(Our friend Austin Weber returns with another collection of short reviews, with album and song streams.)
While 2014 doesn’t appear to have as many big league releases coming thus far, new and upcoming bands of all stripes will no doubt fill the void in quality. What follows are a smattering of different songs to hear and love or hate. Hate is more fun, but who knows maybe you will find something you enjoy?
HANNES GROSSMANN — THE RADIAL COVENANT
Over the last few years, I’ve witnessed numerous metal writers describe a band as sounding like Obscura. Whether or not that’s true, the point remains that it’s hard to get more Obscura-sounding than Hannes Grossmann, because duh, he is in Obscura. The Radial Covenant is his first solo record, written entirely by him, and accompanied by a jaw-dropping assortment of metal gods and legends. The album was crowdfunded into existence and just recently released. I should not need to explain how beyond-badass the ripping technical and melodic death metal core of The Radial Covenant is, though the experimental and progressive sides to the record are just as phenomenal. This is a higher quality death metal release than most of what’s coming out right now. So go buy it now, don’t be a late adopter.
AURIC — AURIC
I just heard of Arkansas-based Auric yesterday through band member Erik Ebsen’s suggestion that I give them a listen. I was certainly not disappointed. The refined sludge they craft on their self-titled album often reminds me of Remission-era Mastodon — albeit with a more meditative pulse and a bit of punk, black, and doom metal thrown in and distorted further by noise elements. This eclectic mix gels into a cohesive force and makes for fairly dynamic and varied sludge that knows when to break up the repetition with something different. Auric is your sludge fix for the day. Spark something green and enjoy whilst inhaling.
Upon the posting of my Gridlink review online, Amy Mills of Epistasis (who I’ve previously written about here) told me that Joey Molinaro, who plays violin on two new Gridlink tracks, has some awesome solo work — and she wasn’t kidding. The man has a full album cover of The Inalienable Dreamless by Discordance Axis played just on violin. Yes that’s correct, violin covers of one of the all time greatest grindcore albums, and it’s pretty amazing stuff. Now that I know he did this, it makes perfect sense that he appears on the new Gridlink–Longhena record. Given the epic and sometimes sad nature of many of the songs on The Inalienable Dreamless, they naturally translate beautifully to violin. But what really blows me away most is his translation of “Jigsaw”, taking my all-time favorite Discordance Axis track and allowing the haunting nature of his instrument to add depth to the epic struggle of the track. He also has an interesting new collaborative record called International Coven Of Dangerous Violinistry out in March, but it’s already available on his Bandcamp to stream.
Last year I wrote here at NCS about a group of instrumental metallers from Canada called Divine Realm. Well now they are on the verge of dropping their debut album entitled Abyssal Light, which has a tentative release date of April 1st, and that’s not a joke! They’ve already shared two tracks early so far, and both are a step up compositionally for them and a beautiful taste of what to expect from the album. One could use Polyphia as a sonic reference point, but the songwriting here is a lot more complex and divergent and with more feeling in the guitar-work. Brace yourself, what you are going to hear will exceed your expectations.
I’ve been following these vitriolic Frenchmen for a number of years now, and just a few days ago they dropped a badass and maddening introduction to their upcoming album called Lowgazers, in the form of a new song and video named “Thrvst”. This song sounds like the work of a completely different band, but in this case, the evolution is exciting. It’s easy to convey anger in metal, but much harder to exude a truly demented vibe, and “Thrvst” delivers that feeling expertly, while the visuals shift in rapid succession and capture an equally demented and bleak essence. Listening to, and watching this, puts a fuzzy smile on my face that in reality is probably really creepy. If you are prone to seizures, don’t hit play, yeah it’s that kind of video.