Earlier today I posted a delayed round-up of new music and newsy things that I intended to post yesterday. This round-up is somewhat more timely, and collects three songs and related news that I just discovered today and that I heartily commend to your attention, in alphabetical order.
Alterbeast (formerly comically known as the Gary Busey Amber Alert) are a Sacramento band I first heard about through my NCS comrade DGR (who wrote this review of one of their live shows last October). They are now among the Unique Leader stable of artists, and this spring Unique Leader plans to release their debut album Immortal.
Yesterday we got a first look at the album’s striking cover art by the talented Raymond Swanland (click the image above to see it in its full glory), and we also got a premiere of the album’s first track, “Flesh Bound Text”. You may momentarily be lulled by the piano and violin intro, but you will be jolted fully upright by the tech-death onslaught that follows. It flies like a highly accelerated horde of bats awakened from their slumber by a grenade detonation. But as jet-fueled and acrobatic as the instrumental performances are, what makes the song even more noteworthy are the start-stop dynamics and the deft incorporation of a swirling guitar melody. Awful damned impressive.
We’ve been anxiously awaiting the debut album by Liverpool’s Ethereal, which we understand will be entitled Opus Autherium and will be released later this year. Earlier this month the band uploaded one of the new songs, “Unholy Ungodly”, and I’ve been meaning to write about it.
Ethereal incorporate a blood-pumping symphonic overlay and super-charge the song with furious drumming and fleet-fingered riff fuel, as well as a mesmerizing melody that sways and weaves like a cobra preparing to strike. Bombastic, galvanizing, and demanding of replays, it’s a scything slice of symphonic black metal that bodes well for Opus Autherium.
If you’d like to hear more of what Ethereal are all about, three re-recorded songs from their 2011 EP Revelation Beast can also be heard at their ReverbNation page linked below.
I learned about Horizon Ablaze for the first time this morning. Their new album Dødsverk is due for release on February 24 by code666 (a sublabel of Aural Music) and it features a piece of wonderful cover art, shown above (click to make bigger). But apart from the striking cover art, I was attracted by the band’s line-up, which includes the Pantheon I duo of Andrè Kvebek (vocals; ex-1349) and Shandy McKay (guitars; ex-Absu), as well as bassist Ole Bent Madsen (Blood Red Throne), drummer Kevin Kvåle, and vocalist/guitarist Stian Quist Ruethemann.
A rough mix of one of the new songs, entitled “Fordømt”, is available for listening on Bandcamp, and you can hear it below. It rumbles, it rocks, it scrapes and scars, it claws with tremolo-picked chords and groans with guttural depravity, it’s eerily melodic and morbidly fascinating — and it doesn’t follow any kind of straight line. I like it a lot.