(Austin Weber provides the following introduction to our premiere of a new song by New York-based Fall of the Albatross.)
Fall Of The Albatross are a band I’ve covered before at NCS, having previously witnessed their diverse chaos live and written about it here. The group used to have a vocalist but later became an instrumental-only band, as they were when I saw them. The music you will hear below is a taste of their new sans-vocal style from their upcoming full-length, Enormous Cloud, coming out on June 24th. This is wildly original, next-level instrumental metal, concocted from a plethora of different genres and styles, with the elements arranged against each other in unique, non-linear ways.
I’m a sucker for song titles that perfectly capture the essence of the music, and when you hear “Like A Good Tornado”, you’ll understand that the title expertly encapsulates the splendidly spastic, whirlwind nature of the song. That the title defines the music as a good tornado is a key point of distinction, since tornados are typically bad — and this is anything but!
Waxen is the solo project of Wyoming-based Toby Knapp, who has steered his prodigious talents in a multitude of different directions with different metal bands (as well as his own solo efforts) since the early 90s. Waxen’s debut album, Fumaroth, appeared in 2006, and after eight years Moribund Records is now poised to release its successor, Agios Holokauston.
Today we’re bringing you the premiere of a song from the new album named “Hollow Eyes”. It’s a bit of an unusual choice for a premiere — and to be clear, we chose the song. Much of Agios Holokauston is a raging black metal conflagration, a firestorm of 6-string guitar pyrotechnics married to compelling melodic hooks, neck-snapping rhythms, and sulfurous vocal assaults. But after bouncing back and forth among our premiere choices, the haunting beauty of “Hollow Eyes” proved so compelling that it’s the one we wanted to share with you first.
Late last fall Southern California’s Reciprocal self-released their second album, New Order of the Ages. It was an 11-track, 67-minute monster that drew the attention of Lacerated Enemy Records, which will now be releasing the album on CD this coming June 6, with new cover art by Jon Zig.
I missed the album when it first made the rounds last year, but because of this expanded label release I’m getting the chance to find out what I missed. And if you missed it, too, we’re giving you a chance to make amens — because today (along with Terrorizer in Europe) we’re helping to spread the word about a stream of the album’s fifth track, “Illuminati”.
Listening to “Illuminati” is like being unceremoniously parachuted into the middle of a war zone on some distant world where the weaponry is beyond our understanding and the combatants assault each other in highly accelerated time. All the instrumental performances are simply off the hook and tightly integrated despite the jet-fueled pacing and the dizzying course changes.
We were early and avid supporters of A Fragile King, the 2011 debut album by the all-star UK group known as Vallenfyre. It was a very personal album for all involved but especially the band’s founder Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost), who started the band after the death of his father. It could have been a one-off kind of project, but the reception to A Fragile King was so positive and the experience was obviously pleasurable enough for the band members that they have come roaring back with a second album — Splinters (produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge). Here’s a hint: it’s even better than the debut.
We wrote about the first advance track from the new album (“Scabs”) last month, and today we’re happy as hell to premiere another new song — “Odious Bliss”. After a massively heavy doom-shrouded opening, it begins to rumble and rush like a demon freight train with the throttle wide open, driven by Adrian Erlandsson’s jolting drumwork and a load of skull-splitting riffage.
As anyone who has spent any time at our site well knows, I get enthusiastic about new musical discoveries on almost a daily basis, but rarely am I left pop-eyed and gape-mouthed in genuine wonder at a band’s achievements. But that’s what happened when I heard the two songs that we have the privilege of premiering today. And it didn’t happen just once — it has happened every time I’ve heard this music (I’ve heard one more song from the same album — and the same thing happened when I heard that one).
The band are from Belarus and their name is Serdce (a word that means “heart” in English). They released three albums between 2003 and 2009, and their fourth — entitled Timelessness — will be released for the first time by the cult Finnish label Blood Music this June. The album includes 10 songs, and what we have for you today are the 8th and 9th tracks — “Quasar” and “Newborn” — joined together as a single stream.
Little more than two weeks ago I discovered the existence of Psychotic Gardening — not the wildly popular pastime in many mental institutions but the band from Winnipeg, Canada. The occasion was the band’s release of a music video for their staggeringly heavy cover of Death’s “Open Casket” from the Leprosy album — and I frothed at the mouth about how good I thought it was.
