SHADES OF BLACK: DEATHWINDS, KHONSU, NIGHTBRINGER, SARCOLYTIC
Hey there. Happy goddamn Sunday to one and all. Most metal blog proprietors take the weekend off, to rest from their work-week labors and to recover from their binge drinking on Friday night. We’re not smart enough to do that. For the last four-plus years we’ve treated Saturdays and Sundays as just two more opportunities to mess with your earholes. Onward to the messing, with four items I filtered from the effluent of the interhole yesterday, presented in alphabetical order:
I came across this Vancouver band via a Facebook post by Vault of Dried Bones, who will be releasing a cassette EP or album (I’m not sure which) by Deathwinds named Endless Wastelands. The only other thing I know about the band is that their three-person line-up (Nocturnal Black, Filth Destroyer, and Desolator) includes members of Chapel and Radioactive Vomit.
Yesterday Vault of Dried Bones began streaming a song named “Black Tombs’ Spirit” on SoundCloud, but after a little poking around I discovered that both “Black Tombs’ Spirit” and another song (“Death Rule”) are up on Bandcamp as pay-what-you-want downloads. I think I can safely say that I love the shit out of them.
There’s so much grime in these gears, so much raw wretched howling in the vocals, so much bone-crunching doom in the slow parts, and so much ravenous meat-cleaving animosity in the rockin’ parts. Vancouver is already one of the ground-zero places in the world for blackened death metal infection, and it has just become even more virulent.
If you’ve been following us for the last few weeks, then you know what Norway’s Khonsu has been up to. Beginning March 1, Khonsu has been streaming one new track every Saturday from a forthcoming EP entitled Traveller. So far we’ve heard an original song named “Visions of Nehaya” and a combination of “Traveller” and “Ix”, which Khonsu’s S. Grønbech either originally wrote or co-wrote for Keep of Kalessin. Yesterday we got the latest track, and this one is a cover of a Bjørk tune named “Army of Me”. S. Grønbech recorded all the instruments (and additional vocals), and Terje Olsen is the lead vocalist.
Now, just to get my cards out on the table, Bjørk is not my cup of tea (tea is not my cup of tea either), although the bizarre video for the original “Army of Me” does have its attractions. Yet I had confidence that Khonsu would mutate the song in strange and interesting ways, and I wasn’t disappointed. The wobbling electro melody of the original becomes the model for a twice-as-heavy storm of riffs and caustic noise. Skittering/crashing synthetic sounds enhance the cold, alien mood of the cover, and Bjork’s little-girl vocals are replaced by hoarse death roars. The cover is as catchy as amoebic dysentery and almost as frightening. Khonsu continues to rule.
Colorado’s Nightbringer cult have recently finished recording a new album, which is not yet titled but will be released at some point this year by Season of Mist. It follows in the wake of the tremendous Hierophany of the Open Grave (2011) — and if you haven’t heard that, you can stream it on Bandcamp (here) and avail yourself of a free download of one of its tracks, “Lucifer Trismegistus”.
Late last week Season of Mist uploaded a teaser for the new album, with excerpts of some of the songs. The excerpts are very enticing, and very worthy of the Nightbringer legacy. This is a band who have already proven themselves highly skilled at combining raw, vicious, decimating power and eerie, occult atmospheres in a way that sets them apart. These excerpts are but tantalizing glimpses behind the shroud at the undoubtedly strange, monstrous forms that are waiting to be revealed. I’m already feeling impatient.
It’s been four years since I last mentioned this band from my old hometown of Austin, Texas. If you’re new to Sarcolytic, the line-up includes noted tattooist and graphic artist Jon Zig (vocals) and drummer Ricky Myers from Disgorge, in addition to guitarist Steve Watkins and bassist Mark Denton. Four years ago I reviewed their debut album on the Unique Leader label, Thee Arcane Progeny, and then I kind of forgot about them — until yesterday.
Yesterday I happened to notice that they had just recently begun streaming a new song, “Throne of Disease”, which apparently will be included on a new album entitled Upon the Wrath of Deceptive Tongues. It further appears that Unique Leader will be releasing this one, too, though we’ll have to wait until this fall to lay hands on it.
The best word for “Throne of Disease” is “destructive”. As before, Sarcolytic harness elements of both black metal and death metal in a high-energy, fret-burning, skins-blasting rampage. They also turn on a dime, punctuating the raging onslaught with booming hammer blows that will jolt you right down through your soles. I’m very glad these dudes are back; sounds like they plan to show no mercy.
That Khonsu is shaping up to be a highlight of 2014 in the EP category. Also, how can you not like tea? Maybe it’s my Irish upbringing, but it seems a diverse enough drink for anyone to find some kind of tea they enjoy.
My upbringing was in central Texas where the only tea was iced. I went through a tea phase for about a year much later, but it didn’t stick. I pound the shit out of coffee instead.
I don’t got anything ‘gainst coffee (I drink my fair share myself), but I hope you’ve tried chai before you foreclose on tea. Also, Irish breakfast tea runs in the blood of the Irish just as much as Guinness does, so maybe try a cuppa tomorrow.
I practically live purely on Earl Gray
You call that living?
Deathwinds rocked my socks off. And Nightbringer were interesting. I’m gonna have to check them out more.
If you haven’t yet delved into Nightbringer, you really must. This is a good place to start:
Deathwinds is a great wind, they sound pretty cool!
Nobody sounds like Nightbringer. They are the kings of USBM (at least until a new Teratism album comes out).
Ah, a fan of both Nightbringer and Teratism. You haz good taste.
NIGHTBRINGER. wow. Just wow.