May 172016

Gozu-Revival

 

Get ready to move. Loosen up your neck muscles and discard any items of tight, confining clothing. Hell, just take everything off. If you feel even a slight urge to go to the bathroom, go ahead and get that out of the way now (I’ll explain why in a minute). All set? Then let’s go…

Here’s a new song named “Big Casino” from Revival, which is the forthcoming third album by Gozu, a group of Boston bruisers whom I’ve only just discovered and whose music has already proven to be powerfully addictive and absolutely, physically, compulsive. The album will arrive on June 10 via Gozu’s new label, Ripple Music.

May 102016

Holy Grove - band

 

(Comrade Aleks brings us his interview with Trent Jacobs, guitarist of Portland’s Holy Grove.)

Nowadays there are a lot of doom bands with female vocals and lyrics about all the mystic stuff you ever could imagine. It is harder and harder to sort out anything in this scene besides the big names that are on everyone’s lips. But here we are! Here we are to help you, and that’s why I want you to pay attention to Holy Grove, a really strong doom-quartet from blessed Portland.

They’ve been in the game for nearly four years, but their first self-titled album was released just five weeks ago. Why so long? That’s the question for Trent Jacobs, Holy Grove’s guitarist.

May 102016

Wormfood-LEnvers cover

 

Fifteen years from the beginning until now. That is the measure of Wormfood’s existence, though the band’s composition has been boiled down and risen again during that time, coalescing around the vocalist/guitarist El Worm (Emmanuel Lévy). Posthume was this French band’s last album (in 2011), and the new one is named L’Envers. Some songs from L’Envers have appeared already, and we have another one: “Collectionneur de Poupées“.

The band’s members since about 2010 have also contributed creatively to such groups as Abstrusa Unde, Melted Space, Öxxö Xööx, and Régiment. If you know anything about those bands, or about Emmanuel Lévy’s work in Erdh, you’ll know that Wormfood doesn’t follow a straight path. And on this new album, they’re joined on their unorthodox course by guest artists Paul Bento (ex-Type O Negative, ex-Carnivore, Wrench) and Axel Wursthorn (ex-Carnival In Coal).

May 012016

Offret-ST

 

By way of explaining why my own output at the site has been sparse over the last week, I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I have a close friend in the ICU at a Seattle hospital whom I’ve been visiting for hours each day. One week ago she was driving to work in downtown Seattle and was hit in an intersection by a big city aid truck responding to an emergency call. She’s still in a coma, with a brain injury, though there are signs that she is approaching wakefulness.

Yesterday being a Saturday, I spent a few hours at home listening to music before returning to the hospital. I listened to some new metal that suited my mood, which I plan to compile in a Shades of Black post later this morning. But in a sequence of unpredictable but serendipitous events I also happened upon all the music collected in this post. There’s a bit of metal in the first and last items, but mostly this music is way off our usual beaten paths, yet these songs also suited my mood. I hope you’ll appreciate them, too.

OFFRET

A Russian friend in Novosibirsk (and a member of Station Dysthymia) recommended this first band, calling the music “hauntingly beautiful” — and so it is. The band’s name is Offret, from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. I’m not sure if this is a one-man project or a group. What I heard was a self-titled EP released on April 25, 2016, via Bandcamp.

Apr 282016

Cirith Gorgor-Visions of Exalted Lucifer

 

Last Saturday I explained that because of a serious brain injury to a close friend and colleague, I wouldn’t be able to write much for the site this week other than introductions of premieres I had agreed to host, and that has proven true. When not working at my fucking day job, I’ve been with her and her family in the ICU. That’s not likely to change in the coming days. My friend is showing signs of progress, and it seems likely that she will wake up soon, perhaps today or tomorrow. And then we will begin to find out how the injury has affected her mental and physical functioning. I’m optimistic, and terrified.

Though my routine this week hasn’t been anything close to normal, I have discovered a few excellent new songs and videos, thanks to recommendations from friends, and I thought I would collect them here. I’m grateful for the supportive comments I’ve received from readers, and for all the posts I’ve received from our regular writers and guests this week to keep this train rolling on down the line.

CIRITH GORGOR

Visions of Exalted Lucifer is the name of the new album by the Dutch black metal band Cirith Gorgor, who began worshipping the Devil through their music back in the mid-’90s. This is the band’s sixth studio album and their first since 2011 (in the intervening years, the band’s line-up has changed). It was released by Hammerheart Records in February. Not long ago Hammerheart and the band released a lyric video for the song “A Vision of Exalted Lucifer”.

