I continue to have a weakness for metal bands from Austin, Texas, the place where I was born and spent my formative years and to which I still return a couple of times a year. But I’m not so weak-minded about bands from Austin as to lose a sense of perspective about the music — and I’m pretty sure Unmothered’s new EP would have blown me away even if I’d grown up in Bangkok.
This new three-song offering is entitled U M B R A and it’s being released by Crowquill Records on May 26. Today we give you the chance to hear the EP for yourselves before jumping for it on the release date. Since you can listen for yourselves, I’m not sure there is much to be gained by writing about U M B R A, but I can’t help myself.
(Here, Andy Synn reviews two EPs by Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris that were distributed as limited-edition rewards for participation in the band’s successful crowd-funding campaign for financing of international tours.)
As much as I acknowledge that Citadel by Ne Obliviscaris is a fine-fettered beast of an album, one which rightly appeared on a lot of end-of-year lists, my personal feelings towards it are a bit more muted than some.
Oh, the instrumentation is certainly as flawless and inventive as anything you might care to mention, and the compositions impressively complex and creative, but to me the whole somehow seems less than the sum of its parts.
For one thing it’s clearly written to be almost self-consciously “progressive” in nature and this, combined with a few other things (the fact that there’s only three proper “songs”, the seeming disconnect between the clean vocals of Tim Charles and the rest of the material), means that it just doesn’t work for me in the same way their debut did.
And apparently I’m not alone in feeling that way.
Last weekend I randomly picked three new short releases and listened to them back-to-back. And then I listened to them again in reverse order. And then I crawled around on the floor for a while trying to find my brain, which had been dislodged and fallen out somewhere along the way. I think I found it, though it might have been a walnut that I lost last week.
Anyway, I’ve decided to review all three of these lovelies in the order in which I heard them (the first time). The first two releases in this collection have some things in common with each other, but they could both hardly be more different from the third one. I’m not saying you should necessarily listen to them back-to-back, and it may actually be unlikely that your tastes are configured (as mine are) in a way that will make all of this appealing to you. But I do hope you’ll give each one at least a taste-test.
Finland’s Vorum have recorded a new EP named Current Mouth (the cover of which is above). It will be released on CD by Sepulchral Voice Records on May 18, with vinyl coming later. It follows the band’s 2013 debut album Poisoned Void. Current Mouth will leave you bleeding at the mouth, and probably from other orifices, too.
Imagine you’re behind the wheel of a steroid-fueled muscle car going too fast through a hairpin curve on a mountain highway — and your brakes suffer catastrophic failure. You blast through the guard rail, briefly experience the thrill of flight, and then proceed to barrel down the mountain listening to your ride violently shake itself apart, bolt by bolt, while some inhuman horror in the back seat roars at you to stop fucking with the brakes and give it more gas.
You got that vision in your head? Okay, good. That’s kind of like what Ascended Dead’s new EP sounds like. If you don’t find the metaphor helpful, just picture your own brain: same thing will happen to it.
(Andy Synn has finally reached his limit. And it was The Monolith Deathcult who pushed him to the brink.)
That’s it. I’m done. I’ve had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!
As a writer/review/self-important member of the liberal media conspiracy, I’ve come across a lot in my time writing for this site and for the various other publications which I occasionally do some work for.
But never before has a band so blatantly tried to buy my favour. And it’s just unacceptable.
You see, this is about more than just my honour and integrity, more than just my (now suspiciously full) bank balance. It’s about Ethics in Death Metal Journalism, dammit!
“Well, well, well,” I said to myself, “this little release has all the earmarks of a winner”. First, the band is named The Dead Goats. Second, there’s a song on it called “Festering Boils” (which is a cover of a Repulsion song). Third, the font for the band logo on the EP’s cover looks like Entombed’s (plus there’s a big skull on there). And fourth, there’s a dude in the band’s promo pic who’s wearing goggles.
And that was all without even reading about the music, much less listening to it. The only drawback was the name of the EP — Don’t Go In the Tomb — because I want to go in the tomb! Fortunately, The Dead Goats didn’t really mean that. They seem to have first-hand knowledge of the tomb, and they’re very happy to take you on a guided tour.
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.
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.
Belgium’s Possession are moving from strength to hideous strength. They began precociously with their 2013 demo (His Best Deceit), took forward steps with their 2014 EP (Anneliese — reviewed here), and have made even more progress with their second EP, 1585-1646. Equal parts morbidly atmospheric and rifftastically raging, it’s an unholy union of black, death, and thrash metal that’s well worth adding to your musical arsenal.
The four songs on the EP are conceptually linked. As in the case of Anneliese, the band have taken as their subject matter the true story of a young woman who lost her life at the hands of religious zealots. Here, the misfortune befell a French woman named Adrienne D’Heur; the EP is named for the years of her life.
According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, she was arrested by the French Inquisition, tortured in an effort to compel her into confessing that she had entered into a pact with the Devil (she refused to confess), and was then burned to death. However, Possession have put their own spin on these events, as described in the press release that accompanied our promo of the EP:
(Austin Weber introduces our full streaming premiere of the debut release by Vermörd.)
Recently here at NCS, I wrote about a Maryland-based blackened death metal outfit named Vermörd. I can thank Islander for this since he steered me toward them, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. While my initial assessment of the band was positive, it was based only on a single track “Derodidymus”, which left me wanting more — a wish that was soon fulfilled upon getting to hear all of Dawn Of The Black Harvest recently.
After listening to all of it, my favorable impressions of the band have only grown, and I think that many of our readers will appreciate their multi-faceted and monstrous approach to destruction and mayhem from start to finish.