Yesterday I came across new music from four bands with whom I hadn’t previously crossed paths. I really liked what I heard and hope you will, too. Part of what makes this quartet so appealing is that none of them sounds like any of the others, and together they give us another reminder about the amazing diversity of metal as an art form.
TOWERS OF FLESH
Towers of Flesh are a three-man band from the UK who released their debut album in 2010 (The Perpetual Paradox). All three of the band members (Anil Carrier, Tom Hinksman, and Jack Welch) have been active in other projects, but they have now managed to complete a new album entitled Antithetical Conjurations, which is projected for release in early 2014. It’s adorned by an eye-catching cover panting by Aisha Louisa Al-Sadie (edited by Bryan Hancox).
Yesterday the band released a sampler of music from the new album. I didn’t know what to expect, since I hadn’t heard their first album, but man, the sampler sounds excellent — a blend of of melodic black metal and death metal elements with dark, reverberating guitar melodies that are attention-grabbing even after only a few seconds, and plenty of low-end thunder.
In addition to streaming the sampler below, I’m also including a previously released video of drum recording by Anil Carrier for the song “Concealed Within”, which will appear on the new album; it’s described as “a rough bounce with guide guitars”.
I Exist are another band (from Canberra, Australia) whose music I discovered for the first time yesterday. Their third album, From Darkness, is due for release by Prosthetic Records on December 3, and yesterday Stereogum premiered an advance track named “Sorrow On Hill 105” that really knocked me down. It’s built around a combination of killer, swinging riffs that are beefy and brawny and heavy as a haymaker to the head, and post-metal-styled guitar instrumentals that are almost ethereal. The melodies are dark as night but awfully damned catchy, and the mix of hardcore and stoner-style vocals is rough and raw and will grab you by the throat. When the song starts moving like a freight train near the end, heads will bang awful fuckin’ hard. Fantastic song.
The song at Stereogum isn’t embeddable, so you’ll need to go there to listen — and you should:
Putrefact are a relatively new band from Mexico consisting of past and present members from other bands such as Disgorge, Ravager, and Havavitz. They produced a demo in 2012 and an EP earlier this year, and now Pulverised Records has released a two-song offering on black 7″ vinyl entitled Of Those Who Were Deceased. One of the two songs — “We Were Deceased” — is now available for streaming, and because I’m such a special person, I also had the chance to listen to the other song, too.
In recent years we’ve seen a surge in excellent releases by both older and newer bands devoted to old school death metal, but we’re going to have to make room for one more. Putrefact are armed with lethal riffs, murderous intent, and a genuine talent for summoning the rotting dead back to life. Both songs deliver that low-slung, distorted guitar tone that fans of the genre love so much, as well as a rumbling avalanche of bass and drum rhythms and echo-drenched vocals that summon images of werewolves hungry for jugular blood and zombies vomiting gore. The second, longer song, entitled “II”, is also layered with massive, groaning riffs and slow, eerie, atmospheric instrumental passages that give the song a haunting as well as horrifyingly gruesome air.
Of Those Who Were Deceased is limited to 300 copies and can be ordered through the Pulverised Bandcamp page here. Music below (same song, two different players).
ALTAR OF BETELGEUZE
Finally we come to Altar of Betelgeuze, a new Finnish band consisting of Matias Nastolin (Decaying) on bass and vocals, Olli “Otu” Suurmunne (ex-Decaying) on guitar and vocals, guitarist Juho Kareoja, and drummer Aleksi Olkkola (Sclerosis). Their first album, Darkness Sustains the Silence, is scheduled for release by the Memento Mori label on January 1, 2014, and it features cover art by Spanish artist Cesar Vallandares (Krisiun, Asphyx, Grave Miasma). It follows a 2012 EP entitled At The Shrine Of Light.
Through a press release yesterday, I discovered that the new album’s long 17-minute title track is now available for streaming, and after hearing it I also poked around and found a second, shorter song (“The Spiral of Decay”) for listening on Bandcamp.
Listening to the title track at the outset is like being dragged through a trench filled with congealing blood. The low, slow, massively heavy riffs and the ominous, deep, growled vocals create a dense atmosphere of bleakness and decay. But the music eventually accelerates into a sequence of d-beat-driven and chugging rhythms (without becoming any less dark and ominous), the harsh vocals alternate with Sabbathian clean singing, and you’ll even hear some trippy guitar soloing. The music is an excellent, creative meshing of funereal doom, death metal, stoner, and even black-metal stylings that both crushes and rocks, and it will hold your interest from start to finish.
“The Spiral of Decay” opens with a very cool bass guitar lead before burly stoner/doom riffs take over and the song starts to rock out. It features more of that unusual vocal interplay heard on the title track. Less stylistically diverse than the title track, but still cool stuff. Listen to both songs below.