Yes, it’s time for more random fucking metal, selected in completely impulsive and unpredictable ways for your listening and viewing enjoyment.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. Yes, we acted impulsively and unpredictably, but no, we didn’t select any of this for your listening and viewing enjoyment. We don’t know whether you’ll enjoy any of what we have for you today, and we didn’t select any of it with your enjoyment in mind.
To be fair, we didn’t select it with our enjoyment in mind either. That’s not how this MISCELLANY series works. The way it works is this: I keep a list of new music from bands I’ve not heard before, and then on a given day (yesterday, as it happens), I start checking out their music and/or videos at random, and I include in this blog exactly what I heard and saw, regardless of the outcome.
As regular readers know, we usually have pretty decent luck, because I don’t put anything on the list that doesn’t look interesting for some reason, even though I don’t know what the music is going to sound like. On the other hand, I don’t exclude anything I heard, even if it proved to be disappointingly ghastly.
In this installment of MISCELLANY, I checked out the following bands from the following places: Drag the Lake (England) (pictured above), Kunvuk (Australia), Winterfylleth (England), and Elvenking (Italy). So, gird your loins, and follow along after the jump . . .
DRAG THE LAKE
This Anglo-Irish four-piece band is headquartered in the environs of Nottingham, England. When they were a five-piece, they produced a 4-song EP in 2009 called Derailed, which the band has made available for free download at this location.
We haven’t heard that EP yet. What we have heard, and seen, is a brand new video for a new song called “Dead From the Neck Up”, which seems destined for appearance on yet another EP sometime in the future. We were pointed in the direction of this video by one of our readers, and now guest contributor, Andy Synn. It was our first stop on this MISCELLANY tour.
The video is well-done — a cleverly edited performance with graphics of the lyrics emerging here and there. The music is also right in our wheelhouse — hard-hitting death metal with flashy riffing, brutal howling, punchy grooves, and rhythmic diversity. It kicks down the door, throws you around the room, and bolts away before you know quite what’s happened. See for yourself:
My next stop on this MISCELLANY tour was to check out a band from Sydney, Australia called Kunvuk. I saw a news item about them on Blabbermouth that was intriguing, including the fact that they have a female drummer, so I added them to my list and picked them at random to hear.
Kunvuk is scheduled to release their debut album today. It’s called Immute: Jackals, which seems to be a shortening of the original planned title, Immute: What Follows the Feeding of Jackals. The release will include a second disk consisting of a “reconstructed, re-recorded, remixed and remastered version” of the band’s demo EP, The Gone Mekanik Anticipation Demonstration.
Kunvuk has made the first song from the new album, “Hypochondriac”, available for free download at this location. That’s the song I heard. It’s loaded with heavy, downtuned guitars, jabbing rhythms, machine-gun drumming, a variety of demented vocal styles, schizophrenic time signatures, and a nice, whining guitar solo. This is definitely outside the box, but the screeching vocals make fingernails on a chalkboard sound calming, and I’m still trying to get past them. See what you think:
After scratching my head over Kunvuk, I decided to check out a black-metal band from England called Winterfylleth (the name is apparently an old Anglo-Saxon word for what we now know as the month of October). I received a press release announcing the impending discharge of the band’s second album via Candlelight Records called The Mercian Sphere.
According to the press release: “Featuring members of doomsters Atavist, the UK collective churn a vicious yet moody, folk-inspired brand of black metal that harkens back to early days of Enslaved and Ulver. Lyrically, the band delve into tales of England’s archaic history, recounting major events, battles, and even drawing inspiration from certain sites and scenery that grace the countryside of England and have played an integral part in the country’s history.”
The release also reported that Stereogum was streaming a track from the album called “A Valley Thick With Oaks” at this location, so I ventured over there and listened.
Even though the track is more than seven minutes in length, I listened to it three times in a row before forcing myself to move on to something else for this MISCELLANY tour. In other words, I thought it was stunningly hot-shit: dense, melodic, glorious, dark, mythic, powerfully resonant. There’s also a mix of clean-singing with the traditional raspy black-metal vocalizations that works extremely well.
This song made me imagine a vast, deciduous forest in the late autumn, when the blazing colors of the leaves have faded and begun to cascade to the ground, when a crisp chill saturates the air, foretelling that winter is imminent, when massive clouds roll across the sky at speed as a colder front moves in. I’m definitely getting this album.
Here’s that song that Stereogum is streaming, plus the album cover for you to gaze upon as you listen:
Elvenking is another band I read about on Blabbermouth recently. They’re from Italy and they released a new album in Europe on September 16 via AFM Records called Red Silent Tides. It will be released in North America on November 9. The Blabbermouth blurb included a picture of the album cover artwork by Samuel Araya, who previously worked on Cradle of Filth’s Thornography CD.
