Today the Elemental Nightmares project released the fourth of the seven vinyl splits in the series, with a fourth segment (above) of what will eventually become one massive piece of artwork for the series as a whole — and as of today it’s also now available for download on Bandcamp.
I’ve been especially looking forward to this split because it features two old favorites of this site — Canopy and Obitus — as well as two new ones, Harasai and Kall.
Last summer we had the pleasure of premiering the tracks by Canopy and Harasai, and I’m going to include the accompanying write-up below, along with thoughts about the Obitus and Kall tracks. In a nutshell, this is a great quartet of pleasingly diverse songs.
Canopy have been an NCS favorite going back to our discovery in 2010 of the band’s 2009 album, Will and Perception. Not long after that we reviewed their fantastic follow-up album, Menhir, and ultimately included a song from that album in our list of 2010′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.
Canopy’s track on the split is “Sphere of the Prime Mover” and it’s well-named, bolting from the gate in a slash of scything riffs, jolting rhythms, and harsh roars. But as the song unfolds, it changes and evolves, as Canopy songs are want to do. The instrumental music becomes atmospheric and progressive, the roars turn to shrieks, and a seductive melody insinuates itself.
photo by Alexander Otto
Harasai are based in Essen, Germany, and to date they’ve produced two albums (the most recent of which was 2013′s Psychotic Kingdom) and a trio of shorter releases. The Harasai song to be included on the Elemental Nightmares split is “Heritage and Fate”. It’s a high-energy romp of Scandinavian-style melodic death metal, and its highly propulsive rhythms and rapidly rippling riffs are matched by a highly infectious melody.
As in the case of the Canopy song, the music changes as the song progresses, with a slower, progressive-minded interlude providing a different, dark mood before the band build toward a racing finish.
Only yesterday I reviewed the debut album by this band, which was formed by members of Sweden’s revered Lifelover after that band ended. That new album is excellent, and so is Kall’s song on this split — “Ur Syn”. Slow and doomy, with a ghostly guitar arpeggio and wraithlike shrieks and roars, the song is phantasmagoric, a dream from another world — until it unleashes a black storm near the end.
The song is heavier, blacker, and more “metal” than anything on the new album. It probably would have been out of place in the context of that whole work, but it stands alone very well.
I first discovered this Swedish black metal duo way back in 2010 when I was writing a series on long songs. The one by Obitus was an album-length song, The March of the Drones, which I reviewed here. It has been a long wait for something further from this band, and now we have “Panoticotopia”.
Elemental Nightmares released a YouTube teaser of the music in “Panoticotopia” last November, but today is the first time the whole song has become available. It will seize you by the throat immediately with a fusillade of machine-gun percussion, swirling guitars, and larynx-shredding vocal razors. It’s a potent assault, one that radiates arcane energies, with an ominous melody that moves through the song like a heaving ocean swell, rising and then falling with a deep undertow in its wake. Excellent.
Stream the four songs on Elemental Nightmares IV below. There are still copies of the vinyl editions available via the EN site, also linked below.