Grey Skies Fallen are a New York band who trace their roots back to 1996. Since then they’ve released three full-length albums and two EPs, all of which are available for free download at the band’s web site (here). Along the way, they’ve made changes in their sound, as well as changes in the line-up, and they’re now set to release a new album entitled The Many Sides of Truth. Today we’re giving you a glimpse into the new work through our premiere of “Ritual of the Exiter”.
When I first heard this long song, I was left bedazzled, and grasping at straws in thinking about how to describe it. Just when I thought I understood what the band were up to, they crossed me up. As the title suggests, there is indeed a ritualistic quality to its progression, with the parts of the rite segmented by unexpected guitar interludes that break the building tension before the intensity begins to build again.
The song is anchored by a really good rhythm section, with both the bass and the drums getting their hooks into you. But the bleak melodic motifs in the music are the key to its success, along with the vocals, which are both clean and agonizing. Genre boundaries are ignored, with elements of doom, prog, black metal, and melodic death metal in the mix.
Possession’s 2013 demo, His Best Deceit, stirred up a buzz among underground aficionados of black/death bludgeoning, but this Belgian band’s forthcoming 7″ EP, Anneliese, should stoke the buzz to deafening levels. My only regret is that it’s only two songs long. Today, we’re giving you the chance to hear one of them in its entirety.
Possession achieve the kind of sound and aura that many newer bands strive for but few achieve as well. It’s the sound of primordial death metal, rising from the ooze and radiating an otherworldly malignancy. It’s rough and raw, but there’s a lot more to its appeal than feral ferocity: Possession write some delicious riffs that are as infectious as they are morbid.
The gut-punching drum beats and reverberating chords that form the intro to the title track tell you that something wicked this way comes, but you may still not be prepared for the driving rock rhythms, slashing guitars, and feral howls that follow it. It’s an immediate headband trigger, and if you don’t get a charge out of the grinding bass solo in the song’s back half, there’s no hope for you. The horror-filled atmosphere of the song’s down-paced finish makes a killer of a song all the more lethal.
We discovered Kaunis Kuolematon last August through their release of a striking song named “En Ole Mitään” (I Am Nothing) — so striking that it was the only track we named to our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs that didn’t come from an album or EP. That song was the advance guard of the band’s full-length debut album Kylmä Kaunis Maailma, which will be released through Violent Journey Records on April 25, 2014. Today we bring you the premiere of another song from the album — “Kivisydän” — plus a few words about the album as a whole.
In a nutshell, Kylmä Kaunis Maailma is just as striking as that first advance track that captivated us last year. Kaunis Kuolematon (“Immortal Beauty”) aren’t the first Finnish band to deliver melodic death metal drenched in doom, but they are one of the few to do it this well this fast. Blending gargantuan heaviness with a panoply of wrenching melodies, they’ve recorded nine powerful songs so well-written that they all have the capability of getting stuck firmly in your head.
The music is almost entirely mid-paced and almost entirely somber in its emotional atmosphere, yet the songs never lose their tight grip on the listener’s attention. Apart from all those reverberating melodic hooks, the band are masterful in their creation of contrasts. They juxtapose jagged, jabbing riffs and booming bass lines with rippling lead guitar instrumentals that shimmer and soar. They’ll hammer your head like an anvil and in the next moment pierce you right in your anguished heart.
Less than a week ago we featured the official video for a new song called “Filet Horizon” by a Danish instrumental duo named Fossils. Watching a technician laser-etch a band’s logo and album title onto a slab of beef jerky (thereby creating the album cover) isn’t exactly a common occurrence. The song proved to be uncommonly good, too. And now we get to share with you the entirety of Fossils’ forthcoming second album — Flesh Hammer.
When a band’s instrumental attack consists of bass and drums only, you expect something stripped down, and that’s true of Flesh Hammer up to a point. Wielding only those two rhythm-section weapons, Fossils do create skull-splitting grooves, but they also generate a storm of hornet-swarm riffs that veer from feedback-drenched cacophony to some seriously spine-shaking rock ‘n’ roll. It’s more than slightly unhinged — it’s rude, raving, and radioactive.
Deathcore is not dead, but it is evolving, and branching in different directions. With their forthcoming debut album Lobotocracy, the French band Colossus show us the direction they have taken, and we’ll be giving you a glimpse of it through our exclusive premiere of the album’s seventh track, “Endless Torments”.
Lobotocracy is non-stop warfare — a maiming, vicious, often technically acrobatic assault that’s far closer to Aborted-style death/grind than Colossus’ deathcore roots. It brings the punishment with pile-driving grooves, a plethora of guitar leads that squirm, skitter, and swarm, and rapid-fire, start-stop riff bursts that will leave flesh in tatters. The album reveals a noticeable step-up in technical proficiency, and the band infiltrate their brutal hammering with an array of bleak, insidious melodies that leave no room for hope.
There’s no solace to be found in the band’s dual-vocal barrage either. Those hoarse roars and hair-raising shrieks match the destructive intensity of the rest of the music.
