Are you shocked? I know I’m shocked. After doing these MISCELLANY installments about once every three months, here I am writing another one less than a week after the last. I wish I could say this is the beginning of a new regime, but I ain’t nearly that fuckin’ organized. This is today and tomorrow is another day.
The rules of this road: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, I listen to one or two songs and write my impressions, and then I stream what I heard so you can form your own opinions. As I did last week, I decided to just pick the last three bands I heard about over the weekend with recent Bandcamp streams. Although I didn’t know exactly what they would sound like, it turns out there’s a common theme, and it can be summed up in this immortal line from Aliens II: “Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” Substitute “your skull” for “site”.
I know I’ve heard this Toronto band’s name before. How could you forget a name like Nuclearhammer? But I’m virtually certain I’d never heard their music before. I became aware of them via a message from our longtime supporter Utmu. It turns out they have a new album coming in June named Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer, which follows their debut full-length from 2009, Obliteration Ritual, with an EP and a bunch of splits in between. Naturally, the album is being released by Nuclear War Now.
Because the rules of my game require me to only listen to a song or two, I gazed upon the track list for the album and got quite a surprise. Of the 12 songs on the album, 8 are less than a minute long; one of those is 8 seconds long. But there’s one that’s 9 minutes long and another that exceeds 12 minutes. That’s pretty fuckin’ interesting. So, what to do?
I decided to dive into the first two tracks, since the first one (“Multi-Dimensional Prism of Black Hatred”) is one of those two long ones, and the second track — “24-Cell (Octoplex”) — clocks in at 21 seconds. The first one is so vile, so poisonous, so unrelentingly violent that the only reason I can fathom for its 9-minute length is to maximize the chances that all your skin will be burned off, and not just the flesh on your ears.
I thought maybe there would be some kind of a break since the song is 9 minutes long, but nope, there’s not the slightest bit of nuance in it. They just turn the spigot and hose you down with high-pressure black/death war metal napalm from start to finish. You either like this kind of high-intensity radioactive blasting or you don’t.
The second track sounds like the emanations your phone would make if you left it off the hook in an alien civilization orbiting Betelgeuse.
A few weeks ago I noticed a Facebook post by Germany’s Iron Bonehead label about a new album on the way via this Singaporean band entitled Coerce Creed. It’s their second full-length, but I missed the first one (Blood. Axis. Domination, from 2011). Once again, a message from Utmu reminded me that I meant to follow up, as I generally do with whatever Iron Bonehead releases. Because it was coming from that label, I was pretty sure I would not be led gently into that good night. And I wasn’t.
The album’s first track is a combined intro passage (which has the air of some ghostly ritual) and a song called “KSMT Oath”. It’s a searing spray of caustic riffs and martial drumbeats, with flesh-rending shrieks piercing through the riff-storm. I decided to test a second track and moved right into “Ruination Conquest”, which is another bestial, barbaric assault of thoroughly charred war metal. It’s clear this band have embraced the high-pitched, radioactive guitar tone and pretty much left the low end on the cutting room floor; there’s enough sulfuric acid in the sound to eat through steel.
Old Chapel are based in a town named Ivanovo, about 245 km northeast of Moscow (Russia, not Idaho). They e-mailed us a few days ago with a link to the Bandcamp page for their new EP, Symptoms of Possession, which will be released on CD by Craneo Negro Records (though it appears to have been originally self-released about a year ago).
The EP consists of four songs, and I decided to go with the title track. In a word, it’s a monster — a Frankenstein’s creature that sutures together gargantuan, filthy riffs, an acid-spewing guitar solo, vitriolic vocal vehemence, and an aura of old-school decay. The song is also really well-assembled, mixing huge, head-jarring stomps and slashing up-tempo parts.
I really had to hear more, and so I let the second track invade my ears, too. “Witchgrave” is more than 9 minutes long and it’s just as utterly filthy and depraved as the first song, but with an even more pronounced, morbid air of primitive death/doom and riffs capable of splitting concrete. Old Chapel are a corroded death metal battle tank I want more of.
I came across Slomatics via a status from a Facebook friend. They are from Belfast and in February they released their fourth album, entitled Estron, which features cool cover art by Tony Roberts. The only reason I decided to check out the music was the band’s name and that album art. I did say these MISCELLANY picks were random.
The album is on Bandcamp and I decided to start with the first track, “Troglorite”, and then kept right on rolling into “Tunnel Dragger”. What I discovered is were gruesome, crawling, fuzz-soaked riffs; arid, blasted melodies; and a powerful, tortured, wailing voice. This is life in the low and slow lane, a kind of funeral stoner doom (is that a genre?) that will fracture vertebrae and suck out the marrow.
“Tunnel Dragger”, in particular, is just downright skull-flattening. But in addition to the massive weight of relentless pounding it also serves up an alien, reverberating guitar instrumental with the sound of something like The Outer Limits’ theme music in the background, as well as a screaming, unhinged finish. Fucken excellent.