Happy goddamned Saturday to one and all. I’m in the middle of a mini-vacation with family and friends, which means I’ve spent more time over the last 24 hours making lists of new music to check out than actually listening or writing. But I hate to let a day go by without posting something at NCS (that’s happened on a grand total of 3 days since we started this site in November 2009), so here are a few quick things I’d like to recommend. With luck, I’ll have a few more to bring your way tomorrow.
BLOOD OF KINGU
As previously reported here, the Ukrainian black metal band Blood of Kingu (started by Roman Sayenko of Drudkh) will be releasing their third album via Season of Mist on September 2 in North America (and August 29 everywhere else). The title is Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon. Last month Terrorizer premiered the first advance track from the album — “Enshrined in the Nethermost Lairs Beneath the Oceans” — and a few days ago Metal Underground premiered a second track.
About a week ago the organizers of Maryland Deathfest XIII announced the first wave of more than 30 confirmed bands for the 2015 edition of this mighty festival (you can see that initial list here). And just a few minutes ago they revealed a second list of confirmed bands. This list isn’t as lengthy as the first one, but it’s still stunningly impressive (Demilich!!!):
Sodom (Germany) – Exclusive US appearance!
Demilich (Finland) – Exclusive US appearance!
Napalm Death (UK) – Headlining one of the nights at Soundstage.
Anaal Nathrakh (UK) – Exclusive US appearance!
Primordial (Ireland) – Most likely an exclusive US appearance. If not, MDF will be one of only a few US shows.
The people at A389 Recordings may have temporarily lost their minds, but their lost sanity is our gain. First, at the A389 webstore all orders are 25 percent off this week with the following code: A3892014MIXTAPE. Second, all downloads at the label’s Bandcamp site are set to free/pay what you want for the week as well.
And third, A389 has released a free mixtape that includes more than 50 tracks by a host of excellent bands — and many of the tracks are brand new.
I don’t recognize the names of all 50+ bands, but I sure do recognize a lot of them, and it’s a great list — the kind of list that makes you eager to explore the names of the bands you don’t know.
Yesterday’s round-up was a big one. So is this one — and it’s still not big enough to cover everything worth mentioning that I saw and heard yesterday. But it will have to do. Here we go…
Albez Duz are a two-man German band whose name apparently consists of two words in a Germanic language used 800 years ago, with “Albez” meaning “swan” and “Duz” meaning “noisiness”, or “rush”. It is the side project of Impurus (aka Eugen H.), the drummer of the long-running German band Dies Ater.
At the time of their 2009 self-titled debut album, which drew comparisons to the early work of Paradise Lost, Tiamat, and My Dying Bride, the band’s vocalist was Lars Kaeding. Kaeding died in 2011, and was replaced early this year by Alfonso Brito Lopez (aka “Grifonso“). With this new line-up, Albez Duz have recorded a new album, The Coming of Mictlan, which will be released by Germany’s Iron Bonehead label later this year. Its fascinating cover is above.
Yesterday Iron Bonehead began streaming a song from the new album named “Mictlan”, and it’s very impressive.
Here’s a typically random and diverse collection of recommended new music and metal news that I came across over the last 24 hours. It ranges from highly anticipated black metal to a metal banjo cover, with all sorts of different musical trajectories in between.
The fourth album by Colorado’s Nightbringer is entitled Ego Dominus Tuus (I Am Your Lord), and it’s due for release by Season of Mist on September 20 in NorthAm (September 26 elsewhere). Yesterday, SoM revealed the cover art by David Herrerias (above), which is wonderful. At the same time, the first advance track from the album began streaming at various sites around the globe. Its name is “Et Nox Illuminatio Mea In Deliciis Meis”, which refers to a line from Psalm 139. According to the band:
“The lyrics draw heavily upon this psalm, which we feel, via a perhaps more heretical approach, elucidates symbols relevant to the ‘midnight sun’ and the ‘night of light’. Furthermore we touch upon the Greek melancholia and the sovereignty of Saturn over those of us who are born with his mark and our relation to the former concepts as well as the significance of the ‘black light’ of our Lord. It speaks much of the ecstatic furor one may enter in which wisdom is imparted both from above, below and within, via a state of ‘divine madness’. “
Should you be interested in reading the 139th Psalm, you can do so here (the song’s title refers to the phrase “and night shall be my light in my pleasures”). Whether you do or don’t peruse the psalm, I strongly recommend listening to the song (it’s streaming at Stereogum here).
(During my recent stay in Wisconsin for Gilead Fest I had the pleasure of meeting both Tanner Anderson (Obsequiae, Celestial) and his friend Ben Smasher. I later discovered that Ben had written for his own blog about Tanner’s band Obsequiae (formerly Autumnal Winds), and I asked for and received permission to reprint it here (slightly edited), since we have inexcusably failed to review Obsequiae’s music before.)
written by Ben Smasher
Today I am feeling relieved. My trouble began when I met Tanner Anderson in the winter of 2007, and soon after was the first time I’d heard Autumnal Winds. Upon loving it immensely (see my review), there was always this distracting itch that I couldn’t scratch. I really wanted to be able to say the typical phrase, “Oh, this is just like ______ crossed with ______.” There was such a tangible familiarity, which I am usually able to quantify easily by describing it as “A thrashier ______” or something to that effect.
