In March of this year we had the pleasure of premiering one of the songs on a two-track single released by Baltimore’s Barbelith, which in turn followed the band’s 2012 debut EP. Today we get to bring you a full stream of the band’s debut album, Mirror Unveiled.
There may be a more explosive start to an album this year than “Beyond the Envelope of Sleep”, the first track on Mirror Unveiled, but if so it’s not coming to mind. The song displays one of Barbelith’s multi-faceted sides in no uncertain terms with a non-stop, jaw-dropping drum performance, a torrent of guitar noise and pulse-pumping tremolo waves, and scathing shrieks that sound like the agonies of a man being burned to the ground.
About 10 days ago two Louisiana bands released a two-song split on Bandcamp which proves again that some of the best music these days is flying under the radar on the wings of short, unheralded releases.
One of the two bands is a new name to me, Withering Light from Hammond, Louisiana. Their song is named “Lantern”, and it’s a shining example of post-black metal done very well.
At the beginning, and returning again at the end, guitar notes ring out like the pealing of alien bells over a heavy, grinding low end. That reverberating melody proves to be very seductive, but so is the rest of the song, which features jabbing, start-stop riffs, acrobatic drumwork, tumbling bass licks, and a very nice dual-guitar harmony, as well as inflamed, scarring vocals.
(Austin Weber reviews the new EP by Indiana’s Primordium.)
Imagine the slithery nature of Spawn Of Possession or Gorod meeting the brutality and heft of Beneath The Massacre, with the end result getting a hefty injection of melody, and you would arrive at the sound of Primordium. Primordium are a new upstart technical death metal group from Indianapolis, Indiana and Aeonian Obsolescence is their very first release as a band.
Islander premiered “The Incursion” not too long ago, and it was a dizzying introduction for those new to the band. While the release of this EP was shifted a few weeks back, it will finally be out this Friday and damn if it isn’t a killer release full of bestial cavernous growls, relentless rampaging hatred, classically influenced orchestral moments and some neo-classical leads, and catchy melodies with the occasional jazzy flamenco snippets hidden within.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Poland’s Vesania.)
When I spoke to Vesania vocalist/guitarist Orion not long ago (interview here) he said the following about the band’s new album Deus Ex Machina:
“We started working on the album with this thought that we want it to sound very ‘alive’. I didn’t want to record another typical metal album with the kick drum sample straight in your face, edited to the very edge and with super high gain guitars. The idea was to make this music breathe…”
And after listening to the album a number of times now, I think they’ve definitely managed to achieve what they set out to do. Compared to their previous albums there’s definitely a lighter touch involved here – though the album is no less heavy for it. It’s looser, in a way, without being any less tight. Freer, yet in no way any less focused.
It’s an album of contradictions, make no mistake. And all the better for it.
(Austin Weber reviews the new album by Hadal Maw from Australia.)
While I had recently featured Hadal Maw in my latest Recalcitrant Roundup article, it was not as in-depth a write-up on their debut album, Senium, as I would have liked due to time constraints. So, when the band hit me up after my post offering to send me a physical copy all the way from Australia, I gladly agreed and now give it the full review it deserves.
Before sending the album, the band mentioned that it was “meant to be listened to and viewed”. I could not fathom what they meant by that until it arrived — and I was blown away by the packaging. The album is not a typical jewel case. Instead, it folds out from all sides, leading to a stunning array of other art pieces beyond the cover, on both the front and back sides once unfolded. The proper term for this type of packaging is Maltese Cross Digipak. I have never seen anything like it before. It’s truly impressive, and a real reason to invest in the physical version of this album if you like what you hear.
According to Metal-Archives, Cleveland-based Nunslaughter have released more than 140 recordings, only four of which have been full-length albums, the rest mostly consisting of splits, EPs, and live albums. Hells Headbangers is releasing two more splits this fall, and I spent some time with both of them this past weekend. I reviewed the first one, a split with Perversor, here.
According to Metal-Archives, Cleveland-based Nunslaughter have released more than 140 recordings, only four of which have been full-length albums, the rest mostly consisting of splits, EPs, and live albums. Hells Headbangers is releasing two more splits this fall, and I spent some time with both of them this past weekend.
In this split with a relatively new Chilean band named Perversor, Nunslaughter contribute two tracks — “Impure Thoughts” and “Bless the Dead”. “Impure Thoughts” is a thick, black, boiling cauldron of riff liquor, a mix of d-beat rhythms, skin-flaying black thrash, and grisly corpse-crawling death metal. “Bless the Dead” switches up the beats and the styles, too, and at its core is a head-wrecking chug-stomp, catchy as fuck and impurified with a wash of vocal pollutants. The songs are gone before you know it, but it’s a sweet trip while it lasts.
When I started this site almost five years ago I picked the name “NO CLEAN SINGING” not so much to announce a rigid rule we intended to follow about the site’s content but more as a protest against something that had happened to the music of one band I used to care a lot about — Bury Your Dead. Matt Bruso had left the band to teach school and he had been replaced by Myke Terry, who introduced clean singing into their music, and the music just seemed to lose some of its weight all the way around.
Even though my musical tastes have evolved in increasingly extreme directions and I’ve lost touch with a lot of what’s happening in whatever scene is left of the one BYD inhabited, I still keep the early BYD albums in my car and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of them.
So, when a Facebook friend recently posted a link to a brand new EP named Weightbearer by a Spanish band named Dremenuart and made comparisons to the”über-low-tuned hardcore metal” of bands like early BYD, that pushed the right button and I had to check it out. I’m so very glad I did.
Today the Elemental Nightmares project released the fourth of the seven vinyl splits in the series, with a fourth segment (above) of what will eventually become one massive piece of artwork for the series as a whole — and as of today it’s also now available for download on Bandcamp.
I’ve been especially looking forward to this split because it features two old favorites of this site — Canopy and Obitus — as well as two new ones, Harasai and Kall.
Last summer we had the pleasure of premiering the tracks by Canopy and Harasai, and I’m going to include the accompanying write-up below, along with thoughts about the Obitus and Kall tracks. In a nutshell, this is a great quartet of pleasingly diverse songs.
It’s inevitable, given the heritage of Kall’s members, that their debut self-titled album will be compared to and contrasted with the music of their former band, Lifelover. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. To this day, almost four years after that band’s final album, Lifelover has such a devoted following that Kall will benefit from the attention, and I have little doubt that those fans will like Kall a lot.
But if I were in a band, I think I would prefer to have my music considered as it is, rather than described and evaluated in terms of its similarities or dissimilarities to the work of a predecessor group. And so, at least here, this is the last you’ll hear of Lifelover – other than to note that the album’s final song is named “Far väl” (“fare well”).
I’ve been waiting for this album since July of 2013, when I discovered a song from Kall named “Då, nu – Jag och Du” (and wrote about it) that was then planned to appear on a debut EP. A second song and an excerpt from a third one eventually followed, and I wrote about them, too — and then instead of an EP, this album finally appeared. It was worth the wait.