Getting a very slow start on this Saturday. Went to sleep very late last night without having begun writing the post you are now reading, and then slept for 9 hours — and still didn’t want to get out of bed. I can’t remember the last time I slept for 9 hours, or anything close to that. I felt groggy as shit for a couple of hours after waking up. Pretty sure that was sleep grogginess rather than the after-effects of all the wine I consumed last night with my spouse and some friends. Pretty sure.
Either way, I now feel more alert and invigorated, having listened to the music collected in this post. This collection doesn’t really make much of a dent in the long list of new tracks and videos I came across since the last round-up I assembled. As usual, there’s not much rhyme or reason to why I picked these selections rather than others. Austin Weber also contributed one of these items, as you’ll see below.
On July 20, Singapore’s Wormrot announced that they will be releasing a new album named Voices on October 14, and they revealed the great cover art you see above by Zahir Sanosi (aka Kilas). Voices comes five long years since their last album, Dirge. Wormrot made a video to announce the new album, and it includes a new song from the album called “Fallen Into Disuse”.
It’s not a well-kept secret that we here at NCS are ardent fans of Minnesota’s Amiensus. We’ve been closely following all of their releases ever since Andy Synn reviewed their debut album Restoration for us back in January 2013. Their latest album, Ascension, appeared last year (and we reviewed it here), and we premiered a new track named “Reflections” last April.
Since then, Amiensus have signed on with Apathia Records for the release of a new EP in the spring of 2017 and have laid the groundwork for the Dust of the Earth tour with Wisconsin’s Pangaea during September — which we’re now helping to announce. For details about that, plus music from both bands, plus more news updates about both Amiensus and Pangaea, please continue reading….
It’s safe to say that black metal is reaching more listeners than ever before. It’s also safe to say that what people understand by the term “black metal” is more varied than it has ever been — to the point that it’s no longer a terribly useful genre term. It has morphed into a signpost that marks the entrance to a sprawling city with many diverse communities (whose inhabitants don’t always want to have anything to do with their neighbors). So when I say that Hostis Universi Generis is one of the best, most intense, and most powerful black metal albums of the year, that requires some further explanation — perhaps especially for people who couldn’t get into this band’s debut album.
The animating philosophies behind A.M.S.G.’s music don’t appear to have changed significantly since 2013’s Anti-Cosmic Tyranny. The band still worship death. They still view the cosmos in its current incarnation as a failed experiment and yearn for its end, including all life within it; the new album’s title translates roughly to “the enemy of all”. And as their name (Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam) signifies, they still offer their devotion to the greater glory of Satan.
But although the band’s inspirations and objectives may have remained fundamentally the same, the music has changed in important ways. Hostis Universi Generis is not simply a step ahead; it’s more like a giant leap forward. Even for those listeners who recoiled at Anti-Cosmic Tyranny, it’s time to put those memories aside and explore this new album with fresh ears.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Black Crown Initiate from Reading, PA.)
Black Crown Initiate have been something of a favourite of mine (and, if I’m not speaking out of turn here, the majority of the NCS crew in general) for quite some time now and, as such, Selves We Cannot Forgive (released today on eOne), has been sat at the top of my “most anticipated” list for 2016 ever since it was first confirmed.
Thanks to my moonlighting for Terrorizer I’ve been lucky enough to have access to the album for quite a while now, which has allowed me the opportunity to really dig deep into its many layers, as the Pennsylvanian quintet have clearly gone to great lengths to push themselves and their music down an ever-proggier path on their second album.
But… and it’s a surprisingly big but (and I cannot lie)… despite all of its impressively progressive inclinations and some undeniably heroic highlights, it’s hard not to view Selves We Cannot Forgive as the band taking one step backwards for every move forwards they make.
Earlier this month we reviewed an impressive new split by two experienced French bands from the black metal underground — Nirnaeth and Azziard. The split, which includes one exclusive song from each band, will be released on August 12 on 7″ vinyl by Kaotoxin Records — the first 7″ ever released by the label. Now we’re following that review with the premiere of a video for Nirnaeth’s powerful track, along with an interview of the band’s guitarist Mutill.
Nirnaeth, who took their name from the word for “Tears” in the elvish language of Sindarin from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, began their existence roughly 15 years ago. Prior to this split, they released two albums, Thrown Athwart the Darkness in 2006 and Splendour of the Abyss in 2009. Their contribution to the split is a track called “Nihil in Me”, and it was was recorded during the pre-production process for a forthcoming third album.
Last month we had the pleasure of premiering a song called “Cult of Shining Stars” from the first new album by Norway’s In the Woods… in 17 years. Entitled Pure, the return of this groundbreaking band will be released by Debemur Morti Productions in September. Today we present another new song — “Blue Oceans Rise (Like A War)” — and this time the music comes in the form of a video.
For those who may have missed our previous premiere, I’ll repeat just a small part of this band’s story. The original members of the group first played together in a death metal band called Green Carnation, but transitioned to In the Woods… after the departure of main composer and guitarist Tchort in order to take his place in Emperor. After the release of Strange In Stereo in 1999 (which followed 1997’s remarkable Omnio), Tchort returned to Green Carnation, and In the Woods… came to an end, with some of the members rejoining Green Carnation and others moving on to other personal projects.
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.
(In the glorious 75th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy reviews the discography to date of South Dakota’s Woman Is the Earth.)
Recommended for fans of: Agalloch, Wildernessking, Wolves In The Throne Room
Hailing from Black Hills, South Dakota, Woman Is The Earth deal in a brand of Black Metal that’s as heavy in atmosphere as it is in aggression, with songs that meld writhing riffage and rolling drums with passages of acoustic contemplation and ambient meditation, all without falling prey (in my opinion at least) to the more generic tropes and clichés of the over-saturated “Post Black Metal” scene.
They do this by never forgetting that – unlike some of their more populist peers — they’re definitely, even defiantly, a Metal band at heart… and a Black Metal band at that… so their music is never in danger of pandering to the notions of bland accessibility or pretentious artistry which undermine so many other acts of this type.
Having released their latest (and greatest) album earlier this year, and with the recent demise of Agalloch still weighing heavy upon so many of our hearts, now seemed like an opportune time to expose our readers to the band’s particular blend of grim grandeur and metallic majesty!
Like the grime clinging to those gnarled, grasping hands on the cover of the debut album Failure, Subside by Australia’s Départe, dark emotions hold all of us in their grip from time to time, and sometimes perpetually. In the band’s words, those “feelings of guilt, loss, anxiety, fear, and defeat… are intimate, almost claustrophobic, clinging to us like dirt – we hold them close, swallow them, hide them away like scars for fear of the shame that comes from the exposure of weakness”. Départe plumb the depths of those emotions on Failure, Subside, yet as you’re about to discover, they do not drown in them.
The album won’t be released until October 14 of this year, but to begin introducing you to it, we are working with Season of Mist to bring you the premiere of a song called “Vessel“. At the risk of giving away something surprising and significant about the song, we introduce it through this comment by vocalist/guitarist Sam Dishington:
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?