I have for you a big selection of new and newly discovered songs and videos that I’d like to recommend. As you can tell, I got tired of using the “Seen and Heard” title for these round-ups, at least for today. Also, the riffs really are the kings and queens of most of these songs (but not all). I’m presenting all this stuff in alphabetical order by band name. Genre-wise, the music is all over the place….
Ape Cave are from Portland, Oregon. At the end of May they released what I think is their debut EP, named Primordium (with the eye-catching cover art above). I found out about it through a link posted by a Facebook friend.
When you press “play” on the Bandcamp stream below, you’ll hear the EP’s final track first. It hooked me hard, and the other two songs are just as good. Ape Cave blend thick, heavy riffs and gut-rumbling percussion with psychedelic lead guitar machinations and raw, wretched vocal vituperation, creating a bleak and often disorienting atmosphere while punching hard enough to rattle your bones.
Today, Friday, July 31, Virginia’s Lost Apparition Records will release Hubris Aggression, the debut album of Bittered from York, PA, and we have a full stream of it to share with you.
Bittered was spawned in 2014 by Paul Folk, founder and long-time guitarist for the Maryland death metal band Exterminance and drummer Dennis Matos, both of whom had played together in other bands that had their roots in punk and grind. Paul Folk and Bittered’s vocalist Kasey Harrison are also members of a grind band called Police State. But although Bittered’s lyrical themes share a political focus with some of the members’ other projects, the music goes off in different musical directions — and there’s not much light at the end of those tunnels.
(Wil Cifer presents some thoughts about the new album by Chelsea Wolfe — Abyss.)
It is no secret that Chelsea Wolfe has managed to gather a fan base in the metal community without actually playing metal, aside from a Burzum cover. Rumors have been abounding that Abyss was going to be her metal album. Considering some of the stylistic shifts she has made with each album, going in a heavier direction would make sense — but how do the rumors line up against the actual album?
Well, this is a spoiler alert as to just how metal Abyss is.
(DGR has been pawing through great piles of new and forthcoming releases and has sifted out five of them especially deserving of praise.)
It has been a little bit since we’ve gotten a chance to do one of these — the chance to send me ping-ponging across the internet in a mad quest for new music, doing the equivelant of drunkenly stumbling into a band’s house after-hours, pulling up a chair, kicking my feet up on their table, and going, “So, tell me about yourself,” like I’m the leading authority on all things metal.
Sometimes, these Sifting articles tend to be built organically. At other times they’re built out of sheer desperation — a sense of “Oh god, I need to talk about this to some people now,” as we come across music. This one is a tad bit different, as it was brought on like most fun things in life, out of me opening my idiot mouth and promptly learning another lesson as to why, if I’m ever tempted to say anything, just to let it slide.
I’ve been part of the working world for ten years now, no longer a young’un by any means, but still stupid enough to occasionally slip up. You’d think by now I’d remember the #1 lesson of any workforce, which is to never, ever, EVER inform your boss of how much work you have left, especially when you’re getting to the downslope of your work pile. I made this mistake recently, gleefully informing my superiors that after I had done a certain number of reviews, I’d be in a holding pattern since most of the stuff that was coming out was spoken for — so really, that at the end of a certain week I’d be done for a bit.
(Austin Weber reviews the new album by a band we’ve been following since early days — Rivers of Nihil.)
While it’s only been two years since Rivers Of Nihil dropped their fantastic debut, The Conscious Seed Of Light, the band are already about to release their sophomore follow-up, Monarchy, at the end of August. It’s been interesting to see the band’s evolution from their more stripped-down beginnings to the truly top-shelf act they’ve become. After even a single listen to the record, it becomes clear that Monarchy is a big step up for their sound, achieving the potential that in some ways they only hinted at on The Conscious Seed Of Life — and I say that as someone who is a massive fan of their debut.
Their growth from then until now manifests itself in different ways, but arguably the biggest change is that the atmospheric quality present in “Mechanical Trees”, “Rain Eater” and “Airless” from the last record has become the direction the band have pursued throughout Monarchy. They have done this tastefully, overall adding an epic extra sheen to the music that contrasts well with whatever segment it’s paired with. Often it lends moments of pure esoteric beauty, not something you’d normally find in furious, technically-leaning death metal.
Yesterday afternoon, just as I was about to finish writing a “Shades of Black” collection of new and newly discovered black metal that I posted earlier this morning, I took one more glance at our e-mail box and found a message that had just arrived from a label called Media Tree Recordings. It announced the release of Terra Nullius, the debut album by a Montreal band named Spectral Wound (whose ranks include two former members of Ensorcelor).
I impetuously decided to listen to one song, thinking I might add it to that “Shades of Black” post. Without intending to, I listened to the entire album from start to finish — and began writing what you’re reading now before the album had even ended. It deserves a more carefully considered and meticulously crafted review than the one you’re about to read, but given how stretched I am for time and how limited I am in my abilities, I’m afraid the following impulsive words of praise will have to do.
Today is the day, the day when Hells Headbangers opens the cage door and allows Destruktor’s new album Opprobrium to run rampant across the world. It’s the band’s first full-length since Nailed emerged in 2009, and it’s one hell of an album.
The first minute and a half of “Priestiality” might seem at first blush to function as a statement of intent, its slow, dismal chords and funereal drum rhythm casting an aura of gloom right from the start. But slow and dismal isn’t really what Opprobrium is about. It’s about ripping big bleeding holes in your body while giving your head the kind of enthusiastic whipping it deserves.
With the exception of a few astutely placed breaks in the onslaught, Destruktor deliver one furious, fast-paced blast of energy after another, mixing together elements of black metal, thrash, and death metal into music that’s vicious but tremendously infectious (in both senses of the word).
(Andy Synn reviews the debut album by Philadelphia’s Hæthen.)
How strange… following on from the 60th edition of The Synn Report, which went up earlier this week [here], it seems like I’m sticking around in Philadelphia for another band – Black Metal misanthropists Hæthen, whose debut album Shaped by Aeolian Winds, was actually released wayyyyyy back in February of this year – however, to my endless shame, I’m only just discovering it now.
Still, what we have here, no more and no less, is a striking slab of evocative, highly atmospheric Black Metal – carefully crafted and refined by people who clearly know the genre like the back of their hands – and, while it may not be the most original or earth-shattering album ever produced, it remains a fine collection of deftly written, deeply impressive songs in its own right.
(Here’s Austin Weber’s review of the new Defect Designer album.)
Too often, we forget about killer releases after a song premiere we enjoy has passed out of memory before the record itself drops. Granted, this is not always true for everyone, or for everything that is released, but it is certainly something I have noticed. Which is why we are here today to talk about Defect Designer in spite of writing about them recently here at NCS.
Some of you may recall the premiere we did just a few weeks ago for a song (“The Terrible”) from Ageing Accelerator just a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, as a refresher, here is a written reminder to check out this fantastic new Defect Designer record now that it has been released.
(Here’s the final installment in a multi-part post that began last week, in which Austin Weber brings us his recommendations for some of the best albums released during the first half of the year. Part 1 is at this location, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.)
I know what some of you are thinking, that this is the somewhat well-known slam band from the UK who are also named Acrania. Well, it’s not. In fact, the UK Acrania broke up recently, and the one we are here to discuss today is based in Mexico City, having been a band far longer than the other Acrania anyways.
I first became acquainted with Fearless due to Eliran Kantor’s painted cover, which the artist shared on Facebook long before the album’s release. Yet, shamefully. I only got a chance to check out the record very recently. I’m really glad I did, because Acrania have a very interesting sound and take on mixing the old with the outlandish in pursuit of something new.