(In this post we deliver unto you a full-stream of the new album by Sweden’s Means End, which we preface with the following introduction by NCS writer TheMadIsraeli. And yes, it’s an exception to our usual rule . . . the one about singing.)
Yes, it’s that time again. It’s time for more thall.
Means End are the final link in a triad of bands who are all conjoined by “that word”, mainly because Vildhjarta, Uneven Structure, and Means End have all shared members at some point or another. Something about this seems to have produced a certain magic that’s undeniable. All three bands have taken a style of metal that at this point, in other hands, has become trite, overdone, and less appealing than chugging a jug of smegma and rotten milk, and somehow managed to rejuvenate it while establishing distinctive identities for themselves. Means End certainly have a sound all their own. Yes, they have recognizable influences (and who doesn’t in this day and age?), but what they do with those influences really shines and stands out.
The Didact is fifty-one minutes of jazzy, funky, rhythm-driven, progressive groove metal with one of the best vocalists in metal right now. The music is cinematic, enigmatic, but still seething, with fangs dripping in battery acid. It’s this band’s sense of dynamics, moving between the gorgeous and moments when they bring the hammer of thall down upon you, that really stands out. The soft parts don’t really feel “soft” per se, because this band’s tendency toward ever-evolving key transitions produces more a sense of unease than a simple break from the heaviness. However, when the heaviness does hit, it pretty much implodes your intestines.
Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn have a long history of combining their viscerally ravaging music with a commitment to social justice (and animal rights). They’ve found heroes in many places and dedicated songs to them, most prominently on the trilogy of Iconoclast releases that ended with 2011′s Invictus. Their seventh album Veto – due for North American release tomorrow — follows this theme, with tracks commemorating the works of an African revolutionary named Thomas Sankara (“Land of the Upright Ones”), theologian Walter Schilling (“Antagonized”), and the anti-fascist International Brigades who fought against Franco during the Spanish Civil War (“53 Nations”). But the opening track on Veto is dedicated to perhaps the most unusual of the heroes who have inspired HSB’s music.
Reaching back to the 11th Century, “Godiva” draws lessons from the Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, England, to free the common people from oppressive policies instituted by her powerful husband, who ruled the region. Tired of her appeals on behalf of the suffering townspeople, the Earl of Mercer agreed to grant her requests on their behalf if she would ride nude through the town, thinking she would never do this. But of course, she did — or so the legend has it.
Risking embarrassment or personal humiliation to stand up for the rights of others may not be as dramatic as braving bullets or imprisonment, but the lesson about social conscience among the privileged seems no less relevant. As for the song itself, we’ll borrow from our recent review of this killer new album: “The band have never sounded more vital or alive than they do on fantastic opener ‘Godiva’, which builds from an opening of sublime melancholy into a veritable firestorm of scorching vocals and powerhouse riffs, revealing a band as energetic, as pissed-off, and as driven, as ever.”
After the jump, get your first listen to “Godiva” via our premiere of Heaven Shall Burn’s official lyric video for Veto’s opening song.
(We are delighted to bring you the premiere of “Surrender” by Surachai, preceded by the following review by NCS writer BadWolf.)
Industrial black metal has not historically produced very many good bands or records—or that many records at all, for that matter—but 2013 is bucking that trend. I’ve heard several records that mix contemporary black metal with electronics and samples to excellent effect so far this year. Spektr and Altar of Plagues immediately come to mind, and now we can add Surachai’s new record, Embraced, to that list.
Ostensibly Surachai is another one-man black metal project, the brain child of Surachai Sutthisasanakul, who has been working as a sound editor by day and making experimental records by night for the past few years. Of course, he is working out of Chicago, home of many such avant-black metal projects such as Nachtmystium and Chrome Waves (and ex-Nachtmystium guitarist Andrew Markuszewski is one of many session contributors to this album).
Embraced sounds richer than your average bedroom black metal record. Surachai layers samples with guitar and various electronic effects to create an almost symphonic atmosphere. That mix is perfected by some of the most intricate black metal drumming I’ve heard since Cobalt’s Gin, courtesy of guest drummer Charlie Werber of Guzzlemug. That percussion absolutely makes the record whole. The magic of Surachai is his ability to make soothing music out of so much abrasive noise..
We’ve been singing the praises of Eyeconoclast ever since hearing their 2011 EP Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream. Now this Italian group of veterans is on the verge of seeing the release of their debut album Drones of the Awakening via Prosthetic Records. Today we’re proud to premiere the lyric video for a new song from the album, ”Rise of the Orgamechanism”.
As a sci-fi nerd, I can’t help but applaud the band’s lyrical focus on bio-mechanical co-evolution, but of course it’s the music that really counts, and on that score “Rise of the Orgamechanism” is a winner. It’s a galvanizing onslaught of technical riffing and fully weaponized percussion. Racing at high speed, the music unleashes a torrent of jagged, jabbing guitar and bass lines, writhing solos, and abrasive vocals. Yet the execution isn’t cold or robotic — this is death metal that’s on fire.
Drones of the Awakening will be released on April 16 and can be pre-ordered here. The album introduces the band’s new vocalist Giuseppe Di Giorgio (Black Therapy) and it was recorded at Eyeconoclast guitarist Stefano Morabito’s 16th Cellar Studio (Hour of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Inherit Disease). Eyeconoclast’s members also include bassist Paolo “Urizen” Ballarotto (who used to play with Malfeitor), drummer Mauro Mercurio (ex-Hour of Penance), and guitarist Alessio Cosenza.
