This is a collection of new (or newish) songs I heard yesterday that I wanted to recommend. The music is quite diverse, yet each song contains elements of black metal — hence the “Shade of Black” title. Lots of creativity on display in what you’re about to hear — and a few things that will hit you like a semi-truck with the pedal all the way down.
San Antonio’s HOD will release their new album Book of the Worm, on September 9 via Arctic Music. The cover art, which I like a lot, was created by Jon Zig. Earlier this week Revolver (Revolver???) premiered a song from the album, and I finally caught up with it — or more accurately, it caught up with me and rode me down into the mud.
The song is “Where Are the Demons”, and the answer is — right here, in this song. It’s one of the best things I believe I’ve ever heard from HOD — a slashing, galloping, ravaging powerhouse assault, loaded with writhing, head-whipping riffs, frenzied chord progressions, and blistering percussion. It’s a hellish inferno with tremendous surging power, but a very interesting and technically impressive song at the same time. And the vocals will bring the grizzlies down from the hills.
I first heard of Iceland’s Abominor through a comment on a post I wrote more than two years ago about two other Icelandic bands — Svartidauði and Vansköpun. At that point, they had produced only a 2010 demo named Source of Chaos. Now, they appear to have recorded a new EP named Opus Decay. I’m not sure when or how it will be released, but through a tip from NCS supporter eiterorm I’ve heard the EP’s newly released title track — and you’re about to hear it, too.
“Opus Decay” floored me when I first heard it. And then I kept picking myself up, hitting play, and being floored again. It’s a bruising experience, but one I can’t seem to stay away from. It’s raw and storming, and like a black hole it draws all light within the void of its gaping maw. And yet within this hurricane of black/death, you’ll find compelling riffs, neck-snapping rhythms, and slow interludes of spectral doom. The drum work is immensely powerful, the vocals will raise the hairs on your neck, and the bleak melodies are strangely captivating. The song is both spine-shattering and frighteningly hypnotic. Very, very impressive.
“Reach towards the void,
Where the Opus: Decay is sung,
By whispering voices,
Now, let’s take a sharp left turn into the strange musical landscape where Japan’s Vampillia dwell. The last time I set foot in Vampillia territory was this past March when our supporter Christian Molenaar (whose own Bandcamp page is here) recommended a video of a live Vampillia set — which I then wrote about (here). Yesterday Christian again gave me a Vampillia alert, because they’ve recorded a free digital single released by Candlelight Records in just the last couple of days. The song is “You Should Go First”. It’s just as strange and interesting as I expected it would be. I’m not even going to try to describe it — but I will say that it’s unexpectedly very captivating.
The song is available via the Bandcamp link below.
One-man black metal bands are ubiquitous. One-woman black metal bands? Not so much.
I’ve written recently about an excellent one-woman project named Myrkur, and have now discovered another. The band is named Nachtlieder (“songs of night”, in German) and the woman behind it lives in Sweden. The most recent release is a 2013 self-titled full-length. I haven’t yet heard the entire album, only two songs that are available on Soundcloud — “Meager Escapism” and “Leave the View To the Rats”.
“Meager Escapism” revels in slow, groaning distortion and doom, with a vocal mix that’s part siren and part rabid bear, until it kicks into a higher gear and becomes a charging tank brigade, massive and unstoppable (with some very cool bass work and shimmering guitar leads). “Leave the View To the Rats” is part stomping lurch, part slithering python, part bass-driven gallop (with some fascinating avant-garde instrumental accents). I found the songs very interesting and very good, and I’m now extremely curious about the next album, which I understand is in the works. We’ll be following Nachtlieder closely…