Welcome to the 8th Part of this evolving list of Most Infectious Songs from releases that appeared in 2016. To see the previous installments of the list and to learn the grounds for selection, click here.
I’ve again decided to group three songs together in this episode of the list rather than two, and I’ve again amused myself (and hopefully you) by combining tracks that I feel have a certain kinship among them, even though each one is distinctively different from the others.
Experiment of Existence, the new album by the Chilean band Ripper, was for me a big highlight of 2016. We got the chance to premiere a full album stream, and that was preceded by a review from Todd Manning (aka Allen Griffin) that included these words of praise:
(Austin Weber turns in this review of the new album by Vektor.)
Formerly Arizona-based, now Philly-based prog thrash unit Vektor are an interesting sonic experiment, akin to fellow modern thrashers Revocation as far as taking thrash roots mixed with some progressive death metal influences (and beyond) and creating something new and breathtaking. Their first two releases, Black Future and Outer Isolation, showed a group hungry to prove their mettle in an already crowded re-thrash oriented scene and movement. From those initial sparks of brilliance, Vektor have truly become something even greater this time around with Terminal Redux.
Greetings again from Anchorage, Alaska, where it’s colder than a well-digger’s ass in the Klondike and where I’ve come down with a raging cold myself. On the plus side, I’ve once again had a few hours to myself this morning before having to dive back into my day-job labors. On the minus side, it’s looking like I may not be able to get back home until Monday, which blows.
In my free time this morning I made a quick scan through the NCS e-mail. Despite the fact that it’s overflowing with stuff that I don’t have time to read, a few things did leap out at me, and I’ve collected those here — presented in alphabetical order by band name.
We’ve previously featured a trio of live videos by Abbath that the band released in the ramp-up to their self-titled debut album (coming from Season of Mist on January 22) and a 7″ single that’s due for release on December 11. Yesterday Abbath debuted the album’s cover art (above) and the first studio recording from the new album, a track called “Winter’s Bane”.
Here are a trio of randomly chosen new things I discovered over the weekend.
Ilenkus are five men from Galway, Ireland, whose second album The Crossing will be released on vinyl on September 15. The album is available for pre-order on Bandcamp along with a stream of one song, which can be downloaded now if you make the pre-order. I wrote about that song — “Over the Fire, Under the Smoke” — back in July. It hits hard right from the beginning, with big Mastodonian riffs, attention-grabbing drum rhythms, and clawing vocals. The high-voltage music flashes with jolting, progressive-minded lead-guitar flurries — and then takes a sharp left turn into something dreamlike and drifting before building again, with a rising sense of urgency, into a high burn and then a cooling-off period. Impressive guitar work and an equally impressive rhythm section make this song stand out.
Late last week Ilenkus released a music video for the song, which has racked up over 22,000 views in short order. In a nutshell, it shows one of the band’s three rotating vocalists, Chris Brennan, walking along a Galway pedestrian thoroughfare on a busy day. The camera stays focused on him, and he stays focused on the camera as the crowd flows around him. He’s singing the song as he walks — and from the looks he gets, I’m pretty sure he was actually shrieking and growling the words at full volume rather than lip-syncing (though we’re hearing the studio track in the video).
Here are a few things I saw and heard this morning. I hope you enjoy them. And by “enjoy” I mean “whimper fearfully and moan miserably”.
I was bowled over by this Connectuicut band’s 2010 debut album, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), and I wasn’t the only one. It has received plenty of attention and critical praise. You can peruse my review of the album here, and check out a revealing interview of Pristina’s mainman Brendan Duff by using this link.
I have really been looking forward to Pristina’s second album, Hopeless•Godless, which is now scheduled for release on February 26 through The Path Less Traveled Records. I’ve made my way through it once . . . but needed time to recover and hear it again before attempting to make notes for a review. It’s just utterly crushing and searing. I felt like a raw steak that had been tenderized with a mallet and then char-broiled over a hot open flame.
(Want to know where Vektor’s unique sound comes from? Want to know which sci-fi works figure importantly in Vektor’s creative process? Want to know about a major geographic relocation for this band? Then read BadWolf’s interview of the band’s main man David DiSanto.)
BW: Let’s start easy: For anyone who has not heard it yet, describe “Outer Isolation” in your own words, for us.
V: “Outer Isolation” is a sci-fi, progressive, technical, thrash odyssey through realms of thought and space. It’s a high speed, aggressive journey that goes into the uncharted depths of the beyond. It’s a personal story of thoughts and philosophies that I experienced during the writing process. It’s not really a concept album, but there are a lot of similar ideas that coincide like delving into philosophies of the mind and self-exploration. The music is based around technical thrash metal, but with an emphasis on taking the genre into new territories. The production sounds new and fresh without being over-produced, which we think is important. We’re all really happy with how it turned out. It has a great feel of being extremely fast and aggressive, while maintaining precision and clarity. It’s a little difficult to describe in words because it’s pretty different from most other albums.
BW: Writing Vektor music can’t be easy—can you describe the writing process?
