Jul 312014

 

I’ve collected in this two-part post seven very good new songs from four bands that I heard for the first time yesterday. All the songs are from forthcoming albums, and as the title of the post suggests, most (but not all) of them incorporate elements of black metal into the music in varying degrees, and they are all shrouded in darkness. The cover art for each album is also really good. The bands are presented in alphabetical order (Part 2 will come next):

MONDVOLLAND

It was a sad day this past June when I learned that the Dutch band Mondvollond had decided to call it quits. Way back in January 2012 I lavished praise on Pestvogel, the band’s free, three-song EP that was my jumping on point. The title track in particular got its hooks in me, so much so that I included it in our list of 2012′s Most Infectiuous Extreme Metal Songs.

The knowledge that the band would be releasing a second album made the news of their dissolution somewhat easier to bear. The new album’s name is Kwade Vaart and it features wonderful cover art by Bob Mollema, who also created the great cover art for Pestvogel.

Two of the songs from the new album can be heard now, and they’re just as unusual and powerful as I would have expected. “Wanneer De Hemel Bloedt” begins slowly, with shimmering guitar notes, a booming bass, and clean vocals, and then rapidly escalates into a storm of tremolo-vibrating chords, thundering bass and drums, and caustic howls, with a piercing guitar melody. It’s an intense song, but no more so than the one that follows.

Jan 292013

Welcome to Part 20 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

We’re down to the final week of this list. In almost all the installments that preceded this one, there was some kind of discernible theme or shared trait in the songs that I grouped together. There really isn’t one in this post, or at least not one that may conscious mind is able to identify. These are just three songs that grabbed hold of me pretty hard in 2012.

WOODS OF YPRES

Most people I know who are fans of Woods of Ypres have been fans for a long time, and they’re devoted to a point of rare intensity. When they listen to the band’s final album, Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light, they can’t separate the album from the eerie coincidence of David Gold’s death just a handful of months after its recording. The album’s reflections on death are inseparable from, and magnified by, Gold’s own tragic passing. For them, the knowledge that this album was Woods’ last lends the music a special poignancy.

I am not one of those people. Until Woods 5, I had never listened to any of the band’s albums all the way through, and even my sampling of widely heralded songs was limited. Given my tastes, the band’s music just never clicked with me. I can’t even honestly say that Woods 5 seduced me all the way through; some of the songs included more goth rock vibes than suited my appetites.

Jan 292012

For most of today, I’ve felt like killing myself. Not because I’m depressed — I’m one of the least depressed people I know — but because I partied beyond my limits last night and have been paying for it with a cataclysmic hangover. It’s one of those hangovers that’s so vicious, I suspect it will still be punishing me when I wake up tomorrow, too. Correction, not when, but if I wake up, because the fucker is so vile that death has seemed like an attractive alternative.

But things are looking up. I’ve had a crisis intervention, a reminder of why continuing to live is worthwhile: I listened to a brand new, free, three-song EP by a Dutch band called Mondvolland. The name of the EP is Pestvogel, which means “plague birds”, and which coincidentally is the avian species that I believe has been roosting in my head all day. Pestvogel is stupendously good; in fact, I can testify that it has life-saving properties.

Mondvolland was formed in 2005 by Martijn on guitars and vocals and Mickeal (Heidevolk session member) on bass and vocals. They released a debut album in 2010 called d’Olde Roop. I’ve not heard it, but I gather from reading about it that the music was in the vein of blackened folk metal. Pestvogel, then, represents a change in direction, a turn toward more thoroughly blackened music. The band also now features a second guitarist (Harold) and Kampfar’s drummer, Ask.

I fell for the title track, “Pestvogel”, in the first 20 seconds. The immediately infectious riff, the big, rumbling bass, the pounding drums — they hooked me from the get-go. The rest of the song was a big payoff, too. The music is hard-charging and dynamically varied. The vocals effectively combine traditional, raking, black-metal howls and folkish clean vocals; the guitar tones and styles range from hammering rhythm chords to whirring, tremolo melodies, to clean guitar leads; the drums move from solid, rock-style beats to a blur of blasting; and that rumbling bass is never far away. It’s just a dynamite song.

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