Today is Day 14 of me being away from home for my job. Since last night was a Saturday night, I got a break from the usual day-and-night grind. Carousing with my co-workers, I ate too much, had a few drinks, and then lost an hour of sleep because of daylight savings time beginning here in the U.S. But before collapsing into bed I did play the MISCELLANY game for the first time since last December.
For those people who are new to the site or have forgotten, here’s how this works: I randomly pick an assortment of bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands with new releases who are relatively unknown). I listen to one or two songs, not knowing what the music will be like, and I write my impressions. And then I stream for you what I’ve heard so you can make up your own mind.
For this session, there really was no rhyme or reason to what I picked. The music is from Darkening (U.S.), Monte Penumbra (Portugal), and Bovine (UK).
Darkening is essentially the one-man project of Atlanta resident Jeff Carter, with the guitars performed in the studio by Michael Moore. I’ve forgotten how I came across Darkening or what piqued my interest, but I kept a link to the Darkening Facebook page and last night I listened to the one song that Darkening have made available for streaming.
The name of the song is “Imminence”, and it will appear on Darkening’s debut album Auger, which is projected for release in April. “Imminence” has really made a strong impression — I’ve listened to it repeatedly since last night. The distorted guitar notes that start the song set the hook hard, and that little melody worms its way through the rest of the track, which spins off variations on the theme along with a full serving of heavy riffing, creative guitar leads, interesting percussion, gargantuan death metal vocals, and harsh rasping shrieks.
I suppose if I were to try to slap a genre classification on the music, it would be blackened technical melodic death metal? Check it out below.[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DARKENING-Imminence.mp3|titles=Darkening – Imminence]
I do remember why I decided to check out the music of this band (which also turns out to be a one-man project): that album art you see up above. I think it’s extremely cool, and it was created by that Dutch wizard Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues, Cloak of Altering, and De Magia Veterum.
The artwork is for a debut album by Monte Penumbra named Heirloom of Sullen Fall, which will be released by Daemon Worship Productions on March 15. Monte Penumbra is the work of W.uR, who is the Portuguese guitarist for the most excellent Israthoum, with Iunus of Ab Imo Pectore (another W.uR project) on drums.
Daemon Worship has set up a Bandcamp page for Monte Penumbra and three of the album’s songs are streaming there. For this MISCELLANY experiment, I first listened to the track that’s set to play first when you land on that page — “Dark Figure”. The music transitions from state to state. The atmosphere of the mid-paced first section is morose and melancholy; it turns eerie in the mid-section, with strange electronic noises dominating the scene; the pacing accelerates after that; and then strange noises reappear to carry the song to its conclusions.
Though the vocals on “Dark Figure” are clean, they turn in a more harsh direction on “A Moonlit Stream Protrude”, which is the following song on the Bandcamp player. (Yes, I decided to listen to a second track). The music is very difficult to classify — sort of a mix of black metal, experimental noise, doom, and psychedelia — but I found both of the songs engrossing and intriguing. Listen below.
The last stop on this MISCELLANY tour was a band from Birmingham, England, by the name of Bovine. I’m not completely sure why I made a note to investigate their music, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I’ve enjoyed other releases by their label (FDA-Rekotz) and that their name means cow-like. I figured anyone who picked that name has to deliver some goods, because they’re opening themselves wide for some shit-slinging otherwise (or cowpie slinging).
It turns out, fortunately, that the music is anything but sluggish, dull, or stolid. The song I heard, in the form of a music video that came out in February, is called “Military Wife”. It’s a clattering, crunching, grungy stampede of catchy chords and a sludge-heavy low end, and the vocalist has got a great set of pipes to boot.
I thought the video was also very well done. It intersperses a high-energy performance by the band with an allegorical tale of the dead haunting their heartless murderer. Check it out below.
“Military Wife” will appear on an album entitled The Sun Never Sets On the British Empire, which is due for an April 12 release both digitally and on CD, with vinyl to follow. It can be pre-ordered here.