I have a hypothesis, not one supported by statistical evidence, only by anecdotal observation: All of us have attractions to specific styles of music that ring the chimes in our heads. We know what we like, we gravitate toward it. But we are also open to new sounds that may ring different chimes, in ways we couldn’t predict, and the most surprising revelations can turn out to be the most compelling and the most memorable.
The song we’re premiering here had that completely unexpected effect on me. It may have that effect on you, but I have no way of knowing that. It’s a musical dice roll, one that I hope will come up sevens for you, as it did for me. It’s the most unusual piece of music I’ve heard this year, and one of the most striking.
The name is “Stillborn Knowledge“, by the Ukrainian band White Ward. The song is extracted from the band’s debut album Futility Report, which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on May 12th.
(DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Wolfheart.)
Tyhjyys, the new album by Finland’s Wolfheart, is a moody album, shrouded in fog, happy to stew in cold and detached misery. It has actually shown itself to be an excellent soundtrack for the rain-drenched and fog-shrouded drives home from work in the month since its release, the perfect encapsulation for grey skies and dense mist rolling in off the water.
Tyhjyys also marks the third album for founder Tuomas Saukkonen’s Wolfheart project — his name should be at least somewhat familiar as the founder of many an NCS-covered band: Before The Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, to name two — itself having since evolved into a full group as of 2015’s Shadow World album.
It is also a disc of transformation — one that sees Wolfheart traversing from one genre to another, finally giving into their gloomier leanings and going for the melodeath/doom hybrid that the region traffics in so well. And it does so organically across eight songs, starting out with music that feels like it is picking up right where Shadow World left off and slowly getting colder and colder from there before finally landing on its title song and overall theme of the album. Fitting for a release whose title translates to the word ‘Emptiness’.
Seventeen months ago I discovered the band Knives from Bilbao in the Basque Country of Spain. At that point there were three songs available for streaming from an album released later that year named The Blackest Noose, and I devoted some words of praise to them here at our site. Now I’m happy to report that Knives will be releasing a new EP next month year entitled Superiorem Status Spiritualitatis, and today we’re helping premiere a video for a song from the EP — “Pigs“.
“Pigs” is a bone-breaker and a soul-shaker, a death-and-roll juggernaut that melds the deep, concrete-cutting guitar tone of ancient Scandinavian death metal and the raw, jugular ripping fury and punishing rhythms of crust. It’s a track that’s bleak, black, and poisonous but also one that gets the head (and the rest of the body) moving. It may make also you want to smash things around you into small fragments.
In this post we’ve collected two pieces of news that should be appealing to addicts of doom, one of which involves our doom-devoted interviewer, Comrade Aleks.
“A LAKE OF GHOSTS: THE LONG SHADOW OF MY DYING BRIDE”
The first piece of news concerns a devotion to the ground-breaking English doom band My Dying Bride. Specifically, Doom-metal.com has organized a compilation of MDB tracks as performed by an array of other bands. As explained by Doom-metal:
“We set out to make an album that would do justice to one of the most influential of all Doom bands, not by sticking within the Gothic/Death/Doom boundaries that My Dying Bride defined and made their own, but by inviting those from further afield in the Doom genres who found MDB just as vital in shaping their own paths. And we asked them to create their own versions of a song that would both demonstrate the influence and portray their own individual style, to show just how far the long shadow has been cast.”
(We welcome Comrade Aleks back to NCS with this wide-ranging interview of Michelle Nocon, which delves into her participation in Bathsheba, whose new album is out now on Svart Records, as well as her work with Death Penalty and her solo project Leviathan Speaks. All photos by Burning Moon except where noted.)
Doom band Bathsheba is named after a personage of the Hebrew Bible, the woman of complex fate, “daughter of the oath”. What made this Belgian outfit choose it? Have patience my friend, for soon we’ll learn the answer!
The band was formed by members of a few local death and doom bands in 2013, and its lineup has been the same since then. Raf plays bass, Jelle is the drummer, Dwight plays guitars, and Michelle is the vocalist. Michelle also sang in Gaz Jennings’ Death Penalty, so there were at least two reasons to get in contact with her, as Death Penalty has been silent, and Bathsheba released their debut full-length Servus just in February 2017.
“It’s so very satisfying to come across a piece of metal extremity that succeeds on multiple levels, one that’s deeply (and ominously) atmospheric and yet also vigorously bends your neck to its will”. That’s what we wrote about “Ekphora’s Day“, a song that we premiered last month from Seal of Phobos, the new EP by the Italian death metal band Valgrind. And those same words hold true for the song from Seal of Phobos we’re bringing you today: “New Born Deceit“.
This new song is a remarkable mix of gut-churning physicality and off-planet exotic allure. It’s brutal and heartless, full of predatory chords and the kind of ravenous voice that hungers for your liver, and it’s driven by demolishing drumwork. The music romps and rampages, but there’s another dimension to it as well, one that’s vertiginous and alien.
Some bands have skillfully chosen names for themselves that almost perfectly evoke the sensations and atmosphere of the music they make, and Pale King are among that number. You could have reached that conclusion from the title track to their new album, Monolith of the Malign, when that song debuted in February, and we have further proof of it today, as we bring you a stream of another song from the album that’s also very well-named: “Ominous Horrors“.
Pale King is a new band, but its members have decades of experience among them. The line-up consists of vocalist Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Ashcloud, Henry Kane), guitarist Håkan Stuvemark (Wombbath), drummer Jon Rudin (Ashcloud), and bassist Hannah Gill. All that experience shows, and shines, in the music of this album.
I realize I’ve delivered a flood of new music to the site this weekend, so much that I’ve drowned in it, too. Time has run out on my plans to create a gargantuan compilation of new music in a blackened vein, and so I’ve been forced to cut that gargantua into three pieces. Mondays tend to be crazy around here, and so I’m not positive I’ll finish Parts 2 and 3 in time to post them tomorrow, but they will arrive eventually. Let’s begin….
LES CHANTS DU HASARD
Three things drew me into this first song: First, the cover art by Jeff Grimal (above); second, the fact that the album will be released by I, Voidhanger Records (whose selections are always fascinating); and third, this description of the music: “NO GUITARS, NO BASSES, NO DRUMS. ORCHESTRA IS THE NEW BLACK.”
The weekends at NCS are usually all mine. No one else’s compositions to ready for posting, no premieres to write, no day job to fuck around with my own desires (usually), and this weekend my spouse has also been away having fun without me (or at least I hope she is). With all the cats away, this mouse has plenty of time to play (metal).
And so, in addition to all of the reviews and streams I tossed your way yesterday, I have a torrent of more metal to share on this Sunday, beginning with this collection of singles, advance tracks, and one full release selected from a massive list of things I heard over the past week. I’m not including streams and new videos from better-known bands, such as the ones that appeared from Solstafir and Heaven Shall Burn, but you can view them through those links.
As previously reported, Nashville’s Loss have a new album named Horizonless, which is due for release by Profound Lore on May 19. We finally got a taste of the new music last week through the premiere of a track named “All Grows on Tears“.
This is the second part of a collection of short reviews that I began earlier today (here). The idea was to focus on new EP-length releases I had recently discovered and enjoyed, though the ones addressed below are substantial — all of them in the 24-to-26-minute range.
CAGE OF CREATION
The first release in this collection (III) is the final part of a trilogy of EPs by the Russian trio Cage of Creation. It was released on March 4th. I became enamored of it almost immediately, from the first ringing, scratchy notes, the burly bass line, and the dark chant in the opening track, “Act IX”.