Aug 082017

 

This is, obviously, a humongous round-up of things I’ve recently discovered. I’ve organized it in this way:

First up there are two news items that feature imagery and info about eagerly anticipated new releases but no music. Then I’ve got new videos and music streams by (or related to) a quartet of venerable and revered bands, followed by new advance tracks from two younger favorites who are returning with new releases this year. And then I’ll close this out with music from two bands whom I’ve just discovered.

BELL WITCH

On most days I post a piece of usually dark or surreal artwork on our Facebook page. I keep an archive of what I’ve posted over the years, as a way of trying to avoid repeating myself. In that archive I’ve counted 22 paintings by the Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski that I’ve posted over the years since I began doing that, which I think is proof of how strongly I like his creations. But as far as I can recall, he has never created artwork for the cover of a metal album… until now. And his cover for the new Bell Witch album will surely stand as one of the best album covers of the year, if not THE best.

Apr 022016

Duplicate Records-An Alignment of Shrines

 

On this Saturday morning I’ve been struck by a combination of early slothfulness and (annoyingly) a subsequent need to deal with some internet service problems. I had plans to review two EPs for today, but since it’s already noon out here on the Left Coast and I haven’t written a word, I wondered what the hell I would do to foist music upon you. And then I received a Bandcamp alert in my e-mail and… Voilà!!!

That Bandcamp alert concerned a just-released compilation of sounds from Oslo, Norway’s Duplicate Records entitled An Alignment of Shrines. It includes tracks by 14 bands — four of them from forthcoming releases and the rest from Duplicate releases over the last year or so. I recognized the names of 10 of the bands, and it happens that I’ve enjoyed and we’ve previously written about the music of all 10 of those. Here’s the list of the bands and the names of the releases from which the songs were drawn:

Nov 032015

Serpents Lair-Circumnambulating the Stillborn

 

Last year I reviewed an impressive first demo by a mysterious hooded group from Sjælland, Denmark, named Serpents Lair. Now the band have completed their debut full-length, a seven-track, 43-minute album entitled Circumambulating the Stillborn that becomes available for download and physical pre-order today. In this post you’ll have a chance to stream the entire album for the first time. And if you’d like a preview of what you’re getting yourselves into, read on.

Following an introductory track consisting of beautiful choral voices and the slow, muffled pounding of timpani, Serpents Lair deliver five mostly long songs and an instrumental interlude. The songs are richly textured, dynamic in their pacing, and wholly unsettling.

May 042014

 

Serpents Lair are from Sjælland, Denmark.  The members have not disclosed their identities or musical pedigrees. Two shrouded figures appear in a photo on their Facebook page, so I assume there are only two people in the band, but that’s merely an educated guess. Beyond that, all I know is that on May 2 they released a two-song demo on Bandcamp, and I’m tremendously impressed by it.

I’m perfectly happy with black metal that just tears, rips, and froths the waters like a school of piranha on a fresh carcass, and Serpents Lair certainly do that — and do it with a ravenous appetite. But the music is so much more than that.

Ominous, dissonant melodies heave and swell through the music like storm tides, even when the band are racing, and that creates a potent, sinister atmosphere. But they don’t always race. The music also falls into slow, menacing processionals, with big ominous chords that reverberate like bells of doom and rhythms that methodically strike like hammer blows. There is almost as much an air of bitterness and anguish in this music as there is righteous fury.

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