Hey, you don’t have to tell me. I’m well aware that this site is like life-giving oxygen to our readers, and I know the air has been getting thin. You’ve been gasping because our daily output of posts has diminished in recent days. It’s just one of those rare times when all of us who write for NCS have been distracted or diverted by one thing or another, all at the same time.
In my case, the diversion was a happy one: Over the last three days I was distracted by events surrounding a long-time friend’s out-of-town wedding, including getting there and getting back and getting hammered in between.
She is now off on her honeymoon and I am now mostly recovered from the celebration and have been trying to figure out what I missed while I was whooping it up and bearing witness to the joyous union. Among other things, I discovered three new music videos for three not-so-new, but excellent songs. The videos are reminders of how good the songs are (I’ve loved all three since I first heard them), but they also add new dimensions to the songs.
The music and the videos have a few other things in common. The first two were produced with backing from Scion A/V, and the production values are quite high. The first two also involve candles. The third is creatively self-produced, making do with Creative Commons footage, but it shares this element with the other two more ambitious projects: You can drown yourself in the audio-visual experience, because there’s a powerful intensity to all three songs, and the visuals suit them well.
So, after the jump, the new videos for “Your Calm Waters” by The Atlas Moth, “Passageways” by Tombs, and “Shadows” by Embers.
THE ATLAS MOTH
I saw this video through a Metal Sucks post by Vince N. that originally appeared last Friday. In introducing the video, he made some powerful claims about the The Atlas Moth, culminating in this statement: “I really believe that The Atlas Moth could, if they want, become the next BIG band in metal.”
I would be happy if that came to pass. An Ache For the Distance was one of last year’s best albums. It had no weak moments. It was ambitious and succeeded in its ambitions. It was heavy and despairing and immediate in its intensity. It was serious music without being pretentious. It was both emotionally gripping and searingly caustic.
“Your Calm Waters” was one of my favorite songs on that album — a blend of chiming guitars and ragged distortion, acidic vocals and ethereal melodies, a sense of drowning and a plea for rescue. The enthralling video, which was beautifully directed by Ryan Oliver, captures both the beauty and the utter doom within the song. Also, candles.
If I were making a mixtape that included “Your Calm Waters”, the song featured in Tombs‘ new video would be a great follow-on track. “Passageways” is more heavily weighted with sludge, it features a more galvanizing drum attack, and it leads with clean vocals before dousing your eardrums with vocal acid, but it shares a similar doom-laden intensity and a kindred blending of melody and brutal weight. In a nice example of synchronicity, it debuted (on Stereogum) just a few days before the “Your Calm Water” video.
The video (directed by David Brodsky) is less surreal than the one for “Your Calm Waters”, but no less well made, and it effectively takes what the music gives and enhances its impact through the visuals. Also, there are candles. Here’s “Passageways” from the Path of Totality album:
To complete the trifecta, Oakland’s Embers released an official music video over the weekend for a song called “Shadows” from their wonderful 2011 album of the same name. I found out about Embers last fall through tandem recommendations by SurgicalBrute and ElvisShotJFK and featured the band in one of our MISCELLANY posts (here).
Ember’s music is difficult to classify, but “Shadows” would also be a fitting addition to a mixtape with those songs by The Atlas Moth and Tombs. It includes more prominent elements from black metal, but like the other songs, a powerful sense of doom pervades the music. It ebbs and flows like a storm tide, pulling you in and carrying you away with somber melodies and powerful riffs.
The video was created by the band’s bassist and co-vocalist Kelly Nelson, using clips from videos that are a part of the open source, Creative Commons library found on Flickr. With the footage edited to mesh with the song’s changing dynamics, the video passes before your eyes a lightening storm, solar flares, mist flowing down a hill side, a fire raging in someone’s home, a volcanic eruption, a full moon rising. Check it out, and give Embers’ Bandcamp page a visit to hear more of their music:
Also, if you want to read Kelly Nelson talking about her “day job” as a dominatrix, go visit Invisible Oranges via this link.