(We present Andy Synn’s interview of Keenan Nathan Oakes, vocalist for South Africa’s Wildernessking, whose new album Andy reviewed here.)
Spoiler alert: Mystical Future, the second album by South Africa’s most majestic of Metal exports, Wildernessking, is likely to feature very prominently on either my Critical or Personal lists of favourite albums at the end of the year (if not both). I’ve loved this album since the first time I heard it, and I was lucky enough to hear it far earlier than most.
I’ve also been lucky enough to grab the band’s vocalist Keenan Nathan Oakes for this interview, where we get to go deeper into the motivation and inspirations behind Mystical Future, as well as a bunch of other topics which I’m sure you’ll find most illuminating!
(In this post Grant Skelton reviews the new EP by Finland’s The Lone Madman — an exception to our “rule”.)
“…Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the world, per capita…” If President Obama himself is aware of Finland’s contributions to heavy metal, then it would certainly behoove us at No Clean Singing to follow suit (and obviously not for the first time). Children Of Bodom, Ensiferum, Shape Of Despair, Amorphis, Omnium Gatherum, Swallow The Sun, Skepticism, Insomnium. And those are only a scant few!
I must give credit to the stellar blog The Shrieks From Below for my discovery of Helsinki’s The Lone Madman. In recent years, I’ve become quite a doom hoarder. You know what they say. “Listening to doom all day keeps the reaper at bay.” If you’ve enjoyed the recent resurgence in heavy, traditional, and/or epic doom from Crypt Sermon, Below, and Pilgrim, then The Lone Madman are the cushion for your proverbial casket.
(DGR reviews the new album by Sweden’s In Mourning, with a full album stream at the end.)
On May 20th, In Mourning released the fourth album of their career with Afterglow. To lay all of our cards on the table up front, Afterglow is a great disc — but to really understand how and why Afterglow is great, you need to take a deep dive into In Mourning’s history so you can see what led the band to this point, because the album feels like the most natural evolution of their sound yet.
In Mourning are one of those bands for whom each album has sounded different from the others. A few genres have combined over the years to define their sound, and one of those key tenets has been a large swath of Euro-doom. The album that sowed the seeds of that was their first release, 2008’s Shrouded Divine. Shrouded Divine is also the disc where the group’s reputation as something of a critical darling was launched, drawing comparisons to bands such as Opeth — likely due to the occasional clean-sung break the group snuck in and the prevelant melo-death sound that wormed its way throughout Shrouded Divine’s run.
(Allen Griffin reviews the new self-titled 7″ EP by Hissing.)
Seattle trio Hissing is one of the latest additions to Southern Lord’s formidable roster and they are poised to release their self-titled 7″ in early June. Consisting of two crushing tracks, a little over eleven minutes of music, their sound can be described as an amalgamation of abyss-trawling blast beats, thick gutter sludge, and oppressive, mysterious atmosphere.
While drawing from a range of influences, Deathspell Omega, Portal, and Autopsy are the most obvious touchstones, and while these are not uncommon influences in the current scene, Hissing succeed where others often fail. There is a certain x-factor bands of this ilk rarely possess, but Hissing seem to have in spades. The material here, inspired by the human psyche trying to survive in hostile urban environments, is utterly convincing in both composition and execution.
I continue my efforts to char your weekend to a crisp with this second part of a two-part post I started yesterday, collecting music in a blackened vein that I’d like to recommend. This collection is heavy on blackened death metal rather than unadulterated black metal, with a couple of other twists and turns thrown in. Yesterday’s offerings were mostly on the melodic side of the extremity scale. We’ll eventually get to something like that today, but not until the end. In the meantime, prepare for some monstrous, apocalyptic experiences.
I discovered Sxuperion only this past January through the band’s split release with a Nebraska black metal band named Verräter (discussed here), although Sxuperion had preceded that split with two full-length albums and an array of shorter releases. For those who might not be familiar with Sxuperion, it’s the solo project of the drummer (Matthew) for two other excellent bands, Valdur and Weverin.
