As an interlude between our second and third Gojira reviews today, I have for you a big old death metal dessert: three big scoops of Swedish sweetness. You’ll have to find your own whipped cream and nuts (yeah, have fun with that line in the Comments), but I got you covered on the core of this three-flavored sundae.
Of the three Swedish bands featured in this post, Necrovation is the least well known, and certainly a new find for me. I spied them because they have a new self-titled album that Agonia Records released today in Europe (it will be out in North America on August 14). This follows their album debut way back in 2008, which I haven’t heard, though it has the mouth-watering title of Breed Deadness Blood.
I’ve started listening to the new album, and so far it’s very impressive. Today, Agonia put up one of the new tracks for streaming on SoundCloud, and that’s the first big scoop of rich death metal in this dessert. The song is called “Sepulchreal”, and man, is it a trip. It begins with a deceiving instrumental, just a dreamy bit of ambience to get your guard down — and then it begins to rip hell with a blackened torrent of double bass and eviscerating guitar.
But there’s a lot more to come in the song, as it switches both tempo and style and lays out an attention-grabbing guitar solo before ramping up again for a blasting finish. Hope you like “Sepulchreal” as much as I did. It’s right after the jump.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/50905724″ iframe=”true” /]
Necrovation’s Facebook page is here.
This makes our fourth post about Miseration’s new album, Tragedy Has Spoken, which will be released by Lifeforce Records on July 2 in Europe and a day later in North America. I suppose if this continues, there won’t be much point in writing a review.
The reason for this fourth post is the debut of yet another new song from Tragedy Has Spoken. This one is called “Waylayer”. It’s a different flavor of Swedish death metal from that Necrovation track — though it also starts with a deceiving intro (I think there’s a hoot owl in this one). As on the other Miseration tracks that have premiered to date, Christian Älvestam pretty much steals the show with his vocal performance, though the song has some surprises in store for you, too. In its atmospherics, it’s like a melodic death metal ghost story, but a satisfyingly vicious one.
You can find Miseration on Facebook via this link.
To finish off this sundae, I’m turning to a video that just went up today. It’s a clip of Amon Amarth performing at the recently completed Graspop festival in Belgium, and if you happened to catch any of the live streams from that event this past weekend, then you know the camera work is top-notch. This clip was probably copied from that stream, because the definition isn’t as good as what Skynet.be was streaming, but it’s still pretty damned fine.
As I watched this, for some reason I thought about the so-called “Big Four”. And what I thought is that if I were putting together a current Big Four, i.e., a Big Four still worth watching, Amon Amarth would be one of them. I haven’t figured out who the other three would be, but yeah . . . I’m pretty sure these Vikings would be right there. Here’s “Guardians of Asgaard” live from Graspop, with flames:
wow NECROVATION is awesome!!!! love Miseration, can’t wait for their new record!!!
That Miseration is a varied, strange, and interesting beast. They still crush it like on The Mirroring Shadow but they try to cram a lot into the texture of each song. I’ll see if I can coalesce my thoughts on it.
Also, I know that guy says this place doesn’t have a lot of negative comments so I wanted to do my part by saying your wife is a wonderful cook.
Bwahahahahahahahaha!!! You get a gold star for that last crack.
Current Big 4 in melo-death? Easy: Amon Amarth, Insomnium, Allegaeon, and Be’lakor. Honorable mention: Scar Symmetry and Dagon.
…Swallow the Sun and Hypocrisy might be better choices than Allegaeon and Be’lakor
Point taken, but I’ve never cared much for either band. Despite their huge level of influence, I feel especially bad to say the Swallow the Sun bore me to tears. Hypocrisy isn’t boring, but they’ve never really hooked me, either. Allegaeon is probably the more controversial choice on my part, so I’ll point out that I’m a tech-death fan, and Allegaeon has to be the best example of technical melo-death I’ve ever heard.
I wouldn’t really say they are the “Big 4”, as some of them aren’t that big for one thing.
I suppose part of the problem is that there’s a mix of bands there at different stages of their careers. Whereas the (arguable) Big Four of the Gothenburg crew, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork and Arch Enemy (I’m separating At The Gates from this one now), came out and delivered all their albums pretty concurrently. Whereas Amon Amarth are almost old-school now, Insomnium are well-established, Be’lakor are up and coming, and Allegaeon are (by comparison) relatively new.
So there isn’t really a current Big Four for that particular grouping I don’t think. Insomnium are on the way, but really aren’t particularly big yet. Arsis should have been massive, but could never get it to the necessary level. Be’lakor are treading water a bit with the new record, Disarmonia Mundi are better than most, but are only a studio project, Omnium Gatherum have finally got their shit tight on the last two records, but it may be too little too late, Black Dahlia are unfortunately associated with the “core” scene, StS don’t quite fit (like some sort of doom-obsessed red-headed stepchild), and Hypocrisy are too quiet too often.
I was about to say something similar. When I made that reference to a current Big Four, I was thinking about bands who had established themselves after many years of recording and performing and achieved widespread popularity — in addition to being very good. I think Amon Amarth fits that bill. I really like the other 3 bands in BMF’s grouping, but they don’t (yet) satisfy those criteria.
Speaking of Arsis, Mark Riddick is making headway on his artwork for the new Arsis album cover:
In Flames and Soilwork dont even play melodeath anymore having fallen squarely into metalcore territory at this point. Dark Tranquility and Arch Enemy (based on popularity) would be good choices, but Arch Enemy is very inconsistent.
Not really sure why having doom in your mix disqualifies you…its something Insomnium has been using as well.
Also not clear what you mean by Hypocrisy is quiet too often. Since their switch to melodeath theyve released 9 albums
It’s funny that being established even comes into the equation, as the original Big 4 from the ’80s were being referred to as the big four after only releasing 3 albums, tops. My primary concern is quality, and that’s a very personal judgement call. I’d absolutely agree that the 4 bands I referenced are at different stages in their careers, yet they are (to me) clearly the finest melo-death I’m currently aware of. Frankly, I just wanted to take Islander’s prompt and run with it…I knew I’d get flak for anyone I listed outside of Amon Amarth and Insomnium, but getting the conversation off to a good start was my primary goal, and I seem to have succeeded.
Incidentally, I really wanted to include Dark Tranquility…I mean really wanted to. Their recent output, however, just hasn’t been on the level I would expect to retain their Big 4 membership. If they’d kept building on Fiction, then they’d be on the list without a doubt, but We Are the Void was not exactly inspiring.
Yeah, but it wasnt just the amount or quality of the albums that established them as “The Big 4”. It was name recognition. When you thought of thrash it was those bands that immediately popped into your head. Thats why I think Arch Enemy could arguably fill one of the slots. Theyre terribly inconsistent, but theyre definitely one of the first bands to come to mind when you think of melodeath. Id consider them the Anthrax of the group
We are the Void was definitely a misstep, but up until that point theyve been very good. As long as they bounce back with a strong album I dont think this will have any long-lasting effect on their reputation
Point taken…unfortunately, I don’t think anyone in melo-death has (or will have) the kind of name recognition that the original 80s Big 4 developed.
Fortunately, I already have some nuts ready to go. I was just at the convenience store and picked up a bag of almonds and cashews. Goes great on a sundae. Mmmm…
Now, if only Miseration would stop melting all the ice cream with their hawttie-ness.
Yep, you have to eat this sundae fast. It’s a melter. I’m not going to mention whipped cream or fudge. Not mentioning those.