To borrow from Monty Python, “And Now For Something Completely Different“.
The album we’re about to premiere is perhaps the most unclassifiable record I’ve heard this year. It’s a wild, boisterous, constantly shifting collage of sounds and styles that, when described in mere words, sounds like it shouldn’t work at all — but trust me, this is as much fun as dancing with a drunk Russian bear (and only somewhat less likely to put you in the trauma ward).
And now for my attempt to sum up what you’re about to hear on Malafya, the debut album by Moscow’s Zmey Gorynich:
Last Saturday I explained that because of a serious brain injury to a close friend and colleague, I wouldn’t be able to write much for the site this week other than introductions of premieres I had agreed to host, and that has proven true. When not working at my fucking day job, I’ve been with her and her family in the ICU. That’s not likely to change in the coming days. My friend is showing signs of progress, and it seems likely that she will wake up soon, perhaps today or tomorrow. And then we will begin to find out how the injury has affected her mental and physical functioning. I’m optimistic, and terrified.
Though my routine this week hasn’t been anything close to normal, I have discovered a few excellent new songs and videos, thanks to recommendations from friends, and I thought I would collect them here. I’m grateful for the supportive comments I’ve received from readers, and for all the posts I’ve received from our regular writers and guests this week to keep this train rolling on down the line.
Visions of Exalted Lucifer is the name of the new album by the Dutch black metal band Cirith Gorgor, who began worshipping the Devil through their music back in the mid-’90s. This is the band’s sixth studio album and their first since 2011 (in the intervening years, the band’s line-up has changed). It was released by Hammerheart Records in February. Not long ago Hammerheart and the band released a lyric video for the song “A Vision of Exalted Lucifer”.
I’m happy to be back home after almost five days away, but I’m less than happy that today is a fucking Monday. I thought I’d celebrate the wretched occasion by throwing some miscellaneous things your way that I saw and heard after I got home late yesterday. I’ve packaged these items together because they’re… what’s the word I’m looking for?… let’s just say they’re out of the ordinary.
The last time I came across music billed as caveman death metal, it was Norway’s Goat the Head. They have been sadly missing in action for the last three years, but until they see fit to rouse themselves into a new burst of creative activity, I will have to content myself with Chatalhüyük. They have labeled their music “Neolithic metal” and they sing of such Stone Age things as big wood spirits and pterorhs stealing their krohi.
I’m not sure what a krohi is, unless it’s a Neolithic youngling. I’m pretty sure a pterorh is a pterodactyl, even though they became extinct about 60 million years before the Stone Age began and the Neolithic came at the very end of the Stone Age. But hey, if you’re willing to contemplate the concept of Neolithic death metal, then why not krohi-stealing pterodactyls?
(Today we are proud to premiere the new song and video from an NCS favorite, Russia’s Kartikeya. TheMadIsraeli provides this introduction.)
I’m sure all of you are now frothing at the mouth as much as I was when I found out we’d be debuting “Tunnels of Naraka”. I’m especially excited and honored because it’s Kartikeya’s first-ever music video (which is done quite excellently I might add) and because the song we’re debuting is quite possibly one of their most brutal to date.
We’ve heard two songs from Samudra so far, those being “Durga Puja” and “Horrors of Home”. One displayed Kartikeya exploring their groove side a bit more, while the latter saw the band deliver a more evolved version of a solid standard Kartikeya track, full of heavy riffs, suffocating atmosphere, convincing mood, and an abundance of surprises. “Tunnels of Naraka” is both the third and perhaps the final song we’ll hear before this album is released, and what a high note to do so on.
Kartikeya are in my mind a quintessential example of what metal needs right now: Music that is brutal, epic, bombastic, and chaotic, while achieving proggy undertones and melodic reprieves at the same time.
Happy 5th of July to one and all! Though often overshadowed by yesterday’s holiday, July 5 is the anniversary of the date in 1775 when the Continental Congress adopted the so-called Olive Branch Petition attempting to convince King George III of the colonies’ affection and loyalty (while appealing for relief from various grievances). King George, of course, rejected the petition and declared the colonies to be in a “state of open and avowed rebellion”. I bet he later wished for a do-over on that decision.
Anyway, while indulging in solemn remembrance of the Olive Branch Petition this morning, as well as the 76th anniversary of the introduction of Spam to the market by Hormel Foods Corporation and the 67th anniversary of the first public sale of the bikini, I found time to observe a few items of metal interest, which are collected below.
Little more than two weeks ago, we finally learned the album title (Colored Sands), track list, and release dates for the first studio album by Gorguts in 12 years — as well as hearing the album’s first single, “Forgotten Arrows”. I think it’s fair to say that the song was greeted by a boisterously enthusiastic reception. Gorguts’ Luc Lemay took notice, and yesterday he recorded a video thank-you to the band’s fans.
That flyer up above is the latest one I could find for the 9th edition of the Euroblast Festival, scheduled to occur on October 11-13, 2013, in Cologne, Germany. However, it doesn’t show the most current listing of bands. For example, yesterday the Euroblast organizers announced that Arsis will also be appearing (hell yes), and Threat Signal, Aliases, and Der Weg einer Freiheit are also recent additions to the line-up.
