m including three songs instead of two in each of the first five installments of the series, and these groupings aren’t random; they may not make sense to anyone but me, but I have my reasons for putting them together as I have.
Okay, let’s get started — and if you don’t know what I mean by “most infectious songs”, go HERE for an explanation.