Sol Negro’s Dawn of A New Sun is an absolute gem. Originally released in a limited edition of cassette tapes last year, it’s about to get the full-fledged distribution it deserves via the excellent Mexico-based label Chaos Records. Today we’re giving you a taste of the album by premiering the record’s final track, “Where Flies the Raven”. But first, here are some impressions about Dawn of A New Sun as a whole.
Attempting to categorize the album in genre terms is a challenge. The music is remarkably dynamic, with different songs emphasizing different aspects of what turns out to be Sol Negro’s own very distinctive sound. At different moments I thought of bands such as Obscura and Death (at their most progressively inclined), though shrouded in a mantle of black metal and doom. But as it happens, the reference that may come closest to capturing the band’s core motif lies in the one cover song on the album: “Dead Emotion” by Paradise Lost, a brilliant song from the band’s second album Gothic (1991), which Sol Negro perform brilliantly.
And if all these diverse band references confuse you, trust me when I say that the music is masterfully cohesive. Sol Negro unite elements of doom, progressive death, and black metal to create a genuine feast for the ears.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the forthcoming album by Sweden’s Feared, and we’re also stoked to bring you the premiere of a new Feared song: “Your God”.)
A lot of us music fans, especially metal fans, and even more especially music fans who are musicians, have a good idea (or know very well) what goes into writing an album. It’s something that takes time, commitment, and if you care about your music, a great deal of deliberation over what you’re crafting in order to make it the best and most compelling it can be. But creating music has never really been a process that you can just schedule, put in the time, and expect it to come out fine. Some bands have managed to prove that idea wrong, like The Black Dahlia Murder, who’ve released albums on a reliable schedule and haven’t taken a quality dip. Other bands haven’t fared so well.
Usually, we tend to think of the creation process for an album-length work as a long-term endeavor. As fans, we may bitch about how much time it takes for a band to write and record their next album, but we also tend to become leery when a band releases a new album soon after the one that preceded it. So it’s a surprise that Feared, after releasing a monster of an album earlier this year in Furor Incarnatus, announced they’d be releasing another album this year.
Regular readers of the site should recognize the name of this San Diego band, since I wrote about them only three days ago. Plus, their name is Those Darn Gnomes — not an easy name to forget once you’ve seen it. Their music isn’t easy to forget either. As of three days ago I had heard only one song, a long number named “Blacklip”, which will appear on their forthcoming debut album The Invariant. And now I’ve heard a second one — and you’ll get to hear it, too, because we’re premiering it right now.
The song’s name is “Relief Organ”. Like “Blacklip”, it’s longer than average, and like “Blacklip”, it’s a wild ride: heavy, slow, sludgy riffs mixed with distorted, proggy meanderings, mixed with cool jazz interludes, mixed with blasting drums and a blizzard of distorted chords, mixed with gargling gutturals, vomit-spewing howls, and mellow jazz-influenced female vocals (courtesy of guest vocalist Katie Walker).
The best and the worst thing about life is that it’s full of surprises. When you need a bit of good fortune or at least a little stability, it delivers a car wreck and a shattered leg, as happened to a good friend yesterday. On the other hand, it delivers, on the same day, a brilliant new song from a band you last wrote about more than two years ago in a post that still holds the record for the fewest words ever written on this site about music.
More than two years ago I featured a song by a band from Pennsylvania named Vindensång from their 2008 debut album Terminus: Rebirth in Eight Parts, and introduced it with the word “THIS”. Now, the same band have a new album named Alpha, which they plan to release on February 4, 2014, and which will be a musical sequel to Terminus. And what we bring you today is the intergalactic premiere of one of the new album tracks, “Lights of the Abyss”.
Two days ago New Jersey’s East of the Wall released their latest opus, Redaction Artifacts. It has already been showered with praise from many quarters, including Austin Weber’s review for our own humble site (here), which called the album “eclectic and captivating”, “a swirling hodge-podge of hostility, soothing calm, frequent tempo shifts, and beautiful singing mixed with hoarse bellows⎯all while being shred-filled and shaded by mercurial melodic explosions”, and the band’s “finest album yet”.
While we would like to believe that all right-thinking people accept our word in such matters as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — despite the fact that we rebelled against our own site’s name in recommending the album so strongly — the music speaks more powerfully than mere words. And while two songs from the album have previously been made available for streaming, we are privileged today to bring you Redaction Artifacts in its entirety. So listen to it next, and if you like what you hear, the album is available now, on CD through the band directly HERE, CD and digital at Amazon HERE, and the LP via Science Of Silence HERE.
(In this post we present our second review of the new album by Chapters — this one written by TheMadIsraeli — as well as the premiere of a combined song from the new album: “March of the Puritan/Arising”.)
This review comes later than I had planned. I was going to publish something I had originally written but it just didn’t convey the passion I have for this album. Neither did I feel, in hindsight, that I gave Chapters their musical due, or rather, I was missing the target as far as what they do. The thing is, Chapters channel a musical era of metal that I was passionately into and couldn’t get enough of. The fact that a band like this existed when I discovered them back in 2011 excited me, and that excitement hasn’t waned one bit. Their new album The Imperial Skies is one of the best releases of the year, no doubt, and it re-captures the excitement of a musical movement that unfortunately got trampled underfoot by the bullshit metalcore explosion that occurred from 2005 onward.
