Collected in this post are new songs from three black metal bands that I want to recommend for your listening pleasure.
Nefandus are a satanic black metal band from Sweden whose third album, Reality Cleaver, is scheduled for release by Daemon Worship on April 30. Though the band’s line-up has evolved over time, they trace their roots back to the mid-90s, with their first album coming out in 1996. However, my first exposure to the music came from the two new songs that Daemon Worship recently began streaming on Bandcamp — “Qayin’s Hunt” and “Reborn As Wolf”.
The first of those songs is a mid-paced procession, almost stately in its cadence and in the grandeur of its dark, minor key melody, yet thoroughly occult in its atmosphere (due in no small part to the filthy vocal delivery). The second track, “Reborn As Wolf”, quickly accelerates into a gallop, the whirring melody needling like a drill bit seeking flesh within the teeth, though the song also exudes a kind of infernal majesty similar to “Qayin’s Hunt”. Very nice.
I’m happy to be back home after almost five days away, but I’m less than happy that today is a fucking Monday. I thought I’d celebrate the wretched occasion by throwing some miscellaneous things your way that I saw and heard after I got home late yesterday. I’ve packaged these items together because they’re… what’s the word I’m looking for?… let’s just say they’re out of the ordinary.
The last time I came across music billed as caveman death metal, it was Norway’s Goat the Head. They have been sadly missing in action for the last three years, but until they see fit to rouse themselves into a new burst of creative activity, I will have to content myself with Chatalhüyük. They have labeled their music “Neolithic metal” and they sing of such Stone Age things as big wood spirits and pterorhs stealing their krohi.
I’m not sure what a krohi is, unless it’s a Neolithic youngling. I’m pretty sure a pterorh is a pterodactyl, even though they became extinct about 60 million years before the Stone Age began and the Neolithic came at the very end of the Stone Age. But hey, if you’re willing to contemplate the concept of Neolithic death metal, then why not krohi-stealing pterodactyls?
(In this post our guest Kunal Choksi (Transcending Obscurity) puts the spotlight on three up-and-coming death metal bands from Russia.)
Without delving into the purely “brutal” aspect of things, let’s throw some light on the Death Metal scene in Russia. Sure there have been bands in the past, some good ones too, like Merlin and Barbarity as well as the middling ones, but the newer ones are game-changers. No longer do you have to contend with giving Russian Death Metal bands “old school” credit, some nostalgic or primitive value. Admittedly, that forms a part of the scene’s sound and that’s fine, as long as it’s not remaining primitive in terms of quality. Three Russian bands lead the scene in my humble opinion and all of them have achieved reasonable success with at least one release under their belts.
ODEM (Daemon Worship Productions)
Odem leads the pack with its unique blackened influences and a blend of aggressive and semi-technical Death Metal, with elements of modern brutality as well. Their sound is innovative in ways that American bands are often loath to do.
I’m still away from home doing job-related stuff that has left almost no time for searching out new metal, listening to music, or blogging. I will be going home tomorrow, with hopes that NCS life will return to normal after that. I’m about to dive back into another day-long bout of job-related stuff, but before doing that I thought I’d throw a few things your way.
CVLT NATION FREEBIES
CVLT Nation has recently unveiled a series of free compilations that are well worth exploring. The first, which was released two days ago, is a compilation of Black Sabbath covers: Seven different bands perform the eight songs on Sabbath’s 1971 classic, Master of Reality. The bands are:
Cult of Occult
Graves At Sea
Among the names on my mental list of highly anticipated 2014 releases, Falls of Rauros and Panopticon were in the upper reaches. This spring, Bindrune Recordings will be releasing a 12″ split by the two bands. Falls of Rauros contributed two songs — “Unavailing” (at nearly 12 minutes in length) and “The Purity of Isolation” (nearly 7 minutes). Panopticon contributed four songs, totaling nearly 25 minutes. Having heard the split, I can say that it has more than met my very high expectations.
I had hoped to scribble a review by now, even recognizing that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. But alas, I’m way behind. What I do have, with thanks to DECIBEL magazine, are two of the songs from the split, one from each band. Since I still harbor a feeble hope of writing my own thoughts about the music later, I’ll not say more about the songs now — but simply provide the streams for your listening pleasure.
