Did you miss our usual daily round-up yesterday? Well, you’re not alone. I missed it, too. In other words, I failed to write one. Instead, I decided I ought to do some of the work I actually get paid to do, even though I didn’t have a gun to my head. What a dumb idea. That meant I had to spend a few hours late yesterday and last night catching up on what I missed in the world of metal instead of continuing my experimentation on the development of pocket-sized nuclear fusion engines and the negotiation of lasting peace in the Middle East. But, you know, a person’s got to have his priorities straight. Here’s what I found:
I like Krallice. I also like synchronicity. Less than a week ago I reported that Krallice spent a week in the studio this month recording three songs for a forthcoming split release with a project of Blut Aus Nord’s Vindsval named Vjeshitza. And then last night I found that the unparalleled (((unartig))) had filmed a Krallice set at Public Assembly in Brooklyn on July 14 that included two untitled new songs. Could these be two of the songs on the forthcoming split? Oh, I bet they are.
The videos are kind of dark, but the sound quality is good, as it usually is with an (((unartig))) production. But you should boost the volume so you don’t miss Mick Barr’s guitar leads, or for that matter what Nick McMaster, Colin Marston, and Lev Weinstein are also doing.
Both songs are intense. The first one, the shorter of the two, is relatively simple for a Krallice work. Largely an instrumental piece, it moves from bleak decay to explosions of blasting, and it takes off like a rocket at the end. The second one is longer, more melodic, more complex — the more engaging and interesting of the two, though I like them both a lot.
It makes sense that Krallice and Vindsval would finally join forces on a split. On either side of the Atlantic, they’ve been twisting the form of black metal into new shapes without losing the scathing, nihilistic core of the music.
Everyone who’s a fan of The Red Chord, raise your hands. I’ll just pretend I can see a lot of up-stretched arms even though the only one I can see at the moment is my own. If you’re familiar with the fleet-fingered razor work of the band’s guitarist and founder Mike “Gunface” McKenzie, toss that in the can for purposes of what follows.
McKenzie is the power behind a one-man project named Stomach Earth whose self-titled debut album is being released today by Black Market Activities as a vinyl LP and digital download (buy here), and the name of this game is subterranean death/doom/sludge. Believe me when I tell you this, it’s not the kind of skin-deep, one-off dabbling you might expect from someone whose stock-in-trade is grinding and shred-serious tech-death.
Based on the two songs I’ve heard so far (which you will hear momentarily), it’s a truly massive excursion into cavernous vaults of catastrophe and loss. Mountainous riffs and titanic drum strikes come down like heralds of the end times, McKenzie roars like a behemoth, and magnetic melodies soar over the glacial crunch and boom of the low end. Crushing, and beautiful.
The two songs that have premiered so far are “Void Angel Ritual” (which debuted yesterday) and “Watchers”. Listen below. (Thanks to NCS supporter deckard cain for the tip about this band.)
As often happens, the artwork caught my eye first, and then the music met the expectations raised by the art. What you’re looking at is the outstanding cover to Death Sigils, the debut album by Virginia’s Occultist. It was hand-drawn by Stiv Baritch, who also fronts a Belgian crust punk band named Visions of War. Death Sigils is due for release on the North Carolina-based Primitive Ways label.
Yesterday, CVLT Nation began streaming the entire album. I haven’t finished listening to all of it, but what I’ve heard so far gets the adrenaline pumping and the head bobbing something fierce. Crossing the boundaries between crust/punk, black metal, and death metal, Occultist’s dynamic music grinds, howls, and chugs like a demon freight train with an open throttle. The ghostly/ghastly melodies that float through the ass-kicking are icing on the cake.
The album stream is below, along with links that include pre-order info.