We don’t usually start the week with one of these posts, but I got jammed up with non-blogging life over the weekend and didn’t get it done for Sunday. I hate when life does that.
So, here we are, late as usual. But the rules of MISCELLANY haven’t changed: I look at the NCS running list of bands we’re interested in checking out, compiled from e-mails, press releases, MySpace friend requests, and the whisperings of my cat. The thing about the list is, it’s limited to bands whose music we haven’t heard. I stab names off the list, more or less at random, and I go listen to a song (or maybe two). I record my reactions (to make myself feel important), and then make the songs available for you to hear, too (given the remote possibility that you might feel like making up your own minds about the music).
For today’s foray into the unknown, I listened to a new track from Monolith Deathcult (Netherlands), a couple new songs by Neongod (Norway), and new music from The Doomsday Prophecy (New Jersey).
I’m not sure why it took me so damned long to listen to this Dutch band. They’ve produced four full-length albums since 2003 — though the most recent (The White Crematorium 2.0) was a re-recording of the band’s second album. I’ve read about them here and there, but never took time to listen, even after the controversial buzz generated by 2008’s Trivmverate. (more after the jump . . .)
What finally pushed me to do it was a recent item in Blabbermouth about a new song, with one of the longest titles I’ve seen in a while: “Aslimu!!! – All Slain Those Who Brought Down Our Highly Respected Symbols To The Lower Status Of The Barren Earth”. Based on my snooping around the band’s Facebook page, the song appears to be a demo, in the sense that it will likely be re-recorded and significantly changed before it appears on the band’s next album — if it appears again at all — but it’s a finished song in every other sense.
The news item I saw quoted guitarist/vocalist Michiel Dekker as follows: “The lyrical theme of this track is mainly based on Lawrence Wright’s book The Looming Tower. Besides that I was inspired by the Dua-e-Sanam-e-Quraish curse and the events around the Muslim Brotherhood.” None of that made any sense to me, so I decided to get educated.
Turns out that The Looming Tower is an account of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers that won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, and the Dua-e-Sanam-e-Quraish is a prayer asking Allah to curse and destroy the enemies of Mohammed. Oh, and the first word in the song title — “Aslimu” — means “submit!” Having learned a few things, I listened to the song.
Right from the beginning, it’s an overpowering onslaught of swarming guitars, powerful bass blasts, and unrelentingly furious, inhumanly rapid drumming. The vocals sound like a multi-species menagerie of ravenous creatures, and synthesizers are employed to inject the mayhem with everything from shrieking noise to waves of epic reach. The pacing in the latter part of this long song staggers into a slower instrumental segment, still driven hard by the inhuman drumming and the groaning bass line, but carried away in the upper register by swirling electronic effects.
The sound is dense, multi-layered, and very interesting. I was pretty fucking taken with it, and left hungry for more of what TMDC has in store for us with the next album. Check out “Aslimu!” for yourselves:
The band projects that their next album “tentatively” will be released before the end of this year. For more info about Monolith Deathcult, you can visit their official site, their Facebook, or their MySpace.
P.S. In poking around to learn more about TMDC for this post, I learned that although the band is very serious in its approach to the lyrical content of their songs (with often eloquent lyrics about tragic historical episodes of mass slaughter, among other subjects), they sure as hell don’t take themselves too seriously. Witness this excerpt from the band’s “biography”:
“The Monolith Deathcult holds the conviction that death metal has reached a ceiling in terms of speed. It doesn’t really get any faster than Cryptopsy and any more brutal than Hate Eternal without flurrying away in one great big cacophony*). This is why The Monolith Deathcult has decided to broaden the genre by inserting previously ‘not done’ elements into the style, adding to the brutality and speed. . . .
The Monolith Deathcult doesn’t make artist-centred music and won’t gorge on technicalities only trained ears will hear and appreciate. If people want to see virtuoso techniques they can go out and rent a Steve Vai DVD. The Monolith Deathcult sees the audience banging their heads on the primeval forces of the pounding 4/4 beat, and have set themselves the goal to broaden their extreme (death) metal with influences from techno/dance and industrial music, completed with Wagnerian classical pomposity. All this is topped with an image of irony, black humour and bad taste, in combination with a morbid fascination for everything that is ‘wrong’.
*) The more observant reader and listener will need only a single note to notice the flagrant discrepancy between us and the mentioned bands. This is due to an appalling lack of talent in the members of The Monolith Deathcult. It’s no wonder we play guitars with extreme body shapes to mask our lack of talent.”
We’ve written repeatedly about Misantrof ANTIRecords, the non-profit, antcommercial label run by Carpathian Forest‘s bassist Daniel Vrangsinn. Misantrof artists retain all rights to their music, and Misantrof makes the music available for free download on its site. I’ve found many cool discoveries on Misantrof, and so when I read about a new Misantrof release, I usually make it a point to go check the music.
Neongod’s five-song EP, Cleareyes, is the latest. The band was formed in 2003 and recorded two demos before their 2008 debut, Disease Inc. Everyone in the band plays in other projects, including Carpathian Forest’s Anders Kobro on drums.
I listened to the first two songs on the EP for this episode of MISCELLANY: “Zitadelle” and “Cleareyes”. And guess what? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not against the law to play music other than black metal in Norway.
