(Andy Synn delivers three reviews for three very strong new albums — with accompanying full-album streams.)
Let me level with you. At the start of 2014 I was convinced that this was going to be Black Metal’s year. There have been so many frankly awesome albums from across the kvlt-spectrum, from the Post- to the Progressive to the Necro, that, in truth, I just didn’t see how Death Metal was going to keep up.
But as the months have ticked by I’ve seen a slow and steady resurgence from the DM crowd. From the progressive wizardry of bands like Allegaeon and Beyond Creation to the shameless brutality of Aborted and Beneath… from the old-school ugliness of Cannibal Corpse and Vader, to the megaton grooves of modern legends like Misery Index and Decapitated… it’s been an incredible fight back… and that’s without even mentioning the wealth of underground and underappreciated deathsters toiling away in relative obscurity!
Now, since I’ve been so busy over the last couple of months, there’s been a number of recent releases I’ve simply not had the chance to celebrate properly. Which upsets me. On a deep and fundamental level. And this simply will not stand.
So, to compensate, here’s three albums, arranged in order of release and all available to stream right now, that have been making the tail-end of 2014 a darker, deathlier place for me!
I confess that this crept up on me. I didn’t know Job For A Cowboy were so close to releasing a new album, but as you can see above, it has a name (Sun Eater) and a fantastic album cover. It also has a release date (Nov 11, via Metal Blade). And within the last hour we got our first taste of the music through the premiere of a song named “Sun of Nihility”.
At the moment I’m unable to listen to the song. I could tell you why, but then I’d have to kill you, and we wouldn’t want that, would we? So even though I’m quite curious to hear how this band’s sound has progressed (because in light of their history I’m expecting some continued changes), I’m deferring my own gratification in order to gratify you.
At least I hope it will be gratifying. Please feel free to leave a Comment and explain whether you are gratified or disappointed. When I’m able to listen to the song I’ll toss in my two cents. The music is below.
(Andy Synn journeyed to Birmingham, UK, to take in The Womb To Waste Tour and wrote this review of the experience. Andy has also provided us with video of each band’s performance.)
So here’s the thing. Myself and my good buddy Tim (also of Bloodguard fame) decided, kind of at the last minute, to head to this show over in Birmingham (those who pussied out know who they are, but I won’t shame them by naming them…). Now Birmingham isn’t all that far from where we live, except in rush-hour, which pretty much doubles your travelling time. I’m telling you this to explain why we missed Cerebral Bore, who I know have a fair few fans on this site. As it stands, we got there just as they were starting their last song, so I took the chance to hit the empty bar and check out the merch stand, before finding a good spot to watch Revocation.
Revocation being the only band I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing live before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, particularly as the band’s insane fusion of day-glo techno thrash, proggy song-structures, and black/death hybrid heaviness is the sort of foolhardy mixing and matching that often leaves me cold in the live arena. Thank god then for the band’s boundless confidence and enthusiasm, which certainly helped each song come across as more than just a series of good ideas thrown together, every track delivering an array of heavy, head-banging riffs, wild, madcap drumming, and sizzling solo work, while jumping around all over the metal map.
The album’s closing track, “Tarnished Gluttony”, is a dynamic turn from much of the rest of the album — a long, slow, crushing piece that exudes a sensation of apocalyptic doom. Today, Blood Disgusting premiered a nearly nine-and-a-half minute official video for that song (the music in the video adds a dirge-like instrumental segment to the album’s song, as accompaniment for part of the story until the music on the album track resumes again).
The video puts an imaginative Lovecraftian spin on the song that isn’t present in the lyrics, yet there is still a thematic linkage, as the band’s frontman Jonny Davey explained in a statement that we’ll quote after the jump. Much of the video moves in slow motion, matching the slow pacing of the song, and the integration of the visual story and the terrifying music is beautifully done.
Actually, the whole thing is just brilliant, though there’s a graphically gory sequence that may affect where you choose to watch this. Credit goes to director Michael Panduro (the man who direct Cephalic Carnage‘s “Ohrwurm” video) and actor Morten Klode. Panduro is quoted as saying: “As a commercial director, I’m a complete failure. The band asked for just one thing and I couldn’t deliver. Indeed, this video has no boobs.” No, it doesn’t, but it’s a riveting thing to watch nonetheless.
(NCS writer Andy Synn reviews the new album by Job For A Cowboy, which is scheduled for North American release on April 10, 2012 through Metal Blade, plus we have the three songs from the album publicly released to date.)
Looking back at their career thus far, it’s definitely been an upwards trajectory for Job For A Cowboy. Some might say that’s due to where they started from; Doom is definitely showing its age these days, although still surprisingly spritely in places. Good but not great (despite what the more entrenched fan-boys might claim), the EP was largely a product of its time, seeing a talented band of youngsters riding the crest of the myspace/social networking wave and combining their burgeoning (though undeveloped) talents with new methods of marketing and self-promotion. Though castigated by many for this, there’s no shame in it, particularly as the group have used every subsequent release in an attempt to prove their worth as one of American death metal’s up and coming contenders, improving their instrumental skills and technical abilities at every turn.
