SEEN AND HEARD: KHONSU, EXMORTUS, YORBLIND, “ONE AND ALL, TOGETHER, FOR HOME”, BLOOD OF KINGU
I’m still catching up on news, new music, and video premieres that I didn’t have time to write about late last week while I was on the road for my day job. In addition to what I pulled together yesterday, I’ve got the following four items to recommend.
Khonsu is the Norwegian band started by multi-instrumentalist S. Grønbech. We wrote about Khonsu frequently in 2012 during the run-up to release of their debut album Anomalia (which was reviewed here by Andy Synn). On Anomalia, Grønbech was joined by his brother Arnt (aka Obsidian Claw, guitarist/keyboardist for Keep of Kalessin) as well as Keep of Kalessin’s vocalist Thebon. I hadn’t heard much about Khonsu since then, but last weekend brought a flood of news — and yesterday brought a new song and video.
The news is that Khonsu will release a new full-length album this fall, and a new EP entitled Traveller will be released for download on March 22. Beginning yesterday, and on each Saturday through that release date, Khonsu will add new songs from the EP for streaming on YouTube. There are five in total, including new versions of two KoK songs originally released in 2003 (“Traveller” and “Ix”), a cover of “Army of Me” by Bjørk, and a purely electronic version of “The Malady” from Anomalia. But the first song released yesterday through a music video is a new one that will appear on the forthcoming album: “Visions of Nehaya”.
On this new song the vocals were provided by Terje Olsen (ex-Chton) and the guitars were engineered by Arnt Grønbech. If you’re familiar with Anomalia, prepare yourself for something that’s even darker, heavier, and more disorienting. It’s a pulse-racing piece of savagery that explodes almost immediately with a blast of double-bass drums and attacking guitars. The vocals are ravenous and the expected synthesizer sounds enhance the music’s alien threat. The video fits the music; there will be blood.
The last time I wrote about California’s Exmortus was when I saw their video in November for the single “Immortality Made Flesh”. I compared the music to slobbering all over your fingers and then jamming them into a big electrical outlet. “As your head starts smoking and your eyes roll back in their sockets, you’ll start slobbering again.”
Since then I had the great pleasure of seeing them perform live in Seattle on a tour with Dark Tranquillity and Omnium Gatherum. Man, were they hot! Tremendous energy, tremendous technical chops, and a powerful feeling of fun that emanated from them in waves and infected the whole audience.
Last week they released a music video for yet another song from their new album Slave To the Sword. This time the song is “Foe Hammer”. In a live setting, this song is an immediate mosh trigger, and the really well-made video does a good job of capturing what it’s like to see Exmortus on stage, even though there’s no frenzied crowd adding heat to the boil. Seriously, if you ever get the chance to catch these dudes live, don’t miss it.
Yorblind are a French band who I discovered through their second album Reflexions, which I reviewed all the way back in 2010. Re-reading that review reminds me of how immensely I enjoyed that album. But Reflexions was released in 2009, and there’s been no new music from Yorblind since then (as far as I know). But last week I saw the announcement that, at last, Yorblind’s third album — Blind… But Alive — will be released in June by Great Dane Records and Season of Mist.
The band also uploaded a teaser of music from the studio, which includes guest vocals by Cyd Chassagne from Magoa. It’s not long, but it sounds tempting. And yes, I know, there is clean singing.
“ONE AND ALL, TOGETHER, FOR HOME”
On May 27 in NorthAm (and My 23 in Euope) Season of Mist plans to release a special compilation entitled One And All, Together, For Home. The project was Initiated by Drudkh’s main man Roman Sayenko and it will consist of songs by eight excellent bands performing renditions of traditional folk songs from their own countries, most of them using acoustic instruments. And before you start yawning at the thought of acoustic folk music, check out the names of the bands:
AVA INFERI (Portugal)
That’s a hell of a list. Each of these bands recorded from one to three tracks, all of them exclusive to this release. The press info I received says that “[w]hile most of them are renditions of traditional tunes from their respective countries, some of them are genuinely personal material.”
And while on the subject of Roman Sayenko, his band Blood of Kingu is currently recording a new album, which will be released later this year. I’m eager to hear that one, too. If you wonder why, check out this track from their last album Sun In the House of the Scorpion (2010).
Lots of goodies in this post.
I came across that Khonsu video yesterday. Creepie little bastard. Looking foreward to the album, even if I was a bit reluctant to the immense industrial/avantgard feel of the last one.
Exmortus has delivered the tightest classic thrashy heavy metal for years, and will probably reign supreme on the podium for its genera in listmania season.
I love good folk metal, so this news of “One And All, Together, For Home” made me frentic and delerious (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean).
LISTEN TO KHONSU
The central Europan time is 16:32, and most metal heads are probably waking up about now.
So what’s your excuse for being awake at 06:45, didn’t hit the sack yet, or did you just forget to keep the sabbath day holy? 😉
I work nights and have Fri/Sat night off. I actually work Sundays, so I’m sure I’ve forgotten to keep the sabbath day holy many a times by now. Either way, its resulted in me being a strictly nocturnal being most of the time. 6 am is functionally 6pm for me.
“Let the heathen Nocturnals be Hunters,
and the God Fearing Diurnals be Gatherers.
Those who Dwell in Twilight shall be known as Crepusculars,
and enjoy the Forbidden Fruits of both Realms.”
Why didn’t I check out Khonsu earlier? For some reason I never got to Anomalia. I shall make all right by being the first one on this new stuff.
Exmortus’s new album is hands-down one of favorites of the year thus far. All of it kicks ass, and “Foe Hammer” is no exception. I really hope they do a video for their Beethoven cover in Enlightenment-era garb, though.
Yorblind and Blood of Kingu are both great discoveries I must keep an eye on. And that folk metal comp sounds really interesting, particularly because of Primordial (I’m intrigued to see what they cover to represent my ancestral homeland).
I’m not sure what to make of the new Khonsu in all honesty – it’s far more straight out metal than Anomalia. Of course, it’s only one track so I’ll wait and see what the others are like, but for me a key part of the charm of Anomalia was just how it was such an amalgamation of different elements; I just hope the new release hasn’t lost that. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with a more straight out metal approach, just that I can get that elsewhere – but no one does that odd Anomalia sound.
I was originally hoping for a more straight approach. As I wrote on the top I was a bit reluctant to the immense industrial/avantgard touch. However, you make a very good point, and I no change my mind. All forms of art needs some weird and original divercity. If Khonsu becomes to weird for me, I’ll just find something else to listen to.
Khonsu is easily one of the best things that happened in metal lately. I’m loving the new approach and can’t wait for both releases this year!
i love the videos for Khonsu and Exmortus, both capture the essence of their respective bands quite well!
I hadn’t heard Blood of Kingu before, they sound awesome!
bjork covers are pretty big in metal, i guess. wouldn’t have thought
Exmortus’ new album is, at this point, my favorite album of the year.