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.
It was a rare Friday night for your humble editor, in that your humble editor didn’t get completely shit-faced. This means that I was able to listen to music on this Saturday morning without experiencing severe brain pain and heaving waves of nausea. I made my way through a long list of new songs and videos I had collected over the last few days, from which I’ve sifted a still pretty long list of things I commend to your ears and eyes, presented in alphabetical order with a minimum of words. But before getting to those, here’s a piece of somewhat older news I only discovered recently.
Over the years since I began getting into metal I’ve done a lot of deep diving back into music that was released before I wised up, but I didn’t know about Dawn until just a few days ago. They were formed circa 1990 by guitarist Fredrik Söderberg (Cranium) and recorded a smattering of demos plus two albums (1994′s Nær Sólen Gar Niþer For Evogher and 1998′s Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy)) before disbanding for nearly a decade. They’ve reactivated, and the line-up now includes, in addition to Söderberg, original vocalist Henke Forss (Retaliation) plus drummer Tomas Asklund (Gorgoroth, ex-Dissection, ex-Dark Funeral) and bass player Philip von Segebaden (ex-Afflicted, ex-Cranium). That’s a hell of a line-up.
Beginning in April, Century Media has reissued the band’s discography from the 1990s on vinyl, and Dawn have also been working on a new album. A “semi-official rehearsal track” has been up on YouTube for a while, though the song title apparently isn’t correct. Here it is, followed by a full stream of Slaughtersun:
I’ve been distracted over the last couple of days and haven’t kept up as well as I’d like with the appearance of new songs and videos. I have a long list, and with luck I’ll have a big Saturday catch-up post to share more of what I’ve found. For today, I want to throw you some recommended music from two bands who together have been dismantling my sanity quite effectively.
Oubliette are a Tennessee-based melodic black metal band whose members include guitarist Mike Low of Inferi — whose latest album DGR reviewed here – and his wife Emily Low (vocals), plus bassist Vincent Jones (Æther Realm) and drummer Doug Mesich. Apart from the fact that I’m a fan of Inferi and Æther Realm, I was attracted to Oubliette after I had the chance to hear an unmastered version of a song named “Creatures of the Endless Slumber”. Yesterday the band released their debut album on Bandcamp, where the final version of that song and 7 others are now available for streaming and download.
I’m still really high on “Creatures of the Endless Slumber”, and although I’ve only started making my way through the rest of the album, it’s sounding really good, too. “Creatures” beautifully integrates sensations of the ethereal and the physically savage. The effectiveness of this combination is due in no small part to Emily Low’s remarkably versatile vocal talents, which range from ghostly clean song to bestial snarls, as well as to the juxtaposition of soft acoustic melodies with storming riff and blast assaults.
Germany’s Obscura announced a few hours ago that guitarist Christian Muenzner and drummer Hannes Grossmann have left the band, each for different reasons. As a result, Obscura have postponed the recording of their fourth album to the end of 2014 while they audition potential replacements for Muenzner and Grossmann.
Muenzner says, “There is no bad blood between me and any of the other members of the band”, but that “my heart is not fully into the music anymore” and that “I just want to devote the biggest part of the time I have to work on my own music and visions”.
At least as important, Muenzner explained that his decision to leave Obscura was also driven by the persisting neurologic condition in his fret hand known as Focal Dystonia, which almost robbed him of his ability to play guitar by late 2011/early 2012:
For your entertainment and edification I bring you a small group of news items and new music that I enjoyed over the last 24 hours. All of them involve especially enticing pieces of album art that you may view as larger images by clicking on them.
Thanks to a tip from my friend Vonlughlio, I just saw the news that the sixth album by Poland’s Decapitated will be released by Nuclear Blast and Mystic Production (Poland) on September 26, 2014. It was recorded, as usual, at Hertz Studio in Białystok, Poland, by the Wiesławski brothers. The album cover was created by Polish artist Lukasz Jaszak, who also made the cover of the band’s last album, Carnival Is Forever.
This announcement was accompanied by a statement from Vogg (Waclaw Kieltyka) that the new music is “totally crushing and huge” and that Blood Mantra is “the most heavy and mature album” the band have ever recorded.
Such statements must always be taken with a grain of salt, but even if the album is only “about the same level of crushing and huge” as what Decapitated have delivered in the past, sign me the fuck up.