V: Well, it’s pretty time consuming. Sometimes songs come together in just a couple weeks while others may take several months. There’s not a formula or anything that I follow when the songs are constructed. Up until now, I’ve been the one who writes all the songs. They’re all just creations from some abstract realm of thought that my brain exists in, haha. All of the songs are very riff-oriented, and that’s how they start. I just play guitar for hours or days until I think up a cool riff and the song takes off from there. I think about what the riffs sound like, usually something strange or space related, and try to build a sonic atmosphere to whatever visions are conjured up in my head when I play them. It’s basically a lot of one on one time with my guitar and my thoughts. After I come up with a general song structure, I show it to the other dudes in the band and they all incorporate their ideas and playing styles to form the Vektor sound. I usually write the lyrics after the music, but it all depends on what type of inspiration is striking at the moment.
(Here, TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Arizona’s Vektor.)
Originality is a loaded word when talking about music of any sort. Some would argue there is no originality any more, that we have exhausted every worthwhile note combination, every beat, every possible syncopation and harmony imaginable. If you’ll notice, and correct me if I’m wrong dear NCS readers, I have never used this word once in any of my reviews to describe a band’s sound as a whole. I feel, however, that when it comes to intergalactic blackened space death jazz thrashers Vektor, “original” is exactly the word that must be applied.
No one else out there sounds like these guys, and they do what they do with unmatched conviction. I don’t know how many of you who read NCS heard this band’s debut album, Black Future, but to deny the UTTER SHEER FUCKING INSANITY of the music on that album would definitely be foolhardy. Vektor kind of fell off of my radar, though, after I listened to Black Future so many times that it created its own black hole and collapsed its own universe into it. It was only like last fucking month that I found out Vektor would be releasing a new album entitled Outer Isolation. To say I was pumped would be a huge understatement. To say that this album takes Vektor’s sound to the next level would be an even bigger fucking understatement.
For the uninitiated, Vektor play a crazy, fuck-nuts hybrid of thrash metal, black metal and death metal with jazz coloring. But they don’t just add small doses and elements of these styles; they fully incorporate and combine them in all of their glory into cohesive, atom-smashing assaults.
In a nutshell, Vektor’s sound is something that by all conceivable logic should be impossible to pull off with such proficiency and legitimacy. One would expect that their strategy would lead them in a completely directionless meandering, with a train wreck at the end (and that’s the ending I think just about anyone else would reach if they were to attempt what Vektor has done). That Vektor has avoided those pitfalls is part of what makes this album truly stand out. The number of bands who have genre-blended this seamlessly and successfully I think could be counted on your fingers.
I bet all of the non-U.S. readers of NCS and other U.S.-based metal blogs are getting sick of reading about Thanksgiving and turkey. Don’t worry, because by nightfall, many of your U.S. compatriots will be sick, too, having stuffed themselves with too much traditional grub and fallen into tryptophan comas, unable to rouse themselves even to go to the bathroom, and therefore wallowing in their own waste. Wallowing in my own waste is actually one of the highlights of Thanksgiving Day for me, but I realize that it’s uncomfortable for other people.
Where was I? Oh yeah. V-Day. “V” is for Vektor and Vildhjarta. “V” is also for “Vhat the vuck? Vhy did I eat so much vucking turkey? Vould someone kill me now?”
Vektor and Vildhjarta have new albums. They are both veddy good. Ve vill have re-Views soonish. But for now, ve have streams of both albums. So, U.S. readers will have good music to ease the pain emanating from their distended abdomens. And non-U.S. readers will have good music to ease their other pains, because life is inherently painful, and therefore we all have pain of one kind or another (except for me, because I will soon be happily wallowing in my own waste). This is actually the true meaning of Thanksgiving: what Americans are really doing today is expressing thanks for not being in more pain than they are already in.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Vektor and Vildhjarta. Go HERE to stream Vektor’s Outer Isolation and go HERE to stream Vildhjarta’s Måsstaden. And in other news, someone finally uploaded Vildhjarta’s “Dagger” video to YouTube so we no longer have to experience frustration trying to play the thing from Metal Hammer’s wonky player. That video is after the jump.
Also after the jump: two Vektor songs from Outer Isolation that you can stream right here in case you missed them earlier, and a collection of older Vildhjarta stuff for streaming right here, too.
Oh baby, did yesterday bring some titillating musical teasers. Actually, only two of the four teasers featured in this post are actual music. The other two are simply forecasts of music that will become available shortly.
By the way, I’m writing this in a hurry because I’m about to leave for the airport. The old fucking day job is sending me to the East Coast for a couple of days. I’ll tell you, the life of a coke mule isn’t as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be. The prospect of parking my tender, balloon-filled butt in a cramped airplane seat for 5+ hours isn’t appealing. But it comes with the territory, y’know? Anyway, when I ignore all your comments until tonight, it won’t mean I don’t love you.
This talented Hungarian band has already teased us about their new album on Season of Mist, Rengeteg, which won’t actually see the full light of day until November 11 and fucking January 10, 2012 in North America. Yes, last month we got some snippets of music (featured at NCS here) — not even a full song, but certainly enough to stir our loins in anticipation. Now we have a full song, the first to debut from the new album. It’s called “Fekete mezők”, which means “black fields”. And guess what? Season of Mist has made it available for free download HERE. Listen up (right after the jump):