As mentioned in the first installment of this mid-week round-up earlier today, I have enough items I want to spread around, and enough time to do it, that I’ve divided the collection into multiple segments. There might even be a Part 3, but we’ll see how the day goes.
Part 1 was a sequence of songs specifically organized as a playlist because of a certain flow and mood in the music, at least as discerned by my twisted head. This Part 2 has no unifying theme, other than my own interest in everything here. There are a couple of news items at the outset, and then some very good music.
JUST BEFORE DAWN
Just Before Dawn will be a familiar name to regular NCS visitors, but for any newcomers, it has been the studio project of Swedish musician Anders Biazzi and his drumming ally Brynjar Helgetun, with a changing array of vocalists and guitar soloists. It’s one of my favorite current purveyors of old school Swedish death metal. And now JBD will be moving out of the studio in order to destroy a few stages.
I’m late with this Saturday post. I have excuses: I was out carousing until the wee hours of the morning and then slept in, and then have been dealing with intermittent power outages (3 so far) at my island home due to high winds in the Puget Sound area. I can’t tell you how much fun it has been to be in the middle of listening and then writing, only to have the computer go black in mid-stream, and then have to start over — three times. Fuck.
Anyway, before it happens again, here are two new songs that began streaming on the web over the last 24 hours. You’ll figure out the “Yin and Yang” title to this post after you hear them.
Sweden’s Blood Mortized have a new album due for release by Chaos Records (I’m told it will be around mid-November). I reviewed it here about a week ago. The punch line of the review was this: “You can look far and wide and you won’t find a better offering of old school Swedish death metal this year than The Demon, The Angel, The Disease.”
With the review I streamed a track named “Bastard”, and this morning Blood Mortized made a second advance track available. This one is “My Soul Your Flesh”, which I described in my review as a “hell-king headbanger”. Now you’ll be able to understand what I was talking about. You might want to strap on a neck brace before the rampaging begins. Listen next . . .
As usual, I have a few things for you. As usual, the selection consists of new things I found yesterday. As usual, the music is diverse (and possibly also different, diverse, divergent, distinct, dissimilar, and disparate, though I’m still not sure I grasp the distinctions among these words). They do have one thing in common: they’ll put your brain in a blender and tune the setting to purée.
In February I reviewed an album named Concrete Sustain by Batillus. I characterized it as “a 2013 must-listen for fans of doom, especially those who might want to do more than stand in place and nod dreamily at the floor.” When I wrote that line, I had in mind a couple of songs on the album, chiefly “Concrete”, which I tried to describe as “black industrial funk, the dancebeat at the end of the world.” I’ve probably had better days at the keyboard, but that’s what popped into my head.
Yesterday, Invisible Oranges premiered a video for “Concrete”. I can now describe the song as “the soundtrack to that creepy video named ‘Concrete'”. The video risks dominating the music, it’s so weirdly magnetic. But the music and the imagery definitely go hand-in-hand. A lot of people deserve credit for it, but I’ll name three: director Gretchen Heinel, editor Matthew Silver, and SFX specialist Jacqueline Valega. Prepare to be weirded out (and puréed).
Aquilus is the one-man project of an Australian wizard named Horace “Waldorf” Rosenqvist, and Griseus is his one-hour, twenty-minute masterpiece — at least until he creates the next masterpiece.
I first learned of this album in April through a message from an NCS reader who calls himself FistForFun. And then I got another message from him in May, and another in August, and another in October. Though they grew increasingly strident, the content was essentially the same: Pull your head out of your ass and listen to this damn record! (I kid, FistForFun was more polite than that.)
It only took me seven months, but I’ve finally done that. There is a reason why the slow loris is the official mascot of NCS. Having now heard Griseus, I can understand FistForFun’s enthusiasm.
I think it’s fair to say that Griseus is unlike anything else we’ve ever reviewed at this site. It’s also unlike anything else I can remember ever hearing that could conceivably be classified as metal. The metal elements are scattered in the music — harsh vocals that are sometimes of the shrieking black metal variety and sometimes deep and howling; big booming riffs, heavy chugs, jabbing distorted chords; bouts of double-bass percussion; even a shrill electric guitar solo (in “Latent Thistle”).
But these elements appear infrequently, and even the harsh vocals are balanced by clean vocal harmonies and the sounds of choirs. Yet the vocals themselves are really only accents in what is primarily an instrumental album of neoclassical, folk-influenced orchestral music — one that’s endlessly interesting.