More than six weeks have passed since my last MISCELLANY post, and I’ve been kicking myself black-and-blue for not writing them more regularly. In case you’ve forgotten, I use this MISCELLANY series as a vehicle for checking out bands whose music I’ve not heard before. We keep a list of MISCELLANY candidates, based on messages we get from bands or things we’ve read, and then when I’ve got the time, I pick a few bands from the list, listen to one or two songs, not knowing whether I’ll like the music or not, and then write about what I’ve heard. I also stream for you the same tracks so you can decide for yourselves whether it’s your kind of thing.
This installment of MISCELLANY diverges from the usual form in a couple of respects. First, the selection process wasn’t quite as random as usual — this time, I decided to pick bands who I knew were all within the genre of black metal. Second, I already knew and liked the previous releases from one of the bands I picked — Aosoth — though I hadn’t yet heard anything from their newest release, so that’s a bit of a cheat on the usual rules.
So, with that preamble, here we go. The music I sampled for this post came my way from Progenie Terrestre Pura (Italy), Aosoth (France), Falloch (Scotland), and Towering Filth (U.S.). It’s all black metal, but the styles of music turn out to be quite different. Black may be the absence of light, but these bands prove (and prove well) that there are shades of black after all.
PROGENIE TERRESTRE PURA
Modern technology is a wonderful thing. It has made possible the creation of music that otherwise would never have existed. This band is a case in point. PTP consists of two men who use the names Eon and Nex. They’re both from Italy, but they live in cities quite distant from each other and they’ve never met. They create sound files in their respective home studios and then exchange them. So far, they’ve created two long, self-released songs in a 2011 demo for public consumption. The mixing and mastering was done through a service called WLFMastering.
With all this DIY going on, some of you may be lowering your expectations. Well, don’t. The two-song demo by this band is tremendously good. The sound quality is exceptional, and the song-writing and performance are top-notch. In a nutshell, this is one of the most interesting black-metal releases I’ve heard all year. Even better, the band have made the two tracks available with a “name your price” option at their Bandcamp page (here).
Progenie Terrestre Pura join together strains of electronica, ambient atmospherics, a mix of harsh and clean vocals, and the traditional vibrato guitars and blast-force drumming of black metal to create sweeping music that’s easy to lose yourself in. It’s the stomping frost-giants of a mythic arctic north hurled forward into the digital age.
Here are both of the two tracks on the PRP demo. If you’ve only got time for one, I recommend the second (though both are awfully fucking good):
To follow what Progenie Terrestre Pura gets up to next, like their Facebook page here.
And now for our next band. Because all of the album covers today are well above average, I’m going to change my usual habit and go big with them, instead of putting smaller images on the right, next to my pathetic verbiage.
I first discovered this French band in the spring of 2010 and wrote a review of their December 2009 release, Ashes of Angels (here). They released their third album, III, in May 2010 on the Agonia Records label. I’ve had the album in my clutches for a couple of months, but just haven’t made the time to hear it. Fearing that I might never get around to it, I decided I would at least sample one song for this BM-themed MISCELLANY post.
The new album is like a one-act play, with the songs as scenes in the performance — six of them in all. I listened to the fifth song as part of this MISCELLANY experiment. The song’s introduction announces itself in no uncertain terms, slow hammer blows electrified by a piercing lead guitar, which continues to arc through the early part of the music as it swells in volume and ferocity. The mid-section is bleak and morbidly paced, a fitting accompaniment for the ghouls as they come out to gasp their ghastly longing. The piercing lead guitar returns as the song burns with mounting intensity, a bonfire of souls. The ebbing and surging of the music continues until it’s drowned out by a shrieking cataclysm of electronic noise at the end.
Aosoth has created a titanic sound, thunderous and skin-flaying and drenched in the foul sweetness of decay. Here is “Scene V” from Aosoth’s III:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/05-Scene-V.mp3|titles=Aosoth – Scene V]
You can find out more about Aosoth by visiting their Facebook page here.
Falloch is yet another two-man band, this one based on Glasgow, Scotland, consisting of Andy Marshall and Scott McLean. Earlier this year they signed to Candlelight Records, which will be releasing the duo’s debut album, Where Distant Spirits Remain.
Recording of this debut started in 2010 and was completed when Ronan Chris Murphy (Ulver, King Crimson) signed on handle the finishing touches of the album. There are seven tracks on this album. I listened to the first track as part of this MISCELLANY expedition. It’s called “We Are Gathering Dust”.
Isolated guitar notes ring out in the midst of a sonic haze. The guitar chords and drum strikes build in volume and then fall away, to make way for clean vocals. Of course, I didn’t know that was coming. And then the vocals themselves drop away, to make way for solitary acoustic guitar notes backed by the sound of water on the shore and eventually the notes of a flute. The dreamlike, melancholy mood of the song continues through changing instrumental additions until a wave of tremolo chords and double-bass crash over them like a tidal surge. Reverberating tremolo chords ring changes on the central melody, and then pass away.
Falloch unify folk metal, post-rock ambience, and the dark shroud of black-metal attitude in a beautifully affecting way. Check out “We Are Gathering Dust” and the track that follows it, “Beyond Embers and the Earth”. This music definitely qualifies as an exception to our rule.[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/01-We-Are-Gathering-Dust.mp3|titles=Falloch-We Are Gathering Dust] [audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/02-Beyond-Embers-And-The-Earth.mp3|titles=Falloch-Beyond Embers And The Earth]
Andy and Scott have ambitions to convert Falloch into a full band so they might bring their creations to the stage. If you live in the vicinity of Glasgow (or even if you don’t), and you’d like to throw your hat in the ring, hit them up. Their Facebook page is here and their MySpace is here.
Towering Filth is a name that’s intrinsically appealing. Okay, perhaps it wouldn’t appeal to everyone. The Daughters of the American Revolution probably wouldn’t want to cook this shit from the PA system at their next national convention. However, I find it appealing — immensely so.
I vaguely recall months ago seeing a quick squib at Heavy Blog Is Heavy about the 3-song EP (Encircled By Wolves) released by this “band” — a band of one consisting of Matt Koch (from St. Louis, Missouri) — but it must have been one of those days where I couldn’t stop and just listen. More recently, I got an e-mail from Mr. Koch, with a link for a download of the music.
For this MISCELLANY post, I listened to the first track on the EP, “The Chorus of Dragging Chains”. An off-kilter rhythm, crashing guitar chords, cracked-ice vocals, unexpected pauses marked by the drone of guitar noise, a grim deceleration of the pace as the song drags its heavy chains to the end — it’s ferocious and primal, part-sludge, part-punk, part immersion in a bubbling acid bath. Here’s the song I heard:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/01-The-Chorus-of-Dragging-Chains.mp3|titles=Towering Filth – The Chorus of Dragging Chains]
Matt reports that “there’s grandiose new stuff happening soon.” We’re all about grandiosity here at NCS, especially if it’s towering, and filthy. We will be all ears for the new grandiosity when it emerges to tower over us.