My helpful WordPress blogging software tells me that I started writing this post on March 30, 2016, and then I got sidetracked — repeatedly. I’m so tightly wound that I nag myself about things that I start but don’t finish. My life is full of self-nagging. Sometimes, however, that incessant buzzing in my head produces a result. Hence, this post.
This MISCELLANY series is one of several that I started at NCS in the early days, but it has become very irregular in recent years. So a refresher on the MISCELLANY game is probably worthwhile: On a fairly random basis, I pick releases I’ve not heard before, usually by bands I’ve not heard before; I listen to a song or two (usually without much advance idea of what the music will sound like); I write my immediate impressions; and I then stream what I heard so you can make your own judgments.
In my “refresher” above, I forgot to add that I sometimes violate the rules of the MISCELLANY game, and for this first item I’ve done that because I knew something about Arizona’s Gatecreeper before listening to this song. Two years ago I featured one of their videos in a round-up, and after that I grabbed the EP that included the song in the video.
June 29, 2015. That was the date of the last MISCELLANY post. Pathetic. I can say that, because I’m saying it about myself — anyone else does that and there will be brutal repercussions, which are the only kind of repercussions we know at NCS.
You probably need a refresher about the MISCELLANY process: I pick a song or two from a release I’ve not heard in advance, usually chosen at random from e-mails or suggestions by readers and usually recorded by bands I don’t know much about. I write up my reactions, and then I stream what I heard so you can make up your own minds. Unlike all the other music-related posts we write at NCS, where we focus on what we’ve heard and want to recommend, this series is an experiment.
I admit that sometimes I pick from suggestions that come from pretty reliable sources, and that’s where most of the bands in this post came from (many from my Serbian friend “M“). But even then, it’s still a shot in the dark. Also, this post is obviously twice as long as most of the past episodes of MISCELLANY, and maybe I should have split it into two parts. But I figured that lots of our readers are as gluttonous as I am when it comes to new discoveries, so just get ready for a big fuckin’ feed.
Sargad are a foursome from Örebro, Sweden, and they released their self-titled debut EP three days ago. I listened to the first song on the EP, “Ur Jord”, and that was so damned good that I listened to the second one, too.
Welcome to the glorious 75th edition of MISCELLANY, the highly irregular series in which I go exploring into the unknown. For those new to these excursions, I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before, I try to listen to not more than one recent song per band (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more), I scribble my immediate impressions, and then I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves. (I cheated a lot on my one-song rule today.)
Usually, I make the MISCELLANY selections in a highly random fashion, not knowing whether I’ll like the sounds or not. Today, however, the last three of the four picks were recommended by friends who know something about what I like, so that increased the odds of success. But I still didn’t know exactly what was coming…
I’ve already forgotten when or exactly where I noticed the 2014 demo by this band from Columbus, Ohio. I’m pretty sure someone posted about it on Facebook, and I kept the link for future reference. Yesterday I decided to check out the music, which CVLT Nation put up on Soundcloud last summer.
The last of these MISCELLANY posts was more than three months ago. I’ve obviously done a piss-poor job getting the series on anything like a regular schedule. Of course, I would be foolish at this point to predict when No. 75 will happen. Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
I think we probably need a reminder about how the MISCELLANY experiment works: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before (usually bands whose names I’ve only discovered recently) and I listen to only one or two songs, usually from their most recent releases. I write my immediate impressions of what I’ve heard, and then I stream the music so you can make up your own minds. Unlike everything else we post at this site, I don’t know what the music will sound like in advance, or whether I’ll like it.
My first selection comes from a four-man band named Palinopsia from Poultney, Vermont. They wrote yesterday to call our attention to their first EP, entitled Murmurs From the Well Nothing More, which was released on June 3. The EP is on Bandcamp, and the song that’s set to begin streaming there is the EP’s second track, “Silt”.
I don’t write installments of this long-running series with any kind of regularity, so I always begin by reminding people how it works. On a very random basis I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before (usually bands whose names I’ve only discovered recently) and I listen to one or two songs, usually from their most recent releases. I write my immediate impressions of what I’ve heard, and then I stream the music so you can make up your own minds.
This experiment differs from just about everything else we post on this site because I don’t know whether I’ll like the music before writing about it. Granted, I tend to get enthusiastic about a very wide range of metal from a very wide range of bands, and in the case of the four bands that are the subject of this MISCELLANY excursion, three of them were recommended recently by friends whose opinions I respect — so that’s a bit of a cheat on my self-imposed rules for the series. Anyway, here we go…
I heard about this Chicago band through a recommendation from one of the nameless members of Venowl. I’ve now forgotten what topic we were discussing that prompted the recommendation, but I hung on to the name, as well as the link to the Sun Splitter Bandcamp page. Their most recent release is an album named Time Cathedral that came out in January of this year.
