Nov 182017

 

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley, and sometimes they’re just naturally daft and glazed, which is a good description of myself this morning.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s round-up, I’m now deep in the heart of Texas for a high school reunion tonight, and spent last night catching up with some old friends over a bottle of whisky. I then slept 11 hours, which I don’t think I’ve done since the year of my high school graduation. And so, this Saturday round-up includes fewer items than I had originally planned.

MIGRATION FEST

The first Migration Fest (organized by Gilead Media and 20 Buck Spin), which took place in Olympia, Washington, in August 2016 was fantastic. The next one is now set for July 27-29, 2018, at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And this morning the festival announced the first round of confirmed bands:

Nov 162017


Convocation photo by Kammio Visuals

 

In August I discovered Convocation, a relatively new Finnish band with an auspicious line-up consisting of L.L., who writes the music and performs all the instruments, and M. Neuman, who handles the lyrics and vocals. L.L. is also the main man behind Desolate Shrine, whose recently released 2017 album Deliverance From the Godless Void (reviewed here) is one of this year’s stand-out records, and Neuman is also the vocalist for the wonderful Dark Buddha Rising.

At the time of that August discovery (but no longer), the Convocation Bandcamp page was populated with unmastered versions of four tracks, all of which had appeared just days before. I was particularly taken with “Ruins of Ourselves“, a staggeringly heavy union of funeral doom and death metal. It was punishingly crushing, with titanic, gloomy chords and gut-punching percussion that together made the earth seem to quiver. Spectral guitar melodies, eerie ambient layers, and Neuman’s own haunting clean tones gave the music a ghostly atmosphere — though most of the time his vocals were terrifyingly craggy. And in addition to being stunningly heavy, the music was mesmerizing.

Just based on that one song, I was quick to write that Convocation would be “a brilliant new entry into the annals of doom/death”.

Now I’m very happy to announce for the first time that Convocation’s debut album, Scars Across, has been mixed and is ready for mastering — and that the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records will be releasing it by the spring of next year. AND we are also premiering a teaser of music from the album, to whet your appetite.

Nov 132017

 

Regular visitors to our site will recognize the name Comrade Aleks, the Russian writer who brings us such fascinating interviews (and occasionally reviews), focusing on bands within the broad genre of doom. Simply reading his interviews reveals that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, and so it might not be shocking to learn that he has written… an actual encyclopedia of doom.

And it is a formidable accomplishment — 300,000 words spread across 300 large-format pages and including articles on more than 350 bands (with 400 photos). The name of this tome is Doom Metal Lexicanum, and it will be released on December 1 by Cult Never Dies and Crypt Publications.

Nov 112017

 

You can go long or you can go short. You can pound your musical erogenous zones or you can shrivel up and go dry from something far outside the rim of your bullseye. You can fragment your mind or feel it coalescing in configurations that become receivers of new visions. Every day there are new opportunities.

I’m speaking of metal, of course. I got doses of all those experiences this week, but bit off almost more than I could chew with this week’s flood of premieres, and got squeezed by my fucking day job on top of that, so I failed to compile a round-up until now, and hence it’s a big one.

Catching up is an impossibility, of course, and this time it happens that my choices (all the way up to the last one) are mainly indulgences in a particular mood rather than my usual effort to throw darts all over the metal dartboard. The one thing I haven’t done is incorporate black metal, because I have tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column for that.

AETHERIAN

We’ve been writing about this Greek band for years, beginning with their first single in 2013 and including their second one in 2015, their debut EP released the same year (and reviewed by DGR here), their amazing single and video from last year, “The Rain”, the first single (“Seeds of Deception”0 from their debut album, The Untamed Wilderness, which will be released by Lifeforce Records on November 24th, and the second one (“Shade of the Sun”). And now there’s a third, accompanied by a video.

Nov 102017

 

(Andy Synn wrote this feature about the masked UK duo Nordic Giants.)

The following article is less of a review and more of a… recommendation that you check out the band Nordic Giants, whom I recently discovered at this year’s edition of Damnation Festival (yes, I realise I’m late to the party on this, but that’s the joy of festivals, you can stumble upon something entirely new and wonderful completely by accident).

Now, a word of warning – though the majority of their songs are instrumental, the duo also make use of guest vocalists now and then, so there is some (utterly sublime) clean singing involved in a number of their tracks.

As a matter of fact, the band in general are a walking (but not talking) exception to our general rule, in that they’re not actually a Metal band at all, but I can definitely see their particular brand of dynamic, cinematic Post Rock appealing to fans of everyone from Junius and Sólstafir to Sigur Ros and latter-day Ulver.

Nov 042017

 

I have a big bulging list of new music I’d like to recommend, but rather than try to stitch them all together, which would probably take all day, I just picked one new EP and two singles. As usual, the selection of these three bands off the list was pretty random. But as usual, I like the music a lot and I wanted to provide some variety, and as you’ll discover, there sure as hell is some variety here.

