Mordbrand – photo by Łukasz Jaszak
It’s been a busy week here at NCS, one in which I’ve spent many (many!) hours readying year-end lists for posting, as well as starting the roll-out of our (i.e., my own) list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. We’ve also had some premieres and interviews and other things. And on top of all that, I got slugged yesterday by a nasty cold. The combined effect of all this has been to prevent me from preparing our usual round-ups of new music.
I’ve still been watching the appearance of new songs and videos and adding them to a list. It’s a long list. I picked a few items off of it for this post. Since the weekends at NCS are essentially all my own, I might prepare some more round-ups for Saturday and Sunday. It’s also possible this cold will cause me to curl up in a ball on the floor and whimper in misery until Monday.
By the way, it looks like we’ll finish LISTMANIA next week. I still have a few excellent lists in hand to post on Monday and Tuesday, and a few more might arrive, but I think we’ll be done soon. The Most Infectious Song series will of course continue until I pick some arbitrary stopping point, which will probably be January 31.
That’s it for an update. Onward to new music….
I’ve developed a habit through years of experience, much like Pavlov’s dog was trained to salivate at the sound of the bell: When I learn that Sweden’s Mordbrand have released new music, I drop what I’m doing and hungrily scamper over to the music player to listen. This happened yesterday when, without advance warning, a new Mordbrand EP popped up on Bandcamp. The name of it is In Nighted Waters.
This new EP is actually the Mordbrand half of a split LP with California’s Gravehill, which will be released in the U.S. by Doomentia and is now available in Sweden via Carnal Records. It includes four original songs and a cover of “Compost Christ” by Bluuurgh… (rearranged by Mordbrand and including guest vocals by Mike Abominator (Necronizer, ex-Gravehill).
It feels like June is going to be the start of murder season this year. I’m not sure of the exact date, so just circle the whole month in red on your calendar, preferably with someone else’s blood. Sometime that month, as best we can tell, Doomentia Records will release a split LP by Mordbrand from Sweden and Gravehill from Hellheim, California (aka Los Angeles).
The LP will combine two new EPs, one by each band with separate artwork, and they deliver two different but equally lethal forms of death metal slaughtering. Mordbrand’s half is entitled In Nighted Waters, and Gravehill have branded their offering with the name Skullbearer. Today we have for you the premiere of one of Mordbrand’s five tracks on the split, “Cold Womb”, as well as a stream of a Gravehill song called “Upon the 6th Chime”.
MORDBRAND: “COLD WOMB”
I’ve been following Mordbrand since their debut release in a 2010 split with Evoke and have spilled words about virtually everything they’ve released since then. They were very good at the start and have only gotten better. Two of the band’s three members, guitarist-bassist Bjørn Larsson and vocalist Per Boder, were involved in the recent revival of the legendary God Macabre, and maybe that experience has added an extra dose of morbid energy, because In Nighted Waters is sounding like Mordbrand’s strongest work yet.
Man, the flood of enticing new metal just doesn’t stop. In only the last couple of days I’ve found so many new songs I’ve become excited about that I could write a half-dozen of these round-up posts just for today, and by the time I finished I’d probably be able to find just as many new things for tomorrow. Sadly, my time is not completely my own, and my fucking day job is nagging at me, so this will have to do for now.
But before I get to a few of the new songs that have peaked my interest (two of which are well-earned exceptions to our “Rule”), I’ll start with a new compilation of previously released songs that’s well worth your time.
Mordbrand will be a familiar name to regular NCS visitors — because I’ve written about virtually every one of their releases. And I’ve done that because everything they’ve done to date has been so damned good. And now they’ve revealed a new release that provides both an efficient jumping-on point for people new to the band and a welcome collection for existing fans.
One of these days I’ll learn that part-time, half-witted metal bloggers shouldn’t make promises about what they’re going to do. Yesterday I wrote that I would post two round-up’s of new music in an effort to partially catch up on all the new songs that had emerged since the last one I compiled five days earlier, but that obviously didn’t happen.
However, thanks to Austin Weber, we do have two today, with this being the second one. One silver lining to the cloud of my tardiness is that since yesterday I discovered one more item worth recommending to you — and it’s the first one in this post.
For those who haven’t religiously followed my scribbling over the last few years, I will confess that I’m a slavish fan of Sweden’s Mordbrand. It’s not that they have any compromising photos of me, it’s because they’ve been so consistently good at what they do. Out of all the outstanding songs they’ve released, perhaps my favorite track is “That Which Crawls” from their 2014 album Imago — and today they released a video for that very song.
