May 162016

Lord Impaler-Demology-The Decade of Obscurity

 

Here are a couple of quick news items of interest that qualify as updates to recent posts here at our putrid site.

LORD IMPALER

In a Shades of Black post yesterday I included a video of the first live performance by the Greek black metal band Lord Impaler in 16 years, opening for Rotting Christ on May 13 in Kastoria, Greece, and performing a new song from their forthcoming second album In Full Regalia. And today Lord Impaler followed that landmark event in their history with an announcement I thought was worth spreading around — especially because it involves an offer of free music, much of which has been hard to find:

May 092016

Oak Pantheon-In Pieces

 

(Andy Synn reviews the remarkable new album by Oak Pantheon from Minnesota.)

Change is perhaps the only true constant in life. People change. Bands change. And our relationship to them, and to their music, changes accordingly.

And yet, though it’s undeniable that Minnesotan metallers Oak Pantheon have certainly changed somewhat since the release of their first album, 2012’s stirring From A Whisper, the essence of the band, their core sound, still remains fully intact, even as their latest release finds the group expanding beyond perhaps what even they originally envisioned.

Changed, and yet unchanging, it’s precisely this paradox which is at the centre of In Pieces, a compelling enigma which necessitates multiple spins to truly appreciate and comprehend.

Aug 272015

Mordbrand vidclip

 

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.

MORDBRAND

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.

Aug 022014

 

To pick up where my last post left off, the aircraft that I boarded yesterday in Seattle did in fact land in Denver, where I and my personal security detail spent the evening drinking beer, eating pizza, and air-guitaring at the Black Sky Brewery in preparation for the sonic holocaust that will begin today (otherwise know as the Denver Black Sky fest).

Because time is short (or more accurately, the time not spent drinking, eating, jawing, and sleeping), this little round-up will be less fulsome than I would like — but still worthwhile, I hope.

ELEMENTAL NIGHTMARES — I

We’ve been writing about the Elemental Nightmares project since early days, and it is now a reality. Today Elemental Nightmares released the first of seven 10″ vinyl splits for digital download; the physical copies will start shipping on August 7 or 8.

The first split includes songs by Wildernessking (South Africa), Oak Pantheon (Minnesota), Kess’khtak (Switzerland) Liber Necris (UK), and it features that stunning artwork you see at the top of this post (all of the individual pieces of art for the seven splits, when placed next to each other, will eventually flow together to form one large piece of art). The work was created by Düsseldorf artist Alexander Leybovich (whose web site is here).

Jul 172014

 

Here are a few noteworthy things I spotted and heard yesterday, with some help from my friends. If time permits, I’ll put up a second collection today, because yesterday really brought a cavalcade of things I want to spread around.

ÆVANGELIST

I know there are human beings in Ævangelist, but I still prefer to call them “the Ævangelist entity” because the music sounds like emanations from a dark dimension outside our own by an inhuman being whose shape can’t be mapped. This entity has been churning out music at a an increasingly furious rate. Although the last album, Omen Ex Simulacra emerged from the void only last fall, yesterday brought an announcement by Debemur Morti Productions that a new full-length named Ævangelist III – Writhes in the Murk will become available in September (on CD, vinyl, and digital).

That news would have been enough to stop me in my tracks all by itself, but the announcement was accompanied by the unveiling of the wonderful album cover you see above. It was created by Andrzej Masianis, who also created the painted cover for the last album, which is worth seeing in full rather than in the cropped version that was visible as the album’s front cover. The painting was originally entitled “Exterminating Angel”:

Jun 122014

Here are some new things I found over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing around. I’m doing my best to finish a review, so I’m going to atypically attempt to be brief. I know this will cause mass depression among readers, but that’s just the way it has to be.

SÓLSTAFIR

As previously reported, the next album by Iceland’s Sólstafir is named Ótta and will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America. Today the album became available for pre-order in triple-LP format (here) and the cover art was disclosed (above). I don’t know what thinking is behind the use of this photo or how it relates to the music and/or lyrics, but I like it — such a dramatic setting, and such a fascinating face. Bought it.

Also today Stereogum premiered the new album’s title track. You may not be prepared for it. You may not even think it’s metal. But I think it’s goddamned awesome. It’s icy and adrift, bleak and beautiful, melancholy and memorable. But it has a harsh edge as well, it rocks in its own way, and the soaring of the vocals into a howl near the end are very cool. And is that an electrified mandolin I’m hearing, along with the synth and strings? (Answer:  Nope, it’s a banjo!)

Go HERE to listen.