“Zitadelle” begins with the wail of an air raid siren, and it’s fair warning. What follows is a massive explosion of rapid-fire thrash, fast as blazes and filled with face-melting shred and sneering vocals, undergirded with industrial-style rhythm riffing that sets up body-convulsing shudders. It’s raw and relentless, and damned fucking good. The title track that follows immediately got my head snapping with a more mid-paced riff that’s just killer. It’s a ragged stomp of a song, a steel-booted kick in the jewels, less thrash and more Pantera in its style, but just as irresistible as the first track. More pounding rhythms, more blowtorch shredding, more nasty vocals. Awesome.
Here’s “Zitadelle” to sample — but you should do what I’m going to do after I finish this post — listen to the rest of this beastly EP.
You can learn more about Neongod and download the Cleareyes EP for free at their Misantrof band page (here).
THE DOOMSDAY PROPHECY
We got an e-mail not long ago from this unsigned New Jersey band, with an invitation to listen to their music. The Doomsday Prophecy has only been in existence since 2008, but it seems most of the members have been playing for much longer in previous projects.
The band have recorded a demo album, not yet released, but five of the demo’s ten songs are available on The Doomsday Prophecy’s ReverbNation page, and I listened to the first two — “So Easily Raped” and “Long Lost Friend”.
That first song, with the disturbing title, is a meaty dose of modern death metal that got me bouncing up and down: Lots of fancy riffing and tempo changes, a tight rhythm section that punches hard, and a mix of hair-raising shrieks and bestial growls in the vocal department. It’s a song that’s both chaotic and catchy and it will be easy to return to it.
“Long Lost Friend” launches with more skittering riffs and bullet-spitting drums, then settles into a down-tuned, tremolo-picked melody accompanied by more of those tag-teamed vocals. About mid-way through there’s a very cool change in guitar tone with a variation in the principal melody before the return of those tremolo chords and that very satisfying, ass-on-fire shrieking.
This is damned impressive music by a band that sings and plays with passion and technical flair, and reminded me of The Black Dahlia Murder. I think these dudes are going places. Check out the first song I heard:
To learn more about this band, visit their ReverbNation page here or their Facebook page. Now, here’s ReverbNation widget that will let you hear both the songs I heard plus three more.
That’s it for this installment of MISCELLANY. I’m pretty happy with what I found. Are you?
Stop poaching bands. I’m just waiting on my copy of TMDC’s first album in order to do a Synn Report on them!!!
Goodie! This is just a teaser for you . . . and if this song is even on the album, the band implies it will change.
Monolith Deathcult is incredible. Why must they tease us so early? I wonder if their 2008 album is anywhere near impressive as what I just heard. Guess I’ll have to go check. I’m kind of on the fence with Doomsday Prophecy. At moments I’m thinking it sounds really good and at other moments, I’m thinking this sounds too much like 99% of the rest of it, ala Arisis, Absence, and yes, Black Dahlia Murder. As for Neongod, thrash really isn’t my thing, but dam I do like that cover art.
I now mean to check out Trivmverate to see how it compares to the new TMDC song — though I have a feeling it will be different, just based on reviews i read of that album. I do hope their plans for finishing the album by fall come true. And yeah, teh Neongod cover art is awesome. I’m not a big fan of thrash either, but there’s something about Neongod’s sound and song construction that grabs me. I shouldn’t be so damned lazy and actually try to articulate what it is I find appealing and different — but on the other hand, everyone can easily hear the music for themselves. Thank the metal gods for free digital downloads!
Monolithic Deathcult have a killer sound. The vocals roar in ways that make my spine tingly. It makes me want to reach for a warhammer. (Those are real things, right?)
I want to like Neongod, but thrash vocals always make me reach for the skip button. I don’t really know why, but they just do nothing for me…the music is goddamn FAST though. I love the guitars and the drums, and the vocals are well done for their genre, but…
I was a bit sceptical about The Doomsday Prophesy based on their logo and the first section of “Long Lost Friend”, but they’re turning out pretty good. The tendency of the vocalist to go for the higher growls is a bit distracting, but it’s not terrible. He’s just better on the lows…
I would like to have a warhammer. All I have is a garden-variety one meant for little wimpy things like nails instead of punching through helmeted enemies. My hammer doesn’t even work right. When I try to use it, it just wants to smash the fingers of my other hand. Fucking douchebag hammer.
I’ve got the same problem with thrash — that’s the main reason I don’t listen to much of it. But for the genre, Neongod’s are good, and the instrumental work sucked me right in.
When I was on the farm, we had three sledgehammers…small (but big for a hammer), medium, and fucking huge. I loved playing with the big one when I was barely old enough to lift it off the ground and pretend to be a dwarf warrior. (I read the Lord of the Rings when I was young.)
I never smashed anything, but I came close a couple of times. So I feel you on the douchebaggery of hammers.
I am ashamed to say that I’ve only listened to Slayer’s Reign in Blood once, and that was only because I fel like a loser to not actually know the songs. But successive listenings were just too much for me.
This will be heresy for me to say, but I was never a big Slayer fan either. I was crazy about Metallica for a while, but that faded. For me now, The Big Four are The Big Fail, and 95% of the re-thrash bands put me in a coma. There are exceptions, for sure, and we’ll continue to feature those when we run across them.
Thanks for the nice words. We will explan the lyrics of the next album in an interview if you like
Cool! Look for an e-mail from me in about one minute!
Tell them I love them.
And will be doing a retrospective on them shortly.
And reviewing the new album if/when I get chance.