Early this morning, October 29, 2012, the moon was full. In certain older civilizations in the Northern Hemisphere, this full moon in what we know as October was a celebrated event. In olde England, it marked the beginning of winter and was known in the Anglo-Saxon tongue as “winterfylleth” — winter full moon (and yes, now you know where that wonderful English black metal band got their name).
Native American tribes in what is now the northern and eastern United States called it the Full Hunter’s Moon. It was a time when the leaves were falling from the trees and the deer were fattened for the winter — a good, well-lit time to hunt and store up meat for the bleak months ahead.
It has also been known as the Blood Moon, which of course makes it metal. This year it may really be a blood moon in the eastern U.S. With the moon in its full phase, high tides on Earth will rise about 20 percent higher than normal, and NASA experts say this will significantly amplify the storm surge that Hurricane Sandy will bring to the eastern part of the country, exacerbating what are already expected to be life-threatening floods that this super-storm will inflict on our shores.
To our brothers and sisters in metal who live in the vast swath of territory likely to be impacted by Sandy, and who probably can’t read this because their power is already out, be careful and stay safe. Looks like today will be ugly.
So, not so much in celebration of the Blood Moon as in commemoration of it and in respect for the power of nature, I’ve rounded up new music and a video, from these bands: Occultation, Guttural Secrete, and Chrome Division. Of course, there’s some Winterfylleth at the end, too.
Occultation are a New York band whose debut album on Profound Lore, Three & Seven, was released last spring. I passed on the chance to hear it because, to be brutally honest, “female-fronted occult rock with clean vocals” just didn’t sound like my kind of thing. Since then, three things have happened to change my mind about Occultation.
First, seeing Ghost perform live with Mastodon and Opeth convinced me that I needed to give this new wave of music that fuses 70’s pop-rock and psychedelic motifs with occult lyrics and atmospheres more attention. Second, I’m starting to get into the music of other bands who are more or less delivering on this style, albeit in diverse ways (e.g., The Devil’s Blood, Castle, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Blood Ceremony).
And third, I saw that album art up there. It’s the cover for a vinyl compilation called Grave Command: All Hallowed Hymns that’s being released by Unseen Forces. The artwork is by Brian Profilio, and it stopped me in my tracks long enough to notice that the comp includes a brand new track by Occultation that happens to be available for streaming. The song is named “All Hallows Fire”, and it has grabbed me. It also seemed especially appropriate for this Blood Moon post.
It does indeed have an occult vibe, with guitars and keyboards (performed by Negative Plane’s Nameless Void) that create an eerie, occasionally psychedelic atmosphere and vocals that do indeed sound like a coven performing a ritual. It has a surreal, hypnotic quality and a melodic line that has already sunk its hooks into my head. The bass parts are also very cool. Check it out:
Guttural Secrete are from Nevada. They play brutal death metal. They have a new album entitled Nourishing the Spoils due for release on the Brutal Bands label (pre-order here). Thanks to a tip from TheMadIsraeli, I learned that they’ve just released a song from that album by the name of “Stainless Conception”. I’m including it in this Blood Moon post because listening to it will draw blood, and because it’s a force of nature.
It staves in heads with crowbars, and then beats them into mush on a concrete slab with the clang of sledgehammers booming off the walls. Gruesome vocals, groovy riffs, slaughterhouse percussion — it’s got the goods. And by “goods” I mean it will bend you over and do awful things to your bunghole.
I just want to repeat what I’ve said elsewhere on this site: Norway’s Chrome Division fuckin’ rocks, and so does their last album 3rd Round Knockout (2011). They may be best known as the dirty rock project of Dimmu’s Shagrath, but the band’s talent doesn’t stop with him.
Take Damage Karlsen, for example. As of sometime this year, he’s the band’s new shredder (replacing Ricky Black, who delivered the shred on 3rd Round Knockout). This morning I saw a video of him executing a 3-minute solo on stage in Brazil at a recent show. I can’t remember the last time I saw a truly extended guitar solo at a live metal show. Maybe it’s the kind of bands I like to see, but it just doesn’t happen. So seeing this was, for me, kind of refreshing.
It’s also a big fire-breathing dragon of shred, and it put a smile on my face to see how much the crowd was into it.
Of course, I have to end this Blood Moon/Full Winter Moon round-up with Winterfylleth, even though the music isn’t as hot-off-the-presses as what comes before it. The band’s new album, The Threnody of Triumph, is out now on Candlelight Records, and it’s superior. Here’s “The Fate of Souls After Death”, which originally had its premiere on Pitchfork.[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/08.-The-Fate-of-Souls-After-Death.mp3|titles=Winterfylleth – The Fate of Souls After Death]