Yes, I’m feeling much better today, thank you for asking. My day-long hangover yesterday was so catastrophic that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to any metal at all — so you know it was a really bad one. Having finally recovered overnight, I decided to do some catching up on this Sunday morning. In thinking about what music to package in this post from what I heard, I decided to make it a globe-trotting musical tour of the underground. It’s all death metal until the final two songs.
Sullen are a fairly new band from beautiful Isla Margarita in Venezuela whom I discovered after the band’s guitarist e-mailed us yesterday. They’ve recorded a four-song EP released earlier this month named Parasite In Agony, which includes a creepy intro, two original songs, and a cover of Venom’s “Resurrection”.
It’s a strong offering of tyrannical death metal that’s both thoroughly malignant and quite memorable. The songs are loaded with big, sour, earth-moving riffs, fine (and surprisingly soulful) guitar solos, viciously pugilistic percussion, and pleasingly throaty, blood-gargling vocals. I thoroughly really enjoyed this stomping, jagged-edged, skull-fracturing EP. It’s well-written, well-performed, and well-produced. Listen below.
From Venezuela we move to Leander, Texas, home of Nokturnel. This band released their first album way back in 1993 and crawled back from the grave with a second album in 2001. Their most recent work is a new song named “Wormhole”, which I found out about when the band’s vocalist/guitarist Tom Stevens messaged us on Facebook. “Wormhole” is available for free download on ReverbNation, and I’m really digging it
It’s vicious and voracious, with an aura of incurable pestilence hanging around it, and it’s also a dynamic song that will get its hooks in you firmly. It drives like a tank brigade on the attack and is just as heavy and destructive. Within the barrage you’ll find some creative guitar work and a face-melting solo. Also, Tom Stevens sounds like a wild animal.
I’m including two players below — one from ReverbNation and one from Bandcamp, where the song appeared on the Grinding For A Cure Vol. 4 compilation.
Now let’s leap the Atlantic and visit some dear old friends from Sweden.
Canopy’s last album Menhir (available on Bandcamp) was released in 2010. I named the title track to our list of 2010’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, but it only barely nosed out another song from the album for that accolade. That other song is “The Entire City”. It was one of my favorite songs of that year, and of every year since then. Yesterday Canopy released a music video for the song, which is really just a montage of photos, but it reminded me of how fucking much I love “The Entire City”.
GREY HEAVEN FALL
Now we move east from Sweden and visit the music of a Russian band named Grey Heaven Fall, who also contacted us on Facebook recently. They released a self-titled debut album in 2011 and then a split last year with Twilight Is Mine; the Grey Heaven Fall side of the split is entitled The Original Seed of Decadence. They are planning to release their second album by the end of this year.
In an effort to get a sense of the band’s music I found a stream of one of their two songs from that 2013 split release, and it’s very good. If you’re looking for a total blast of super-charged black/death devastation, look no further than “Abomination of Divine”. It brings a raging storm of flensing riffs and punishing rhythms, but the song becomes even more interesting when the band ease up on the gas in the mid-section and a warm bass presence surfaces briefly — before a phalanx of head-hammering riffs come down like pneumatic rain. Very cool guitar solo in here, too, along with imperialistic vocal might. I’ll be watching for that new album…
UPDATE: After writing this post I discovered that both of the Grey Heaven Fall songs from the split are available on Bandcamp, so I’ve added that link as well as the Bandcamp stream.
Moving south we next visit Bangalore, India, home of the death metal band Dhwesha. They’ve recorded a debut album named Sthoopa (the very cool cover art for it is above) that will be released by Dunkelheit Produktionen next month. I found an impressive song from the forthcoming album on Soundcloud named “Kapala Haara”. It opens with a mournful, doomed-sounding introduction but then opens the throttle and begins to race. It hits with militaristic force, grisly grinding riffs and high-speed drums combining to drive the threat level into the red zone. There’s a subtle Eastern flavor to the melody that enhances the appeal of this potent death assault. Fans of bands like Suffocation should eat this up.
UPDATE: After writing this post I found another song from the new album on Bandcamp. This one is the title track, and I’ve added it below.
To conclude this globe-trotting metal excursion we return to the U.S., and to Duluth, Minnesota in particular. That’s the home base of a band named Wolf Blood. They released their debut, self-titled album on tape, but now Burning World Records plans to release it on vinyl in October 2014. The vinyl release features the enticing cover art you see above.
I hunted around for music to hear and discovered that the album is streaming on the band’s Bandcamp page. At this writing I’ve only listened to the first two songs, but man are they good.
“Witch” is mainly slow-moving, sludgy, and narcotic, with a tremendously hooky lead riff and a vocalist who moves from a psychoactive wail to a jagged howl with aplomb. And when the song really starts to roll, heads will bang. The instrumental piece “Ochro Ologo” makes for a nice follow-on contrast, proving that Wolf Blood can bust up the joint, too. It’s got “mosh trigger” written all over it — and it’s catchy as hell. I’ll definitely be listening to the rest of this album later today; the vinyl pre-orders are available now at the Burning World site.