I want to thank all of the guest writers who have sent in such excellent posts for publication during my vacation. I’ve got five days left before returning to earth with a thud, and some really interesting guest posts remain to be published between now and then. And if any of you are still pondering whether to send in something, there’s still time.
Though I haven’t been listening to much music during this trip, I did set aside some time a few days ago to go exploring. And for those who don’t know, that’s what this MISCELLANY series is all about: I pick a band whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on names that aren’t household words, and I listen to a song or two. I write my impressions, and I stream what I heard so you can explore right along with me. I picked four bands for this trip, and they turned out to be a really diverse lot.
I came across this first band via an album review by Madam X at Angry Metal Guy. I usually read what she writes anyway, but in this case there was a double attraction — the other being that album cover you’re looking at. It’s a photo of a doll created by Klaudia Gaugier, and once I saw it I knew I would be listening to the music.
A reminder about the rules of MISCELLANY: These are the only posts on this site that feature music which hasn’t been filtered in advance by me or any of the other writers. I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before, I listen to a recent song or two, I write down immediate impressions, and I stream the music that I heard. When I play this game, I try to focus on bands who are under the radar. It’s a good way to discover and spread the word about new music, but it’s a bit of a crap shoot.
Here’s how I picked the bands in this edition of MISCELLANY: I saw a Facebook post by my friend Prof. D. Grover the XIIIth urging me to pay attention to a St. Louis band named Black Fast and their recent album Starving Out the Light. That became my first pick for this expedition. After hearing a few songs, I liked them on Facebook, and not long after that I saw a status they posted recommending a song that premiered yesterday which was a collaboration between two more St. Louis bands — Indian Blanket and The Lion’s Daughter. I listened to that song, which became my second stop on this MISCELLANY tour. And then I discovered that The Lion’s Daughter have an album on Facebook named Shame On Us All — and that became my third and final pick for what turned into a St. Louis edition of MISCELLANY.
The Black Fast album was released via Bandcamp in August of this year and it follows a self-titled EP from 2011. The featured song on Bandcamp is the album’s fourth track, “Obelisk”, and I listened to that one and then checked out the album opener, “Levitations”. They’re both head-whipping riff machines with bounding bass lines, jaw-dropping guitar solos, and caustic vocals. “Blackened thrash” is a start at a genre description, but doesn’t do justice to the intricacy or the strong progressive leanings of the songwriting. It’s kind of like a mash-up of Vektor and Blotted Science.
After almost four years of hit-or-miss experimentation, we’ve arrived at the glorious 60th edition of MISCELLANY. I wish I could tell you that I have something red-hot and extra-special lined up to celebrate the occasion, but that’s not the way MISCELLANY works. The way it works is that I randomly pick bands I’ve never heard, I listen to a song or two, I write my impressions, and I stream what I heard so you can make up your own minds.
All of which means that when I picked the following bands I didn’t know what they would sound like or whether they would be worth a damn: Omnihility (U.S.), Dejadeath (Spain), The Slow Death (Australia), and Elision of Animus (Portugal).
I know I’ve heard this band’s name before, but I’m also pretty sure I never listened to their music until deciding to make them my first stop on this MISCELLANY tour after receiving a message from the band. They’re from Eugene, Oregon, which I confess warmed my heart, since I know they’re going to be enduring the same dank Pacific Northwest winter that I am, or something very close to it.
This latest installment of the MISCELLANY series is really a carry-over from the immediately preceding installment. I originally picked four bands to explore for that installment, but by the time I began writing about the fourth one I decided the post was already so long that people might lose patience before reaching the end — particularly when they discovered the length of the last song. So I carved out the last band, and they’re the subject of this post.
And as a reminder about the way MISCELLANY works: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves.
This pick was truly a random choice. After reviewing the new album by Progenie Terrestre Pura earlier this month, I made a mental note to explore the web site of the long-running label that released the album, Avantgarde Music. I finally did that yesterday. I found lots of bands whose music I’d never heard before. Being short on time, I picked one to explore, and I honestly have no explanation for the selection I made.
The band’s name is THACLTHI, which means “in silence” in the ancient Etruscan language, and they appear to reside in the town of Volterra (or “Velathri” as the Etruscans called it) in the Tuscany region of Italy. They have a new album named …Erat Ante Oculos that was released on tape last month by Unholy Domain Records and will be released by Avantgarde on November 13, 2013.
For newcomers to this series, here’s how the MISCELLANY game works: I impulsively pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves. In this installment I explored the music of Dominia (Russia), God Eat God (UK/Russia), and Sensory Amusia (Australia).