One thing led to another, and here we are premiering an original Psychotic Gardening song named “Origin of the Infection”. Like the “Open Casket” cover, it will appear on the band’s forthcoming album Hymnosis, which is due for release on May 13.
Based on the interesting spin this band put on “Open Casket”, you could make an educated guess that they would be talented songwriters as well as skilled performers, but “Origin of the Infection” removes the guesswork.
With a new album named Morning Wood, colorful cover art depicting nymphs bestowing their pastoral charms on a massive bull, and a description of themselves as Swiss farmers who “abandoned their shovels and harvesters to take on a different type of instruments, with the goal of becoming icons of sex, alcohol and rock’n’roll”, you might conclude that Voice of Ruin don’t take themselves too seriously. And you would be right. But their “horny farmer metal” kicks bushelfuls of ass, as you’re about to find out.
Today we have the pleasure of premiering the band’s official lyric video for the new album’s third track, “Through the Eyes of Machete”. Both the song and the video are an homage to the central figure of the Machete movies of Robert Rodriguez and a celebration of, well, killing and fucking. What could be more metal?
As for the music, it’s a high-voltage, jackhammering, heavy-grooved romp, with guitars that swarm like hornets when they’re not punching holes all over the landscape, and a vocalist who sounds like a timber wolf. Apparently, they harvest hops in Switzerland with chainsaws and heavy artillery, with occasional pauses for catchy melodic drinking songs.
When I think about metal that delivers unbridled feral explosiveness, two of the genres that come to mind immediately are grindcore and the kind of fast-paced black metal that’s ripping and ravenous. Now, think about combining those two styles of mayhem. That’s what Sacramento’s Killgasm have done on their forthcoming album A Stab In the Heart of Christ. It’s music that will leave you bleeding from all the orifices.
This is the blasphemous trio’s second album, following their 2011 debut Bloodbath of Satanic Vengeance, and an assortment of previous EPs and splits, as well as last year’s single, “High On Church Fumes” (which also appears on the new album). Today, we’re giving you a taste of the rapacious fury that the new album delivers with our premiere of its third track, “Revenge of the Panzergoat”.
(In one fell swoop, Andy Synn reviews three superb new albums — by Enthroned, Infestus, and Horizon Ablaze – and we bring you the streaming premiere of a song from Horizon Ablaze.)
It may only be early April but 2014 has already produced numerous candidates for my own personal End of Year list/s. And it looks like it’s going to be a very bleak, blackened year indeed.
So, to highlight the wealth of majestic misanthropy that has already appeared this year, I’ve selected three examples of Black Metal at its finest, three albums that richly deserve to be feared and worshipped in their own right, three artists who may yet lay claim to the crooked crown.
Each one has its own allure, its own character, from the uncompromising, to the unknowable, to the unorthodox. Each one has its own voice and style, from the demonic, to the despairing, to the deranged. Yet each one is united by an undercurrent of remorseless passion and refusal to follow the path of others. Each one a visceral, violent, dissonantly melodic and brutally infectious example of blackened musical magick.
Only three weeks stand between us and the release of Shadows of the Dying Sun, the sixth album by Finland’s Insomnium. It’s both a summing up of where the band have come from and a step ahead, a forward movement that not only embodies the sounds and styles which have drawn increasing numbers of fans to their side but also moves their music in new directions. And as you might guess from that last sentence, it’s a diverse assembly of songs, with some that are faster and heavier than you might expect, and some that are softer. But throughout, the band once ago show their mastery at writing melodies that stay with you.
Shadows of the Dying Sun also marks the first album appearance of the band’s new guitarist Markus Vanhala, who has been a member of Omnium Gatherum throughout their career and has now collaborated with Ville Friman in the songwriting on Shadows.
One new song from the album (“Revelations”) has already debuted, and today we’re delighted to help premiere a second one — “While We Sleep” — and this one comes in the form of a new music video, directed by Dariusz Szermanowicz and produced by Poland’s Grupa 13. Unless we miss our guess, “While We Sleep” is one of the new album’s songs that’s going to get its hooks into listeners’ heads really hard, really fast.