(The long-awaited fourth album by West Virginia’s Byzantine is out now, and we’re delighted to provide a full stream of the new album along with TheMadIsraeli’s review.)
I wish I could find a way to adequately express how much I was absolutely frothing at the mouth in anticipation of this album. You’ve got to understand, this is a band who I musically idolized but who I thought had called it quits for good, and while I wasn’t originally stoked on the reunion since it lacked an integral founding member, his rejoining the band soon after sealed the deal for me. Byzantine were back in business and ass kicking was soon to follow.
I’ve sung the praises of this band to the high heavens on this site already, so if you are unfamiliar with these guys or have forgotten what they’re about, go read my Byzantine discography retrospective, which also included their three previous albums for download. Get educated.
Anyone who thinks that this album is a mere sequel to Oblivion Beckons would be sorely mistaken. These guys have been out of the band game for five years, but have still pursued music in a personal way and have thus evolved. What we have here isn’t a different Byzantine, but definitely a wiser, more sophisticated and diverse Byzantine.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Sweden’s Feared, and then we’re stoked to give you a stream of the full album.)
Ola Englund is a name that guitar geeks like myself will probably know better than anyone else. His YouTube channel hosts a myriad of really badass guitar and gear demos that I and fellow guitar players have flocked to frequently for ideas about what gear we want. In addition to his membership in Six Feet Under, however, Ola has a musical outlet that not many may be aware of: The name is Feared.
Feared are a badass band, a band with a sound all their own, a band who will curb stomp the shit out of you repeatedly until you beg for mercy. Their unusual combination of melodic death metal charged with trademark Swedish excellence and ballsy incorporation of groove metal creates a sound that’s refreshing. Even though Furor Incarnatus is the band’s fourth record, it’s the first time I’ve heard them, and I suspect it may be a first for many of you, too.
Spain’s Scent of Death has recently released their second album . . . which followed the first one by approximately eight years. The new one has proved to be a real eye-opener for me. Whatever this band accomplished in the past, their new offering is an atomic-grade kick in the teeth — and in the head, and in the kidneys, and in other vulnerable organs.
Entitled Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate, it calls to mind the likes of Suffocation, Hate Eternal, Dying Fetus, and Morbid Angel. Hell, I might as well throw in references to Origin and Behemoth, because I thought of them, too, at different points on the album.
The music is a non-stop onslaught from start to finish. It’s brutal, bruising, and bludgeoning, but it’s executed with an impressive degree of technical flourish. The songs are loaded with punishing grooves and fire-breathing guitar solos, with gut-level vocals that summon up images of voracious lions. In short, it’s a nasty piece of work.
Today we’re stoked to bring you the exclusive premiere of the album’s sixth track, “Man Kills God Too”, which we hand-picked from among the album’s 9 songs. The album’s first song premiered earlier this year, and we’re including a stream of that one, too.
It was a very sad day when West Virginia’s Byzantine dissolved roughly five years ago following the release of Oblivion Beckons. But as everyone knows by now, Byzantine are back with a new, self-titled album that’s set for release on February 26. We’ve had the good fortune of hearing it in advance, and it’s going to blow people away.
We’ve already featured (here) a lyric video for the first track from the album that Byzantine released — “Signal Path” — and today we’re privileged to debut the band’s official music video for another song: “Soul Eraser”.
One of the hallmarks of the new album (in addition to massive grove) is its musical diversity, and “Soul Eraser” is a good example of that. In addition to bringing a truckload of stomping, jabbing, pummeling riffs and rhythms, it’s built around a melody that will get stuck in your head awful damned fast. The song also includes spiraling lead guitar work and a whole lot of vocal diversity. And when the song really cuts loose at about the 3:00 mark, hold on to your hats.
The world turns, time marches on, and good things from the past rise again.
Scordatura are a five-piece death metal band from Glasgow, Scotland, who we first wrote about early last year in a piece on Scottish metal. They’ve now finished recording their debut album, Torment of the Weak, which is set for on-line release on February 1, 2013, and today we’re pleased to give you an exclusive premiere of the album’s third track, “Neurotic Aberration”.
If you let your mind turn to the idea of a blender filled with scoops of Hate Eternal, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, and Origin, set to puree, then you’ll have an advance idea of “Neurotic Aberration”. Though it may be your brain that gets pureed.
Scordatura twist and turn and slice and dice in a whipping fury of technically oriented brutality. And by “technically oriented”, I don’t mean a flurry of prog-minded note-wanking. I mean the whirring teeth of a meat grinder turning slabs of beef into finely carved tartar. It’s raw, red, and delicious.
We’ve been following North Carolina’s Æther Realm quite closely since discovering their auspicious debut EP Odin Will Provide (2011). At last, the band have completed their first album — One Chosen By the Gods — which is scheduled for release on January 8. And today, we’re pleased to give you an advance listen to the entire album.
But don’t dither around, because this full-album stream will only be up for one day. And as for what we think of the music, it’s very, very good. For a detailed assessment, check out DGR’s review posted a bit earlier today.
Now, do yourself a favor and check out our exclusive premiere of the music right after the jump.