If you’re in dire need of a big wake-up call, you could jam a live power line down your throat or you could listen to this new split by the Polish barbarians in Witchmaster and Voidhanger. The effect would be pretty much the same either way.
The name of this electrifying barrage is Razing the Shrines of Optimism, and it’s set for release tomorrow (January 20) by Third Eye Temple. We’re delighted to bring you a full stream of all the audio murder today.
Both of these bands infuse their music with the poison of black metal, along with the energy of a power plant in overdrive, but as you’ll find out, their approaches to the task of firing up an audience follow different strategies.
Tomorrow the West Cost atmospheric black metal bands Stellar Descent and Aylwin will release an immersive new split under the title Second Sequence, marking the bands’ second collaboration following their 2013 split, Farallon. We have the first public stream of the split today, preceded by some thoughts about the music. The split will be released digitally at these locations:
And there will be a tape release from Red River Family and a CD edition through Arcane Angels.
The Milanese band Mindful of Pripyat made an explosive appearance on the scene with the 2015 release of their debut EP …and Deeper, I Drown In Doom…, which I praised in a review here at our putrid site and KevinP anointed with an award as one of the best albums released that month. In his words: “Think Terrorizer and early Carcass with absolute razor precision backed by a solid production…. One of the fresher pieces of grind I’ve heard in awhile.”
On March 1 we will finally have new music from Mindful of Pripyat, because that’s the date set by Everlasting Spew for the release of a new split by the band, a split on which they’re joined by the Venetian marauders in Stench of Profit. What we have for you today is a premiere of not one, but two songs from the Mindful of Pripyat side of the split — “Hostage” and “Specimen“.
Two weeks ago we brought you the premiere of the title track to Dans La Joie, the debut album by the French band Au Champ Des Morts that’s now less than 10 days away from its official release by Debemur Morti Productions, and today we have another excerpt from the album — “Le Sang, La Mort, La Chute”.
For those who are only now discovering the band, it was founded in 2014 by guitarist/vocalist Stefan Bayle (Anorexia Nervosa) and he is joined on this album by bassist/vocalist Cecile G. and drummer Wilhelm. Dans La Joie was preceded by an impressive debut EP (Le Jour Se Lève) released by Debemur Morti last June.
Cleveland’s Curse of Denial are a new band, but this isn’t the first rodeo for the people in the band. The line-up includes former members of Descend (whose roots go back to the ’90s) as well as vocalist Rob Molzan (also a member of From the Depths, whose tenure with Decrepit goes back to that same decade). Their debut album The 13th Sign reflects all that experience, and includes a slew of notable guest appearances that bring even more veteran seasoning to the carnage of this battleground. The album will be released on February 3 by Redefining Darkness Records, and today we have an excerpt to whet your appetite — an unusual lyric video for “The Tower of Silence“.
Apart from the sure-handedness that comes from experience, one other thing will become evident as soon as you hear this new song: The music isn’t easily pigeonholed, instead reflecting a range of extreme metal influences that have been combined in electrifying fashion.
Until 2015, Wombbath’s last album was 1993’s classic Internal Caustic Torments, but two years ago the band made a remarkable reappearance with Downfall Rising. That new album made a big impact on lovers of Swedish death metal worldwide, and was the source of a song we humbly anointed one of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.
Wombbath followed the release of Downfall Rising with a triumphant performance at 2016’s Maryland Deathfest (reported here), and two 2016 split releases, one with Revel in Flesh called Dragged Into the Obscure and another with Departed Souls entitled Embracing the Cold…. And now they’re participating in another new split release — and we’re fortunate to bring you the premiere of Wombbath’s side, a song called “Smell of Lice“.
The name of the new split is Upward On A Thousand Lies, and on this new release Wombbath are sharing the vinyl with Germany’s Obscure Infinity. The split was released on January 13th on multi-colored wax by Germany’s Brutal Art Records.
If you begin the task of educating yourself about the phenomenon known as “Viking metal” you’ll probably first see references to Bathory and perhaps Enslaved, soon followed by a group of famous Swedes with their longboats and drinking horns on stage, but it won’t be long before you see the name Helheim.
“Viking metal” is indeed a phenomenon rather than a genre of music, which quickly becomes evident when you consider that bands as diverse as those listed above, as well as other groups such as Unleashed, Manowar, and Moonsorrow, have all carried that label at one time or another. To the extent there is a unifying factor, it derives from a lyrical and thematic focus on ancient Norse culture, mythology, and paganism, rather than a consistent sound — and even there, the depth and focus of the themes can be significantly different.
Helheim go beyond the most familiar (and often caricaturish) thematic tropes of most bands branded as Viking metal, with a devotion to Norse heritage that treats it as still relevant to modern life, and still shrouded in mysteries of the Runes that are worth exploring, and perhaps best understood in the spirit they convey rather than through archaeological and linguistic dissection.
As you’re about to discover, Helheim’s music also goes light years beyond the most familiar tropes of “Viking metal”.
In the wake of song premieres at DECIBEL and Revolver, the Italian metal band SYK released their second album I-Optikon via Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records on December 2. What we have for you today is the premiere of an eye-catching video for one of the head-twisting bouts of savagery from the album, a track called “Fong“.
The band have explained the song with these words:
I’m not sure anyone can really prepare themselves to take a vicious beating, but that’s our advice to you before listening to “Begrudging Soul“, which is the song we’re premiering from the new album by Sunlight’s Bane from Michigan.
The album’s name is The Blackest Volume: Like All The Earth Was Buried (aka TBVLATEWB), and it will be released by Innerstrength Records on February 17. NCS writer TheMadIsraeli reviewed the album last month, summing it up as “an unrelenting powerhouse of feral ferocity and carnage and also an interesting exercise in sub-genre hybridization”:
Viles Vitae are a new Portuguese black metal band, but one whose members are reputedly experienced and known within the Portuguese extreme metal underground. They’ve recorded a debut EP entitled IV, which is founded upon four elemental principles used in ritual magic and consist of four songs. In advance of the EP’s release next month by Caverna Abismal Records, we bring you the first streaming of one of the EP’s four incantations, a song called “The Vortex of Disharmony“.
To listen to the song is indeed like being pulled into a disconcerting vortex. It’s unrelentingly intense and disturbing, even though the fury of its arcane energies waxes and wanes like the blaze of the moon, and it exerts a tight grip on the listener’s attention from start to finish.