I’ve spent so much time since last weekend writing my own reviews (which isn’t a weekly occurrence) and scribbling words to accompany premieres that I’m afraid I’ve fallen down on the job of rounding up new music to throw your way. Because the never-ending flood of new metal doesn’t pause for me, I’m now very far behind, with a list of new tracks that would stretch from here to that distant planet NASA finally caught on film this week.
Okay, that last part may have been a slight exaggeration, but it really is a long list. Rather than throw up my hands in despair, I decided to make a start and at least feature new songs from three bands this morning. They’re all really worth hearing.
I think I’ve written about every release that Sweden’s Mordbrand have ever delivered, and not just because the band’s name means “arson”. The main reason is because they’re all so very good. The latest offering is a song named “Order of the Formless”, which appears on a split with the band Rite that’s been expected for a long time and is finally being released this month by Doomentia Records.
It’s been a little while since I posted some real Swedish fucking death metal on the site, long enough that I was starting to get the shakes, the night sweats, the dry mouth, and the volcanic gut rumbles. So I decided to do something about it. I’m tending to my needs, and bringing you some slaughter for your Saturday at the same time. But as you’ll find out, this is also a very bittersweet post for me to write.
I first discovered Torture Division in March 2011, when they released a cover of Mastodon’s “Iron Tusk” from the Leviathan album, accompanied by an introduction that included these words:
“This is how we would have made this song, had we written it in the first place. But we didn’t, we just thought it would be nice to MASTODON to make a proper tune out of it. Kidding, kidding… MASTODON‘s cool. They are no TORTURE DIVISION, but hey — can’t win them all.”
I became an immediate fan, and have remained one in the years that followed (you can still hear that “Iron Tusk” cover in the first Mordbrand feature I prepared). I wrote about most of their other releases over the last three years (collected here) and liked every goddamn one of them. And now, sad to say, I’m writing about their final effort.
I think I’ve written about every release by Sweden’s Mordbrand after their 2010 debut in a split with Evoke, including their excellent 2014 album Imago. Since I only write about what I like and want to recommend, you can figure out that they haven’t disappointed me yet — and they still haven’t: Their forthcoming two-song 7″, Vastation, is another winner for fans of Swedish death metal.
The first song, “Failure of the Paraclete”, is loaded with a variety of big riffs — riffs that grind, gallop, lurch, and stagger — and a rhythm section that expertly matches the music’s shifting patterns, with rippling bass and tremolo chords surfacing at the end to close the song memorably.
Here are some things I saw yesterday that opened my eyes wide and increased my flow of drool, requiring an early change-out of the trademarked NCS bib I wear at all times. You may increase the size of some of these images by clicking on them.
Item One appears at the top of this post. It’s a shirt design created by Manuel Tinnemans (Comaworx) for Switzerland’s Bölzer, based on the song “Steppes”. I guess it’s not enough that Bölzer are making lots of people jealous with their music. Now they get shirts like this made for them. Stunning. Here’s the artwork on a black background:
Here’s a typically random and diverse collection of recommended new music and metal news that I came across over the last 24 hours. It ranges from highly anticipated black metal to a metal banjo cover, with all sorts of different musical trajectories in between.
The fourth album by Colorado’s Nightbringer is entitled Ego Dominus Tuus (I Am Your Lord), and it’s due for release by Season of Mist on September 20 in NorthAm (September 26 elsewhere). Yesterday, SoM revealed the cover art by David Herrerias (above), which is wonderful. At the same time, the first advance track from the album began streaming at various sites around the globe. Its name is “Et Nox Illuminatio Mea In Deliciis Meis”, which refers to a line from Psalm 139. According to the band:
“The lyrics draw heavily upon this psalm, which we feel, via a perhaps more heretical approach, elucidates symbols relevant to the ‘midnight sun’ and the ‘night of light’. Furthermore we touch upon the Greek melancholia and the sovereignty of Saturn over those of us who are born with his mark and our relation to the former concepts as well as the significance of the ‘black light’ of our Lord. It speaks much of the ecstatic furor one may enter in which wisdom is imparted both from above, below and within, via a state of ‘divine madness’. “
Should you be interested in reading the 139th Psalm, you can do so here (the song’s title refers to the phrase “and night shall be my light in my pleasures”). Whether you do or don’t peruse the psalm, I strongly recommend listening to the song (it’s streaming at Stereogum here).