As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been fucking off in Texas since last Thursday. Finally got back to Seattle last night after a thoroughly enjoyable four days in Austin. I didn’t listen to much metal while I was away, but I did make lists of things I wanted to check out after I got home. And so I did, and so here are a few of those discoveries.
The 2014 edition of HELLFEST in Clisson, France, ended last night, and most (if not all) of the performances are available for viewing at the French site Arte.tv (collected here). Yesterday I embedded streams of the sets by Sólstafir and Watain, and I thought I’d include one more this morning. This one is the full set by Norway’s Emperor, who have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of In the Nightside Eclipse with a series of festival performances (they will also be performing at Wacken Open Air in Germany and headlining the 2014 installment of Bloodstock Open Air in the UK).
A person could spend days watching the HELLFEST videos, which of course you won’t do because that would divert your attention from reading every word of every post at NCS. But you might at least make time for this one.
The Indiana anti-cosmic deathcult Ptahil have recorded their third album, Born Against, and it features the striking cover art you see above by P. Emerson Williams. It will be released on my birthday, July 8, which certainly can’t be a coincidence. Okay, maybe it’s a coincidence, but it’s a very happy one.
So far, the band have released one song from the new album for streaming, and it’s the title track. That stream has been out for a while, but it’s on my mind because I’ve been spinning a copy of the CD, which is itself imprinted with the second half of P. Emerson Williams’ full work. The song “Born Against” is Ptahil firing on all cylinders, mixing distorted storm winds of blasting bestial fury with infernally majestic processionals of crushing riffs and booming drumbeats. The atmosphere is both harrowingly destructive and triumphant. As usual, the vocals are also convincingly demonic.
Born Against can be pre-ordered from Arctic Music Group here. I’ll have more to say about the whole album later.
Speaking of striking cover art, the piece you see above by Kristian Valbo is what first drew me to this Norwegian band (who share the same name as a U.S. band with which some of you may be familiar). It appears on this band’s third album, Morbid Dimensions, which will be released on August 15 by Hells Headbangers in the U.S. and Duplicate Records in Europe.
Two tracks from the album have premiered so far, the title song and “Ancient Tongue” (which is available as a single download). The music moves between a racing charge of whipping, dissonant riffs with somersaulting percussion and slower, more atmospheric passages shrouded in darkness. Both songs are excellent intersections of black and death metal, with standout instrumental performances (especially the inventive lead guitar work) and a hair-raising , multifaceted vocal assault. Check them out below.