Yesterday I noticed a Facebook post by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records about a forthcoming release by a Virginia band named Foehammer and a song from the album that had debuted on Bandcamp. So I visited the Grimoire Bandcamp page — and discovered three more forthcoming Grimoire releases that I didn’t know about (surprising as it may seem, I haven’t yet become omniscient). So I decided, what the hell, this seems like good fodder for the next MISCELLANY experiment. And since I haven’t written a MISCELLANY post in two months, I decided there’s no time like the present.
To remind you about the MISCELLANY rules, I randomly pick albums or EPs by bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually by bands I’ve never heard of either), I listen to a track or two, I write my immediate impressions — and then I stream the music so you can make up your own minds. Unlike everything else I write about at NCS, I don’t know in advance what the music’s going to sound like or whether it will be worth the attention. Don’t try this at home — I’m a trained scientific professional and I can handle the risks.
Foehammer’s self-titled release appears to be a debut album, scheduled for discharge by Grimoire on March 3, 2015. The one song that’s streaming is a 10-minute track named “Stormcrow”. It’s one of three long-form tracks on the album. I like the album art (by Luciana Nedelea). Turns out that “Stormcrow” is quite likable, too.
Because the installments in this long-running series have become so widely spaced, I’ll begin with a reminder about how the MISCELLANY experiment works:
I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually without much rhyme or reason. I listen to one song, though I sometimes cheat and listen to more. I write my impressions and then I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves. In this latest excursion I sampled the music of five bands from all over the map, both geographically and musically.
As mentioned, I usually pick bands randomly, but in the case of this first selection I followed the recommendation of “B” from the superb Siberian funeral doom band Station Dysthymia.
Metal-Archives tells me that Septic Mind have recorded three albums, the most recent of which is named Раб (Rab) and was released by Solitude Productions earlier this month. The album is available on Bandcamp, and the song I picked for testing was the title track. Given the source of the recommendation and the genre classification on M-A, I was expecting funeral doom.
I know I’m displaying masochistic tendencies by looking at how long it’s been since I posted an installment of the MISCELLANY series, but the answer is approximately two months, which is pathetic even by my own hard-to-beat standards of patheticness. Pathiticity? Pathneticism?
Anyway, because it has been so long, here’s a refresher on the rules of this game: I randomly pick unheralded bands whose music I’ve never heard; I listen to one or two songs; I write my immediate impressions; I stream what I heard so you can make up your own minds. I don’t know what the music will sound like going in, or whether I’ll like it. Here we go:
ALTARS OF GRIEF
I guess it’s obvious why I picked this band’s new release to sample: Sam Nelson cover art. I follow his work very closely and yet I don’t think I had seen this piece before my comrade DGR linked me to it yesterday — it’s stunning. The debut album’s name is This Shameful Burden and it was released by a band named Altars of Grief from Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Welcome to another edition of MISCELLANY. Here’s how this game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups who may have been overlooked by our readers. The selection process is fairly random. In this case I picked a couple bands who were recommended to me by a friend and a couple whose names came from the band themselves or their PR people.
I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad) — though in this case I had some reasons for believing the music would be worthwhile. Here we go…
Vit’s 2013 EP The Dry Season came highly recommended from Ryan Schutte of Seattle’s Lb.! (he called it “a masterpiece”). The EP is available on Bandcamp, and upon visiting that page I saw that the EP includes guest appearances by Austin Lunn (Panopticon) on resonator guitar and banjo and Johan Becker on violin.
A little more poking around revealed that Vit’s drummer John Kerr is also a bandmate of Lunn’s in Seidr. And then I saw that the EP was mixed by Topon Das (Fuck the Facts) and mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, OLD) — and after all that my expectations had grown quite high.
I’m bending the normal self-imposed rules of the MISCELLANY game today. Usually, the way this works is I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before, I listen to a song or two, I write my impressions, and I stream what I’ve heard so you can form your own judgments. For today’s installment of the series, however, the selections aren’t exactly random: The bands were recommended by people whose judgment I trust, and in all three cases I listened to a song before deciding to make them the subjects of this post.
The truth is, all three of these albums are ones I would really like to review in full, based on what I’ve now heard. But I’m so far behind in my reviews that I fear I’ll never manage it. Rather than run the risk of failing to write anything at all, I decided I would at least do this.
Patrick Bruss, the main man behind the excellent Crypticus, recommended this first group, and it was a very enthusiastic recommendation — for which I am truly grateful.
Desecresy are a two-man band from Finland, and their new album (their third) is entitled Chasmic Transcendence. It was released in mid-April and is now streaming in full at the Bandcamp site of Spain’s Xtreem Music, where it can also be ordered and downloaded (here). Although I hadn’t previously heard of this band (so far as I can remember), the songs I’ve heard from this album have blown me away like an acorn in a hurricane.