I’ve heard a lot of new music in the last couple of days, mostly isolated songs and videos from fairly deep underground. From those I compiled this mix, which I thought deserved that “Shades of Black” preface that I’ve used before. Despite the fact that the first and last offerings aren’t black metal, they’re still black as a moonless night.
SUM OF R
Sum of R is a Swiss band that since 2012 has consisted of Reto Mäder (bass, drums, percussion, synthesizer, piano, effects) and Julia Wolf (guitar, effects). Their most recent work is an album entitled Ride Out the Waves, which was released in late 2012 by Storm As He Walks. It’s also now available on Bandcamp. The last song on the album is “Alarming”, and in 2012 it was released in advance of the album as a music video. The video is a montage of film clips edited and assembled by Francesca Marongiu, an Italian multi-instrumentalist and visual artist, in her alter ego as Agartthacave.
This was my first exposure to Sum of R (thanks to our supporter KevinP’s posting of a link to the video on FB today), and the combined audio and visual synthesis floored me. The music is a glacial floe of funereal doom and drone, shrouded in caustic distortion and punctuated by cataclysmic percussive downbeats and shrill electronic noises. Withering harsh shrieks and the sound of a siren ratchet the tension until everything falls apart beneath the final mallet blows. It’s completely crushing.
The visual imagery is also completely stunning — brilliant both in the selection of the clips and in the sequencing and syncing of them with the music. The effect is to make the natural world and artifacts of the human world seem supernatural and ominous. Watch and listen next.
Chaos Moon is now the solo project of a Philadelphia musician named Alex Poole, who has also been a fixture in Esoterica and Krieg. According to Metal Archives, Chaos Moon split-up in 2011 after releasing a couple of EPs and two albums, but Poole has now revived the project and has signed with the I, Voidhanger label for release of the band’s third album, Resurrection Extract, next year.
I, Voidhanger began streaming an advance track from the album today — “Bloodfall” — and it’s powerful. At one level it’s a maelstrom of blasting drums, razor-edged tremolo guitar, and anguished, scarring vocals. At another level it’s a slow, rolling wave of heart-wrenching atmospheric melody. The combined effect is gripping. (The streaming track ends so abruptly that there may be more of the song yet to be heard.) Check it out below.
Grue is a Boston black metal band who contacted us by e-mail with the news that their debut album Casualty of the Psychic Wars will be released this winter by Eternal Death Records (the same label that released the excellent new EP by Bog of the Infidel that I reviewed about 10 days ago). The band have made the album’s title track available for streaming on Bandcamp, and it’s impressive. It’s a raging storm-front of black metal fury through which a memorable melody weaves its way, the storm eventually spending itself in a subdued passage before ramping up again through hard-rocking chords and rhythms to a final attacking rush. A great song and a promising teaser for this new album.
All of Grue’s releases, including their half of a 2012 split with Word of Unmaking, are available on Bandcamp via the link below; the Word of Unmaking track for the split can be found here.
New Zealand’s Witchrist have paired up with Canada’s superb Antediluvian for a new split release on Nuclear WInter Records (though I don’t know the release date). Witchrist’s contribution to the split is a song called “The Burning Reprieve”, and although it has apparently been available for streaming since mid-summer, I only discovered it today.
“The Burning Reprieve” is yet another Witchrist behemoth, an oppressive blend of suffocating doom and thrashing occult menace. Low-tuned tremolo drilling, high-pitched skittering leads, and corrosive hammering riffs provide the accompaniment to a mix of grotesque roars and deep chants that come close to throat-singing. Excellent black/death devastation.
And in other Witchrist news, the band’s first album, Beheaded Ouroboros (2010) and an even earlier compilation, Curses of Annihilation (2009), are now both available on Bandcamp via the links below. After the links, have a listen to “The Burning Reprieve”.