(DGR reviews the new album by Sweden’s Volturyon.)
Sweden’s Volturyon are a band for whom I’ve been waving the banner pretty frequently — most of that faith inspired by the EP they put out in 2014 entitled Human Demolition. It’s one that I bring up often because I feel like it flew under the radar of a lot of metal listeners; to me that seems insane, because I am hardly ever on the cutting edge of anything, and if I have something that I feel flew under the radar — something that seems to consistently surprise listeners every time I show it to them — then something isn’t right, and I need to do more to shout it from the mountaintops.
Human Demolition was a concise EP, with four songs and an intro, and three of those songs were blisteringly quick death metal grinders, with one sort of mid-tempo chuggathon to break up the pacing a tiny bit. “Concrete Devotion” is a constant highlight for me. That’s why I was pretty much locked in from the start with the group’s upcoming early-September release, Cleansed By Carnage.
On August 25, Hypnotic Dirge will release the new album by the German band Frigoris, whose name you may recall from the praise we heaped on an advance track from the album named “Trúwen”. Entitled Nur ein Moment… (Just one Moment…), it follows the band’s 2013 debut full-length Wind and is the first part of a two-album concept that follows “the tracks of a protagonist who faces the consequences of suicide in an interior journey.” Today we present a full stream of the album in advance of its release later this week.
Through the course of the album’s six long tracks Frigoris move from passages of soft, ethereal beauty to storms of surging blackened power, interweaving elements of black metal, post-metal and doom to create a journey through a changing emotional landscape of peaks and valleys.
(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP of the UK band Dawn Ray’d, which is out now on Bandcamp.)
As our contributor Wil Cifer wrote recently, “Crust seems to be a hot buzzword when it comes to underground metal these days”, to the extent I’m even starting to see it edge out the near-ubiquitous over-use of the terms “blackened” and “Black Metal” in certain places (but don’t you worry, I have a whole other column percolating in my head about THAT particular topic).
It seems to be one of those terms designed to bestow instant underground-cred on a band, whether or not it’s actually reflected in any aspects of their music, and, as such, I’ve seen it crudely co-opted multiple times by bands and writers who don’t seem to know (or care) what it means, they just want the artificial credibility and cultural capital it bestows.
I’m saying all this as a preamble because I want to make it clear right away that – even though their unwavering anti-NSBM, anti-fascist stance and sharp, punk-edged sound certainly gives them more claim to the term than some others I’ve seen – gritty Black Metal three-piece Dawn Ray’d don’t seem to care one way or the other whether you call them “Crust” or not.
They’re just happy to let the music speak for itself.
It is time to put to rest any of the grumbling you might have heard in regard to the new Inquisition. Some people were more than likely already in a bad mood after hearing the new Metallica or only had a marginal intrest in Inquisition to begin with. The truth is, their new album sounds just like them, right when Dagon lets the chords ring out with such eerie dissonance.
They are not out to win over any new fans. This is not to say they are just dialing it in, as drummer Incubus brings some sinister grooves and really lays into his high hat. In the car my wife complained the crash was a little tinny, but I didn’t hear that, and overall the mix has the dense sound that I want from them.
On August 31, the Swedish band Mist of Misery will release their second album, Absence, through Black Lion Records, and today we have for you a full stream of the album’s nine tracks.
We first mentioned this album in late June on the occasion of the title track’s debut. That song has a dark and depressive atmosphere, but it’s also sweepingly beautiful, with the heart-aching melody carried aloft by waves of shining synthesizer orchestration and brought home by piano measures that are by turns wistful, soulful, and buoyant. And the vocals proved to be as emotionally powerful as the instrumental music — but also barbarically abrasive.
That was, of course, only one song from an album that was otherwise still shrouded in mist, waiting to be revealed — and it has proven to be as multifaceted and enthralling as the title track.
This is a recap of the third and final day of the first edition of Migration Fest, organized by 20 Buck Spin and Gilead Media and conducted in Olympia, Washington, on August 12-14, 2016. My recap of the pre-fest show and Day One can be found here, and the Day Two write-up is here.
I’m not as prompt in concluding this review of the festival as I was with the first two parts, but other commitments to our putrid site plus inconsiderate intrusions by the routine of daily life have screwed with my time since I got back to Seattle on Monday. On the other hand, the delay enabled me to upload videos of Day Three performances to YouTube, and I’ve collected those at the end of this post. I still intend to add more videos to the other write-ups as well.
(We are happy to have Kaptain Carbon back with us. On this visit, he helps to commemorate the 10th release of a label called Vrasubatlat. Kaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)
It is no secret Vrasubatlat has recently become one of my recent favorite labels and collectives of bands. If you read my previous column on some of my favorite demos of 2016, you will see a glowing endorsement at the top of the page. It is only because this label keeps putting out music that I keep wanting to write about. Once they stop, I will stop as well. I do not know what to tell you. There is just something appealing about music when it feels like an open wound.
This article is to celebrate Vrasubatlat’s tenth release in two years, as well as introduce others to the wild and hellish world of black / death with social issues.
(Andy Synn reviews the debut album of City from Portland, Oregon.)
You either stand on the shoulders of giants, or else you languish in their shadow… is a phrase I’ve just made up and trademarked. So don’t try and steal it. Particularly because I need it to help give this review a sense of purpose and direction.
You see, when it comes to music it does often seem like your choices are reduced to a binary “yes/no”. You either innovate or you imitate. You follow or you lead. You simply copy your influences, or you create something new out of them.
But life, as always, isn’t really that black and white. Everything’s a spectrum, everything’s a scale, and very little in this world is really quite as absolute as it seems.
Case in point, while Portland-based Prog-Metal types City are undeniably still living in the shadows of their forefathers on their debut album On The Edge of Forever, it’s still a solidly rewarding listen in its own right, and displays more than enough promise and potential to suggest that this isn’t a state of affairs that’s going to last forever.
(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by London’s Morrow.)
By not seeking to live off of post-apocalyptic distortion alone this London-based sludge band captures an atmosphere almost as mournful as a doom band.
Past affiliations have led to characterizations of Morrow as a crust super-group. Crust seems to be a hot buzzword when it comes to underground metal these days. The only time I hear this crusty side of the band is when they speed up with more punk energy toward the end of the first song, “Fathom”. They take their time getting started, as it’s 4 minutes in before the drums lay the ground-work to the melancholy. The cello on this song really adds more emotion.
(DGR reviews the debut EP by Scour.)
There is no doubt that the reason the Scour EP and its mid-July release landed on most metal fans’ radar due to the presence of one Phil Anselmo trying his hand at extreme metal. Phil has proven himself to be a polarizing figure this year via one very particular scandal, and it is still not clear whether he thought he was being funny making a racist joke or if he is a fucking gigantic moron.
He seemed penitent enough when the inevitable backlash occurred, pretty much making it clear that if he was proving to be an obstacle to any of the bands he was in, he was willing to leave. But it makes you wonder if these events had any sort of effect on the lead-up to the Scour EP’s mid-July release.