I’m hoping everything in this post will tickle your fancy. It includes four quite diverse songs that I heard this morning. They’re nothing alike, but I thought they were all cool . . . and not the kind of thing you’re likely to come across elsewhere (at least not packaged together and hand-tied with a pink bow, like I’m doing for you).
HAGGIS AND BONG
Still one of the best metal band names ever. And still some of the most stirring bagpipe-injected metal you can find. Haggis and Bong come not from Scotland but from South Africa, and they’ve been a favorite topic of mine here at NCS dating all the way back to January 2010, when the band was just a duo of pipers and a drummer (you can find all of my blathering about them over the years via this link).
Since those early days they’ve expanded themselves into a genuine metal band — but one in which the pipes still play a prominent role — and today they’ve released a free single that’s their heaviest work yet. In addition to including some mosh-worthy distorted riffing and pounding rhythm work, “Battle Destroyer” incorporates the pipes in an unusual way — no jigs or reels this time. Check out the song after the jump and go download it here if you dig it as much as I do.
In other Haggis and Bong news, the lads will be competing in the South African Wacken Metal Battle on May 24. We wish all the contestants the best of luck . . . but it would be nice to see a pipe band at Wacken. 🙂
It’s not like I follow Sakis Tolis around like a stalker. Okay, to be brutally honest, I follow Sakis Tolis around like a stalker. When the main creative force in Rotting Christ lends his talents to other bands, I tend to find out about it, and this morning I learned that he provided guest vocals in the third song on the self-titled debut album by an Athenian band named Nekkar.
The song is called “Uncomfortable Silence”, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s an offering of slow, melodic doom that’s shrouded in a cloud of melancholy and weighted with the burden of grief, or at least that’s the feeling I get. But as bleak as the melody is, it’s quite engrossing, and of course Sakis lends the song an atmosphere of satanic majesty with his corrosive vocals. Both the song and the entire album are available as a free download on Bandcamp (get there via this link). Cool stuff.
For the next item in this little round-up I decided to stay in Athens, figuratively speaking, with a band named Madleaf. They released a debut album (Sinners) in 2008 and, after a change in line-up, they’re now working on a new album. What caught my attention was a cover they released in March of a song called “I Can’t Escape Myself”, which was originally recorded in 1980 by UK post-punk band The Sound.
Madleaf convert the stripped-down bounce of the original into something heavier, something that’s part stoner-metal and part Nirvana, something that to my ears makes a better musical match with the bleakness of the lyrics. I’m liking Nick Marinos’ vocals a lot, too.
The cover version was mixed and mastered by Fotis Benardo of Septic Flesh, and for now at least, it’s an authorized free download via this link:
And below you can find the band’s Facebook page and catch the official music video for their cover of “I Can’t Escape Myself”.
I’m staying overseas with this last band, but moving northwest from Greece into France. Darkall Slaves are a band I found out about via NCS supporter Vonlughlio. They’ve recently signed with Kaotoxin Records for the release of their debut album. As a lead-up to the album, Kaotoxin has recently made available two songs (plus an intro track) from the band’s pre-production demo as a “single” on Bandcamp under the name Abysses of Seclusion. It will be released on June 3 but can be pre-ordered now at this location.
Those two songs — “Mindless Damnation” and “Abysses of Seclusion” — are as corroded and vicious as a serrated blade that’s just been shoved into your gut. You feel like your intestines are spilling out but you don’t notice the pain so much because the music is also beating you senseless with jackhammer blows to the head. This is brutal, frenzied, murderous death metal, complete with blood-gurgling gutturals and skin-flaying guitar noise, and of course I’m loving every second of it.