As you can see, this is the second installment of our Most Infectious Song rollout, following hot on the heels of yesterday’s launch. As was true yesterday, each of today’s picks came from albums that were home to more than one song that could easily be on this list, and I won’t be surprised if some of you think I made the wrong pick. Hell, if I made the picks tomorrow, they might be different.
There are a few other connections between this particular threesome, one of which is that all three albums came out in the first quarter of last year, long enough ago that, for me, revisiting these songs was like a reunion with some old friends. Other connections will become obvious.
We didn’t give enough attention to Vredehammer’s 2016 album Violator. I wrote about its first advance track (“Spawn Tyrant”), and we published Karina Cifuentes’ interview of Per Valla, though even that focused more on his time as a session guitarist with Abbath and his personal Valla project than it did on Vredehammer.
When our man DGR reviewed Rotting Christ’s new album Rituals in February, he made some observations that came back to mind today. He remarked that Rituals “feels more like an event than a collection of singles”, that “the songs feel perfectly placed,” with “more dramatic interstitial sections slotting in well next to faster songs”, earning the name given to the album. He also commented on the intensely rhythmic nature of much of the music, underscoring the thematic union of the album’s ten tracks as musical representations of rites from around the globe that share a certain spiritual essence.
A personal favorite among those “interstitial” sections is the powerful “Ἄπαγε Σατανά (Apage Satana)”, and today we bring you the premiere of Rotting Christ’s mesmerizing video for the song.
For almost two weeks I’ve been in the throes of Maryland Deathfest frenzy, taking time away from many of my typical blogging activities to attend the festival itself and then re-living the experience through a five-part recap all of last week. I missed a lot of new music, and of course when you check out for that long in today’s riotously fecund metal environment there’s no way to completely catch up. However, I have spent some hours making incomplete lists of what I missed and then listening… and from that I have some songs I want to recommend.
Many of the new songs I want to write about are connected in various ways to black metal, and I’ve collected some of them here, along with one recent piece of very enticing news. There will be at least one more installment in this blackened catch-up collection, and maybe two if time allows.
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR
I think of Hail Spirit Noir as sonic alchemists, highly adept at combining different stylistic ingredients and transmuting them into strange and wondrous sounds. They’ve proven those alchemical talents through two albums so far — Pneuma in 2012 and Oi Magoi in 2014 — and last month they announced that a third one is on the way.
I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon sifting through that massive spew known as the NCS e-mail in-box and then wading through the hip-deep effluent of the interhole, searching for things worth hearing and seeing, so that you don’t have to dirty yourselves doing it. It was filthy work, as it always is, but as always happens I found some chunks of gold gleaming amidst the vast rivers of mediocrity. I actually have a pretty long list of discoveries that I think are worth sharing, but here are a few of them. Perhaps I will have time to include more later today, or this weekend.
Rotting Christ delivered a new lyric video yesterday for the song “Les Litanies de Satan“, which includes guest vocals from Vorph’s frontman Samael dramatically reciting (in French) excerpts from Charles Baudelaire’s poem of the same name (from the volume of poetry entitled Les Fleurs du Mal), which inspired the song. The track, which appears on the band’s latest album Rituals (reviewed here), is a majestic, surging hymn to the fallen angel, and the video is interesting to watch as well.
(In typically detailed fashion, DGR reviews the great new album by the Greek titan, Rotting Christ.)
Rotting Christ have been an interesting entity over their epic-length career. As a band who have existed since the late ’80s, they have changed form multiple times, firmly held in foundation by the two members who began the group, and as other members have entered and exited the band, the sounds have changed as well.
A career this long will often lead to maybe one golden period and then a slow, steady income for a band, but Rotting Christ are one of the few that have had a couple of huge highlights while at the same time continually grinding it out on the road as well as consistently cranking out disc after disc. Most recently — since the release of 2010’s Aealo — Rotting Christ have been on an absolute tear, planting themselves firmly in the metal scene as one of the best guitar-riff-writing bands out there to date.