GOD MACABRE

I’ve written before about the Relapse reissue of the one and only album by Sweden’s God Macabre — a band who’ve frequently been on my mind ever since seeing their magnificent set at Maryland Deathfest XII last month. One of my friends who was there with me surprised the hell out of me a few days ago with a gift of the special MDF edition of the LP. And then yesterday I noticed that the digital version of The Winterlong reissue is now available on Bandcamp. If you haven’t heard it, you should. It has lost nothing in the two decades since its original release. Here it is:

Apr 022014

My close friends and family members will tell you that I’m one of the most gullible people you could ever encounter. I prefer to think of it as an innately trusting nature, but my history of being duped is so long and rich that I can’t really quarrel with their judgment. Even on April 1, when I try to be on guard, I still get suckered like a carnival rube.

There were lots of metal-oriented pranks yesterday that were funny even though they were obvious — such as the 50 reviews that suddenly materialized on Metal-Archives for the ingeniously named Penis Metal by Hades Archer. At least I think that was a prank. Sometimes gullibility can work in reverse.

One prank I fell for, hook, line, and sinker, appears at the top of this post. I have such a hard-on for Oak Pantheon and Amiensus, and their 2013 split Gathering, that I took one look at that flyer — and the appearance of a Seattle date — and started marking my calendar and exclaiming enthusiastically about it on Facebook. I didn’t dwell on the logistical difficulty of a tour that would start on the US East Coast, jump to a bunch of European capitols, and then pick up on the US West Coast, all within the space of a month. I also completely missed the two tiny words in the lower right-hand corner of the flyer.

Jan 252014

Welcome to Part 11 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. 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.

That’s right, three songs today instead of two. I have reasons for grouping them together, but not because they’re similar. In fact, the styles of metal are quite different. I’ve put them together in this post because all three bands are relative newcomers, they’re all from the U.S., and they’ve already given us ample cause to expect great things from them in the future — because what they’ve already accomplished is pretty great. Of course, these three songs are also damned infectious.

OAK PANTHEON

This Minneapolis-based band will not be a new name for followers of NCS because we’ve been covering them closely since June 2011, when I included them in a feature that focused on a handful of promising bands I’d found who had less than 100 Facebook likes (they’re over 2,000 now). Musically, Oak Pantheon haven’t been standing still since then. Every new release seems to bring surprises — and further proof that their talents are as expansive as their musical interests.

Their latest release was a 2013 split with Amiensus (yet another very promising U.S. band), which I reviewed here. Oak Pantheon’s contribution to the split is a song entitled “A Gathering”. It manages to rock very hard while also being worthy of the label “epic”. I thought the riffs were ridiculously catchy when I first heard it, and time has only confirmed my first impressions — I’ve been drawn back to the song a lot over the last three months. It was a foregone conclusion that “A Gathering” would have a place on this list. Listen:

Dec 222013

(We again invited recording engineer and musician Sean Golyer (Oak Pantheon) to give us his year-end list of personal favorites, and he again agreed.)

As is customary for three years now (wow, really?), my list primarily consists of the albums that got the most spins, as well as a few blasphemous unmetal picks for those willing to explore a bit. This may leave out otherwise very choice albums from a year jam-packed with crazy good metal. Seriously, 2013 has been extraordinary, particularly for those of us with a penchant for the blackened side of things. Unfortunately, as of late I’m just too busy in my personal life to check them all out or give them more time. But these are the albums that stood out to me the most and kept my interest well beyond the first listen.

Caladan Brood – “Echoes of Battle”

What’s there left to say beyond what I’ve already said over at Metal Bandcamp? This album came out of nowhere early in the year and I’ve been listening to it pretty regularly ever since. All the coolest, heaviest parts of Summoning wrapped into a very well-produced and mixed package. One of those few examples that truly live up to the title of “epic”. Feathers might be ruffled, but I enjoyed this release far more than the actual Summoning album that came out this year. This is always how I’ve wanted them to sound, which is purely subjective and selfish on my part, but hey, we’ve all got our own tastes.

Oct 302013

Amiensus and Oak Pantheon are two Minnesota bands we watch closely at this site. Both of them produced debut albums in 2012 that we praised in our reviews — Restoration by Amiensus (reviewed here) and From A Whisper by Oak Pantheon (reviewed here). Both of them can be considered black metal bands, but both of them have incorporated so many other musical elements that diverge from the Scandinavian orthodoxy that one day we will have to concoct a new genre name for what they are doing. “American black metal” isn’t specific enough, and although both bands come far closer to Agalloch than they do Marduk or Taake, “Cascadian black metal” isn’t right either.

While we continue to ponder just what shorthand to use in describing what each of these bands are doing, we can now consider their latest creations, which come conveniently packaged together in a new forthcoming split release entitled Gathering. Before I heard a note, I had a good feeling, because both the main album cover (“The Plains of Heaven”) and the alternate cover (“The Great Day of His Wrath”) were crafted from 1849 paintings by John Martin, and that just exudes good taste, as does the decision to have both tracks mastered by Arsafes (Kartikeya, Above the Earth) (and he mixed the Amiensus track too). Those good feelings proved to be prescient, because both bands’ contributions to the split are stellar.

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