About 20 minutes ago the organizers of America’s finest metal festival announced the initial slate of bands confirmed to appear at next year’s installment of the festival — Maryland Deathfest XV. And here’s the list, pasted from MDF’s Facebook announcement:
Akercocke (UK) – Exclusive U.S. appearance!
Behexen (Finland) – Exclusive U.S. appearance!
In The Woods… (Norway) – Exclusive U.S. appearance!
Well, I’m two days late with this post. My original plan was to follow Part 1, which appeared on Sunday, with this Part 2 on Monday. But I got busy posting other things both Monday and Tuesday, and so here we are. Having delayed too long already, let’s just get right to the music….
The Texas band Black Funeral was born from the mind of Michael W. Ford (aka Akhtya Nachttoter) in the mid-’90s, and although other members of the line-up have changed over time, Ford has persevered, releasing 8 albums that began with 1995’s Vampyr – Throne of the Beast. And this year, roughly six years after the last Black Funeral full-length, another one will be upon us in September via Iron Bonehead Productions and Dark Adversary.
I don’t do a very good job posting about new tour announcements, even when I’m really excited about them. But I’m REALLY excited about this one, and happened to have a few free minutes to help spread the word.
The name of the tour is Shrines of Paralysis, and that’s a well-chosen name because the tour is headlined by New Zealand’s Ulcerate and will also include Iceland’s Zhrine and Montreal’s Phobocosm. And that is one hell of a line-up.
Several of my NCS comrades and I had the pleasure of seeing both Zhrine and Phobocosm at this year’s edition of Maryland Deathfest, and both were among the true highlights of the festival (as discussed here and here, with photos). In addition, the most recent releases of both bands are outstanding (see our review of Phobocosm’s Bringer of Drought here and our premiere of one of the new Zhrine songs here).
I’ve been playing catch-up on new and newly discovered music this weekend. It’s been a very good series of listening sessions, and now I’m up to my eyebrows in tracks I’d like to share. I posted one round-up earlier today, and in this one I’m focusing on new music in a blackened vein. But this post won’t exhaust all the black(ish) music that’s now burning in my head, and so my plan is to compile a second installment of Shades of Black for posting tomorrow. As usual, I’ve tried to select the songs, and to divide them between Parts 1 and 2, in a way that would provide a diverse listening experience.
When I reviewed Kaeck’s Stormkult last year, I identified two aspects of the music that I thought made it one of the brightest stars in the firmament of 2015 black metal releases: First, even in a genre known for its extreme intensity, Stormkult is extremely intense. For almost its entire duration, it’s a raging hurricane of sound — bombastic, terrorizing, and chillingly grim. If you want to be electrified by music, this will do it, and leave your head smoking.
I enjoy hosting premieres of music here, but when those commitments accumulate in large numbers as they did over the last three days, they tend to restrict my ability to assemble round-ups of music appearing elsewhere. And so once again I find myself awash in new discoveries with not enough time to roll them all out for you. Hard choices must be made, and I’ve made them.
I confess that my decisions may have been influenced by the bleak feelings of dismay that I’ve been experiencing over the results of a certain referendum across the Atlantic coupled with the celebratory gasbaggery of a certain apricot-faced hellbeast hoping to capitalize on similarly ignorant, bigoted, and self-destructive impulses among the electorate on this side of the ocean. But I’ve also attempted to express my foul emotional state in a musically diverse way.
We’ve posted so many “Seen and Heard” collections this week that I decided to give that heading a break, though that’s what this post really is: another collection of somewhat randomly observed news and new music that I thought was worth spreading around. And because we’ve posted so many of these collections recently, I decided to cut back the volume of this particular one, too — though I do think the selections I’ve made here make nice complements to each other.
Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston could be resting on their laurels after their standout work on the new Gorguts EP, Pleiades’ Dust (not to mention Marston’s performances on the new releases by Withered, Krallice, and his own Indricothere project) , but instead they and drummer Jeff Eber are bringing out a new Dysrhythmia album. Entitled The Veil of Control, it’s the band’s seventh studio full-length and their first since 2012’s Test of Submission. According to today’s announcement by Profound Lore, it will be released on September 23.
This is another day in which we have felt compelled to throw more new music at your head than any normal person has time to hear. Many abnormal people (other than us) won’t have time to listen to all of it either. I tell myself this is why I should continue writing some words about the streams we recommend, as a way of helping listeners choose what to play and what not to play, given their own tastes. Obviously, I’m choosing to ignore the likelihood that no normal person has time to read all the words either.
On the distant future day of September 16, 2016, Dark Descent Records will release the debut album of a Greek black metal collective known as Nox Formulae. The album’s title is The Hidden Paths to Black Ecstasy. Yesterday I received a Bandcamp e-mail alert that one song from the album had been set up for streaming, a two-part piece named “Hidden Clan NXN – Pt a. Eleven Rays of Sorat, Pt b. Black Magic Assault”, and that’s the first item in this round-up.
I had an amazing listening experience last night. I compiled a list of new music I thought might be worth hearing, drawing upon messages that had arrived at the NCS compound via our intrepid pigeon aeronauts and links I had spotted in my Facebook news feed. And then I plowed through them — and found one gem after another, with nary a single meh reaction from start to finish. Perhaps equally remarkable, I had never heard of any of the bands before (I was interested in a journey of exploration, which is why I assembled the list as I did).
Not wishing to leave behind any of the songs I heard, I’ve divided these recommendations into two parts, which have become Parts 2 and 3 of today’s Seen and Heard feature, following DGR’s post earlier today.
This first song is an exception to our Rule — there are no harsh vocals in it at all, and I thought the clean vocals were quite appealing. They remind me of someone I’ve heard before, but I’ve had trouble placing the resemblance. Yet what really hooked me about the song is the guitar performance; it’s essentially one long, terrifically good guitar solo anchored by a couple of compelling central riffs.
(DGR had so much fun stepping up for round-up duty last week that he’s already back with more new songs to recommend. And later today you’re humble editor will throw in Parts 2 and 3 of today’s round-up.)
Just as we managed to post our last series of huge collections of music, even more delicious goodies came to our attention span over the past week whilst we lay on rocks under the sun attempting to capture flies. This time around, music that leaked out within the past few weeks is what we’re hoping to cover — with one notable exception that is a bit more of an anthropology act waiting at the bottom.
Last week saw a handful of huge premieres — including one day at our very site that saw seven pretty huge ones — and we’re hoping to help spread the news. This installment is, again, pretty death-metal-heavy but moreso stuff that has been on the fringes of the genre than stuff that is straightforward blasts and sewage growls. We’re going to cover the tech realm, the thrashier side, the melodic side, and then into one band who covered a vast amount of ground before they went into hibernation. There should also be some pretty hefty names for you all to recognize as well, which made last week fairly exciting to say the least.
In today’s Shades of Black installment I’ve collected reviews and streams of three EPs, a new album, a new song, and a new video that I’ve been enjoying lately. As usual, all of the music is in a blackened vein, though all of the bands are distinctively different from each other in their musical approach. I hope you’ll find that one or more of them suits your tastes.
Astrophobos is a Swedish black metal trio from Stockholm who released a debut EP in 2010 named Arcane Secrets and a debut album in 2014 bearing the title Remnants of Forgotten Horrors. I really enjoyed that debut full-length, although I only managed to write about a video for one of the songs. Now they have a new EP (Enthroned in Flesh) due for release in August, and this past week DECIBEL premiered an excellent new song from it called “Blood Libation”, which is now up on Bandcamp.