Because of work-related travel and longer hours than usual this week, I didn’t have time for my usual daily interhole browsing for metal news and new music. So I did that this morning, while listening to the last piece of music in this post. I found a half-dozen items that I thought were well worth sharing, and they’re collected in this post. Almost all of them are new videos, and there’s tremendous diversity in the music. The subjects are Vallenfyre, King Conquer, Devin Townsend (with a new song), Shining, Decapitated, and finally, William Basinski.
And yeah, the meerkats are still secretly controlling the world, according to the NCS lorises. They think they’ve identified the kingpin. I don’t buy this nonsense for a minute, of course, because, really, this one looks way too young to be the kingpin.
In our continuing coverage of Vallenfyre (UK) and their forthcoming album, The Fragile King (due for release on Oct 31 in Europe and Nov 1 in North America), I found a video preview that surfaced yesterday on Metal Injection. It was filmed during the making of a music video for a song from the album called “Cathedrals of Dread” and features comments from each of the band’s members about how this “supergroup” came together and about the genesis of the music. It also includes snippets of the song, which provide further confirmation (though none is needed here) that this album will be a must-hear release.
And next, we’ll turn to . . . deathcore!
We reviewed the debut album from this Floridian collective, America’s Most Haunted, almost one year ago, calling the band “one of the most promising new purveyors of hardcore-influenced death metal we’ve heard this year.” The album was so much better than the average offerings in the vast wasteland of deathcore and it ventured outside the standard tropes of the genre in interesting ways. We speculated that the band would blow up big-time on the strength of their debut, and that has indeed happened. We also included a different King Conquer song (“Wasted Potential”) in our list of 2010’s most infectious extreme metal songs (listen to that one here).
This week, the band released a pre-production version of a new song called “Tyranny”. It’s mighty fuckin’ heavy. If you really want to have nothing to do with this sub-genre, then you’ll want to skip over to the next item. But otherwise, prepare to have your head staved in:
Next up, a dramatic change of pace . . .
We didn’t review Devin Townsend’s Ghost album. It’s a beautiful collection of music — too beautiful and too mellow for NCS. A couple of days ago, DT released a high-quality video — a montage of scenes from the last few months of touring by The Devin Townsend Project, culminating in a “silent” “Deconstruction” jam at the home of drummer Dirk Verbeuren.
Apart from being fun to watch if you’re a DT fan, the video is notable because the music playing over the montage of clips is a “rough demo” of an unreleased and untitled new DT song. It doesn’t sound rough to me. It sounds like something that would have fit well on Ghost. It’s beautiful — but I’m including it in this post anyway. Because it’s beautiful (and the equal IMO of anything on Ghost).
And where the hell do we go from here? Let’s go someplace very different . . .
Norwegian “blackjazz” outfit Shining (not to be confused with the Swedish band of the same name) will release its first-ever live DVD and CD, Live Blackjazz, on November 11 via Indie Recordings. I’m a big fan of this band, and watching them perform live is something I’ve longed to do but not yet accomplished. I’m pretty tempted by this DVD. This week, the band released a trailer for it, with very brief clips from each song. That’s what’s next, and then below that is a professionally filmed vid of the band performing “Fisheye” on Norwegian national TV a couple years ago. Kind of amusing to see a polite, older-than-your-average metalhead audience seated in a studio watching and listening to this freaked-out shit. I dug it.
And from there, I think it’s time to be decapitated . . .
I had a shit-ton of fun talking with Fleshgod Apocalypse after their set when they passed through Seattle recently, but that led to me missing the performance of the headline act — Decapitated. I had no shortage of people tell me I’d missed one of the best death-metal sets of the year. I got a taste of what I missed from a recently posted drum-cam video of the band performing “Pest” on October 11 at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. The camera focuses on drummer Kerim Lechner, but you can hear the rest of the band quite clearly. Holy mother of fuck, this is a beast.
Well, that’s really it for the metal in this post. But it’s not the end of the post.
William Basinski is a Houston native, now based in New York. He’s a musician and performance artist and an avant-garde composer of ambient music. His most notable work is a four-volume album called The Disintegration Loops. This morning, while browsing the interhole, I listened to the first part. It’s 1:03:30 long. Listening to it is a unique experience, though not one that I suspect most of you would make the time to hear. But just in case, I’m sticking it in this post.
The music is a repeating loop of a single melancholy musical theme, slowly degrading until nothing is left. It did something to my brain chemistry, leaving me with a feeling of tranquility yet also a powerful sense of loss. I found this further description in an online mag called NthPosition, which I’m just going to paste below in lieu of me trying to say more about this myself:
“William Bassinski, a New York-based composer and sometime Anthony and the Johnson’s associate has a long history of minimal tape loop experiments, and it is from this that Disintegration Loopsderives. In late 2001, he was reviewing old tapes and came across a pastoral composition from 1982 which he had completely forgotten about. Intending to transfer it to digital format for preservation, he set the old tapes running, but time is not kind to magnetic tape and decay had fatally undermined their stability. As they played, fragments of iron oxide spalled off the tape’s surface and became dust, gradually, but progressively, breaking down the music into a ghost of its former self, becoming ever more fragmented as the recording progressed. Almost simultaneously, within view of Bassinski’s apartment, the appalling events of 11 September were unfolding. In the collapsing loops, he saw their reflection, and the music became a requiem for the twin towers. And very fitting it is, too, a gently shifting cavernous drone, becoming more blurred and fragmented as the tape self-destructs in front of us, sombre and dignified, a beautiful epic of romantic decay.”
Here’s the music. Enjoy the rest of your fucking day.