Almost a month ago I paid homage to the often disturbing but intensely magnetic “war metal” of Canada’s Mitochondrion. That led to a discussion in the Comments about what to call this kind of music. “Atmospheric death metal”? “Apocalyptic prog”? “Post-death metal?” Maybe “war metal” is as good a name as any.
The Comments also filled up with suggestions for other bands who have created similar kinds of soundtracks for Armageddon — not necessarily the exact same kind of music, but similar in the violent, apocalyptic atmospheres they conjure up. I picked three of those bands to feature in this post. This is a MISCELLANY post because I was unfamiliar with the music of each band (with one slight exception that I’ll mention later).
As per the self-imposed rules of MISCELLANY, I’ve randomly picked a song or two from each band, recorded my impressions, and then included the same songs for you to hear. The bands are: Blasphemophagher (Italy), Teitanblood (Spain), and Diocletian (New Zealand).
This first band is the slight exception I mentioned. Blasphemophagher’s October 2011 album The III Command of the Absolute Chaos made Tr00 Nate’s list of his 30 favorite albums of 2011 that we published here, and I listened at that time to the sample song he picked, “Beyond Absolute Chaos”. So this time I decided to pick two different songs from the album. I chose “Chaostorm of Atomization” and “Abominable Nuclear Penetration”, because the names sounded so pleasant.
The III Command album comes with this warning: It “will crush your brain and plunge your soul to the deepest abyss of thermonuclear damnation”. If that weren’t enough warning, you could check out the names of the band members and the description of their contributions from Blasphemophagher’s Facebook page:
R.R. UNHOLY BASTARD & PHOSGENE WARGAS – Bassodomization & Vomits
ATOMIC INCINERATOR OF NECRONUCLEAR COLLAPSE & PLUTONIUM WINDS – Guitaaaaarrrrrggghhhhhhh
NECROVOMITERROR – Drums Detonations
The two songs I heard were scything, high-energy blizzards of knives and shrapnel, constructed principally of buzzing tremolo-picked guitars, an unceasing double-bass barrage, smashing cymbals, and monstrously deep vocal roars. “Abominable Nuclear Penetration” is punctuated by pounding chord progressions and snare-drum attacks, but both songs are largely stripped of melody and filled instead with crashing waves of destructive black-metal percussion. I liked both of them.
The entire III Command album can be streamed and ordered at the Bandcamp page for the Nuclear War Now label. The eye-grabbing cover art is by Paolo “Madman” Girardi. Blasphemophagher can be located on Facebook via this link.
In addition to several splits, Teitanblood have produced one full-length album so far — 2009’s Seven Chalices. But that’s not their most recent discharge. Last year they released a single-sided vinyl EP called Purging Tongues, which consists of a single, 15-minute long song.
The two members of Teitanblood have descriptions of their music on an unofficial Facebook page that are as inviting as those of Blasphemophagher:
NSK – Strangulation, abuse and curses
J – Beating
War drums and the distant sound of synthesized horns announce a spoken-word introduction (in Spanish) to “Purging Tongues”, the words ultimately drowned out by an electric firestorm of droning guitars and unpredictable drum beats. The vocals howl and shriek and writhe in agony, a choir of tortured souls crying out in pain and fury.
The music is a radioactive haze of distorted sound ebbing and flowing in intensity, with the impassioned spoken-word proclamations coming back in those brief interludes when the sonic assault briefly diminishes and then continuing through much of the song’s second half. The music is more overtly atmospheric than the songs I heard from Blasphemophagher, both slower and more varied in both the pacing and force of the guitar-and-drum assault, and accented by synth choirs. Yet the aura of evil is equally palpable. Check it out:
“Purging Tongues”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/01-Purging-Tongues.mp3|titles=Teitanblood – Purging Tongues]
Teitanblood has an official web page here. Should you decide to visit, it will help if you can read upside down and through black stains. The vinyl EP can be ordered from these sources:
And finally . . .
Along with various splits and EPs, New Zealand’s Diocletian have created two albums — Doom Cult (2009) and War of All Against All (2010). Last year they contributed to a cassette split with . . . guess who . . . Blasphemophagher. It’s a recording of a live performance and is titled Doom & Chaos Over Portland.
To test out the music, I picked two tracks from War of All Against All — “Black Dominion” and “Death Tyrant”. After a short intro of battle sounds and massively distorted guitar chords, “Black Dominion” floods the senses with thermonuclear filth. Higher-pitched tremolo leads pierce the cloud of blast beats and grinding distortion as demonic vocals howl in an alien tongue.
“Death Tyrant” is a stomping march of crushing riffage and virtually non-stop weaponized drumming. The fury of the instruments abates briefly to make way for dark melodies, and layered guitars add to the complexity and interest of the music, with tremolo drilling, phosphorescent shredding, and an avalanche of down-tuned rhythms whipping through the dense soundscape.
This music will mutate future generations of children.
“Black Dominion”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/01-black-dominion.mp3|titles=Diocletian – Black Dominion]
“Death Tyrant”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/06-death-tyrant.mp3|titles=Diocletian – Death Tyrant]
Within the last few days, Diocletian have also uploaded two new tracks to SoundCloud for streaming. The first one (“Antichrist Hammerfist”) will appear on a 7″ vinyl called European Annihilation that the band will be selling exclusively on a European tour planned for May 2012. According to the band, it will include “two tracks from the ‘Doom Cult’ era and two tracks exclusive to this release.”
The second SoundCloud upload is an advance track from a 7″ compilation that a label called Blastbeat Productions will be releasing. Oddly, each band will only be contributing approximately one minute of music. Diocletian’s 79-second song is called “Traitor’s Gallow”.
Here are both of the new Diocletian SoundCloud tracks:
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/38876179″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39157287″ iframe=”true” /]