Sometimes the hands of blind coincidence shuffle the cards of life and deal you a flush. And so they did for me last night. In addition to other blog-related activities, I had time to listen to four new songs, and by happenstance they all turned out to be from the same suit — and they were also a winning combination. I know four cards don’t make a flush, but one of the songs is 18 minutes long, so I think that counts as two cards (at least).
The songs are actually from somewhat different genres of metal, but when I say they’re from the same suit I mean that they have this in common: BASS
I’m dividing this post into two parts, with two songs in each one. The next post will come later this morning.
The first song I listened to was brand new, the first track released by a new band named Geryon. I listened to it mainly because Geryon is composed of two members of Krallice, Nicholas McMaster and Lev Weinstein, and the song was produced by a third, Colin Marston. I do like me some Krallice. But there were two other reasons, and you’re looking at one of them at the top of this post.
I recognized the image as one of the engravings created by the amazing Gustave Doré as an illustration for a translation of Dante’s The Vision of Hell (aka Inferno). And here’s another coincidence: I discovered last night that this 1866 translation, complete with images of Doré’s engravings, is available for free on Project Gutenberg.
When I went there to find the image that Geryon used as the artwork for their song, in order to learn what it depicted, I discovered that in Canto XVII of the Inferno, Geryon is the name of the winged beast (the image of fraud) that bears the poets Dante and Virgil to the 8th circle of Hell — and Doré’s engraving illustrates that flight.
And the third reason is this: Geryon’s music is death metal performed solely with bass and drums. I don’t know about you, but I love it when the bass is prominent in metal. When it’s the only stringed instrument, that’s a novelty worth hearing.
And “Lament” is definitely worth hearing. It’s just as crushing and battering as you might imagine, but the brutish immensity of the bass and drum sound and the hoarse howls of the vocals are counterbalanced by a flurry of inventive, technically intricate fret- and stick-work. I have only one complaint: at just over two minutes, the song is waaaay too short.
“Lament” is a free download at Bandcamp, and Gilead Media will be releasing a vinyl later this summer, presumably with more from Geryon besides “Lament”. Listen below.
Hollow Leg are a Floridian band who have a new LP named Abysmal coming out on July 30 via Last Anthem Records. The album cover caught my eye. It’s not Gustave Doré, but it’s still awfully cool — and credit goes to Sean Garrett for the art and Jean Saiz (Shroud Eater) for the logo. Earlier this week Hollow Leg released the album’s last song, “Cry Havoc”, for streaming on Bandcamp, and that’s the second song I heard last night after the one by Geryon.
You know what you’re in far right from the outset. It’s like being hit by a succession of mallet blows. BIG fuckin’ slow mallet blows. Gargantuan, radioactive riffs and pounding percussion do the damage, with the lyrics voiced in a raw, throaty yell. There’s a little high-pitched guitar lead that manages to gasp for breath here and there, but the music is mainly LOW, BLUDGEONING, and very HEAVY. But man, this thing picks up pace in the last minute, and I banged by damned head so hard I thought my eyes would come loose.
This is a very nice thickened stew of doom, sludge, and stoner metal. The album should be worth hearing.
“Cry Havoc” is available as a single for a buck at Bandcamp. Hear it below.