(Our friend Utmu hath delivered this guest post, introducing us to a some great bands who share the same label.)
Hello all! I’m Utmu and I’m back with my second article for NCS this year—I’m on a roll! Anyway I was on From the Dust Returned recently and I came across Ævangelist; intrigued by the artwork and the band’s name, I decided to look into them. I also saw reviews for the bands Nar Mattaru and The Wakedead Gathering and I came to find out that they are all on the same label, I, Voidhanger Records.
The first part of I, Voidhanger’s manifesto reads, “Born in 2008 as an independent division of the Italian metal label AeternitasTenebrarumMusicaeFundamentum (ATMF), I, Voidhanger Records tolerates musical categorizations, but doesn’t like any kind of boundaries.” It goes on to say in the second part, “We are interested in black metal, death metal, avant-garde metal, progressive metal, doom metal, heavy rock, psychedelia, 70’s dark sounds, dark ambient and drone music, as long as they are the result of an obscure, unique, and uncompromising artistic vision.” That’s pretty accurate when comparing that to the bands they’ve signed.
ON TO THE BANDS! First up is Ævangelist. This band is also associated with Benighted in Sodom, with two of the members playing for BiS live, and one being a studio member, according to MA, that is. Ævangelist play a style of blackened death metal that relies heavily on ambience, so much that Matron Thorn is even credited on MA as playing “All instruments, noise” (I’m assuming it’s all instruments sans drums, as J. Nightside, who joined the band in 2012, is playing the drums, with vocal duties undertaken by Acaris).
I’m 99% certain that if you like Mitochondrion, you’ll like these purveyors of extremity. While I have limited experience with Mitochondrion, the similarities are obvious. Both have a monstrous low-end, with deep, echoing vocals, and songs that seem almost alive… writhingly so. The big difference is the use of pitch and the nuances in the music. Mitochondrion use higher-pitched riffs as well as low riffs, all the while having a big low-end, whereas Ævangelist have even more low-end, and less high-end (there is high-end though, and it’s used well).
You can see what I mean in the song “Blood and Darkness” from their album De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis. There is a general feeling of anxiety in this song, and it has a rushing sensation.
It’s basically a soundtrack to a hungry creature calmly following you as you fall over yourself in an attempt to get away. Eventually you’ll get tired and you’ll be devoured. Then there’s also the feeling of being caught in a windstorm and being yelled at by disembodied voices. It definitely has the quality of pure horror. The band members really know the role ambience can play in music and certainly know how to implement it as well.
The next tune is called “Death Illumination”, which starts off at a fast pace and has a lot going on. This too feels like you’re in a windstorm, but it’s more chaotic than the previous song, having multi-tracked vocals with highs and lows in competition with each other to see which one can drive the listener insane before the other. At around the four-and-a-half minute mark the song slows down to a great extent, allowing the listeners almost to recover from the mental battery they’ve just been dealt.
But soon the low vocals kick in, and then demented, high-pitched notes mark the beginning of the end of sanity; not long after, the voices start again and you’re swept away in a tide of mental and emotional anguish. The voices calm down soon, reverting back to a singular, low style; but the windstorm has kicked up for a moment, only to die down again shortly after being reborn. After the wind storm and the waves have beaten you against rocks, you’re left feeling empty and drained, you give up. You’re limp body being tossed back and forth by the sea of listlessness.
Here’s Ævangelist’s Facebook. Drop by and tell them how awesome they are, and give ’em a ‘Like’.
Tempestuous Fall is an Australian funeral doom and/or death doom band (more like a project) who really caught my attention through the artwork of their release The Stars Would Not Awake You, which I think depicts a deceased or dying Icarus being comforted by sirens. Or it could be a dead/dying, non-traditional angel who uses fake wings to fly; either way, the artwork is striking.
Anyway, Tempestuous Fall is the side-project of Dis Pater, and he has some interesting credentials; he’s the man behind the black metal projects Midnight Odyssey and The Crevices Below. Tempestuous Fall got its start in 2011, and based on the two songs made available via I, Voidhanger Records, I think the debut full-length is a good start.
I, Voidhanger Records’ page for the band’s album says, “With TEMPESTUOUS FALL Dis Pater has revisited the early 90’s death/doom metal of My Dying Bride and Anathema, re-thought through the experience in Midnight Odyssey and enshrouded in modern funeral doom atmospheres.”
One of the things that stands out to me about this act is that it doesn’t meander on like many funeral doom bands who have long songs that repeat the same riffs and little progression. Here, the songs change throughout their length and utilize instruments other than those utilized by most metal bands, such as the violin (played by a guest named Renee Hunter). Synths and keys are also used. The band makes heavy use of the synths, which I generally disapprove of because if they aren’t used in a certain way the result is one giant cheese-fest (and it often does result in that); however, TF uses them rather well in my opinion. They help carry the songs to greater heights, but without flying above the rest of the music in a way that drowns out everything else. There’s still cheese, but it’s not a big deal here. The vocals are a mixture of well-sung cleans (which are actually my favorite vocal type with TF) and low growls.
Clean vocals are the predominant style in the song “Old and Grey”, and at times can be uplifting; at other times they can bring despair. The harsh vocals here are delivered by a guest called BM and are sometimes tracked in sync with Dis Pater’s cleans.
Hunter’s playing of the violin brings great melody over some groovy guitars and helps deepen the melancholy to new levels. The drumming is what you’d expect from a doom band: There aren’t many drum notes, and at certain points when the music calms down, there are none at all. The music sounds heavenly; it’s also perfect funeral music because it’s filled with emotion. Here’s the track “Old and Grey”:
The next song is called “Marble Tears” and it includes both the harsh vocals and cleans, as in “Old and Grey”, but this time Dis Pater is producing both styles. The violin in all of its excellence is present and most of the time it’s delivering a really catchy riff. Dis Pater’s clean vox are more powerful; they seem to be higher in the mix and they generally sound fuller for most of the tenure of this track. Early on, they take the form of talking along with the music. Later in the song the vocals seem to go down in the mix. The guitars, rather than being groovy as in “Old” and are more doomy, and even sometimes sound psychedelic.
Tempestuous Fall doesn’t have its own (artist-run) Facebook; rather, Dis Pater’s Midnight Odyssey Facebook combines all of his projects on one page.
Other noteworthy bands on the I, Voidhanger roster:
Think of what Atheist and Shining (Norway) would sound like if they had babies. Maybe add some industrial. Cal Scott, the solitary member, makes some weird and awesome music.
Here’s Umbah’s website (I don’t think the band has an official Facebook). The site seems to be under construction or something, but there is a link to where you can download all the music that Umbah has released (though Enter the Dagobah Core seems to be having some issues). Here’s the band’s Bandcamp where you can name your price on two albums (including Dagobah Core). In spite of the possibility of free downloads, please show your devotion by buying the albums.
This is a French extreme metal band (so you know it’s good), and it’s pretty hard to pigeonhole them in one genre. Just take a listen, you’ll probably like what you hear.
This is a Finnish death metal band (so you know this is good as well) whose sole member, Jarno Nurmi, is also in Desecresy and several other bands. I’m going to say SA sounds as if the members of Entrails and Incantation got in a train wreck and were fused into one being that went on to continue making music.
Here is Serpent Ascending’s Facebook.
These aren’t all the bands on I, Voidhanger Records; there are several others, many of whom (if not all) are very interesting and well-worth checking out. You can hear some more music from other bands here. This is I, Voidhanger’s shop.