CRUCIAMENTUM

I wrote no fewer than four posts about Cruciamentum’s 2015 debut album Charnel Passages, including one in which I picked a song from the album called “Piety Carved From Flesh” for my list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Cruciamentum have now returned with a new EP called Paradise Envenomed, which was released digitally via Bandcamp and other platforms (and on 7″ vinyl by Profound Lore) just two days ago.

Nov 012017

 

As explained in Part 1 of this gigantic mid-week round-up, I’m trying to catch up on the flood of new videos and songs that were released on Halloween and the few days leading up to it (although a few of the items I’ve selected are a bit older than that).

Because there are so many things I want to throw at your eyes and ears, I alphabetized everything by band name, beginning with Apophis in Part 1, continuing through Heart Attack in Part 2, and now ending with Watain in this final part. And because I chose so many songs and videos for this round-up, I resorted to a tactic I’ve used occasionally in the past: Although I have dribbled a few words here and there, I’m mainly presenting everything with just basic release info and no reviews. Onward to Part 3:

INFERNAL BLAST

This is a French one-man project, and the song below (“Destruction Process“) comes from its debut EP. You can’t accuse this band of false advertising. “Destruction Process” is exactly the process of this song — kill everything, let dog sort ’em out.

Nov 012017

 

Halloween, and the few days leading up to it, always seem to be a hot time for the release of new metal, for obvious reasons I suppose. This year’s Halloween season sure as hell proved to be busy for hapless metal bloggers like me who were trying to keep up with all the new stuff rushing out into the world. Because I had a lot of premieres to write yesterday (which in themselves added to that Halloween torrent of new metal), I didn’t have time to compile a Halloween round-up. So I’m doing it today instead.

Now, you may well think this is ridiculous, but I have 17 new songs and videos to recommend. A few of them are 7-10 days old, but the rest were all released on the last couple days of October. Rather than trying to boil that list down to the size of an average SEEN AND HEARD post, I just decided, fuck it, I’ll throw ’em all at you.

Because there are so many, I alphabetized everything by band name, beginning with Apophis and ending with Watain, and divided the list into three parts. I’m going to post them as fast as I can get them ready to go. And because there are so many, I’m resorting to a tactic I’ve used occasionally in the past: Although I may dribble a few words here and there, I’m mainly presenting everything with just basic release info and no reviews. Here we go:

APOPHYS

We have some history with this band, whose line-up includes a lot of talented Dutch musicians with impressive resumes — I wrote no fewer than six posts surrounding the 2015 release by Metal Blade of their debut album Prime Incursion, including an interview and a track premiere. Now they have a new album coming out, and on Halloween they released the first single, “Retaliate“.

Oct 272017

 

Happy Friday. And if you actually happen to be happy because it’s Friday, instead of boiling with rage because you’ve just endured four-plus days of bullshit, you may not relish the music you’re about to hear. On the other hand, maybe your preferred means of matching your happiness (or your rage) to music involves abrading your ear drums, losing your mind, and mercilessly kicking open the spigot on your adrenaline glands. In which case, brothers and sisters, you’re right where you need to be — right here.

This is Part 2 of a round-up I began yesterday (here). And even though I didn’t finish this in time to post it yesterday, it’s exactly what I intended to post then. In other words, I decided to close my ears to the flood of other new songs that surfaced between then and now. There’s always time to catch up with that on Saturday, though I have a bad tendency to wound myself with intoxicants on Friday nights, so I ain’t promising nothing.

HOODED MENACE

The fifth Hooded Menace album will arrive on January 26 via Season of Mist, with the title Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed and cover art by Adam Burke, who continues to kill everything this year. The first advance track, “Carnal Reflections“, debuted at DECIBEL two days ago. Or was it three?

Oct 262017

 

I started writing this round-up of new music two days ago, but was unable to finish it. It is now somewhat dated. But I’ve resisted the impulse to make it dramatically longer by adding everything I’ve discovered in the intervening days — I only added two new things. But since the collection has now ballooned up to music from 10 bands, I divided it into two parts

I really don’t believe that there is a higher or lower power organizing the events of my life, but I can understand why other people do believe that. Sometimes the shit rains down so hard and chokes the throat so completely that I think to myself, “This can’t possibly be a matter of chance!” And sometimes everything flows so shiny and chrome that I think I have done something right and some force recognizes that and bestows a blessed reward. Take last night, for example.

In making my usual rounds, in which I surf the effluent of the internet and our own in-box looking for musical revelations, I came across the following gems gleaming among the sewage. And it’s all pretty damned filthy, yet still gleaming, in the way that the best filth shines with a preternatural vibrancy.

And while I don’t believe in higher or lower powers, I do appreciate synchronicity, and so it proved to be that almost everything here was a form of death metal (though my later additions diluted the death a bit), and the excursion began and ended with scarecrows, which seemed so fitting less than one week before Halloween.

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