Here are a few things that caught my eye yesterday.
There aren’t many bands that all the long-tenured writers at this site like, but West Virginia’s Byzantine are one of them. Their 2013 comeback album got loads of praise here and elsewhere, and so we were stoked to find out that the band had launched a crowd-funding campaign to help finance production of a new album — To Release Is To Resolve.
That campaign surpassed its goal (though contributions can still be made here, which will get you a pre-order of the album), and yesterday brought the announcement that the band have now finished recording all the music for the new record, with only Chris “OJ” Ojeda’s vocal tracking left to be done. But one thing will happen first — and that’s the second piece of Byzantine news we want to spread around: Beginning today, the band are embarking on a tour that will run through the end of October, with Thy Will Be Done and IKILLYA. The dates are after the jump…
I’m pathetically late in reviewing this split. My shame is magnified by the fact that I first heard the album months ago and knew from the first listen that it was one of the best I’d heard all year. It still is.
Each of these bands — Mexico’s Majestic Downfall and Australia’s The Slow Death — contribute three long songs, collectively totaling more than 67 minutes of doom.
The first of Majestic Downfall’s songs, “The Dark Lullaby”, is full of contrasts and is impressively dynamic, both in its pacing and in its changing moods. It joins together massive guitar tone and huge, brutish bass hammers with light, ringing acoustic guitar harmonies. It incorporates melodies that are both entrancing and drenched in sorrow. It pairs gargantuan roars that come up from some bottomless abyss with harrowing howls that convey sensations of intense anguish. Slow, skull-splitting riffs and gut-punching drums cohabit the song with ripping tremolo- and blastbeat-driven storm fronts. And in the song’s second half, you’re treated to a squalling guitar solo that will seize your attention, followed by a heavy guitar motif that wouldn’t be out of place in a Scandinavian-styled melodic death metal anthem.
I really, really, really want to go to Eistnaflug, and not simply because I can then say I’ve been to a festival named “flying testicles”. I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a long time, and I’m wanting to visit even more now that the festival organizers have announced the three newest additions to the line-up:
This brings the number of confirmed bands to 15, and the lineup just keeps getting better and better.
On October 24 Season of Mist will be reissuing Mantiis, the debut album by Obsidian Kingdom from Barcelona, Spain, and today we’re premiering an official video for one of its fourteen bites — a song called “Ball-Room”.
The video was shot and directed by the band and Oyeme! Studio in a damp basement. In the band’s words, it’s a “shocking visual tale portraying sex, death, and a good load of frenzied pleasures… not recommended for the faint of heart. Don’t forget to wash your eyes after you’ve watched it.”
That’s certainly a fair warning, to which I’ll add “NSFW”. Looks like it was one hell of a party, and a damned site more lively than most parties I go to these days.
I got carried away with a lot of rifftastic death metal malignancy in yesterday’s round-up’s, so I thought I’d move in more varied directions today. The following new and newish songs are among those I found in my trawling through the interhole yesterday, after siphoning off the effluent that would sicken you, plus one find by my comrade in arms Austin Weber. Prepare for brain spasms and spinal trauma.
I enjoyed the hell out of this Philadelphia band’s last release, the 2013 EP SolarBipolar (reviewed here). Just to give you a flavor of my reaction to it (and because if I don’t quote myself, who will?), here’s an excerpt from my review:
This is the kind of music that will give your neck muscles a real workout while dosing you with a narcotic addictiveness that will pull you back for another hit, and another. I know. I have plenty of other things to do, but I’ve been jamming this little three-song smasher over and over again.
You see that guy up there straddling that futuristic city like a colossus, preparing to unleash arcane energies upon its helpless inhabitants? If you want to know what’s going through his head, the answer is a vision of a Bloodshot Dawn and the music on a new album named Demons. The first advance song from the album (“Smoke and Mirrors”) premiered earlier this month, and now a second one is out.
This new one is named ‘The Image Faded”, and holy hell, it features solos from Chris Amott, Per Nilsson, Andy James, and Teemu Mäntysaari, as well as the band’s own hot shit guitar duo of Josh McMorran and Ben Ellis. I don’t think guitars get erections, but if they did, the song would need one of those warnings about seeing a doctor if it lasts for more than four hours.
(In this 7th and final installment of a multi-part piece, Austin Weber continues rolling out recommended releases from his latest exploratory forays through the underground. Previous installments are linked at the end of this post.)
Exhausted Prayer are one of my favorite Los Angeles metal bands, and their streamlined yet progressive merger of black and death metal is a thing of wonder to take in. They’ve been at this since 1997, and Ruined marks their fourth full-length as a group, completely self-released by the band. Somebody needs to sign these guys, for real.
Ruined is an organic, often heavily atmospheric and deeply breathing record — one whose airy yet not hollow production perfectly marries their impressive approach to fusing black and death metal together. Ruined sports a natural production, one which will likely require you to turn your speakers up since it isn’t a loud, brickwalled lump of pain. Sometimes it’s nice to listen to a record that isn’t an over-compressed offering that hurts to listen to with headphones.
As mentioned earlier today, I spent a chunk of time yesterday listening to new songs and found many to recommend. By happenstance, most of them were various flavors of death metal, so I altered the usual “Seen and Heard” title of these round-ups. And because I found so much new music I wanted to commend to your earholes, I divided it into two parts. Part One is here.
Necromutilator are a three-man band from Mantua, Italy, whose existence I discovered by browsing the Facebook page of Elektroplasma Musik, who will be distributing the band’s debut album on Terror From Hell Records. The debut album is entitled Eucharistic Mutilations, and the one song from it I’ve found so far on the web is “Fuck With Darkness”.
According to reports here and here, the 2015 edition of THE DECIBEL TOUR will include At the Gates, Converge, and Vallenfyre, plus one more band yet to be announced. This news was apparently divulged by Richard Christy on Saturday night on stage during the “Decibel Takes Manhattan” show, which featured Amon Amarth, Sabaton, and Vallenfyre.
I haven’t seen any more information than what is reported above, but this is exciting news. I’ll now have my fingers crossed, except for those rare occasions when I need those fingers for something else, that this thing will stop in Seattle.
That is all.
UPDATE: The tour schedule has now been announced. Here it is (I can un-cross my fingers):
I plowed through a lot of new songs yesterday and found a lot to like. Most of it happened to be death metal, though not quite all. So I decided to skip the “Seen and Heard” title for this round-up in favor of a more descriptive lead-in. Also, I found so much to recommend that I’ve divided the round-up into two parts. The second one will come a bit later today.
I loved this French band’s previous 2014 EP Deathmanicvs Revelation with an unholy love. I have little reason to doubt that I will experience similarly unnatural attractions to their new one, Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity. Apart from my intense desire to obtain more knowledge about The Purple Entity (!), the advance song that became available for listening this weekend is like an aphrodisiac for the ears.