As previously advised, I’m on the road again in the grasp of my fucking day job, but I did carve out some time to make the rounds in search of new things and, as usual, found quite a lot to like. Because time is short, I’ll divide what I found into two posts, this being the first.
HOUR OF PENANCE
Almost exactly two years have passed since Italy’s Hour of Penance delivered their last album, Sedition, which was excellent. Today the band announced details about the release of their next album: The name is Regicide, and it will be coming our way via the Prosthetic label on May 13 in North America (May 12 in the UK and EU, May 16 in Germany).
From a previous Facebook post by the band, I know that the album art was created by the same Gyula Havancsák (Hjules Illustration and Design), whose work for Arkona’s new album we featured here recently. He also created the covers for HoP’s Sedition and Paradogma.
Noctem are from Valencia, Spain. Their 2011 album Oblivion was a favorite of this site (Andy Synn reviewed it here and named it to one of his lists of 2011′s top albums). Noctem are now ramping up for the release of a new album entitled Exilium, which will be available in North America on March 3. Last week we featured an advance track from the album named “Eidolon”, which has been streaming on SoundCloud, and now the band have also provided a worm-ridden lyric video for the song.
I’ve been spinning this song a lot since first hearing it. To quote what I wrote about it last week, it explodes with percussive ferocity, bestial roars, and winding riffs. Equal parts thunderous death metal and ripping melodic black metal, the music has an air of monstrous grandeur counterbalanced by a dark, swirling guitar melody — and it includes a brief, surprising acoustic interlude. It’s a riveting listen, and the track is such a grabber that I’ve already added it as a candidate for our list of 2014′s “Most Infectious Songs”.
In the words of frontman/songwriter Beleth, “‘Eidolon’ talks about the ancient Sumerian demons Thamuz and Ereshkigal, which is the queen of the underworld; destruction of the earth and proclamation of a self-destructive and anti-Christian ideology”. Gaze upon the lyric video next and let the music infest your head.
Collected in this round-up are a few new videos and songs I came across over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth your time. This is the first of a two-part “Seen and Heard”. More recommended new things will appear later today.
I’m a big fan of Finland’s Stam1na, but despite the fact that I really do enjoy their music, I always finding myself writing about them because of their videos (previous posts collected here). And I write about their videos because they’re so damned funny. And here I am again, writing about yet another Stam1na video — but not for the usual reasons.
This one premiered yesterday (credit to TheMadIsraeli for tipping me to it) and it’s for a song named “Panzerfaust” from their new album SLK (due for release on Feb 7). Man, did I get a surprise. First, the song hits like a blowtorch opened all the way up — a jolting piece of jabbing, hammering, thrashing mayhem with a swirling finger-tapped guitar melody and a stomping martial finish. When choral voices and militaristic chants aren’t being heard, Antti Hyyrynen’s vehement voice is raking like sharpened claws.
Here are things I saw and heard today.
I saw a temperature gauge at high noon here in The Emerald City: 63°F. And the sun is shining. All of you poor fuckers who are broiling like burgers on a charcoal grill everywhere east of the Pacific Coast can hate me now, and along about January you can remind me that I made this obnoxious crack at your expense.
I saw that awesomely phantasmagoric piece of artwork up above. It’s by Ken Sarafin of Sarafin Concepts. It’s for a death metal project called Bunch, of which Sarafin seems to be a member — one of many. Here’s this description from the Bunch FB page: “Bunch is a band formed from 28 different members, each playing one note a song. Occasionally during recording, a member might repeat a note several times. If that happens, a break with cookies is required afterwards. Bunch likes cookies.”
There are a bunch of Bunch demo tracks at this location. I picked one to stream after the jump.
(Earlier this week, Metal Injection published a discourse on The 10 Most Lethal Weapons In Black Metal. In the introduction to the article, the author alluded to the reasons why certain kinds of weaponry have been associated with the genre. Now we get the author’s full explanation — a Part 1, if you will, to the Part 2 piece that appeared at Metal Injection. At NCS, you know the prolific author as Rev. Will. In the course of his research, he consulted members of Noctem, Sigh, and Edge of Paradise, as well as the Vegan Black Metal Chef.)
Funnily enough, whenever black metal weaponry floats to the surface of the perpetually random sea of thoughts slushing about in my head, the next thing that invariably comes to mind is the “bling-bling” of hip-hop culture. Before the elitists out there start coming down on me with the wrath of Satan’s cheeseburger, consider for a moment the following comparison.