This trouble is even further fueled by Tanner’s and my mutual and unforgivably rampant obsession with melodic black and death metal bands of the 1990′s. Knowing that Tanner’s and my CD collections are largely interchangeable makes it all the more frustrating that I couldn’t easily reverse-engineer Tanner’s music — be it Autumnal Winds or Obsequiae – into a palatable formula that could be stated in a short sentence.
The satisfaction and relief that I have found to this conundrum can be reduced to this article, by giving the music of Obsequiae the reverence it humbly commands. With the recent release of Obsequiae’s debut album on the vinyl format, I have been seeing an increasing number of comparisons, ranging from Agalloch to Hammers of Misfortune to Pentangle to Bathory. Each time I see this I inadvertently stomp my foot down because these associations are lazy, and do all parties a disservice.
Here are a few noteworthy things I spotted and heard yesterday, with some help from my friends. If time permits, I’ll put up a second collection today, because yesterday really brought a cavalcade of things I want to spread around.
I know there are human beings in Ævangelist, but I still prefer to call them “the Ævangelist entity” because the music sounds like emanations from a dark dimension outside our own by an inhuman being whose shape can’t be mapped. This entity has been churning out music at a an increasingly furious rate. Although the last album, Omen Ex Simulacra emerged from the void only last fall, yesterday brought an announcement by Debemur Morti Productions that a new full-length named Ævangelist III – Writhes in the Murk will become available in September (on CD, vinyl, and digital).
That news would have been enough to stop me in my tracks all by itself, but the announcement was accompanied by the unveiling of the wonderful album cover you see above. It was created by Andrzej Masianis, who also created the painted cover for the last album, which is worth seeing in full rather than in the cropped version that was visible as the album’s front cover. The painting was originally entitled “Exterminating Angel”:
I suppose that among our regular writers it may seem that I have a more pronounced weakness for the kind of metal that tries to claw your guts out and eat the gall bladder (because it thrives on bile, yes it does). But you can relax — somewhat — before you listen to the four songs collected in this post. There is beauty in this collection (along with the clawing).
Myrkur is the name of a one-woman black metal band from Denmark (it reportedly means “darkness” in Icelandic). You probably haven’t heard of Myrkur before, but I’m highly confident this won’t be the last time you hear the name — partly because Relapse Records is now behind the band and partly because the music is strikingly good. Despite the fact that Myrkur has released no music before a self-titled EP that Relapse now plans to release in September — and has done nothing to publicize her existence as far as I can tell — both Pitchfork and Stereogum were lavishing praise on her yesterday, and it won’t stop there. I know this because I’m about to do the same thing right now.
One of the seven songs on the EP became available for streaming yesterday and its name is “Nattens Barn” (“Night’s Child” in Danish). Myrkur’s pure a cappella voice, layered to create the sound of a choir, is immediately arresting, and so are the wolfish, ripping howls that come forth later. The powerful waves of dark guitar melody that roll in like a storm front are hugely appealing, and so is the combination of jagged, jabbing riffs and rippling tremolo streamers that shimmer above them like an aurora borealis.
Are you sitting down? Because you should probably sit down so you don’t fall over when you see the initial list of bands whose appearance at Maryland Deathfest XIII (May 21-24, 2015) has just been confirmed by the event’s organizers. Here it is (the starred names will be making their exclusive U.S. appearances at MDF XIII; the list continues after the jump):
Aeternus (Norway) *
Arcturus (Norway) *
Aura Noir (Norway) *
Bulldozer (Italy) *
Darkened Nocturne Slaughtercult (Germany)
Dragged into Sunlight (UK)
Einherjer (Norway) *
Impetuous Ritual (Australia) *
Lock Up *
If you’re like me, you have a hard time getting your game face on for the work week when Monday mornings roll around. But assorted friends of mine pointed me to two new songs yesterday that seem tailor-made to juice up all those sluggish Monday-morning brains out there, and I’ve also included a review of a murderous two-song EP plus one phenomenally good new Zombiefication track I found on my own that will finish the job nicely. Death fucking metal.
TEMPLE OF VOID
In June 2013 I praised a three-song demo by Detroit’s Temple of Void, which included some truly staggering, mega-weight riffs and a blanket of indigo melodies, usually delivered at a lumbering pace, along with elements of viscera-draped death metal a la Autopsy, a pummeling of Bolt-Thrower-style hammer blows, and some inspired psychedelic guitar solos. Now these dudes have finished a full-length album (Of Terror and the Supernatural), and yesterday an advance track became available for listening.
“Savage Howl” is a fitting name for this thing. The big gear-grinding guitar chords are savage, the gruesome deep-throated vocals are savage, the morbid melodies are savage, and when the band start rolling out a repeating cycle of enormous, stomping riffs, you will headbang savagely. This is top-shelf supernatural death/doom and a really enticing teaser for the album to come.