About 10 days ago two Louisiana bands released a two-song split on Bandcamp which proves again that some of the best music these days is flying under the radar on the wings of short, unheralded releases.
One of the two bands is a new name to me, Withering Light from Hammond, Louisiana. Their song is named “Lantern”, and it’s a shining example of post-black metal done very well.
At the beginning, and returning again at the end, guitar notes ring out like the pealing of alien bells over a heavy, grinding low end. That reverberating melody proves to be very seductive, but so is the rest of the song, which features jabbing, start-stop riffs, acrobatic drumwork, tumbling bass licks, and a very nice dual-guitar harmony, as well as inflamed, scarring vocals.
According to Metal-Archives, Cleveland-based Nunslaughter have released more than 140 recordings, only four of which have been full-length albums, the rest mostly consisting of splits, EPs, and live albums. Hells Headbangers is releasing two more splits this fall, and I spent some time with both of them this past weekend. I reviewed the first one, a split with Perversor, here.
According to Metal-Archives, Cleveland-based Nunslaughter have released more than 140 recordings, only four of which have been full-length albums, the rest mostly consisting of splits, EPs, and live albums. Hells Headbangers is releasing two more splits this fall, and I spent some time with both of them this past weekend.
In this split with a relatively new Chilean band named Perversor, Nunslaughter contribute two tracks — “Impure Thoughts” and “Bless the Dead”. “Impure Thoughts” is a thick, black, boiling cauldron of riff liquor, a mix of d-beat rhythms, skin-flaying black thrash, and grisly corpse-crawling death metal. “Bless the Dead” switches up the beats and the styles, too, and at its core is a head-wrecking chug-stomp, catchy as fuck and impurified with a wash of vocal pollutants. The songs are gone before you know it, but it’s a sweet trip while it lasts.
When I started this site almost five years ago I picked the name “NO CLEAN SINGING” not so much to announce a rigid rule we intended to follow about the site’s content but more as a protest against something that had happened to the music of one band I used to care a lot about — Bury Your Dead. Matt Bruso had left the band to teach school and he had been replaced by Myke Terry, who introduced clean singing into their music, and the music just seemed to lose some of its weight all the way around.
Even though my musical tastes have evolved in increasingly extreme directions and I’ve lost touch with a lot of what’s happening in whatever scene is left of the one BYD inhabited, I still keep the early BYD albums in my car and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of them.
So, when a Facebook friend recently posted a link to a brand new EP named Weightbearer by a Spanish band named Dremenuart and made comparisons to the”über-low-tuned hardcore metal” of bands like early BYD, that pushed the right button and I had to check it out. I’m so very glad I did.
Today the Elemental Nightmares project released the fourth of the seven vinyl splits in the series, with a fourth segment (above) of what will eventually become one massive piece of artwork for the series as a whole — and as of today it’s also now available for download on Bandcamp.
I’ve been especially looking forward to this split because it features two old favorites of this site — Canopy and Obitus — as well as two new ones, Harasai and Kall.
Last summer we had the pleasure of premiering the tracks by Canopy and Harasai, and I’m going to include the accompanying write-up below, along with thoughts about the Obitus and Kall tracks. In a nutshell, this is a great quartet of pleasingly diverse songs.
According to The Font of All Human Knowledge:
Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country’s aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride; for the symphonic cycle Má vlast (“My Homeland”), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer’s native land; and for his First String Quartet, From My Life.
“My Fatherland” is described as a cycle of six symphonic poems. Interestingly, according to the article quoted above, it was composed after illness had rendered Smetana completely deaf in both ears. The second part of the cycle is entitled “Vltava” and it was finished in late 1874. As the article explains, it was named for, and inspired by, “the river that runs through Prague towards its junction with the Elbe [and] is Smetana’s best-known and most internationally popular orchestral composition”.
And why, you may ask, am I writing about Smetana and “Vltava“? Because the Czech black metal band Cult of Fire have recorded a two-song EP dedicated to the composer and will be releasing it on 7″ vinyl through Iron Bonehead Productions on the 140th anniversary of Smetana’s completion of “Vltava“: December 8, 2014. This is the band’s fourth studio release overall, and thus it’s entitled Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně (The Fourth Symphony of Fire), with cover art created by David Glomba.
I’ve included in this post reviews of two new short releases that I strongly recommend to lovers of infernal music.
This five-person German black metal band whose members don’t publicize their identities released a 2009 demo (With Burning Tongues), an EP (Fire and Faith) in 2010, and then a full-length album (Consolamentum) later the same year. After the passage of nearly four years, they have now returned with a two-song release named Deathless Light that the World Terror Committee will release on Samhain (October 31).
Of the two songs on this release, both of which are long, the title track will appear on a forthcoming full-length album, while the second — “Garden of Stone” — was recorded exclusively to this release. Both songs are tremendously effective in creating atmospheres that are staggeringly heavy, grim, and often sorrowful — yet they are both charged with energy and passion, and the mainly clear production only magnifies their black power.
About 10 days ago we had the pleasure of premiering (here) a lyric video for “The Final Outcome”, the title track to a new EP by a Roman band named Black Therapy. Today we’re bringing you the official stream of the entire EP in advance of its official release tomorrow — preceded by this review.
There are four tracks on the EP, three of them original songs and one of them a cover. I already wrote about the title song that it was one of the most satisfying injections of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal I’d heard all year, and that turns out to be true of the second track as well, “Black Crow”.
Both songs are high-voltage gallops, with jolting verse riffs, sweeping choruses, and the kind of rapidly swirling lead guitar melodies that may cause you to form your hands into claws and lift them toward the heavens — while you bang your head like a crazy person.
I’m still more than 2,500 miles from home as a result of the old fucking day job, with precious little time to call my own, but I did take some breaks last night and early this morning, just long enough too explore three short releases that I’ve been meaning to check out. All of them are good, all of them are on Bandcamp, and all of them are either wholly or partly in the realms of black metal.
I can’t remember which of my Facebook friends linked to this two-song EP, but whoever you are, thank you.
Jøtnarr are a three-man group from Colchester, England, and the title of that two-song EP, which is their most recent release (from December 2013), is Divide the Growth and Stone. Last month they were featured as “Band of the Day” at Terrorizer (here), along with an interview by Kez Whelan, and that may have been how my FB friend stumbled upon them.
I learned about Finland’s Less Than Three through an e-mail from my old web friend fireangel (Night Elves), who for many years has made it her mission to focus on and spread the word about Finnish music.
The band started as a bedroom project of one Jesse Soiletsalo (ex-Medicated) in 2010, but in time he recruited quite an impressive line-up of allies to record the music he had composed: drummer Samuli Mikkonen (Profane Omen), vocalist Tommy Tuovinen (MyGrain), bass-player Pyry Hanski (ex-Before the Dawn, Mörbid Vomit), and second guitarist Ari-Pekka Repo (ex-Murdershock).
They recorded a self-titled EP and released it in March 2013, and this month they’ve released a second one, entitled The Black Box, with vicious cover art by Jussi Salolainen – or at least they’ve released it for listening. Announcements about a physical or digital release are yet to come.