This post is divided into three parts. It includes a review of the new EP, AYFKM, by Colorado’s Call of the Void, which will be released by Translation Loss on December 16. You’ll also find a brief interview of the band that offers some insights into the music, the EP’s title, and the cover art.
But first, I’d like to ask you to watch the following video trailer for the EP, which we’re debuting here. I’m going to stifle my usual tendency to give away the game and spoil surprises. I think after you see it, and hear it, you’ll be even more interested in the other two parts of this post — or at least you’ll want to hear more music from the EP. I can help you with that, too.
Last month we premiered a song from the debut EP Döda Vägar by the mysterious Swedish band Mylingar. At that time I decided to defer my thoughts about the EP as a whole, with the idea of completing a review closer to the release date. That’s one plan I managed to complete, and just in the nick of time, because the EP is being released today by Amor Fati Productions and can now be heard in full.
The music on the EP is a nightmarish hybrid of black and death metal that seems designed with the objective of inflicting torment and terror on a thermonuclear scale. It ignites one violent hurricane of hate after another, each song ravaging the listener’s head with horrendous and even stupefying power. The effect is to produce the kind of adrenaline surge in the listener that I imagine is akin to a near-death experience in a midnight war zone, where you’re surrounded by combatants that aren’t fully human.
Lots of people are starting to make year-end lists, and we’re continuing to gear up for our own LISTMANIA extravaganza (we invited our readers to begin sharing their lists here earlier today), but time hasn’t stood still for all that: New songs and new albums continue to roll out, and I continue to make lists of what I come across.
Here are new songs from seven bands among the many that grabbed me over the last week. I decided to use a different title for this collection than the usual “Seen and Heard” heading, for reasons that will become evident as you listen.
Aksaya are a French band whose new album Kepler will be co-released by Satanath Records (Russia), More Hate Productions (Russia), and The Ritual Productions (The Netherlands) on December 15. Two songs are now available for listening, the first of which is a free download at Bandcamp: “Anomalie, Prélude À La Découverte” and “Non Morietur”.
Let’s have a show of hands: How many of you are fans of Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket? Well, quite a lot of you, though I can’t say I’m surprised. Now, raise your hand if you remember the name that Private Gomer Pyle gave his M14 rifle, the one he ultimately used as the instrument of his own destruction. Not quite as many… but those of you who remembered “Charlene” got it right.
The band whose debut EP we’re premiering today remember it, too — the name they chose for themselves, Charlene Beretah, is a tribute to that movie. And their music turns out to be just as dark, depraved, and depressive. In fact, the EP’s name is Depraved / A Very Long Week, which combines the names of the two songs you’ll find there.
Here in the good old U.S. of A. it’s Thanksgiving Day today, and so to all of our American readers, I want to wish you a happy fucking Thanksgiving. And if you’re puzzling over what to be thankful for, I have some new metal for you. You’re welcome.
That’s right, while the rest of the miscreants in U.S. metal blogdom are acting like normal, reasonably well-adjusted people and taking the day off, I’m still here like a good samaritan at the soup kitchen, feeding you nourishing metal so you won’t think no one cares about you, at least for today. As usual, I’ll also post something new on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this long “holiday” weekend, not because I’m better than anyone else but because I obviously have an undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Because it’s Thanksgiving, this holiday edition of what we normally call Seen and Heard is overstuffed, which is the condition of most Americans by the end of this day. So get ready to gorge yourself through the earholes with music from a dozen bands.
(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new split by Acherontas from Greece and Slidhr from Ireland.)
A good split-release, such as the Nightbringer/Dødsengel effort Circumambulations of the Solar Inferno, the recent Ur Draugr/Haar tag-team, or any of the multitude of Misery Index splits, can be a great place for a band to explore ideas and themes which – for whatever reason – might not fit as part of a full album or which they simply want to stand on their own, while also allowing them the chance to “share the stage” (as it were) with another act of a similar outlook and ethos.