It’s an interesting situation, as recommending Rotting Christ to people can sometimes lead (still to this day, even, in a culture of viral shock and awe) to the occasional upturned nose and jaw dropped. Yet I would argue that the band, even limited to the group’s previous three albums (not counting today’s subject), have written some insanely catchy music, working in complete tandem with the part of the band that gives itself so completely over to its chosen subject matter, which 96% of the time is Satan.
Sometimes I worry that we bombard you so heavily with new music that it might become exhausting, or just unrealistic to follow what we’re throwing at you. I’m kind of feeling that way today, which is why I changed the title of this post from the usual “Seen and Heard” headline — since this would be the fourth of those in four days. But despite the different title, that’s still what this is — a round-up of recently released music we want to recommend.
It seems like only a week ago that Season of Mist released the last advance track from Rotting Christ’s new album (featured here). Actually, it was only one week ago. But yesterday another track premiered. And of course I’m writing about it because I think it’s just as strong as the ones that have preceded it.
Earlier today when I posted Part One of this Shades of Black feature (here) I mentioned that I would have Part Two ready to go later today or tomorrow. Despite the title of this post, it actually isn’t the Part Two that I had planned. What you’ll find here instead are three very good new songs that I didn’t encounter until today, and I thought I’d help spread the word about them right away. And so the original Part Two will become Part Three, hopefully by tomorrow.
Today another new track from Rotting Christ’s forthcoming album Rituals premiered at 11 music sites around the world (though none are based in North America). The name of the song is “זה נגמר (Ze Nigmar)” (an Aramaic phrase meaning “it’s done”), and because the premiere took the form of a YouTube stream, I’ve taken the liberty of embedding it below.
The end of the year is fast approaching, but the freight train of metal isn’t slowing down. Here are just a few of the things that caught my eyes and ears over the last 24 hours, sifted from my scanning of the NCS in-box and my daily dive into the interhole.
I’ve probably mentioned somewhere in the dim mists of the past that Rotting Christ were the band whose music first convinced me that I needed to learn more about black metal — my first step along a musical left hand path from which I’ve never turned back. The following announcement, received yesterday, was thus an especially exciting piece of news:
On February 12, Season of Mist will release Rotting Christ’s twelfth studio album, Rituals. In addition, Stereokiller premiered the album’s first advance track, “Elthes Kyrie“, in the U.S. (it also appeared at many other sites around the world).
As a result of finally finding a few hours yesterday to use in exploring music (for the first time this week), I’m again deluged in new things I’d like to tell you about. To avoid overburdening your patience, I’ve split my discoveries into two posts for today. The focus of this one is announcements of new albums that don’t yet have any music streaming. But because I hate to post anything on the site without some sounds, the last item is a fantastic new song.
We’re very big fans of Rotting Christ around here, and so this announcement from two days ago was especially exciting. I’m just going to quote the statement from Sakis Tolis:
After more than a year and a half of deep soul searching, and 4 grueling months in the studio, I can proudly announce that we have finished recording the new Rotting Christ album. It’s eleven new songs, with eleven different and unique stories influenced by rituals and myths from all around the globe. All of these new creations are mystical journeys into hidden knowledge under the name Rituals that will release on the 12th of February, 2016.
Rituals is the darkest and most personal-sounding Rotting Christ album that we’ve ever made, and you’ll be able to hear it very shortly. Stay tuned brothers & sisters!
I’ve been distracted over the last couple of days by a combination of demands by my fucking day job and time spent with some old friends who decided to escape the furnace that is a Texas summer by visiting Seattle. On top of that, Facebook eliminated my personal profile because it wasn’t under my real legal name, which deep-sixed my friend connections to hundreds of musicians and record labels, whose FB statuses were a constant source of new-music discoveries for me. Put all that together, and the result is that I’m way behind in discovering and writing about new music streams. I’m hoping to re-group in the next day or two, but for now, here are some quick items (the last of which comes to us courtesy of Grant Skelton).
As we previously reported, Season of Mist is releasing a double-live album by the almighty Rotting Christ on August 21. Entitled Lucifer Over Athens, it was recorded in Athens in December 2013, and it’s the band’s first-ever live album.
Yesterday, SoM premiered a full stream of the new album, which you can check out below. It’s available for pre-order at this location.