Last April we premiered the self-titled debut EP of a Norwegian band named Gjendød, released by Darker Than Black Records, and now it’s our pleasure to premiere a stream of this duo’s first album. Entitled Nedstigning, it will be released on CD by Hellthrasher Productions on February 24th, with tape and vinyl editions to follow from Darker Than Black.
The album is dramatic, ice-cold, and beguiling, equal parts majestic and morbid, incinerating and depressive. While it’s a devoted embracing of Nordic black metal traditions, it provides changing shades of frost-bitten intensity while never relenting in its exposition of a pitch-black hopelessness.
(Andy Synn contributes three more reviews of releases from 2016, focusing on the music of Bedowyn (North Carolina), Koronal (Poland), and Melding Plague (Finland).)
Ok, last one. Deep breath. Big finish.
Here are the final three albums from 2016 which I have handpicked for your listening pleasure.
I hope you enjoy them, and I sincerely hope you’ve all discovered a gem or two over the last few weeks of these “catch-up” posts.
I’ll probably be following up on a few of my personal favourites over the next month or so, so we’re not quite done with 2016 just yet, but, for the most part, I’m now going to be switching my focus to albums and EPs from 2017, as I’ve built up quite a backlog over the last several weeks.
In the meantime, however, why not get stuck into the cavalcade of humongous riffs, ear-catching melodies, and badass grooves provided by this triumphant triptych of bands?
We usually begin Sundays here on our metallic island with a REARVIEW MIRROR post, but I decided this week I’d rather use the time to spread around some more new music — even though I did a shitload of that yesterday.
I was also motivated by the fact that the music of the following four bands — three of whom I discovered in the last 48 hours — seemed like it would all go together pretty well, because they’ve all got varying degrees of punk or hardcore in their DNA (though they’re all metal as hell, too). By the time you get to the end of this post, you’ll be smiling through broken teeth.
First up is Expander. They’re ensconced in my old hometown of Austin, Texas. I paused in my musical explorations to check out some music from their new album Endless Computer when I spotted the very recognizable artwork of Luca Carey on the cover. The fact that the album is being released (on May 16th) by Nuclear War Now! was an added inducement, and another nail in the coffin came when I saw that the album was engineered by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Joel Grind.
On New Year’s Day of this year I posted a large round-up of new music that included brief teasers of music from a vinyl split release by Finland’s Hooded Menace and the Canadian band AlgomA. At that point, release of the split by Doomentia Records had been delayed past its originally scheduled November 2016 release date, but it finally became available at the end of January (and the limited-edition splattered-color version of the vinyl is already sold out), and full streams of both songs are now up on Bandcamp.
The artwork for the split was painted by the Italian maestro Paolo Girardi. My own admiration for his work probably appears slavish to regular readers here, but man, what he did for this split really makes me drool. I’ve ordered the split on vinyl just to be able to hold it in my hands, though I didn’t find out about the vinyl release until too late to grab one of these:
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Texas-based Power Trip.)
One of the worst offenders within the utter triteness that was the so called “re-thrash” movement was the rise of the whole crossover party thrash scene. I came to intensely dislike certain bands (who shall remain nameless) who seem to place all their emphasis on the energy and aesthetic of thrash but completely forsake all of the power, attitude, and uninhibited human rage that thrash encapsulates so well — while also having no good idea how to truly manipulate the hardcore aspects of their sound to give the music high-impact groove when needed.
Newer crossover thrash, however, has been seeing a YUGE renaissance. The newer Ringworm material, Iron Reagan (a band with Municipal Waste alumni), and the subject of this review — Power Trip — are producing music that is on a mission to recapture the genre and hit the turbo button, producing some of the most straight-up genuinely pissed metal on the planet.
(In this post Wil Cifer reviews the new album by San Francisco’s King Woman.)
King Woman’s full-length debut has the kind of thick, dream-like haze cast over it that makes the mood much darker and heavier than what we got from their previous EP. Like many albums that I sing the praises of, this one tickles the sweet spot of my taste buds, and once again proves you don’t have to adhere to typical metal trappings in order to be heavy.
Kristina Esfandiari allows some of her backing vocal tracks to move into more of a scream. And there is weight to the guitars, which often carry the dense distortion of doom. By the second song, it sounds to me that this album is going to take them to the next level of recognition.
(Here we have a trio of reviews by Andy Synn, who’s still not finished with 2016.)
So it looks like, barring some sort of unforeseen intervention by an outside source, this will be my penultimate catch-up post for 2016, and very soon I’ll be able to divert my full attention to new releases – both from lesser-known acts and from bigger names – from 2017.
In the meantime, however, here are three more killer albums from last year that really deserved a lot more attention and acclaim than they received.
The Swedish black metal band Obitus have done something remarkable: They’ve made a 45-minute album consisting of a single song that’s on the attack relentlessly, and yet it’s a harrowing thrill-ride straight through to the end.
Now you can either skip straight to the end of this post and start listening to our stream premiere, or you can continue reading, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to do both at the same time — or trying to do anything else while listening to this onslaught. For those who might be interested in more of a preview before you throw yourself into the tornado, I shall continue.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Warpath from Hamburg, Germany, which is out now via Massacre Records.)
Warpath are an interesting musical discovery for me. Originally a thrash metal band that had some moderate underground recognition in the ’90s, the band hung it up until the culmination of a reunion that resulted in a subsequent comeback album. Vocalist Dirk Weiss is the only original member, collecting an entirely new lineup. Warpath, in name, has come back, but with a new sound and one that’s impressive. It would be a shame for people to miss out on this.
Bullets For A Desert Session is a powerful testament to hybridization in metal, and an impressive metallic golem of deathly proportions. While thrash metal is still a part of Warpath’s sound, the band have mixed in the metallic heft and drag of bands like Celtic Frost and Crowbar, the filth of High On Fire, and a style of death/thrash that sounds a lot like The Crown. Dirk Weiss’s vocals are almost like a demonic version of Lemmy Kilmister mixed with the low-end grit of The Crown’s own Johan Lindstrand.
There’s a song on the new album by HerezA called “Uništi, Pali, Ruši”, which are the Croatian words for “destroy, burn, tear it down”. Those same words could be the banner for the album as a whole, though the album’s name is equally indicative of what lies within: I Become Death.
This is HerezA’s second album, following their 2015 debut full-length, Misanthrope. The new one is being released today by the Polish extreme metal label Godz ov War Productions, and below we have a full stream of the album for you.