I intended to get this roundup posted yesterday, but obviously my word is no good. So it comes today
The artwork at the top of this post grabbed my attention. It was created by Aaron Turner (of Isis fame, and a prolific graphic artist) for a 12″ release coming on Record Store Day from A389 Recordings. The title is Bloodlet – Live on WFMU-FM (03.23.95), and as the title suggests it’s a previously unreleased live recording from about 20 years ago that was recently mastered for this release.
Bloodlet is a name I’ve heard before, though I can’t remember if I ever heard their music. They made a name for themselves in the 90s as a metallic hardcore band (long before the “metalcore” label came into currency). They’ve been on hiatus since 2003, but reunited to play the A389 Records X Anniversary Bash in Baltimore on January 18, 2014.
As previously advised, I’m on the road again in the grasp of my fucking day job, but I did carve out some time to make the rounds in search of new things and, as usual, found quite a lot to like. Because time is short, I’ll divide what I found into two posts, this being the first.
HOUR OF PENANCE
Almost exactly two years have passed since Italy’s Hour of Penance delivered their last album, Sedition, which was excellent. Today the band announced details about the release of their next album: The name is Regicide, and it will be coming our way via the Prosthetic label on May 13 in North America (May 12 in the UK and EU, May 16 in Germany).
From a previous Facebook post by the band, I know that the album art was created by the same Gyula Havancsák (Hjules Illustration and Design), whose work for Arkona’s new album we featured here recently. He also created the covers for HoP’s Sedition and Paradogma.
I’m headed for the airport again this morning, and then winging my way back to sunny Southern California for my day job, returning to sodden Seattle on Sunday. This will again restrict my blog time. Before leaving, I wanted to share a few recent discoveries.
This Toronto band, whose three members prefer to remain anonymous, released a self-titled EP in 2011, and now they have a debut full-length on the way. Entitled Sacred White Noise, it’s coming out on April 15th via Dark Descent. Not long ago the band premiered an advance track named “The Bright White Nothing At the End of the Tunnel”. I’ve been meaning to check it out, and finally did so last night — and I’m in love.
There’s a writhing, dissonant guitar lead that begins almost immediately and then intermittently continues to whip and squirm its way throughout the rest of the song, and once heard it’s hard to forget. But that’s only part of the music’s attraction. The song also includes hammering percussion, scalding riffs, bestial black metal vocals, and a load of other strange but magnetic repeating motifs.
This round-up of news and new music is skewed toward the especially dark, depraved, nihilistc end of the extreme metal spectrum, hence the name “Shades of Black”, even though only two of the bands march under the black metal banner.
Once you’ve seen Jef Whitehead’s cover for the new album by Chicago’s Lord Mantis, you really don’t forget it. I splashed it across the top of our site when it became public about two weeks ago, though back then I hadn’t yet heard any of the music from Death Mask. Now I have, and man, it makes a scarring impression, too.
The song that premiered last Friday is the album’s searing opening track, “Body Choke”. Three things about it stand out. First, there’s the visceral pounding of the rhythm section, with Charlie Fell’s bass and Bill Bumgardner’s drumming interacting like men at work on a demolition project. Second, there are Fell’s vocals, which sound like a man drowning in sulfuric acid. And third, there are the doomed, devastating, degraded riffs; they create a choking, noxious atmosphere.
You will want to headbang. You may also want to open a vein.
I’m still catching up on news, new music, and video premieres that I didn’t have time to write about late last week while I was on the road for my day job. In addition to what I pulled together yesterday, I’ve got the following four items to recommend.
Khonsu is the Norwegian band started by multi-instrumentalist S. Grønbech. We wrote about Khonsu frequently in 2012 during the run-up to release of their debut album Anomalia (which was reviewed here by Andy Synn). On Anomalia, Grønbech was joined by his brother Arnt (aka Obsidian Claw, guitarist/keyboardist for Keep of Kalessin) as well as Keep of Kalessin’s vocalist Thebon. I hadn’t heard much about Khonsu since then, but last weekend brought a flood of news — and yesterday brought a new song and video.
The news is that Khonsu will release a new full-length album this fall, and a new EP entitled Traveller will be released for download on March 22. Beginning yesterday, and on each Saturday through that release date, Khonsu will add new songs from the EP for streaming on YouTube. There are five in total, including new versions of two KoK songs originally released in 2003 (“Traveller” and “Ix”), a cover of “Army of Me” by Bjørk, and a purely electronic version of “The Malady” from Anomalia. But the first song released yesterday through a music video is a new one that will appear on the forthcoming album: “Visions of Nehaya”.