Over the weekend I posted a teaser clip for the forthcoming third album by UK-based Eye of Solitude, an album I’m eager to hear. I mentioned that the album will include guest contributions by violinist Casper and vocalist Anton Rosa from the Russian band Dominia. I wasn’t familiar with Dominia, but yesterday I received a message from an NCS supporter who I’ll call JcDA encouraging me to check them out. So I went exploring.
Dominia’s last album was Judgement of Tormented Souls, released in 2008, but they’ve recorded a new one entitled Theophania. Last month they released a two-song single that includes one track destined for the new album (“Death Only”) and a live recording of another song recorded earlier in the band’s career (“Cellar Door”). The single can be acquired on Bandcamp via this link. I listened to both songs.
Every time I write one of these MISCELLANY posts, I swear to myself that I’m going to do it more regularly. But the promises you make to yourself are the easiest ones to break. My last one of these posts was on July 30, long enough ago that a refresher about the self-imposed rules of this game might be worthwhile:
I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves. The bands I picked for this edition of the game, all from the U.S., are Black Snake (Oregon), Prosanctus Inferi (Ohio), and Seker (Washington).
I found out about this band because they wrote us. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t listen to every band who writes us, and I can’t really explain why I made time for this one, but I did.
Last week they self-released a four-song collection on Bandcamp named Black Snake EP – Vol. 2. I picked the first song, “Red Eyes” for this MISCELLANY experiment, and wound up listening to the other three. The rules you set for yourself are the easiest ones to break, too.
Many of you already know how this unfortunately infrequent MISCELLANY game works, but for everyone else, here’s what it’s about: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music for you so you can judge for yourselves.
Every other musical feature on this site, other than this one, involves metal that I or the other writers have heard in advance and want to recommend. MISCELLANY, on the other hand, is a shot in the dark. I don’t know what these selections will sound like. We’ll both find out together. Today’s bands are a trio from the U.S. –House of Atreus, Zud, and Sloths — plus one from The Netherlands (Control Human Delete). They all turned out to be winners.
HOUSE OF ATREUS
I learned about this Minneapolis band via an e-mail from ex-TNOTB writer Tr00 Nate. That makes this selection less random than usual, since I’ve learned through experience to trust his recommendations. And this one turns out to be no exception.
Many of you already know how this MISCELLANY game works, but for everyone else, here’s what it’s about: Using no rhyme or reason whatsoever, I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music for you so you can judge for yourselves.
Every other musical feature on this site, other than this one, involves metal that I or the other writers have heard in advance and want to recommend. MISCELLANY, on the other hand, is a shot in the dark. I don’t know what these selections will sound like. We’ll both find out together. Today’s bands are from all over: Serpent Omega (Sweden), Crematoria (Denmark), Purefilth (Ukraine), and Asphodel (Greece).
I found out about this relatively new Swedish band via a Facebook recommendation from another band whose doings I follow. They’ve recently released a self-titled debut album via the Mordgrimm label, and it turns out that they have a female frontperson (Pia Högberg). I decided to check out their music in part because of that recommendation but mainly because I thought the new album’s cover art was cool.
I am so far behind in so many ways, perhaps most far behind in completing album reviews. So what am I doing? Listening to music from bands I’ve never heard of. I suppose this could be a form of procrastination, but instead I think it’s just my hunger for new things, which appears to be insatiable and uncontrollable.
So much time has passed since my last MISCELLANY experiment, that I ought to provide a reminder about my self-imposed rules: I pick bands at random whose music I’ve never heard; I listen to one song (sometimes I cheat and listen to more); I write my impressions; and I stream what I heard so you can judge for yourselves. The bands selected for this test are Hebosagil (Finland), Suffix (Sweden), and Belgrado (Spain).
As noted, these dudes are from Finland, so I already knew there was a better than even chance they would be good. I found out about them via a press release announcing that they have a new album named Lähtö that’s due for release by Ektro Records on May 17. The seventh track on that album is ”Valmis mihin vaan” (yes, Hebosagil’s songs are in Finnish), and it happens to be streaming on Soundcloud, so that’s what I picked for purposes of this experiment.
Today is Day 14 of me being away from home for my job. Since last night was a Saturday night, I got a break from the usual day-and-night grind. Carousing with my co-workers, I ate too much, had a few drinks, and then lost an hour of sleep because of daylight savings time beginning here in the U.S. But before collapsing into bed I did play the MISCELLANY game for the first time since last December.
For those people who are new to the site or have forgotten, here’s how this works: I randomly pick an assortment of bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands with new releases who are relatively unknown). I listen to one or two songs, not knowing what the music will be like, and I write my impressions. And then I stream for you what I’ve heard so you can make up your own mind.
For this session, there really was no rhyme or reason to what I picked. The music is from Darkening (U.S.), Monte Penumbra (Portugal), and Bovine (UK).