Over the last week I’ve accumulated a long list of new advance tracks and recent releases that I’d like to recommend. As usual, it’s too much stuff for me to cover completely or in depth. What I’m planning to do is make two collections for this weekend, focusing on black (and blackened) metal, and then compile some additional releases for a Seen and Heard post on Monday. So here’s the first part of a two-part Shades of Black post; the second one will appear tomorrow.
Sol Sistere are a Chilean melodic/atmospheric black metal band composed of veteran members from other groups. Their debut album Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum (which follows a 2014 EP on the Pest Productions label) is set for CD release on June 6 by Hammerheart Records, but a digital version of the album has recently become available for download on the label’s Bandcamp page.
Hammerheart describes the music as a “combination of past elements such as Dissection, Vinterland and Dawn, completed by influences of today” — referring to such bands as Altar of Plagues, Drudkh, and Wodensthrone. These are all worthy reference points, and pretty accurate ones as well (though there’s also a noticeable post-metal ingredient in play as well). This album was intriguing on a first listen and my affections for it have only grown stronger with repeat spins. (The album cover by Misanthropic-Art is also fantastic.)
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Withered.)
Make no mistake, despite the almost six-year gap between albums, and a significant line-up shift in the intervening years — with Primitive Man’s Ethan McCarthy and renowned uber-bassist Colin Marston stepping in to replace the departed Mike Longoria and Dylan Kilgore – Atlantean (shut up, that’s the right word) filth-mongers Withered are back with a vengeance… even though I’ll admit Grief Relic didn’t quite “click” with me the first time around.
For me and many others, The Grim Muse by Poland’s In Twilight’s Embrace was one of 2015’s highlights — a multifaceted and uniformly strong melodic death metal album loaded with fantastic riffs, memorable lead-guitar melodies and solos, powerful performances by the rhythm section, and absolutely ferocious vocals. The band are now following that stand-out album with a new three-song EP entitled Trembling, which will be released by Arachnophobia Records on May 25 (which is also the day set for Arachnophobia’s release of a vinyl edition of The Grim Muse). Today we bring you a full stream of the new EP.
These three new songs were recorded by the band during the same sessions that produced The Grim Muse, but were set aside with the idea of this EP specifically in mind. True to the band’s penchant for creating variations in their core sound, each song is distinctive, no one of them quite like the other two — yet all three are both dark and blistering.
Is this too much? Songs, albums, and EPs from ten bands collected in a single post instead of divided up and spread out over time so you can have recovery periods in between the skull-fracturing? I’m afraid it might be too much, but obviously not afraid enough to change the plan. Mainly, I’m too impatient to share all this fine new metal to worry very much about your cranial integrity.
In fact, you can think of this as a test for the hardness of your skull. If you can make it to the end, you have a Granite-Level Skull and should consider applying for employment as a crash-test dummy. People with Eggshell Skulls might not make it through the first track; R.I.P. Those of you in between are degrees of semi-hard and semi-soft, kind of like cheese.
Three-and-a-half years have passed since I last wrote about this band from Bergen after discovering them through a listening session for a MISCELLANY post. But the opportunity for a rediscovery has arrived, because on June 27 Argonauta Records will release their new album, Ghost Empire.
(Allen Griffin reviews the last two albums by Norway’s Okkultokrati — which have recently been reissued by Southern Lord in advance of the band’s new album due later this year.)
In anticipation of their upcoming fourth full-length, Southern Lord is reissuing the second and third albums by Norway’s Okkultokrati, 2012’s Snakereigns and 2014’s Night Jerks, respectively. Both show a group at the top of their game, one with a unique identity but also one that’s constantly evolving.
Snakereigns is probably the heavier of the two, at least in the traditional sense. The sound is an amalgamation of metallic hardcore mixed with punishing bits of doom and sludge. What sets Okkultokrati apart, both then and now, is the pure bile they spit through the speakers, a mix of punk snarl and rock-and-roll swagger.