Now, I am not insinuating that there is a musical similarity between both genres. What I would like to point out is that just as bling-bling is the Statue of Liberty of hip-hop, black metal weaponry is very much an iconic part of black metal that serves as the first graphic reference for most people’s memory banks when they try to recollect what they can of the grim metal sub-genre (someone ought to give it a catchy name too, maybe “cling-clang”). Just as many hip-hop artistes are famous within the mainstream music circle for their overly-flashy jewelry, black metal musicians are infamous within the underground music community for their ostentatious weapons as well.
Over time, both sets of accessories have evolved from merely being elements of sub-genre attire into cultural movements of their own. Bling-bling and cling-clang are both usually made of metal, but that’s where the similarity between both cultural movements stops. Unsurprisingly, for a sub-genre and cultural movement as pessimistic and misanthropic as black metal, its proliferation in the early ‘90s even had the occasional political motive—something much of hip-hop has left far behind since its early days.
(As we continue to barrel ahead toward the end of 2011, we continue our Listmania series, looking back on the year’s best metal. In this post, we have two lists of favorite albums from members of Spain’s Noctem — lead guitarist Exo and vocalist Beleth. Noctem is one of our favorites here at NCS — check out Andy Synn’s review of their fantastic 2011 album here and his interview of Beleth here, and you can watch their new music video for “The Arrival of the False Gods” in this post.)
1-Obscura - Omnivium
Really liked their previous album, but this one blew my mind, really complex and original at the same time.
2-Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever
These Polish guys still impress me. This album sounds more modern and includes some kind of hardcore influences. The result of a brutal procreation between old Decapitated and Meshuggah.
Just so that last post featuring me tooting my own horn about myself doesn’t linger at the top of the NCS site for the next 8 1/2 hours until tomorrow’s first scheduled post, I have this official video, just released, from the most excellent Noctem, whose new album Oblivion our most excellent Andy Synn reviewed here and who Andy also interviewed here.
The featured song is called “The Arrival of the False Gods”, which Andy described as “all piledriving rhythms and violent vocal catharsis whose brooding guitar adds a palpable sense of menace to the proceedings”. If you’re an epileptic off your meds or have a moral problem with bands who play with pig heads on stage and eat pig organs during the performance, don’t watch this.
P.S. My interview by The Number of the Blog can be found via THIS LINK.
(NCS writer Andy Synn follows his review of the new album by Spain’s Noctem with an interview.)
After my recent review of the rather excellent Oblivion (HERE) by Spanish extremists Noctem, I have been emailing back and forth with the band’s guitarist (and general mastermind) Exo, garnering some background information on the group’s formation, transformation and the creative process which informed both their debut release and their latest album.
A thoroughly pleasant and clearly passionate individual, Exo passed my questions on to his dedicated partner-in-crime, lead singer Beleth, who has been with Exo since the band’s inception. After the jump you can read the responses Beleth provided to my email interrogation, offering his own distinct perspective on the group’s past, present and future . . .
(Andy Synn returns to NCS after a short hiatus with his review of the Oblivion, the new album by a Spanish band called Noctem. Given my own tastes, this review left me slobbering with hunger for this album. Positively slobbering. Just sayin’.)
There is a difference between an easy comparison and a lazy comparison. Just because a comparison is easy to make does not mean it is necessarily a lazy one, nor indeed a negative one. Listening to Oblivion, the second album from these sun-scorched, blackened death metallers (or deathly black metallers – take your pick) immediately brings to mind the monstrous, imperial grandeur of Behemoth, all potent death-metal pummeling and scathing, blackened speed. Perhaps just as strongly, there are elements here of the lumbering, goliath grooves of Kataklysm and the frenzied, melodic assault of The Black Dahlia Murder.
Yet these comparisons should not be seen as an accusation that Noctem are in any way derivative of these acts; rather, the similarities come from the band pursuing a congruent path to their metallic peers, where elements and themes are recognisable yet never plagiarised, not following the path of another but exploring similar territory on their own terms and in their own particular way. (more after the jump . . .)
What the hell is that big yellow thing up in the sky? It looks vaguely familiar, but it’s appeared so rarely here in The Emerald City over the last six months that we’re having trouble placing the name. Well, maybe the name will come to us. The great wheel of the seasons surely must continue to turn someplace, but in Seattle it seems to have been stuck on Winter since, like, forever. In some parts of the world, April showers bring May flowers, but here, April showers will probably bring . . . May showers.
Okay, enough whining. At least we don’t get tornados dropping from the sky like atom bombs and wiping whole towns off the map. And even though the weather hasn’t been our friend, we have metal to make up for the cold shoulder — and there’s a bunch of new metal headed our way.
What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.
This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones.