SEEN AND HEARD: PYLAR, SKYDANCER, IMPENDING DOOM, AND ANTERO SLEEPS
Here’s a round-up of music I discovered today in periodic forays through the interhole and a quick glimpse at the flooded NCS e-mail inbox. Stylistically, the music is all over the place, and it’s scattered geographically, too.
I came across this band via a short post at CVLT Nation, which gave no clue what the music is like (apart from calling it “pure magic”) or any information about the band, other than the fact that they’ve recorded an album entitled Rises In My Mighty that’s being released (on Nov 1) by Knockturne Records. (Actually, the album’s name is Poderoso se alza en my; I can’t vouch for the English rendition of the title.) Pylar have a Facebook page, but it’s not very informative either, providing neither the band’s location nor the identity of its members, though it’s apparent they’re from somewhere in Spain.
But I decided to listen to the song that CVLT Nation premiered because of that eye-catching album cover that you see above. According to the band’s FB page, it was created by “the expert in alchemical symbolism and sacred geometry, Gamaheo, member of the Numinoso Círculo Atlante.” Speaking of which, it’s also apparent that Pylar themselves devote their music (and possibly other activities) to certain ancient alchemical and occult arts, the meanings of which are completely obscure to whitebread me. But I do find that song fascinating.
Its name is “Ha Sido Alzado”, and it’s a nearly 14-minute long head-trip that builds from a continuous droning tone (which never disappears) and a repetitive chant and eventually becomes a maelstrom of roaring distorted guitars and calamitous percussion. And along the way you hear the rhythmic pounding of timpani, the skirl of what sound like bagpipes, acidic gasps and rattles, martial snare beats, more chanting (which becomes more extreme), and other sounds whose sources remain a mystery.
Give this a chance:
Skydancer are another Spanish band, from Vigo in the Galicia region. Their latest album, Land of the Grim, is scheduled for release on November 25 by a relatively new Spanish label named Suspiria Records. I learned about them via e-mails from the label, which pointed to two songs from the album that are now streaming — “Ancestral Lands” and “Ancares”. “Ancestral Lands” moves from an entrancing, reverberating guitar arpeggio into a thundering, jackhammering rush of melodic death metal layered with atmospheric keyboards and swirling melodic guitar leads and solos. “Ancares” doesn’t bother with a contrasting intro and instead dives right into another flurry of punchy riffs and drum strikes, highlighted again by beautiful melodic guitar performances.
Though the band are from Spain, the music has much in common with galloping Scandinavian death metal, which is not a bad thing at all. I’ve really enjoyed both songs, and here they are:
Impending Doom and I go back a long way, which is to say I’ve been listening to their music since the beginning and have enjoyed many of their live shows. Their albums have been uneven, and over time my own tastes in metal have moved pretty far away from the brand of deathcore that they deal in. But I still feel a sense of loyalty, and so I decided to check out a song named “Ravenous Disease” that premiered today. It comes from their new album, Death Will Reign, which is due on November 5 via eOne (and can be pre-ordered here).
As promised by the band, the music has a sound that’s more raw and destructive than on their last album. There are moments when the furious pneumatic rhythms of the music verge on industrial, and the breakdowns hit like detonating warheads. It includes some spacey lead guitar work, too, in addition to a drum attack that will punch holes right through your abdomen. I’m digging it.
This last band is based in my old hometown of Austin, Texas. I heard from them by e-mail, and in addition to their locale I was further tempted to check out their music when I learned that they are a concept band (not simply a band writing concept albums or songs), and that the concept consists of original science fiction stories they wrote themselves (about which more can be learned here). So, hometown appeal and sci-fi nerd kinship, and that was all I needed.
The band have a “pay what you want” album on Bandcamp named Titan. So far I’ve only listened to the first two songs — which total more than 20 minutes — but man, I’m impressed. The opening riff in “Whispers and Dust” is an immediate head-grabber, and from there the music pulls you along on a hell of ride that takes you not only through a desert of riff-driven stoner/sludge/doom but also out into the space lanes. The music is both powerfully heavy and densely atmospheric. The crushing riffs are irresistible, the drumwork is explosive, and the vocals are appealingly gritty and thoroughly impassioned.
I know we have a lot of Beastwars fans in the audience. You folks, especially, are going to eat this up:
the new Impending Doom sounds pretty killer, but its Antero Sleeps that’s really caught my interest. i’m definitely going to grab a copy of Titan
Could Skydancer be a reference to Dark Tranquillity’s first EP? I kinda like the music but the vocals are pretty meh to me. I like the atmospheric parts. The second track from them sounds much better than the first.
Pylar is familiar yet mysterious sounding, I really enjoy it. Anymore I am looking for something out of the ordinary and this seems to fit the bill.
I am just discovering Antero Sleeps, 10 years after this records came out (going through old NCS posts). This is really good stuff, along the lines of Isis and Cult of Luna. What happened to this strangely-named band since then?
Wow, a true blast from the past. I don’t know the answer to your question. I see that the last posts on their Facebook page were from 2016, and Metal-Archives still lists the band as “Active”, but that probably just means there has been no formal announcement of a break-up. Obviously, they are not really active.