I should probably apologize for using that overworked Homeric phrase in the post title, but those really were the first words that popped into my addled head when I heard the music featured here over the last 24 hours. I listened to songs from both bands back-to-back, and by coincidence they’re both from Greece, and by further coincidence the music from both is really good — though tremendously different from each other.
We’ve written frequently about Tardive Dyskinesia and various side projects of their members after first being grabbed in a bear hug by the fast-paced, infectious barrage of technically sophisticated music captured on their 2009 album, The Sea of See Through Skins. At long last, 2012 will see the release of their follow-up album, Static Apathy in Fast Forward. In late March, they started streaming a rough mix of a new song called “Prehistoric Man” (featured here), and today brings us an animated lyric video for yet another track, “Time Turns Planets”.
Plunging almost immediately into a neck-wrenching groove, the song lurches and punches its way through a cycle of syncopated riffs and off-beat rhythms, but smooths out in a memorable melodic chorus, blending the ethereal and the heavy quite effectively. Fans of Texture’s 2011 album Dualism ought to pay particular attention to this fusion of piston-driven machine complexity and soaring ambience. The video is fun to watch, too (right after the jump).
Tardive Dyskinesia’s Facebook page is at this location.
The next band’s music is somewhere over on the other side of the cosmic plane from Tardive Dyskinesia, but man is it good.
This band had their genesis in 1998 but didn’t release their debut album until 2011, following a period of extended hiatus and then five years of work on the 10 songs contained within Admire the Cosmos Black. Lord Impaler is a two-man band, but they had some attention-grabbing help from the mighty Hellhammer (Mayhem), who tracked the drums for the album, and from Knut M. Valle (Arcturus), who did the mixing and mastering.
Unlike their better known countrymen in Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh, Lord Impaler have hewed more closely to the thorny path of Nordic black metal (but with some fascinating flourishes). The vocals are flensing, a concentrated blast of glass shards that cut to the bone. The tremolo whirr of the guitars bathes the music in a flood of vitriol. Rapid-fire bass picking thrums low in the gut. And then, there are the drums.
I suppose nothing more really needs to be said about Hellhammer’s legendary capabilities, so I’ll just mention that he rips hell on this album. Absolutely jaw-dropping stuff. Seriously.
But I don’t want to oversimplify this album. Though predominantly vicious and blistering in its approach, it’s also heavily infused with appealing melody, generally delivered by the high-pitched, balalaika-like quality of the lead guitar, but also in more surprising ways, among them:
The mesmerizing piano instrumental in the middle of “Celebrating the Elder Spirits”; the chiming guitar notes that divide the pieces of “Antichristian Hordes”; the beautiful orchestral interlude (with trumpet solo) that makes up “Void”; the well-timed, soaring synthesizer enhancements in “Lord Impaler”; the reverberating, waltz-like guitar arpeggio at the beginning of the epic final track, “Dreamtime Heresy”, and another ringing, near-prog-metal guitar solo (accompanied by beautifully complex drum work from Hellhammer) mid-way through the same song.
The band also pay heed to the importance of dynamics. All is not the rampant headlong charge, the firehose blast of pressurized acid. Led significantly by Hellhammer’s rhythm shifts and style changes, Lord Impaler back off the red-line pacing within songs and create effective juxtapositions from song to song (e.g., the emotionally affecting end of “Lord Impaler” and the scalding intro to “Prometheus”, which immediately follows). You definitely won’t loose interest in a sea of sameness.
Despite the fact that this is a self-financed, self-released album, I’m really surprised it hasn’t drawn more attention. The songs on Admire the Cosmos Black are beautifully-composed, expertly executed at all positions, and they make for a riveting listening experience from start to finish. Highly recommended for fans of icy-hot melodic black metal.
Here are Lord Impaler band links, and below those is the Bandcamp player that will let you explore Admire the Cosmos Black. You can buy and download the album via the Bandcamp link, as I did, and if you follow the last link and go to the Media/Sound Files tab, Lord Impaler have made their earlier demos available for free download.