And today brought the exciting announcement that Sweden’s Deathember and Russia’s Kartikeya have been selected to appear. We reviewed Deathember’s new album earlier this week (here), and of course Kartikeya has been a frequently mentioned NCS favorite for years. Congrats to both of those bands.
And after the jump you can see the complete line-up as it now stands. Many more bands will be announced in the coming months, but the line-up already includes a large number of bands we really like around here. For more info, visit Euroblast’s web site or their Facebook page.
Moscow-based Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy is one of those uncommon musicians whose creative impulses are multifaceted and who has the talent to follow them with remarkable success, despite how divergent they are.
We first became aware of him through the striking music of his Indian-influenced melodic death metal band Kartikeya, about which much has been written here at NCS. Later, we discovered his involvement with a Russian pagan-metal band called Nevid (Невидь), which has produced four full-length albums, the most of recent of which is 2011′s Agarta, (discussed here). Most recently, he has also collaborated with singer Aleksandra Radosavljevic (ex-Destiny Potato) to create an “Atmospheric/Ambient/Progressive Metal” project named Above the Earth, who we featured here and whose debut EP is coming soon.
But in addition to all that, Roman also has an ongoing solo project named Arsafes. The first work of the Arsafes project was a solo EP called A New Way of Creation that appeared in 2010. We wrote about that here and in that same post provided a link for a free download of the EP.
Now, the Arsafes project has a new album in the works, which with luck will be ready before the end of the year — and today we are giving you the exclusive premiere of its first single, “.onslaught.čoček.”, which is now available on Bandcamp. It features performances not only by Arsafes, but also by drummer extraordinaire Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork, The Devin Townsend Project, etc.), David Maxim Micic (guitar) and Bojan Kvocka (bass) of Destiny Potato, and Fedor Vetrov (viola) (Veter Vodi, Nevid), as well as a cameo appearence by the above-mentioned Ms. Radosavljevic.
And if you’ve heard the first Arsafes EP, what you are about to hear is something very different, and it’s very, very good.
At NCS, we follow Moscow’s Kartikeya like hawks, because their music is excellent, because they don’t sound quite like anyone else, and because they don’t stand still. The band are at work on a new album, to be called Samudra, which we understand should be ready for release later this year, and they’ve been teasing their fans about a new single from the album to be released June 22.
Well, it may only be June 21 in the U.S., but it’s June 22 in Russia — and so the song is ready for release now. And to our very happy surprise, we get to premiere it!
The single is called “The Horrors of Home”, and the artwork features the photography of Greg Shanta. The song itself also includes some noteworthy guests, in addition to the members of Kartikeya: NCS favorite Keith Merrow, who contributes a winding, rippling guitar solo, and vocalist Aleksandra Radosavljevic.
“The Horrors of Home” may be the most multi-faceted piece of music that Kartikeya have yet created, combining complex hammering rhythms, passages of ethnically-influenced dreamlike ambience (made even more otherworldly by Aleksandra Radosavljevic’s wordless vocals), a soaring chorus, sections that put me in mind of the dark melodic death metal of bands such as Insomnium, and maybe even a flavor of Devin Townsend and Machina-era Smashing Pumpkins. And the male vocals on the album really provide an array of tones — from bestial death metal howls to blackened shrieks to rousing cleans.
Do listen to this piece of dark, transfixing music right after the jump . . . and then we’ll tell you how to get it for yourself.
I’m thinking about having the words “Kartikeya Pimp” tattooed on my forehead. I’d have to convince my wife that Kartikeya is the name of a Russian metal band instead of a middle school cheerleader with a budding crack habit, but other than that it should be clear sailing, don’t you think?
I’m just trying to be honest, because we do write about this band a lot at NCS, and for good reason. They put the BAD in badass and the ASS in ass-kicking. Their latest release is the Durga Puja EP, which emerged last fall. It included two rewritten songs from the band’s debut album, two outstanding covers, and one new original song — the EP’s title track.
Yesterday, TheMadIsraeli tipped me to the fact that the band’s main man Arsafes had uploaded a video of himself performing a guitar playthrough of “Durga Puja”. It’s a reminder of how great that song is, and it’s just fun to watch Arsafes extract such beastly rhythms in the flesh.
The video is after the jump. It will tide us over until June 22, when Kartikeya has promised delivery of their next single (“Vayu”), which we presume (though we’re not sure) will appear on their next album, Samudra, and which will include guest appearances by NCS favorite Keith Merrow and Serbian vocalist Aleksandra Radosavljevic.
While I’m on the subject of Kartikeya, I want to mention that the band has now made all of their releases available for streaming and download on Bandcamp, which you can find via this link.
And while I’m on the subject of Arsafes, I also want to provide an update about one of his other bands — Above the Earth, which last week released their first single, “Trapeze”.
What a nice way to start this new day . . . seeing a video of Kartikeya rehearsing a new song called “Vayu”. No vocals yet, but man, this sounds very fucking nice. It appears that this will be released as a single on June 22, and will feature guest appearances by Keith Merrow and Aleksandra Radosavljevic. Should be interesting, to say the least.
Check out the video after the jump. And if, by some remote chance, you don’t know about Kartikeya already, click this link and read one of our 5,000 previous posts about the band.