Many of you already know how this MISCELLANY game works, but for everyone else, here’s what it’s about: Using no rhyme or reason whatsoever, I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music for you so you can judge for yourselves.
Every other musical feature on this site, other than this one, involves metal that I or the other writers have heard in advance and want to recommend. MISCELLANY, on the other hand, is a shot in the dark. I don’t know what these selections will sound like. We’ll both find out together. Today’s bands are from all over: Serpent Omega (Sweden), Crematoria (Denmark), Purefilth (Ukraine), and Asphodel (Greece).
I found out about this relatively new Swedish band via a Facebook recommendation from another band whose doings I follow. They’ve recently released a self-titled debut album via the Mordgrimm label, and it turns out that they have a female frontperson (Pia Högberg). I decided to check out their music in part because of that recommendation but mainly because I thought the new album’s cover art was cool.
I found the entire album on Mordgrimm’s Bandcamp page and decided to listen to the opening track, “Skullwand”. It’s anchored by fat, sludgy, rusted-out stoner riffs that start in doom/chug mode but pick up pace as the song unfolds. The song has some attractive melodic hooks and I liked the tempo changes. But I especially liked Pia’s reverberating vocals. Even though they’re sorta clean, they’re also sorta demonic. Retro stoner doom with occult trappings and female vocals is definitely in vogue, but if you’re going that route, vocals that sound scraped, raw, and possibly possessed are the best fit.
By the way, I also listened to the second track, “Smoke Ritual”. It really loads up the sludge big time. It’s a slow, primal, golem-stomp with some nice lead-guitar flourishes before it finishes — and Pia sounds even more vein-rippingingly infernal than on the opener.
The next stop on this MISCELLANY excursion was this Danish band. I’ve forgotten how I came across their name; most likely, it was another link from some other band on Facebook. Metal Archives tells me they recorded a demo in 2009 and an EP in 2010 (Embodiment of Brutality). Last month they released a new single to YouTube entitled “Hellbound”. It was apparently inspired by a forthcoming Canadian documentary named Hellbound?, to which the band contributed a handful of songs, including this new one, and an on-camera interview. More info about the film, which looks interesting, can be found here.
So, “Hellbound” is the Crematoria song I heard for MISCELLANY purposes. I have three words for you: BIG. FUCKIN. RIFFS. Allow to to elaborate:
“Hellbound” has some REALLY big fuckin’ riffs!!!
Fuck. Okay, one more time: “Hellbound” is a massive headbang trigger, a mid-paced brute that attacks the brain stem without remorse. Nothing fancy, nothing trendy, just goddamn tasty groove-heavy death metal with bone-breaker drums, a caterwauling solo, and — as icing on the cake — a very nice instrumental change in the song’s back half. Good vox too. Loving this battle tank of a song.
As I write this, I don’t know where (or if) the song is available for download. If I find out, I’ll update this post with the info.
UPDATE: We’ve heard from Crematoria, and they plan to record an EP during the next few months that will include “Hellbound” on it. I’m already ready for that.
A FURTHER UPDATE: I’ve just seen something that’s just absolutely killer. It turns out that Crematoria are making a video of “Hellbound”, with the band performing the piece along with a string quartet who perform with a well-known Danish R&B artist named Rasmus Seebach. The string quartet wrote a custom score to go with “Hellbound”, and there’s an iPhone video of the filming session that gives a sense of what the music sounds like. In two words, it sounds Fucken Awesome. Can’t wait to see the official video for this. For now, check out the iPhone video below the studio recording of “Hellbound”:
Here’s another band I saw mentioned by someone else on Facebook. As I recall, the word “filthy” was used, which I suppose was redundant since the band’s name is Purefilth. I was in the mood for some pure filth, and so I made these Ukrainians my next stop. They recorded a three-song promo last year, and all the songs are on YouTube as well as Soundcloud. I picked a song named “Chaotic Autopsy” for purposes of this game.
Guess what? The song will beat you to a pulp. A jelly-like smear of goo that used to be you will be soaking into your chair, your sofa, your bed, or down into the toilet if that’s where you happen to be listening to this. It’s a kind of slam-packed brutal deathcore with an immense guitar and bass tone and a fuckton of groove. Plus a gargantuan breakdown that will collapse the floor of your dwelling place and crack the surrounding streets too. Plus filthy gutturals, not as low as the frog-croak variety, but putrescent enough to satisfy a yearning for filth.
I listened to the other two songs on the 2012 promo. It’s a wonder I can type with goo for fingers.
Pul. Ver. Izing.
The band has made the promo tracks available as a free download HERE. Below are other relevant links followed by all three of the demo tracks:
This Greek band e-mailed us about their new three-song demo, Graces of the Fall, which appears to be their first-ever venture into recording their music. They said the songs will become part of a full-length album they intend to record very soon. The demo is on Bandcamp for free, and I again decided to check it out in part because I like the cover art, which is by Georgia Gyftaki.
The first song that’s slotted for play on Bandcamp is actually the EP’s last song, “Ghost Star”. It’s a study in contrasts, a combination of sweeping, doom-influenced, keyboard-enhanced melodic death metal and an entrancing dual-acoustic guitar passage, and both clean vocals and harsh ones (a combination of acidic shrieking and cavernous doom-death roars). The extended guitar solo I thought was very fine. Actually, I thought the whole song was fine — dramatic, engrossing, well composed, and well-performed.
(I cheated and listened to the other songs. They only solidified my impression that Asphodel have talent as composers and performers. And if you like the combo of acoustic and electrified music, there’s more of that to be found.)
As noted, Graces of the Fall is available on Bandcamp as a free download. Links below, plus the music stream.