If the massive growth demonstrated between the release of Doom and Genesis was an early sign of the band attempting to justify the hype surrounding themselves, then the even bigger leap between Genesis and Ruination was definitely the product of a band “finding themselves”. Having laid these solid foundations, Gloom served the key purpose of an EP perfectly, showcasing some different shifts in direction around this established core. And there we have it, a consistent upwards trajectory that has demonstrated both growth and drive, often in the face of an intransigent metal community
So how does Demonocracy fit in?
This morning I woke up, dressed hurriedly, slugged caffeine, drove a friend to the airport, and drove back — by which time it was 4 a.m. I feel like a reanimated corpse, but only partially reanimated. The only upside to this agony is that it gave me time to snoop around in search of new music, which I found in the form of videos from De Lirium’s Order (Finland), Job For A Cowboy (U.S.), and Horseback (U.S.).
DE LIRIUM’S ORDER
I came across this band because their drummer, Ukri Suvilehto, is also the live session drummer for Before the Dawn, which is one of our favorite bands. Also, they are from Finland, and you know what that means.
WIthin the last couple of days, De Lirium’s Order debuted a video for a song called “Autistic Savant”. It’s the opening track from their latest album (their third), Veniversum, which is being officially released today. According to the band, “the video was shot in freezing conditions, minus 30 degrees Celcius, in an abandoned factory located in Joensuu, Finland.” This may explain why they’re playing so fast.
Whatever the reason, the song is very cool and so is the video. The music is a proggy, techy take on melodic death metal, with lots of spidery picking and hammering percussion, a resonant melody, and in the mid-section, a soft piano bridge leading to attention-grabbing solo’s by both of the band’s guitarists and a bass solo! I think this is a band we need to know better.
Anyone who thinks Job For A Cowboy is still a deathcore band didn’t hear the band’s 2011 EP, Gloom. You can simulate listening to it by reading Andy Synn’s NCS review (here). Or you can check out a song from JFAC’s forthcoming album, Demonocracy, because that’s what we have for you in this post.
The new, 9-track album, produced by Jason Suecof, is scheduled for release on April 10 by Metal Blade, who is accepting pre-orders for it now (here). It catches the eye with an album cover by Brent Elliott White, and it includes the return of two musicians who made their first JFAC appearance on Gloom — guitarist Tony Sannicandro and Cephalic Carnage bassist Nick Schendzielos, who replaced Brent Riggs last year.
Gloom revealed a band who were unabashedly leaving their deathcore roots behind and instead connecting with their death metal forebears, and even incorporating elements of black metal and doom on certain songs. What then does Demonocracy hold in store?
Yeah, it’s kinda late in the day for another post, but I just saw a press release about a new tour running from March 15 through April 21 of next year that I thought was worth talking about. This tour had been forecast previously, but now we have a concrete schedule. Here’s the line-up:
Job For A Cowboy
3 Inches of Blood
Why is this interesting? Well, first of all, it should be loaded with new music. The Faceless is currently putting the finishing touches on its third album for a tentative February release on Sumerian. Stands to reason that they’ll be performing songs from that album. I’ll be curious to hear it, because guitarist Michael Keene has described the CD as “the most musical and progressive record we’ve made” and says the songs will be more focused “on musicality and making an expressive, unique, moody and expansive record.”
On top of that, Dying Fetus is currently recording a new album. It’s not projected for release until the middle of next year on Relapse, but they will clearly be finished with the recording before hitting the road on this tour, and so we can expect new songs from them, too. And that’s not all.
September is behind us. Here in Seattle, it was such a beautiful month that it seemed like nature’s compensation for how late the summer started. Unfortunately, with September’s end, we’re on a short track to the onset of winter, which means about six months of short, cold, grey, ceaselessly wet days. Ain’t that just fuckin’ great?
Well, bitchin’ about the winter ahead won’t change one fucking thing. I prefer to think instead about the deluge of new metal that’s headed our way and try (momentarily) to forget about the deluge of rain on the horizon. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.
You know the drill: In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.
Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album before August, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. As usual, also feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about.
(We’re pretty close to just turning the whole site over to Andy Synn. Today we have Andy’s third post since Monday. Here’s his review of the new EP by Job For A Cowboy, which be available digitally and physically via mail-order (only from Indiemerchstore.com) on June 7.)
Doom & Gloom. A perfect pairing in so many ways. Showcasing as they do the growth and evolution of JFAC’s ungodly chimeric creation, two sides of the same coin, still redolent with untapped potential, which has lost none of its lustre or value over the years.
If it is impossible to discuss JFAC without mentioning the dreadful pejorative “deathcore”, then let me address the issue in this manner; the band have, for me, always epitomised the strengths and possibilities of what the sub-genre could, and should be. Taking death metal’s powerful engine and building a sleeker, more modern vehicle around it, fuelled by youthful energy and ambition, the band have joined other such groups of the modern death metal pantheon, such as The Black Dahlia Murder and Aborted, who have (at times) been tagged with the “deathcore” identity, yet (thankfully) have little in common with what the sub-genre has unfortunately become. The one thing the aforementioned groups do have in common however is the admirable growth and maturation they have achieved over the years.
From youthful fire-starters, attempting simultaneously to both ape the achievements of their predecessors yet also define themselves by opposition to what came before, these acts have found that one CAN build an identity on the genetic blueprints of their forebears without becoming clones of them, and as such have become more comfortable within the death metal mould, yet not limited by it exclusively. They are no longer afraid of learning from, or being associated with their parents, having reached the understanding of adulthood themselves. (more after the jump . . .)