To make your Sunday more metal I’ve collected here a handful of recommended songs and videos I discovered yesterday in my tramping through the interhole and a quick skimming of emails we recently received.
I first discovered Achren (from Glasgow, Scotland) in a June 2011 MISCELLANY post and have written about them a couple more times since then. The last time was more than a year ago, when I featured an song from their excellent debut album The Forgotten King in a round-up of metal from Scotland. I’ve now learned that they will soon be releasing a new EP entitled The White Death, and yesterday they began streaming one of its three tracks.
“The Eschatologist” is a memorable song, made all the more compelling by its powerful production quality. It reminded me immediately of the Norwegian black metal band Byfrost, blending a lot of thunder in the low end with a driving, dramatic guitar melody, which at times seems to draw upon the folk traditions of the band’s homeland. It’s a rocking, romping, slashing song that makes me anxious to hear the rest of the EP.
The White Death will be released through Ceol Dorchas Productions on April 7 in a limited run of 250 digipack CDs. The music was inspired by a Finnish sniper named Simo Häyhä, who fought in “The WInter War” between Finland and the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1940. (Fittingly, the EP was mixed and mastered by Matias Helle at Drophammer Studios in Helsinki.) According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, Simo Häyhä’s nickname was “White Death” and “he has the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills – 505 – in any major war.”
Here’s the EP’s tracklist:
2. The Eschatologist
3. Suomen Susi (The Finnish Wolf)
The CD can be pre-ordered here. Listen to “The Eschatologist” below.
According to Metal Archives, Dead World were based in Denver and were active from 1991 to 1999, when they dissolved. In that span of time they released three albums. The second one was entitled The Machine, which came out in 1993. I hadn’t heard of the band until yesterday, when a certain Icelandic musician with whom I’m friends on Facebook posted the song you’re about to hear. Its name is “Cold Hate” and it comes from The Machine.
I’m surprised that this song is over 20 years old — it could be released today and wouldn’t sound dated. The industrial rhythm and gravelly bass make an immediate impression, and the vocalist underscores the cold, bludgeoning force of the song with the sounds of cracking ice. The drumbeats are bone-breaking, the riffs are potent, and the extended guitar solo is trippy as hell. But really, dat bass is . . . massive. You’re going to feel this song in your spine.
photo by Marco Manzi
Regular readers of this blog will know the name Vulture Industries. We gave a lot of attention to music from their wonderful 2013 album The Tower, including putting the album’s title track on my list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Through an e-mail from my friend Johan Huldtgren (Obitus), I learned about a professionally filmed video of Vulture Industries performing their own adaptation of a song called “Eliogabalus” originally released in 1990 by a Slovenian band named Devil Doll.
The original Devil Doll version of “Eliogabalus” is more than 24 minutes long, and it’s something else — an extravagant mixture of classical music, cabaret, heavy rock, devilish clean vocals, and much else besides. It sounds sort of like the soundtrack to a Broadway musical birthed in infernal realms. Even before listening to the Vulture Industries cover, I can see why they chose it, given what I know about that Vultures’ music.
The Vulture Industries tribute is entitled “Blood Don’t Eliogabalus”. That song was the last track on The Tower, but I either never knew or failed to appreciate the fact that it was made in tribute to the Devil Doll song. The video records the song as performed by the band at the Dirty Skunks’ 10th Anniversary show at the Kino Šiška venue in Ljubljana, Slovenia during 2012. It’s missing the elaborate orchestration of the original, but is still recognizably “Eliogabalus” — and now that I’ve heard the original, I see how well the band have captured its spirit and unusual sound (Bjørnar E. Nilsen’s vocal style and range, in particular, are perfect for this). It’s like a stroll through a bizarre, surrealistic carnival.
Bonus: Taake’s frontman Hoest makes a guest vocal appearance near the end of the performance.
Below you can hear the cover, and if you have time, the original as well.
I decided to investigate this San Antonio band when I saw a notice that they had been signed by Willowtip Records for the release of their debut album Intransigence this coming fall. In searching for some Abhorrent music, I discovered that their 2007 demo is available for free download on Bandcamp, and that this month they added a re-recorded version of a song from the demo named “Depopulate”. I also discovered that their current line-up includes bassist Erlend Caspersen from the mighty Spawn of Possession.
The new version of “Depopulate” is the kind of body-mangling, brain-scrambling, technically acrobatic death metal that brings Suffocation to mind. It changes tempo in the blink of an eye, the guitar and bass parts veer between fret-burning and merciless slamming, the drummer fires like a machine-gun, and the vocalist sometimes barks his lines like a rabid dog and sometimes sounds like he’s gargling blood. It’s a fine piece of brutality.