In these SHORT BUT SWEET posts, we focus mainly on releases that are shorter than full-length albums. Today, I’ve got two gems for you, the kind of sparkling indigo jewels that wide-eyed, doomed innocents find in fairy tales shortly before something horrific happens to them. For us, of course, it’s just pure, evil pleasure.
The first gem is an EP from a three-man Swedish band called Morbrand, which is already the subject of giant, infernal, wasp-like buzz. The second is a split by two Polish bands whose hands are dripping with the black slick of blood on a moonless night — Infernal War and Kriesgsmaschine.
Mordbrand has been drawing attention, like honey draws flies, based in part on the presence of Per Boder — who fronted an early and well-regarded Swedish death metal band called God Macabre (their debut album, The Winterlong, appeared in 1993). After a 20-year hiatus from recorded music, Boder has returned, and the six-song EP he and bandmates Björn Larsson (guitars, bass) and Johan Rudberg (drums) is a powerful return indeed.
Following a split release with Evoke in 2010, Necropsychotic has been garnering praise from early reviews, including a score of 8 in the current issue of DECIBEL, whose reviewer called the EP “a mandatory pickup”. Allow me to add NCS to the list of admirers.
My tastes (or prejudices, if you prefer) have been fully disclosed in the past: There are damned few genres of metal that mean as much to me as old-school Swedish death. Consequently, I was predisposed to fall in lust with Necropsychotic, and my objectivity may be in question. Okay, you’re right, my objectivity has been fucked and left for dead when it comes to this kind of music.
But it’s not completely dead. There’s enough breath left in the objective part of me to say that Morbrand not only fully embraces and mercilessly channels the punk-fed, d-beat blasted, old school of Swedish death metal, they make the music sound vibrant and fresh (sort of like a fresh corpse).
Boder’s voice is distinctively vicious, the throaty roars coming not from the vocal chords, and not from the gut, but from somewhere in between, or perhaps some parallel dimension populated by undead souls that will not leave their putrifying bodies. The massive riffs alternately groan, growl, and gallop ahead with feral energy, and they inject these ghoulish songs with an illegal number of hooks. If you’re like me, you’ll want to come back to this EP repeatedly after you’ve heard it for the first time. Here’s a sample — a song called “The Fall of Flesh”:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/04_Mordbrand_The_Fall_of_Flesh.mp3|titles=Mordbrand – The Fall of Flesh]
Necropsychotic was released on September 6 by Deathgasm Records. You can buy a digital download of it from MetalHits or Metal Crypt for $4.99, and Morbrand gave recently signed with Chaos Records for release of the EP on vinyl. Here are links for more info about Mordbrand:
INFERNAL WAR AND KRIEGSMASCHINE: TRANSFIGURATIONS
The perfectly named Malignant Voices record label released this five-song split in 2010. I discovered it only recently through a wonderful black metal mixtape called Black Celebration #1 that Cosmo Lee compiled for Invisible Oranges in mid-July (which can still be downloaded here). The split contains three songs by Infernal War and two by Kriegsmaschine; both bands are from Poland.
Infernal War appears to have been kicking around since 1997, with a couple of studio albums, a couple of EPs, and a handful of splits to their credit. What I know of their music comes down entirely to the three songs on Transfigurations. They’re infernally majestic, with a Behemoth-like take on black metal. When they ramp up to full speed, run for cover. Here’s “Primal Degradation” (man, am I hooked on this song):[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/01-Primal-Degradation.mp3|titles=Infernal War – Primal Degradation]
Kriegsmaschine is of more recent vintage, with a formation date of 2002. According to Metal Archives, they released a debut album in 2005 called Altered States of Divinity, plus assorted EPs, demo’s, and splits, including this one. I’m very tempted to accumulate all of it, because the two Kroegsmaschine songs on the Transfigurations split are so tremendously good.
This is black metal of a somewhat different vein from the one mined by Infernal War. The music is a roaring wall of radioactive guitars and crashing drums, but the music is shot through with convulsive rhythms and subtle melodies. There are some truly massive bass riffs in these songs, drumming that’s as partial to d-beats as to blast-beats, and lead guitars that chime, ring, shriek, and squall. The vocals, as in the case of Infernal War, are deep and wolfish.
I am totally slayed by the two Kriegsmaschine songs on Transfiguration. They have brute power but also a haughty grandeur, and a knack for hypnotic, industrial-style pummeling. I’m going to stream both songs for you.
“ONWARD DESTRUDO”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/04-Onward-Destrudo.mp3|titles=Kriegsmaschine – Onward Destrudo]
“FEAR AND LOATHING IN GETHSEMANE”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/05-Fear-and-Loathing-in-Gethsemane.mp3|titles=Kriegsmaschine – Fear and Loathing in Gethsemane]
You can stream all of the tracks on Transfiguration at this location.