After many months of listening to the 2013 debut album by Italy’s Progenie Terrestre Pura, I finally attempted (here) to write something that captured the wonders of the album — and failed. I think all I succeeded in doing was to express the profound effect that U.M.A. had on me.
Even after the dramatic impact of U.M.A., I somehow missed the fact that last October, q[T]p (which is how they prefer to abbreviate their name) released a digital EP named Asteroidi. Andy Synn named it to his 2014 year-end list of the “Good” albums and EPs, and I still didn’t dive into it. And then yesterday I received a notification that Avantgarde Music is releasing the EP in physical form. Finally, I listened.
(DGR reviews the latest album by the Dutch band Carach Angren., which is out now on Season of Mist.)
One of the things I love about Carach Angren is how divisive they are amongst the staff at this site. For some, they’re “LARP-Friendly black metal” and for others they’re an enjoyable band. When it comes to a genre like symphonic black, I own up to it time and time again that I am, in large part, an idiot.
I scratch the surface of the genre but it has been a huge blind spot for me, as has black metal as a whole; when it comes to the great divide of metal, between the black metal and the death metal guys, I tend to fall on the death metal side of the spectrum. I like my fair share of death metal bands masquerading as black metal groups, but rarely the traditional, ethereal, and anguish-fueled howls or the purposefully roughly-produced walls of sound of the early generations of proper black metal — which roughly translates to me being perfectly OK with Carach Angren and their symphonic horror tomes.
I think a large part of this is how you see the band. For me, Carach Angren are a group of storytellers who happen to really love their camp. They’ve never been the most black metal thing out there, and frankly, their stories have never been the most traditionally black metal out there, having covered a battlefield or two and even doing a nautical-themed disc, though the latter has become a bit more common and has been done increasingly well by other bands. The only thing you can be sure of is that the body count on a Carach Angren disc is probably going to be high and no one is going to escape happily. I’ve never had a thought of , “Well, this oughta end just swell for this character!”, when listening to a Carach Angren album, instead just counting down the minutes until their inevitable end.
Editor’s Note: KevinP and I are sharing this post, even though he doesn’t know he’s having to share it with me. In the first part you’ll find another installment in his “Get To the Point” interview series, in which he puts a handful of questions to Lioc F., the main man behind the multinational industrial/death/drone/doom band Autokrator. And after the interview, I have a few thoughts about Autokrator’s self-titled debut album, which was released digitally earlier this year and is due for physical release by Iron Bonehead on May 29.
“GET TO THE POINT”
K: Since you are a fairly new band, (formed in 2014) and I know nothing about your origins, please tell us about Autokrator?
L: Autokrator was born out of the ashes of my former project, N.K.V.D. I wanted to turn on a death-drone side for years, still with industrial influences, so I created Autokrator. And I recorded the album with musicians I was in connection with.
(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a full stream of Perdition, the debut album by Italy’s Necrosy.)
In recent years the Italian metal scene, and specifically the death metal scene, has been taking the metal community by storm with a never-ending barrage of top-notch releases and a seemingly endless supply of new bands popping up all the time.
Here at NCS, we’ve kept our eye on this region and have written about it countless times, from the country’s most well-known powerhouse acts to its plethora of new talent. In the spirit of our love affair with the rampaging and vicious death metal that Italy churns out with ease, we bring your attention to an up-and-coming new band called Necrosy, with this early stream of their soon-to-be-released debut full-length, Perdition.
Those with long memories may recall that last October we reviewed two tracks that had surfaced from a forthcoming demo by the Swiss band Antiversum. Since then the Irish label Invictus Productions has arranged for the release of the demo — entitled Total Vacuum — and we now bring you the premiere of all four of its songs, in all their horrifying glory.
The demo is well-named in one sense: Total Vacuum creates an atmosphere of bone-freezing gloom, summoning immense vistas of a heartless, malignant cosmos. The demo begins and ends with eerie ambient sounds that include deep groaning tones and piercing electronic shrieks, effectively summoning sensations of dread and implacable menace. But in between those chilling bookends, Antiversum embark on a void-faring excursion that’s loaded with harrowing encounters. There is life in this vacuum, even if it is utterly alien and frighteningly voracious. And unlike a vacuum, it’s massively heavy and disturbingly oppressive.
(Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming sixth studio album from the Ukrainian band Kroda — GinnungaGap-GinnungaGaldr-GinnungaKaos — and we also have for you the premiere of the album’s fourth track, “Чорні Хребти Карпат” (Carpathian Black Spines).
There are some albums you just never really get on with. Not that they’re necessarily bad, but albums you just don’t “click” with, for whatever reason. Where the pieces just don’t seem to line up properly and the overall package just seems lacking.
Then there are albums that you fall in love with instantly, where even their tiniest flaws seem to have a necessary place in the grand scheme of things.
This is one of those albums.
(Wil Cifer reviews Aldafǫðr Ok Munka Dróttinn (“Óðinn and the God of the Monks”), the new album by the Icelandic/German pagan metal band Arstidir Lifsins.)
This trio features members of Helrunar and Carpe Noctem, so you know they are going to get at least the Viking parts right.
It starts with a twelve-minute epic, with the first three minutes building up to the metal being introduced. Largely there is a chorus of baritones bellowing out the vocals, but these give way to black metal snarls. The first and second songs run into each another, as if this were a Wagnerian opera. Like opera, the sensual magnitude of the scenes they are creating here is impressive.
At times you might be inclined to refer to the music as blackened folk metal — the third song has some old-school black metal nastiness to it — though the bass playing is raised to an audible level, where many black metal bass players stay submerged beneath the waves. Here the theatrics that take center stage, rather than trying to recreate any pagan folk elements, more often work within the song rather than making it feel overblown, though in some portions of the album they come across more like interludes rather than the style of a band like Negura Bunget, who use those elements more fully as working parts of the song.
One of the most marvelous things about music, of any kind, is that it’s an inherently interactive experience. No two people will hear music in exactly the same way, because what we hear is necessarily influenced by who we are, by our own life experiences, by the turn of our own imaginations, by the entire complex of ingredients that make up our own unique identities. And what we hear may not be entirely consonant with what the creators of the music were feeling or intended when they made the music.
There’s a reason why I’m starting this post with those thoughts, and I’ll come back to it at the end. But for now, let me tell you some other things about the new (third) album by Chicago’s FIN — The Furrows of Tradition — and about the song from the album that we’re premiering today: “Bliss Apparition of Sunlight”.
Some black metal albums are rightly described as icy cold. The Furrows of Tradition is hot-blooded. It’s a boiling inferno, overheated to the point of running a life-threatening fever. To mix my metaphors (which I have a tendency to do when carried away by an album), it’s a rip-roaring black metal hurricane that rushes by with torrential speed and power and leaves you breathless in its wake.
(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Nightrage.)
Nightrage are a band who seem to exist by force of will. They have gone through numerous lineup changes and, across their discography, a whole smattering of frontmen have appeared, many of whom are names within the realm of melodeath. Since 2011′s underrated Insidious, an album that is easily one of their best and pretty much the spiritual sequel to earlier release Sweet Vengeance (including cameos by the same musicians who appeared on that album), Nightrage have once again found themselves in flux — with members leaving and then slowly being replaced. In the end, Nightrage have become a much smaller group than they were before, with founding guitarist Marios Iliopoulos and bassist Anders Hammer being the remaining constants. They are joined by new vocalist Ronnie Nyman to complete the three-piece that is the current incarnation of Nightrage.
Needless to say, four years is a long time for a band to be out of the limelight, and their new album The Puritan is itself a slimmer beast, one with sleeker and more to-the- point songs that reflect Nightrage’s new, slimmer line-up. It also shows that despite their ever-in-flux membership, Nightrage are still damned good at hitting a melodeath fan right in the pleasure centers of the brain.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Leviathan.)
Let’s address the corpse-painted elephant in the room right away, shall we?
No, not that one… this one. You see, I consider this album my first real exposure to Leviathan. Oh I’ve heard the music before now, in different ways and at different times, but Scar Sighted is the first time I’ve ever sat down and really listened.
And what an album it is. Marrying its frostbitten spite and blackened vitriol to a more forward-thinking, dare I say progressive, ambition, it takes a melding of the old and the new and beats them black and blue until the necessary sonic form is achieved, bearing both its borrowed influences and its harrowing inspiration with unashamed pride.
It’s vicious, it’s tormented, it’s utterly uncompromising and… in its own way… horribly beautiful.