Apr 162016

Solstafir-Legend live

 

As you may have discerned by now, I enjoy not only recommending new music in these round-ups but also selecting items for them that don’t all come from the same genres of metal. For this Saturday collection of recent discoveries, however, there’s perhaps more variety than usual because I’ve partially gone outside the realms of metal. This is always a risky maneuver because I so rarely listen to anything that isn’t metal. I don’t know how dependable my metal tastes are, but when I veer off those pathways I’m pretty sure my taste isn’t dependable at all. Self-doubt has never held me back, though, so here we go….

SÓLSTAFIR AND LEGEND

More than two years ago I wrote (here) about a split release by two Icelandic bands, Sólstafir and Legend, in which each of them covered a song originally recorded by the other. In Sólstafir‘s case, they put their stamp on a Legend song called “Runaway Train”.

Yesterday the two bands released a video in which members of both groups joined together last fall for a live performance of that same song from the split (which they had earlier recorded together at Studio Neptunus). The performance occurred in an abandoned industrial factory and was filmed by Brynjar Snær Þrastarson and edited by him and Frosti Jon Rúnólfsson.

Apr 132016

Cult of Luna-Mariner

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new collaborative album between Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas, which was released on April 8. Accompanying photos are by Pär Olofsson.)

The name Cult of Luna should need no introduction or explanation to long-time readers of this site. After all, the stupendous Swedes have dwelled amongst the ranks of Metal’s mightiest heroes for a solid fifteen years now, and yours truly even selected their phenomenal Vertikal as the best album of 2013 (beating out stiff competition from the mighty Gorguts in the process).

The name Julie Christmas, however, might not be quite as familiar, though she certainly has considerable prestige and pedigree of her own, having acted as vocalist for both much-loved Doom/Post Metal troupe Battle of Mice and sludgy noisemongers Made Out of Babies, as well as forging her own career as a solo artist and frequent collaborator with other members of the Rock and Metal community.

Now, hopefully, this whistle-stop introduction should help give you at least a tentative grasp of why the idea of the two artists collaborating was met with such awe in certain quarters, and why Mariner has been one of 2016’s most highly anticipated albums ever since it was first announced.

Apr 072016

Behemoth-Nergal

 

We had such a big line-up of premieres and reviews yesterday that I didn’t have time to pull together a round-up of new things, so I’ll do some of that today. As a consequence of waiting, the first couple of items in this round-up of new videos (and one new song excerpt) will no doubt have been seen by most of you already. I still want to leave them here because they’re so good — though I don’t think I need to say much about them. The second two are somewhat more recent, and are by bands who don’t have quite the name recognition among metal heads as the first two, so I’ll spill a few words about those.

BEHEMOTH

Nergal has a reliably interesting artistic vision for Behemoth’s videos, and a knack for enlisting help from talented people in making them a reality — including Sharon Ehman of Toxic Visions for the costume and prop design in this video, among a long list of others (who are identified in the notes to the video here). Of course, the dramatic natural setting for this video is the real star.

Mar 312016

Gojira 2016-photo by Travis Shinn
photo credit: Travis Shinn

When names as big as Gojira and Katatonia both release new music on the same day, if you wait more than a few hours to write about it, the odds are that almost everyone who cares about those bands has already been clued in by someone else. But I’m writing about these developments anyway because “Half-Assed” is my middle name and I feel compelled to live up to it. And I’ll throw in a few other new developments that have been somewhat less pervasively recognized across the web.

GOJIRA

As I read Rolling Stone’s interview/listening-session (here) with the Duplantier brothers that appeared yesterday, I became increasingly uneasy. Reading Kory Grow’s descriptions of some of the songs from Gojira’s forthcoming new album that he heard while talking with the brothers in their New York City studio made me fear that Gojira have become a French variant of Mastodon, making a big sweeping turn into radio-friendly rock. Will their first video for the album include twerking?

Mar 252016

Benighted In Sodom

 

I’m working on a Friday round-up of new songs, but I decided I would carve these two out from the larger group and post them separately. Both of them are covers of well-known songs. The first one is actually a cover of a cover.

BENIGHTED IN SODOM

The prolific Matron Thorn seems to be one of those people for whom making music is as essential to his continued existence as oxygen and food are to the rest of us. He’s the principal creative force in Ævangelist — whose next release will be a split with Blut Aus Nord (!) — as well as a new project I’ve written about before named Death Fetishist, but one of his longest-running solo projects is Benighted In Sodom, and that’s the name under which he recorded the first song in this little collection.

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