I thought the cover art was way cool, so I decided to listen to the music. I told you that my reasons for picking music to hear were impulsive and random. Here’s the cover art I saw:
Elvenking have also recently released a new video for a song from the new album called “The Cabal”, and that’s what I watched. I should have known better. The Blabbermouth blurb referred to Elvenking as “folk/power metallers” and included a promo photo that suggests the band members got a bulk discount on eye-liner.
The video is ridiculous. I’m referring mainly (but not exclusively) to the chick in the satiny red evening gown awkwardly trying to dance while perched on a rock, and eventually swirling a red streamer through the air. As for the music, it’s just utterly not my style. I’ll just leave it at that. Maybe some of you will like it.
That’s all we’ve got for MISCELLANY today: A couple of really good finds, one head-scratcher, and one complete fail.
Have a wonderful fucking day.
Drag the Lake was pretty good, but I didn’t feel like it had anything that really grabbed me. The video was pretty cool, though I’m a bit bored of war images in metal videos. Maybe another listen through will change my mind.
This is gonna be egg on my face but…did anyone else think of Mindless Self Indulgence when they listened to Kunvuk? I have to admit, the description already had me thinking of MSI before I listened… A more…metally MSI…
And Elvenking was…HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
After listening to Drag the Lake about five more times…I’ve decided that it does indeed grab me.
I’ve heard very little of MSI’s music, so they didn’t pop into my head. Isn’t that more of an electro-industrial sound? I dunno, maybe my memory is faulty,
Yeah, electro-industrial-punk ummm…I guess.
The weird vocals and strange songwriting/rhythm changes is what I was thinking about though…
MSI is a bit more ADD though.
could’nt make it to the 15 second mark of that elvenking crap
I really, really wanted to stop after 15 seconds, but since I started it for this post I felt I was duty-bound to finish it. I badly needed a palate-cleanser after that and chose “Ruin” by Lamb of God. It still wasn’t enough, so I listened to most of “Left Hand Path” by Entombed.
Just tried listening to it… Seems to be something like a boyband. Way too popish even for power metal…
I’ve been trying to think of a suitable form of self-punishment for putting that THING up on this site, but just can’t quite bring myself to gouge out an eye.
Nah, man, that’s reserved for having sex with your mother. Can’t go against tradition. 😛 Think listening to it was punishment enough. ^^
I like Elvenking’s older stuff, as far as power metal goes. They’re cheesy as hell, but they have some good tunes. That one, however, is definitely not one of them.
Whew. I was worried I was being too judgmental because I have a hard time with power metal even when it’s supposed to be good.
Goddamn, Winterfylleth seems to be quite a find! Haven’t been this impressed since i first heard Dark Funeral!
Man, I’m glad someone out there spoke up about this! So many things about the song grabbed me, including the way it ended in the last couple of minutes after that long hypnotic build-up. I hope the rest of the album (which is supposed to clock in at more than an hour) will be up to this standard.
Many thanks for giving Drag The Lake a bit of publicity, I definitely feel that they deserve some sort of greater national/international recognition as they perform and write with a hell of a lot of fire and integrity.
Not quite sure what to think of Drag The Lake, but I didn’t care for the video. I think they went overboard with the lyrics in the video (they even had the definition of patriarch on screen) and I agree with Phro about the use of war footage (or in this case, propaganda footage). Even though the song’s just under 3 minutes, it felt like it dragged on for too long. Maybe it’s just the first time viewing effect or something.
With your comment about the vocals in Kunvuk, I was expecting something a certain malevolent hexahedron might come up with had it the proper mechanisms to vocalize its desires. Instead, it’s a bunch of overlapping stuff that might sound at home with hardcore bands and/or the crappy side of nu-metal post-2001. Not many bands can get away with having many different voices or variations, and the list gets smaller when you move away from progressive metal, ensemble lineups of certain bands/projects notwithstanding. That aside, the music didn’t really do anything for me. Decent, but nothing special, while the solo left me wondering. It seemed out of place with the rest of the song and to be brutally honest (which I know you prefer), it sounded amateurish and half-assed (maybe only a quarter-ass), but got a bit better as it went on, although that’s not saying much. It took some effort to make it through the song in its entirety and I had to wait a while to make the attempt again.
Winterfylleth was a welcome change after that thing posing as a song I had previously listened to. To be brutally honest again, I would expect this band to be from somewhere else, with Finland at the top of the list, followed by Norway or Sweden; this is more like the blackened metal (folk or otherwise) that can be found east of England. I’ll know I’ll be checking out more from this band.
