I had already put together one daily round-up of new metal for this Saturday (here), but since doing that I found more items I want to share, because sharing is caring (I spit up in my mouth as I wrote that, so it didn’t turn out as funny as I’d hoped). Part of what’s in here involves clean singing; and no, we aren’t entirely bigoted on the subject despite the site’s name. However, I’m sandwiching the clean in between slices of the unclean, just so no one gets the idea that the exceptions have become the rule around here.
THE GREAT OLD ONES
The Great Old Ones are a French black metal band who released their debut album Al Azif last year via Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of that album, The Great Old Ones decided to record a cover of a Björk song. Probably wouldn’t have been my pick for a celebratory commemorative, but what the fuck, I decided to check it out — and it’s outstanding.
The band have preserved the song’s melancholy melody through a mix of vibrating tremolo chords and intensified its emotional power and dramatic punch with wrenching black metal vocals, heavy bass, and well-timed drum blasting. In retrospect, I can see how the song’s lyrics would lend themselves to a black metal cover: “I’m a fountain of blood . . . I’m a path of cinders burning under your feet . . . You’re the intruder hand / I’m the branch that you break.”
The Great Old Ones cover is a “name your price” download at Bandcamp here. Have a listen below.
I should confess that I’d never seen Björk’s video for “Bachelorette”, so I took this opportunity to watch it. It’s kinda cool. However, I prefer The Great Old Ones’ version of the song. 🙂
Further proof, as if any were needed, that Finland is one of the most metal nations on Earth, at least on a per capita basis: A Finnish metal vocalist — Antti Railio — won The Voice of Finland competition on April 26.
You may have heard of The Voice. It’s one of those musical TV competitions like Idol and The X Factor. It started in Holland in 2010 and spread around the world like a virus. I watched one episode of the US version this year (don’t ask why, I was probably drunk) and I couldn’t make it to the end due to a bout of projectile vomiting (by me — if projectile vomiting had happened on the show I would have continued watching). The Finnish version had its second season this year, and I found out about Antti Railio’s triumph via our friend and close observer of Finnish metal fireangel (of the Night Elves blog).
Antti Railio was formerly the frontman of a power metal band named Celesty and now has a band called The Wildfire, who seem to play a mix of hard rock and metal, based on the songs I found here. I’m embedding two videos of his performances on The Voice of Finland below. One is a cover of “Skyfall” and the other is a cover of the more up-tempo “Maniac”; he brings a power metal feel to both of them (more videos of his competition performances are available on YouTube). I’m not a big power metal fan, but Antti Railio has definitely got some pipes. Congrats to him on this victory.
To wrap up this trio of items, I’m staying with Finland but moving back to unclean territory with Shade Empire. Their 74-minute-long fourth album Omega Arcane will be released by Candlelight Records on May 3 in Finland, on May 6 in the rest of Europe, and sometime in June in North America. In late March I spied their official video for the album’s first single, “Ruins”, and was really impressed (featured here). The song is scathing, sweeping, and soaring, a riveting mixture of styles that include elements of black metal, melodic death metal, and doom, with orchestral touches that enhance the drama rather than clog the arteries with cheese. I thought fans of bands such as Insomnium and In Mourning would do well to pay attention. The video is a badass feast for the eyes, too.
This morning, my NCS comrade TheMadIsraeli tipped me to the fact that Omega Arcane is now streaming in full at the Finnish INFERNO web site, along with a track-by-track commentary. I haven’t yet listened to all of the album, having paused long enough to stitch this post together, but so far it’s sounding every bit as strong as “Ruins” led me to believe it would. Listen below and pre-order here.