I’m still catching up with developments in metal that I missed while cut off from the web during my recent mini-vacation. And I saw some things yesterday that also perked my interest. In our last post yesterday, I rounded up some of the recent developments I thought were worth sharing. Here are some of the rest. They involve Sybreed (Switzerland), Ancient Ascendant (UK), Khonsu (Norway), Selfhate (France), Beak (U.S.), and Ensiferum (Finland).
The first item is the revealing of the cover art to Sybreed’s next album, God Is An Automaton. It’s by the very busy and very talented Seth Siro Anton, who is also the front man for Septic Flesh, whose headlining North American tour we posted about yesterday. The album will be released by Listenable on Sept 24 in Europe and on October 2 in North America.
Sybreed have been posting excerpts of songs from the new album, and they’re up to five so far. I don’t really find short song excerpts worth mentioning, except I did it yesterday with respect to the forthcoming Napalm/Converge split, so what the hell. The Sybreed excerpts released to date are collected right after the jump, in reverse order of their appearance.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51638168″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/50818536″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/50102240″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/49340876″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/48594217″ iframe=”true” /]
Here’s a happy coincidence: About one week ago Andy Synn enthusiastically reviewed the 2011 album by the UK’s Ancient Ascendant. In preparing my usual editor’s note at the end of Andy’s review, I noticed that the band had recorded an EP to be released on August 6 (right before their appearance at the Bloodstock Festival) under the name Into the Dark, and I added the cover art for that, which is repeated above. And then yesterday the band released an official video for one of the songs from the EP — “Driven By the Dark”.
I hadn’t known about the band before Andy’s review, but I’ve quickly become a fan, and the new song and video have solidified by admiration and enjoyment of their music. The song is one part hard-rocking death metal with the kind of groove that makes you want to strut and stomp and mosh and one part progressive instrumental that pulls you up short in surprise, both because it’s different and because it amazingly seems like a natural evolution of the other part.
Rolling back and forth between the two parts, and executing both parts with equal aplomb, Ancient Ascendant have created yet another song that justifies the enthusiasm in Andy’s review. It’s going to be a lot of fun to hear this EP. It’s a lot of head-busting fun to hear this first song. Check it out:
Two weeks ago I posted about a Norwegian band recently signed by Season of Mist called Khonsu. Their debut album Anomalia is scheduled for release on August 24 in Europe and August 28 in the US — and a SOM pre-order page has been set up here.
I got interested in this band not only because they were signed by the reliable SOM label but also because they include two members of Keep of Kalessin — guitarist/keyboardist Obsidian Claw and vocalist Thebon, though the principal songwriter and founder of the band is Obsidian Claw’s brother S. Grønbech.
At the time of that first post, I had no Khonsu music to share. Now I do, because in the last day or two SOM released a track from the album. It’s called “The Host”. It doesn’t sound much like Keep of Kalessin. If I had to compare it to another band, it would be to Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord, but with vocals that are all over the map, including some that sound as if they were provided by a Tuvan throat singer.
So much happens in this fascinating song that attempting to describe it would take almost as long as the time required to hear it. So just listen, please:
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/52363693″ iframe=”true” /]
Unlike the bands who precede them in this post, Selfhate is one we’ve never previously mentioned at this site. They’re a French band, and they released a debut album called Ombres & Lumière (shadows and light) in February of this year. Two days ago they released an official video for one of the songs from that album, “L’autre” (the other), and I found it through a Facebook link by another French band whose music I like.
Think of a mechanized army marching in a lumbering stomp while an anti-aircraft gun blazes away and crazed commanders howl their vicious edicts to whoever will hear them. It’s a kind of industrialized, metalicized hardcore that I found damned invigorating.
Selfhate’s Facebook page is at this location.
I said there was more, and there is. Beak is a Chicago band whose music I’d never heard before yesterday, and what I heard (and saw) was a new music video for “Billions of Eyes”, which is a song from their debut EP, Eyrie. July 10 was the official release date for the album’s vinyl edition, and this video premiered on Stereokiller to commemorate the occasion.
Like that Selfhate song, part of “Billions of Eyes” makes me envision a grinding mechanized assault force rhythmically stomping across the backs of helpless resistors, but in Beak’s case the martial rhythms are accompanied by freaky guitar riffs, dual vocal shrieking, and a dose of sludge in the low end. It’s a gripping song that makes me want to check out the rest of Eyrie, and the video is intriguing, too, though I haven’t quite figured out what’s happening out there in the Mojave desert.
Anyone who follows NCS already knows about Ensiferum and already knows that their new album Unsung Heroes will be released on August 27 and is already available for pre-order at Finland’s Record Shop X (here). You also probably know already that the band has released an edited version of the first song from the album, “Burning Leaves”, because other metal blogs reported about it while I was away — which is the only reason I didn’t put more of a spotlight on the song at the outset of this post.
This song is dramatic and catchy, with an epic melody, a ringing vocal chorus, a cool bass line, verse riffs that compel headbanging, a sweet folk instrument that I haven’t yet placed, and . . . oh hell, it’s just a great song all the way around.