CATCHING UP (Part 1): ENSLAVED, DAN DANKMEYER, NAPALM DEATH, AND CONVERGE
So much happens so fast in the world of metal that even being out of touch for two days means that you miss a lot, and some of what you miss is actually worth knowing about. I was in a remote location over the last two days with no internet connection, and since returning last night I’ve made an admittedly incomplete effort to find out what I missed that was important/entertaining to me. Turns out, there was a lot — so much that I’m dividing what I found into two posts, of which this is the first. The second one will start off our postings tomorrow.
In no particular order, this post includes news, new music, or new videos from Enslaved, Dan Dankmeyer, Napalm Death, and Converge.
Enslaved made a few announcements about their twelfth studio album RIITIIR — including the name of the album, the disclosure of the cover art (above) by long-time collaborator Truls Espedal, and the release dates (via Nuclear Blast): September 28 in Europe and October 2 in North America.
“Riitiir” doesn’t appear to be a real word, even in Norwegian or ancient Norse. As the band explained today, it’s a version of the words for “rites” and “rituals” and is intended to mean “The Rites of Man”. How that concept or the artwork connects to the lyrics or the music hasn’t yet been revealed, but the band say they intend to “discuss some key concepts and potential interpretations in deeper song-by-song analysis” in the weeks and months ahead. Enslaved are so talented and so creative that I’m actually interested — though of course I’m most interested in hearing the music.
Dan Dankmeyer is a one-man band from Maryland who first grabbed my attention in November 2010 when his latest album X was strongly recommended to me by one of the people with whom I originally started NCS. I loved it and reviewed it here.
Time passed, and DD’s 2011 albums Arcologies and Origin were both “honorable mentions” on groverXIII’s year-end list of 2011’s best albums (posted at NCS here) and Origin also made DGR’s year-end list of 2011’s best instrumental or solo guitar albums (posted here).
That’s by way of background to explain why I thought it was worth mentioning that today Dan released a new album, entitled Pure, and it’s available for download on Bandcamp (“name your price”). This is a stout slab of metal — 9 songs totaling almost 70 minutes of music.
It’s premature to offer any meaningful review — given the demands of my fucking day job, I haven’t had the chance today to listen to the album even once all the way through. But I’m really enthralled by what I’ve heard so far. DD is an extremely talented guitarist, and the songs he is writing have over time become longer, more complex, more well-crafted, and more progressive in their structure and style; Pure seems to be following that course.
It’s so easy for everyone to hear and download the music that I’m not sure a full review from me is necessary. Listen at least to the first track, “Static Atlantic”, and I think you’ll get a sense whether this music is for you.
Go HERE to download the album.
Yesterday brought two items of interest from Napalm Death. The first was an official video for “The Wolf I Feed”, which I think is one of the most interesting (maybe THE most interesting) song on the band’s killer 2011 album, Utilitarian. It’s a hard-hitting song that makes use of interesting juxtapositions of three different vocal styles (including clean vocals). The video is visually interesting to watch, too, and of course it connects directly with the lyrical theme of the song.
The second item was a SoundCloud stream of snippets from a new 7″ split release by Napalm Death and Converge. In addition to the sound stream, the bands released the cover art for the split, which you can see above. It was created by Converge’s Jacob O’Bannon, and what you’re seeing is actually only one of a variety of silkscreen prints of the cover that O’Bannon is selling, here.
A press release I received also indicates that pre-orders for the split can be placed now at http://www.kingsroadmerch.com/converge or http://www.deathwishinc.com/estore.
The split includes two songs from each band — from Converge, “No Light Escapes” (which the band have been playing live for a while) and what’s described as a “We Are The World”-styled rendition of “Wolverine Blues” by Entombed, which features guest appearances by Tomas Lindberg (Disfear, At The Gates, Lock Up), Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Split Cranium), Kevin Baker (APMD, The Hope Conspiracy), Brian Izzi (Trap Them), and more.
The Napalm Death offerings are also both new — “Will By Mouth” and what’s described as a slower song, “No Impediment To Triumph (Bhopal)”, which deals with the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984 (see this for more info about that horrific disaster at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in India). The SoundCloud snippets are from the first song I’ve described by each band on the split.
So, below are the video and the SoundCloud excerpts from the split.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/52259446″ iframe=”true” /]
I let out a manly sque- roar of triumph when I saw the Enslaved details had been given.