This round-up of news and new music is skewed toward the especially dark, depraved, nihilistc end of the extreme metal spectrum, hence the name “Shades of Black”, even though only two of the bands march under the black metal banner.
Once you’ve seen Jef Whitehead’s cover for the new album by Chicago’s Lord Mantis, you really don’t forget it. I splashed it across the top of our site when it became public about two weeks ago, though back then I hadn’t yet heard any of the music from Death Mask. Now I have, and man, it makes a scarring impression, too.
The song that premiered last Friday is the album’s searing opening track, “Body Choke”. Three things about it stand out. First, there’s the visceral pounding of the rhythm section, with Charlie Fell’s bass and Bill Bumgardner’s drumming interacting like men at work on a demolition project. Second, there are Fell’s vocals, which sound like a man drowning in sulfuric acid. And third, there are the doomed, devastating, degraded riffs; they create a choking, noxious atmosphere.
You will want to headbang. You may also want to open a vein.
I found out about this two-man French band through a Facebook post today by Germany’s Iron Bonehead Productions, which will be releasing the band’s new EP Deathmanicvs Revelation on 12″ vinyl later this year. It seems that Skelethal are fairly new; Metal Archives shows only a four-song demo in 2012 (Morbid Ovation), which was later re-packaged by Caligari Records in a split with a Swedish band named Inisans. I found the Morbid Ovation demo on Bandcamp (here), but haven’t listened yet.
What I have heard is an advance track from Deathmanicvs Revelation that Iron Bonehead uploaded to SoundCloud. The song is “Macabre Oblivion”, and it’s a thoroughly corrosive, ravenously bestial rampage of putrid primordial death metal, soaked in gore and stinking like gangrene, with screaming guitar solos and hoarse, hollow roars. It’s really good.
The next two items are rarities for these round-ups, because I have no new music to share with you, merely news and artwork. But I’m so eagerly anticipating these two releases that I feel compelled to note them.
The first piece of news is that on April 25 (May 13 in North America), Debemur Morti will be releasing a new album by the one-man black metal entity known as Infestus. This band’s last album, E x | I s t , was absolutely fantastic (I reviewed it here in 2011), and I have very high hopes for the new one, the name of which is The Reflecting Void. The cover art is above.
If Infestus is new to you, you might listen to the following multifaceted track from the last album, which was on my list of 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Its name is “Down Spiral Depersonification”.
By coincidence, the next piece of news concerns a storied Finnish band who were the source of another track I picked for the 2011 Most Infectious Song list.
I discovered Sargeist and their last album Let the Devil In through a recommendation from Johan Huldtgren (Obitus) during our long tribute to Finnish metal at the end of 2010, and I included Sargeist in one of our features for that series. I also included a song from the album named “Empire of Suffering” on that Most Infectious list.
The welcome news I learned today is that W.T.C. Productions will be releasing a new Sargeist album named Feeding the Crawling Shadows on March 31. The album cover is above. I haven’t yet listened to the promo that just arrived, but I’m damned sure anxious to do that.
Here’s that 2011 Sargeist track that made my list of 2011’s most infectious extreme metal songs.