Chapters are, ironically because of their British origin, New Wave of American Metal. I don’t say this solely as a matter my own speculation or opinion, mind you. In the friendships I’ve developed with masterminds Joe Nally and Angus Neyra, we’ve discussed this and they pretty much agree. While they do draw influences from Death and from Bay Area thrash, it’s bands such as Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, God Forbid, Himsa, and early All That Remains who are the foundation Chapters have built upon. Whether you want to call it metalcore (which I argue that stuff was) or not, Chapters fully embrace the thrash/hardcore/melodic death metal combination in which those bands fully entrenched themselves.
As such, you get all the expected elements: Melodic technical guitar work, driving emotive melodic passages, vocals with a great deal of passion behind them that sound like they’re being delivered at the risk of the vocalist’s voice, and beautiful acoustic interludes. I eat this shit up, always have and always will, but Chapters deliver it exceptionally well, leagues beyond anyone else who’s tried to capture this sound since its heyday.
Sweden’s Necrophobic trace their roots back to Stockholm in 1989, right in the heart of an explosion of creativity when a uniquely Swedish brand of death metal was beginning to take the world by storm. Yet Necrophobic followed a different path. Along with Dissection (which was also formed in 1989), they began combining elements of death metal and second-wave black metal, helping establish the foundation that would go on to influence a multitude of other bands over the following decades.
Now Season of Mist is on the verge of releasing Necrophobic’s seventh album and their first in four years: Womb of Lilithu. Combining razor-sharp riffs, eerie melodies, progressive lead guitar work, and striking vocal variations, it’s a blend of the vicious and the spellbinding that will stand as one of the band’s strongest works to date.
Today we’re privileged to bring you a full-album stream of Womb of Lilithu. The album is due for release on October 29 in North America and October 25 everywhere else and can be pre-ordered here.
Germany’s Endstille are about to follow up their 2011 album Infektion 1813 with their eighth full-length, Kapitulation 2013, and today we will give you an exclusive taste of the album with the premiere of its eighth track, “Stalin Note”.
Endstille have always been somewhat unusual in the sphere of black metal, with many of their lyrical themes drawn from historical events, including events related to World War II and its aftermath. The “Stalin Note”, for example, refers to a proposal that Josef Stalin made to Western powers in 1952 “for the reunification and neutralization of Germany, with no conditions on economic policies and with guarantees for ‘the rights of man and basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, press, religious persuasion, political conviction, and assembly’ and free activity of democratic parties and organizations.”
German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the Western allies ultimately rejected this overture, and of course what followed were many decades in which Germany was a divided nation. There has been much debate about whether Stalin’s Note was genuine and about whether the West missed a chance for early reunification of Germany. It should not be forgotten, of course — and Endstille do not forget — the barbarity of Stalin’s regime.
“Moody noise-rock cranked through a piss machine/ Beauty in soundscapes torn up by a synth ogre/ Toes dipped in a bowl of cold dog piss/ Clapping forever and no sound smiles/ Hooked on good music for miles and miles.” Three weeks ago I read that come-on for a forthcoming album by a one-man Canadian band named The Sun Through A Telescope. Didn’t know anything about them/him, but after seeing those words I had to find out. And that album, I Die Smiling, lit me up like a Roman candle. I hadn’t heard anything like it all year, or maybe ever.
I pleaded for a chance to premiere something — anything — from the album. This isn’t my usual behavior. We love to premiere music, but almost never ask for the opportunities (too afraid of rejection). Turns out those glory hogs at Invisible Oranges premiered the whole album. But I got my wish anyway, as you’re about to see.
What I got was the chance to premiere an official video for “You Can’t Kill Me”, the album’s opening track. Not just any old video, this one was made by David Hall of Maryland Deathfest the Movie fame, whose Handshake Inc. label is how I found out about I Die Smiling (get it here). It’s such a fitting marriage of imagery and music. Hall takes what appears to be a clip from a wholesome TV show and turns it into something strange and unsettling. The Sun Through A Telescope takes aspects of black metal, drone, post-metal, and sludge and turns them into something hypnotic and arresting.
(Today we are proud to premiere the new song and video from an NCS favorite, Russia’s Kartikeya. TheMadIsraeli provides this introduction.)
I’m sure all of you are now frothing at the mouth as much as I was when I found out we’d be debuting “Tunnels of Naraka”. I’m especially excited and honored because it’s Kartikeya’s first-ever music video (which is done quite excellently I might add) and because the song we’re debuting is quite possibly one of their most brutal to date.
We’ve heard two songs from Samudra so far, those being “Durga Puja” and “Horrors of Home”. One displayed Kartikeya exploring their groove side a bit more, while the latter saw the band deliver a more evolved version of a solid standard Kartikeya track, full of heavy riffs, suffocating atmosphere, convincing mood, and an abundance of surprises. “Tunnels of Naraka” is both the third and perhaps the final song we’ll hear before this album is released, and what a high note to do so on.
Kartikeya are in my mind a quintessential example of what metal needs right now: Music that is brutal, epic, bombastic, and chaotic, while achieving proggy undertones and melodic reprieves at the same time.