SEEN AND HEARD: STRIKER, BYZANTINE, 1349, DROWNED, DEATHEMBER, JUCIFER
Happy Fourth of July Hangover Day. Hope none of you American readers lost any fingers in a gunpowder accident, put out an eye with an errant sparkler, or lit off a bottle rocket in your ass. I have some news items and new metal for you that I spotted over the least 24 hours. This is a big collection, but what else have you got to do?
Striker are from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Metal Archives says they are a power metal band. This means the odds are very high that I won’t be able to stand their music. However, the cover art for their new album City of Gold is so goddamned awesome that I may be forced to listen to at least one song whenever the first advance track appears. You can click the image above to view a larger version of the piece, which is by one of my favorite metal artists, Berlin-based Eliran Kantor.
The album is due from Napalm Records on September 9 in North America (Aug 29 in Europe, September 1 in the UK). If anyone can give me a reason to bury my prejudices and listen to a Striker song, I will try to keep an open mind.
No secret, we here at NCS are big backers of West Virginia’s Byzantine, and so we were stoked to see that the band have embarked on the process of raising money for production of their next album — To Release Is To Resolve — which will apparently feature cover art by the talented Christopher Lovell.
There are a variety of pledge tiers available through their crowd-funding campaign, ranging from $10, which is a pre-order that will get you a digital copy of the album one week in advance of its official release, to bundles that include CD and vinyl versions of the album, to some high-priced items that include a signed guitar or staying a weekend with Byzantine frontman OJ Ojeda and enjoying a private jam session with the band. All the details can be found here:
Yours truly has already plunked down money for this project, and you better get your ass over there and do the same thing so Byzantine can meet their funding goal in a flash and I can then get my rewards sooner rather than later. Don’t make me tell you twice.
Also, watch this smile-inducing promotional video for the project, which was released yesterday, and move to the groove…
Yesterday brought details about the next album by Norway’s 1349. The album’s title is Massive Cauldron of Chaos, which is a great name for a black metal album. It will be released on September 29 by Indie Recordings, and it will include 8 tracks, all with one-word titles. The music is described as “an all-out assault this time around, full of rampaging whorls, militaristic blasts and even moments of speed metal amongst the supreme necrotic carnage”. Sounds good to me.
One of those monosyllabically titled songs — “Slaves” — debuted in April, and I might as well stick it in here one more time and just crib what I wrote back then: “In a nutshell, it’s an incendiary explosion of black thrash, with the blast front expanding at about 100 mph. It’s somewhat less life-threatening than jamming your wet fingers into an electrical outlet, but no less electrifying.”
(via Metal Hammer)
Germany’s Drowned trace their roots to the mid-90s, though they are only now about to see the release of their debut album, Idola Specus, by Sepulchral Voice Records. I first discovered them last summer through a two-song live recording labeled Rehearsal demo 12/2012 (reviewed here), which is still available for listening on Bandcamp along with their immaculate 2006 EP Viscera Terrae (here).
So far, two excellent tracks from Idola Specus have become available for listening — “Letzter teilbarer Strahl” and “Black Projection”. They’re flesh-ripping storms of malignant death metal, driven with merciless power by needling tremolo-picked riffs, body-slamming chord progressions, and a locked-in rhythm section. The music twists and turns with frequent changes of pace, and the songs’ subterranean melodies exude a ghoulish, putrescent atmosphere. The abyssal vocals are also vividly nightmarish. I’m really eager to here the rest of the songs.
Idola Specus will be released on July 25. Order it here.
I’ve been a fan of this Swedish band since discovering them in a 2010 MISCELLANY excursion. Their debut album, Going Postal (2013) (reviewed here) was loads of fun, and I’ve been curious to see what they would do next. I’ve been even more curious since learning that they’ve parted ways with their previous vocalist and bass player, replacing them with new vocalist Johan Skogh and new bassist Rikard Bonander (who moved over from guitar for the band). I got a taste of what’s coming when the band recently uploaded a pre-production version of a new song recorded by the revised line-up, which will appear on a forthcoming EP.
The name of the new track is “To Flames”. Groove is still the name of the game for this band. The riffs hammer convulsively, but the interplay among the instruments is rarely completely straight-forward, and the somewhat off-kilter movement keeps the song interesting as well as body-moving. While rhythm is king, the band also shroud the music in an ominous atmosphere, and Johan Skogh’s shrieked exclamations conjure images of bleeding wounds.
To this day, after witnessing so many metal shows that I couldn’t count them if I tried, my one exposure to Jucifer in Seattle remains the loudest, most gut-liquifying live performance I think I’ve ever seen. Just thinking about it again causes my bowels to loosen. Attending a Jucifer show means that you must prostrate yourself and submit to the power of Thee White Wall — the massive stacks of amps and speakers that Amber Valentine and Edgar Livengood employ to disassemble their fans down to their component atoms.
As you may know, Jucifer tour non-stop. For more than a decade, they’ve lived on the road. I’ve never seen how they move around, but they must be pulling a house-sized trailer because they’ve got about 4,000 pounds of gear. The size of Thee White Wall varies, depending on the size of the stage they’ve got to work with. Trying to imagine what they must go through every couple of days to set it up and take it down has always boggled my tiny mind.
I no longer have to use my imagination because yesterday the band uploaded the following time-lapse video of themselves breaking down the wall and wrapping up the miles of cabling after a show. Impressive. (I enjoyed the bow at the end, too.)
Aw hell, after that we’ve got to have a clip from a live show. This video of “Throned In Blood”, filmed last year for NPR, remains one of my favorites:
So Drowned is finally doing an actual full length..thats awesome news!
When I heard about new material, I figured they were dropping another demo
Yeah, I’m very excited too. These two songs are great, and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard from them in the past.
Despite the amazing artwork, Striker, even as a fan of power metal, I would pass on. It’s really kind of just hard-rockish at times, 80’s style flair in the guitars – a bunch of stuff I’m a bit tired on.
Speaking of the Striker art, I’ve just substituted a better quality version of Eliran Kantor’s piece that can be significantly enlarged by clicking on the image in the post.
Byzantine!!!! I’ll contribute when I get back home in a week.
Saw your first installments of pics from Scandinavia on FB — fantastic. Looks like you’re having some fun.
Byzantine! Take my money! Seriously, I saw where they are planning to announce more pre order packages soon, so I am waiting on that to pledge, but to not give this incredible band money would be a mistake. I am certain the album will be another masterpiece. On their last one, I received it over a week on cd before the street date.
Byz deserve money only for that video and the coreography. BTW, am I the only one who would watch to death a “Property Brothers”-style home renovation show starring Chris Ojeda?
Striker is decent. They’re a mix of speed and power metal. You probably won’t like them.