I’m still more than 2,500 miles from home as a result of the old fucking day job, with precious little time to call my own, but I did take some breaks last night and early this morning, just long enough too explore three short releases that I’ve been meaning to check out. All of them are good, all of them are on Bandcamp, and all of them are either wholly or partly in the realms of black metal.
I can’t remember which of my Facebook friends linked to this two-song EP, but whoever you are, thank you.
Jøtnarr are a three-man group from Colchester, England, and the title of that two-song EP, which is their most recent release (from December 2013), is Divide the Growth and Stone. Last month they were featured as “Band of the Day” at Terrorizer (here), along with an interview by Kez Whelan, and that may have been how my FB friend stumbled upon them.
At the most simplistic level, you could say the music on the EP is a union of d-beat crust and black metal, but it’s hardly formulaic or forced. It sounds like the creative output of people whose musical interests and passions intermingled in their heads and then just spilled out in something that sounds natural.
“A Plague On Earth” is the crustier of the two songs, a vibrating haze of corrosive tremolo riffs that turns into a furious stomp-fest, and then a flurry of jabs intermingled with thick, head-whipping riffs. Through it all the vocalist sprays throat acid in caustic bursts.
“Relics”, on the other hand, plunges more deeply into black metal territory with a buzzing tremolo-picked melody that’s almost immediately infectious and becomes even more so as the music takes on a pulsating quality, like bursts from some particle beam weapon. I was disappointed that the song didn’t continue for another five minutes instead of stopping at three.
LVTHN are from Belgium and their debut demo, Adversarialism, was self-released in January 2014. The demo consists of two songs, “The Poisonous Serpent” and “Opposed by the Nameless”.
The music is infernally chilling and ferociously powerful, a devotion to the altar of blast-beat percussion, flooding guitar distortion, and horrific vocal excretions. It’s in the vein of bestial second-wave black metal, but with excellent production and execution, and what makes it further stand out are grim melodic hooks that seize hold and don’t let go.
“Opposed by the Nameless”, by the way, is now on my list of candidates for this year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.
LVTHN has more music on the way. It appears that an MCD entitled The Grand Uncreation as well as a split with a band named Lluvia will be coming later this year from Amor Fati Productions and Fallen Empire Records, and I’ve also read on the band’s FB page that they’re recording a debut album. Good.
Thanks to an e-mail from NCS supporter eiterorm, I learned that this band from Liverpool, England, had recently signed with Candlelight Records for the release of their debut album The Blood of Celestial Kings. Their previous release was a 7″ single released by Ulthar Records entitled The Essential Salts of Human Dust, which is also now available on Bandcamp.
The single includes two songs — the title track and “Liber V Vel Reguli”. I can see why Candlelight took an interest in the band. The music is definitely rooted in old school black metal, but it’s instrumentally very interesting and technically very accomplished — the kind of rare black metal, for example, in which the very nimble bass player is a co-equal partner with the guitarists. The songs are pleasingly intricate as well as scalding, and they’re an enticing tease for the forthcoming album.