Greetings from Seattle and welcome to another edition of Shades of Black. I wasn’t able to prepare one of these installments last Sunday due to fucking off, so I’ve accumulated an especially large list of recent discoveries that I would like to write about. From that list I’ve selected blackened music from six bands to recommend.
The name Windfaerer will likely be a familiar one to our readers. Last year we premiered two songs from the band’s marvelous second album Tenebrosum and named one of those to our list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. What a nice surprise it was to discover that two days ago Windfaerer released more new music.
These new songs (three of them) appear on a three-way split by Windfaerer and two other Northeast bands, WolfCloak, and Dumal. The name of the split is Coniuratio Nigrum Atlantika. So far I’ve only listened to Windfaerer’s tracks, but they are predictably excellent.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the two bands who participated in the split release you’re about to hear — Bent Sea and To Dust — their collective rosters include current and former members of such groups as Napalm Death, Aborted, Soilwork, Abigail Williams, Black Dahlia Murder, Phobia, and Megadeth. And if that doesn’t seize your attention, then consider this: The two EPs that are combined in this album-length split under the title Ascend / Descend will explode your head — and who doesn’t crave a massive head explosion?
If you’re somehow still wavering, consider the assessment of Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan:
“Bent Sea come out firing on all cylinders with their kick ass blend of modern grind and discordant musings with hints of later-era Gorguts, leaving To Dust to finish you off with a scathing hardcore attack of HM-2 influenced grind!”
Ascend / Descend will be released by Give Praise Records on July 22, and one solitary day before its release we’re bringing you a full stream of this dynamic grindcore detonation. Let’s take these two groups and their contributions to the split one at a time.
You’re about to hear the new EP of a monstrous Japanese band named Urobilinemia, which will be released by Gore House Productions on July 22. It’s a bit outside our usual wheelhouse(s). In fact, as I began listening to it, I wondered whether it was too far outside. And then I lost my mind.
When most people say they lost their mind, they just mean they temporarily misplaced it, or it escaped briefly but will come home again soon, happily wagging its tail. In my case, I fear that Urobilinemia have pulverised, pureed, and poisoned the contents of my skull so ruthlessly that reassembly may be impossible. How do you reassemble something that has been reduced to a quivering mass of goo?
In yesterday’s Part 1 of this large round-up, I said I would post Part 2 later the same day. Someday I will learn that part-time metal bloggers who have actual paying jobs and/or families who occasionally need their attention should not make forecasts of what they plan to do on the blog. Not even what they think they will accomplish later the same day, or even in the next hour. That’s just laying the groundwork for stepping on your own crank, so to speak.
Anyway, here’s Part 2, which unlike yesterday focuses on new or newish music that I wanted to recommend rather than simply announcements. One silver lining to the delay is that it enabled me to add the first item in this collection, which appeared late yesterday.
HEAVEN SHALL BURN
Our small band of beleaguered writers at NCS includes some ardent (perhaps even slavish) fans of Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn. I count my own self on the slavish end of the spectrum. And so yesterday was a banner day, because…
(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by The Comancheros, headquartered in Columbia, Missouri.)
As my third and final entry this week on the theme of bands beginning with “The” I’m venturing a little bit outside of our usual wheelhouse with the smooth and smoky brand of musical misery served up by The Comancheros.
But Andy, how are these guys in any way relevant to the NCS audience, I hear you ask?
Well, for one thing, one of their members just so happens to be a certain R. Michael Cook of the inimitable A Hill To Die Upon (who, I have it on good authority, are back in the saddle and working on new music themselves), and for another The Comancheros list their main influences as “Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson, Judas Priest, and Dwight Yoakam”, which suggests to me that one or two of you might just find something to like on their new EP, Four Horsemen.
Caligari Records has unearthed yet another underground gem, this time excavating the self-titled debut EP of Peruvian death-bringers Evil Priest from the dank pit of abomination where they dwell. In advance of the EP’s release later this week, we have overcome our fearful cowering in the face of this monstrosity and deliver unto you a full stream of its four tracks.
The opening number, “Icarus”, is the only part of the album that doesn’t try to maim and dismember the listener. Though not as violent and horrifying as what comes next, “Icarus” is still unsettling, an eerie collage of rushing wind, bird calls, chimes, and an exotic melodic chant that together function as a foreboding meditation before the storm breaks.
Diabolical’s new EP Umbra — which we give you the chance to hear in full today — is a multifaceted obsidian gem. Atmospherically forbidding and possessed of a grim, doomed grandeur for most of its length, Umbra is also savage — and at times wistful and meditative. It’s so well-conceived and expertly performed that it has the capacity to carry listeners away and hold them in thrall, while also triggering fierce surges of adrenaline.
Umbra also reflects changes in style since the band’s last release, the 2013 concept album Neogenesis. Gone are the symphonic arrangements and massed choral voices, yet even in the absence of these elements the music is still often shrouded in an aura of forbidding majesty — as well as implacable menace.
Yesterday I posted the first half of what was supposed to be a two-part post collecting recent advance tracks and full releases in a blackened vein that I wanted to recommend to you. When I finished Part 1, I had music from three more bands collected for Part 2. Sure enough, between then and now I found a lot more stuff that got me excited. And since we’re celebrating Independence Day here in the States, I might as well go big.
So, I’ve expanded this edition of Shades of Black into a three-part post, with the final segment coming tomorow. Please enjoy this jumbo fireworks display as we all strive for our own independence.
Kampfar previously released a fantastic video for one of the tracks (“Daimon”) from last year’s excellent Profan album (reviewed here), and today they premiered another one. This video is for “Tornekratt“, and to quote from the site that handled the premiere, it’s “a nightmare vision of the end of the world featuring a vast demon wielding a fiery whip over the last remnants of humanity, a grotesque take on the last supper, monolithic hooded deities serving judgement and all manner of cinematic suffering.”
“Explosive” is a good one-word summary of False Divinity, the new EP by Germany’s Pequod that’s set for release on July 5th. “Vortic-Death-Thrash”, which is the band’s own label for their music, is accurate, too. It is indeed a vortex of skull-crushing death metal and electrifying thrash, and as you’re about to find out through the full stream in this post, it includes other qualities that make it a lot of vicious fun to hear over and over again.
If you’re new to this band, we’re told that they first came to life in early 1998, and since then they’ve released a pair of demos, a self-titled EP in 2004, and a debut album named Forgotten in 2011. And because they chose the name of Captain Ahab’s whaling ship for their own name, Ahab can’t be considered the only German metal band with an affinity for Moby Dick.
I meant to post this yesterday, but my job continues to mess with me. What I did here was to collect some new singles and a couple of new EPs that I found two nights ago while using the internet to crawl through the underground. I like all this stuff and thought you might also find something in here that strikes the right chord.
In this globe-trotting expedition the music consists mainly of various shades and phases of death metal (much of it “blackened”) by five bands, hence the title of this post.
Verbum are based in Chile, and their debut EP Processio Flagellates was originally released on tape by the Chilean label Penitenziagite Records, although it’s now also available as a download at Bandcamp.