Yes, power metal is loaded with cheese, sometimes too much. Italian power metal is no exception. This also translates into wtf-were-were-they-thinking moments in videos that get made. Fortunately, this video is not one of those, but it’s also not very original or inspired. The girl looks like she’s either utterly bored of concentrating very hard on the task at hand. Neither make it look like she’s having a particularly good time, but it’s not a bad time either. I found it odd that the violin player had his instrument ‘plugged in’, but the guitarists and bassist didn’t.
I haven’t heard much Elvenking before and I don’t know how much Elvenking I’ll listen to after this. They’ve never been on my musical radar, but I must admit, it’s cool that they aren’t afraid to be influenced by music that isn’t metal. In the right hands, this can lead to some great sounding metal, which Elvenking is certainly capable of. But this song… um, no. Nothing about it to make is stand out, and having a video featuring a blonde stretching and dancing on rocks whiile playing with a streamer isn’t going to do anything to further the cause.
I’ve listened to Kunvuk’s song four times now, and reached a conclusion: you are exactly right. There are some moments in the song that I liked, but it does have a patch-work quality to it, and there are an equal or greater number of moments that were painful.
Glad you liked the Winterfylleth. I thought you might, but wasn’t positive.
I read someplace that Elvenking has a completely acoustical album and integrates string quartet and folk music into their songs. Maybe there’s more to them than meets the eye in this video and song, but I’m afraid I’m not really interested in finding out. As you say, “having a video featuring a blonde stretching and dancing on rocks whiile playing with a streamer isn’t going to do anything to further the cause.” I was a lot more interested in the rock-strewn landscape than anything else in the video.
Yeah, I don’t expect Elvenking to be part of your exceptions to the rule.
I’ve been checking out some other material by them, just because, and I don’t hear anything all too compelling. I guess they’re just a band that’s an acquired taste for most people. Skyclad is listed as an influence on the band, which I do hear, so that’s reason enough for me to try to get into them more.
Talk about wading through shit to find a good band.
Winterfylleth is a pleasant surprise. They sound like they should be from Finland or Norway. I like the song and will add them to my “look-into-further” pile.
I got the same reaction as the others did about Drag the Lake. Not very original. The video did nothing for me. Thank the fucking cube I am not epileptic. And the fucking tapping towards the end of the song was just out of place and sounded horrible.
I got to the opening verse of Kunvuk and had to turn that shit off. Just fucking terrible. Nails on chalkboard indeed. Good thing I don’t suffer from migraines. I have a feeling that their vocals would kick off the mother of all migraines.
I didn’t even bother listening to Elvenking. After reading your commentary and then ESJFK’s, I decided that I had been tortured enough today.
Thank you for sorting through the crap for us. It makes life so much better.
That’s sort of the downside of this MISCELLANY idea — there’s not much sorting, and so every now and then I inflict some music on people that even I’m not crazy about. But at least there was one winner in the group for you, and that’s good.
I don’t know about ‘nails on chalkboard’ with Kunvuk (seriously, I was expecting the bastard child of Ipek and the Cookie Monster by what Islander wrote up), but maybe I’ll wait until I get a migraine or cluster and see what happens. It’s only a matter of time before one hits again, and I get migraines far more often than cluster headaches.
I have a close friend who gets migraines, and I don’t know how you dudes get through life. It’s a seriously fucked-up condition. I think listening to Kunvuk while in the throes of a migraine would be evidence of a death wish.
holy shit! winterfylleth, what an amazing find, ive been listening non stop to the tunes they have on their myspace
thank you very much mr. islander!
You’re welcome! Cool that so many people are liking their music. I’ve been listening to just that one song a lot, and need to branch out and listen to the rest of what’s available from that album.
heard Kunvuk,,found it incredibly awsome,totally new,,and the lyrics are a chopper. took the migraine to a blow off
Cool! Glad you liked them. I’m going to check out more than the one song I heard and give them a better chance.
Hey man, thanx heaps for some really diverse stuff to check out…
I really dig the higher energy heavy stuff and so Kunvuk is actually a really great find.
I ended up checking out the song and listened to some other tracks on their myspace.
Talk about diverse eh? These guys have got some seriously hectic songs going on.
Do yourself a favour, this is awesome.
I’m glad you and some of the other commentators pushed me to dig deeper into Kunvuk, which I doubt I otherwise would have done. I’ve become a convert. You’re right that there’s tons of diversity in these songs, and I’m really liking most of them on the MySpace player. I’ve got a particular jones for “Jackals Feeding Children Feeding Buildings”.
Oh yeah, “Jackals Feeding Children Feeding Buildings” I love how the style changes so dramatically, but there is this continuity so it all hangs together. I think my favourite is “Osiris” though..