As we were reminded by the new THOR movie, in Norse mythology, Bifröst is the name of the burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (the world) and Asgard, the realm of the gods. The phonetically identical word BYFROST is the name of a Norwegian metal band that has become one of our supreme favorites, providing a burning bridge between our humble reality and an under-realm of primal, massive, blackened death metal ruled by the almighty riff.
When we reviewed their debut album Black Earth last July, we explained that listening produces “the sensation of being shaken like a rag doll by giant, clawed hands in time to a hellish beat.” Not only was Black Earth one of our favorite albums of 2010, we also named a track from the album (“Desire”) as the first entry on our list of 2010’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs (here).
We knew the band was at work on a follow-up album for release at some point this year, but this morning we got details from the awesome publicist/manager Patricia Thomas that lit up our faces like those of children in a candy store. For example, we now know the album title — Of Death — and we now have the awesome cover art by Christian Sloan Hall (above), and we now know that the album was co-produced by Herbrand Larsen and Ice Dale of Enslaved (Larsen also makes a guest appearance on two tracks). And even better, we got the actual candy, too: The sound of two new tracks from that forthcoming album — “Of Death” and “Buried Alive”.
Stay with us after the jump for more details about the album plus a first listen to those two new songs (which, by the way, will send horns to the fucking sky).
THE NEW SONGS:
“Of Death” wastes no time in establishing an infectious, lumbering stomp of a riff before unleashing a furious assault of full-auto percussion weaponry (courtesy of titanic drummer Alkolust) and blazing downtuned guitars and icicle-shrouded vocals from frontman HeavyHarms. It’s catchy as fuck (but we expected nothing less from this band), and we have to give a little shout-out to R.I.P. Meister for a ghoulishly cool bass arpeggio that rises in the mix before the song is done.
As catchy as “Of Death” is, “Buried Alive” is built around one of the most headbangingly fulfilling riffs we’ve heard all year. Seriously, if you can keep from falling into a hands-on-knees crouch and giving your neck a good workout when this song kicks into gear, you’re way too tightly wound. Darkness descends, the dead arise, the air is filled with a stench of menace, you link arms with the limbs of corpses, but you’re smiling as they drag you beneath the ground.
In nutshell, these songs confirm what we had devoutly wished — that Byfrost’s second effort would not fall prey to the dreaded sophomore jinx. To the contrary, they provide powerful evidence that Of Death will be an album worth grabbing and swallowing whole, with relish. Fans of bands like Grave, Immortal, Asphyx, and early Dissection will especially want to be on the alert for it.
Of Death is set for release by AFM Records on June 24 in Germany, and will hit the streets worldwide on June 27 in both CD and LP formats. The eight-track album was recorded at the Conclave & Earshot Studios in the band’s home town of Bergen, Norway, it was produced by those two familiar names from Enslaved, and the mastering was carried out by Knut Fug Prytz at the Magica Mastering Studio. As noted, in addition to producing, Enslaved’s Herbrand Larsen provides guest appearances on two tracks. Here’s the track list:
1. May the Dead Rise
2. Eye for an Eye
3. Buried Alive
4. Of Death
5. Full Force Rage
6. Shadow of Fear
8. All Gods are Gone
And now, here’s the music. In this player, we’ve got those two new songs, plus we’ve got three songs from Black Earth, all of which are fucking killer:
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