(TheMadIsraeli brings us a review and the premiere of a full-album stream for the debut album by Seattle’s A Sense of Gravity.)
A Sense of Gravity are a terrific band. Composer and guitarist Brendon Williams has kept in touch with me for the last couple of years, allowing me to hear what they’ve been doing from their demo material onward. I’ve loved everything he’s ever shared with me, yet I’ve refrained from mentioning them before, mainly because I wanted to see how they turned out. Finally they have completed a full-length. Travail is brutal, dynamic, and full of twists and turns. Imagine a cluster-fuck smattering of Meshuggah, Allan Holdsworth, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Scar Symmetry, and Extol, and you have A Sense of Gravity.
This album is diverse, with some songs driven by pneumatic ballet, some driven by pure caustic sprays of speed-powered hellfire, and some delivering pure, undiluted fusion-jam indulgences. Travail has a great deal of fun contained within it, all while showcasing serious, intelligent musicianship at its core. The twists and turns are many, producing a sonic labyrinth. The album almost sounds like metal done by Jazz Fusion guys, as opposed to metal guys with jazz backgrounds, and that turnaround style-incorporation gives the music a unique vibe.
(In this post, Austin Weber brings us an exclusive song premiere and provides the following introduction to the music of Tellusian from Malmö, Sweden.)
While Crowpath have been broken up for several years now, a new outfit (new to most people) called Tellusian has sprung from their demise. Including in their ranks both Crowpath’s vocalist Henrik Ivarsson and drummer Erik Hall, Tellusian have been slowly teasing out their curious and amorphous nature in short EPs. Now they are gearing up to release Collision, their debut full-length. After talking with them, they graciously agreed that an NCS song premiere would be cool, and they chose “The Collyer Brothers”.
The song is a journey that, once it unfolds, reveals an oddball progressive nature nestled inside a ravenous core. Expanding freely from a recurring central riff segment, the song dives into technically complex sludge with death and black metal shards, and sneaks in a luminious instrumental reflection toward the end. “The Collyer Brother” lurches and grinds in perfect yin/yang layering. The monstrous growls, shrieks, and roars of Henrik Ivarson serve to blanket the song with a palpable sense of disgust. Caught up in the whirlwind are carefully balanced hypnotic leads and a warm, delicious bass presence prone to following its own path, all fused to a backbone of pummeling, stop-start drumming hell-bent on destruction.
As many of you know, NCS writer Andy Synn is the frontman for a UK band named Bloodguard — or rather they used to be named Bloodguard. As of today, the Bloodguard name has been laid to rest. Henceforth, the band shall be known as Beyond Grace. And in addition to spreading the word about that change, we’re delighted to bring you the intergalactic premiere of the band’s new video for the song “Panopticon”, which is also being released via Bandcamp as a single.
But before premiering the video I’m going to turn this post over to Mr Synn, who explains the name change, future plans for the band, and other news. — Islander
So… where to start? The decision to change our name was not an easy one to make. We realise it comes with potential costs, but it also has a host of benefits we just couldn’t overlook.
Why the new name? A lot of reasons really. The old one doesn’t really suit us anymore, it fits awkwardly in some ways, and is surprisingly hard to get people to remember. Whereas the new name suits the lyrical direction – more socio-political, more transhumanist – and the new sound of the band – heavier, more technical, more death metal – much better.
Plus it sounds way cooler when you growl it onstage.
Bloodguard is no more… Beyond Grace is born.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by First Reign from BC, Canada, and we bring you the premiere of a full-album stream.)
What a beast of an album.
Non-European melodic death metal that’s REALLY good is really hard to come by. It always has been. For every one band from somewhere else, you could name three European bands of at least equal weight. First Reign are a Canadian band who I believe are at the head of the class of what they do. I’ve covered them before, reviewing their debut EP, but with the band’s debut album, Harvest of Shame, they’ve undergone a transformation. They are more technical, more progressive, and with a much darker tonality.
Imagine the ferocity of At the Gates, the guitar acrobatics and power-metal clean interjections of Into Eternity (pre-Stu Block), and a Death-like sense of composition, combined with some traditional death metal carnage, and you have First Reign. Harvest of Shame is a bleak, twisting labyrinth of melodic death metal might. The band’s seamless integration of their various influences and their commitment to producing melodic death metal that is truly their own is astounding. I’d be hard-pressed to name any one band who truly sounds like this one, even though I can rattle off the names of others who have laid the groundwork for their sound.
Something about this Polish band’s name causes it to stick in the memory. The delicacy and gracefulness of the band’s name are matched by the name and cover art of their new album, Degenerate, which is due for release by Selfmadegod Records in February 2014. Last November I wrote enthusiastically about the album’s first advance track (“Under the Razor’s Edge”), and now we have the degenerate pleasure of premiering another song, “Sentenced To Grind”.
This new song is a strafing run of burly, hammering riffs, a high-energy drum attack, and howling/shrieking vocals that will stand your hair on end. And man, it has a powerhouse groove that will keep you coming back for more. This is top-shelf grind from a band worth watching closely. Be sentenced to grind right after the jump.