In rare cases, such as last year’s unholy alliance between Dragged Into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues, or the much more recent collaboration between Selvans and Downfall of Nur, both of which err closer to the album than the EP side of things, the split release becomes a true amalgam of both bands, giving birth to something wholly unique in the process.
But, however the bands involved choose to approach it, a good split-release is always an opportunity to make a statement, and this new five-track split (3 by the godless Greeks, 2 by the Irish idolaters) from Acherontas and Slidhr makes one very simple statement of intent indeed… we bleed black, and breathe fire, and we will not be denied our due.
Once again I find myself drowning in attractive new black metal. I’ve assembled some of my new discoveries in this post and have in mind pulling together a second round-up for tomorrow — but yes, I do remember how foolish it is for part-time, half-witted metal bloggers to make forecasts of what they’ll do in the future. I’ll just say… maybe.
This is one of those times when all of the underground bands featured here are newcomers to our site, and I’ve bent the framework of this series a bit with the last band, which is more in the vein of death than black metal. Hope you find something to like…
Oh look! Another Icelandic black metal band! There seem to be more of them than there are snowflakes in Iceland, but on the other hand, I haven’t yet been disappointed by any of them. I was particularly unable to resist the lure of Draugsól (as if I wanted to) when I saw the fantastic cover art by Moonroot Art for their debut album, Volaða Land.
I’ve been racking up the airline miles lately. I got back to Seattle late last night after a whirlwind trip to New York for my day job, one in which I probably spent as much time in airport security lines and on airplanes as I did in New York. Beautiful time of year to be there, though.
You may also have noticed that we’ve had a flood of premieres this week. Four more are coming today. Between traveling and writing all those premieres, I haven’t had time to pull together round-ups, and man, this has been a week when multiple round-ups would have been justified. With so much to choose from, I’ve impulsively picked these three bands. The plan is to put together more round-ups for tomorrow and Saturday in an effort to catch up.
A few days ago the mighty Swiss juggernaut Bölzer released another song from their new album Hero, which will be released on November 25 through Iron Bonehead Productions. The first song that appeared, “I Am III”, was more than 10 minutes long — a dramatic, majestic, dark, brooding, esoteric, and triumphant piece in which the band moved in some dynamic new directions. The latest track, “Spiritual Athleticism“, is a more compact affair and perhaps more in line with what we were expecting based on Bölzer‘s previous releases.
(Todd Manning provides this review of a debut EP by the Texas band Monte Luna.)
Austin, Texas duo Monte Luna have just released their debut two-song demo on Bandcamp at the name-your-price level, and it would be best if you didn’t sleep on this one. Mixing equal parts Doom, Sludge, and Dark Psychedelic vibes, they create an atmosphere of tasteful heaviness, full of subtle menace.
“Father Arbitor” kicks things off with bits of noise swirling around while a sample invokes the dark spirits overseeing the material. James Cl’s guitar is distant and striking, heavy but not overtly so. The gravity of the track comes from Phil Hook’s immense beats, slow and tectonic. The vocals sound like they blew in on the wind, ghosts creeping at the edge of the campfire. While it would be mistake to say this isn’t heavy, atmosphere seems to take center stage.
During this past weekend two very good German bands released a split in which each of them covers a song by the almighty Bathory. The bands are Ultha and Morast. The split is available on Bandcmp now and will be released on 7″ vinyl by Vendetta Records (Halo of Flies will have copies for U.S. distro). The songs will also be included in a Bathory Tribute Compilation to be released later this year by CVLT Nation. Here are a few thoughts about the split, plus streams of the songs:
In March of this year I posted (here) an interview of this new German black metal band along with a stream of a song from their debut album Pain Cleanses Every Doubt, which was originally released by a group of European labels last year and then re-released in April 2016 by Translation Loss Records.
And then in August I also reviewed the band’s new EP, Dismal Ruins. Both releases were so very good that I was eager to hear Ultha’s cover song for this new split.