Ideally I would have posted this collection yesterday, to accompany the first two “Samhain Harvest” posts, but I take comfort in the fact that Samhain lasts until sunset today (November 1), even though most of the costumes will have already been retired for another year and some of you are now suffering from apocalyptic hangovers.
Yesterday, just in time for Halloween, Patrick Bruss and Brynjar Helgetun, also known as Crypticus, released Horror Grind Mixtape #2 “Chains For Devils”. I wrote about two songs from this album when they debuted in August, but now we have the entire monstrosity.
On Bandcamp it’s organized into two tracks — “Chains For Devils” and, as a bonus, a cover of one of my all-time favorite Asphyx songs, “Scorbutics”. But “Chains For Devils” actually consists of nine parts, two of which feature a special guest appearances — Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, and many, many more) providing growls on “Strike the Iron Stake” and Stevo do Caixão (Impetigo, Twist Ending) providing shrieks and lyrics on “Among the Absurb”.
“Chains For Devils” delivers death metal riffs galore and a big helping of slithering melodies, along with gargantuan guttural roars and throat-rending shrieks. There’s almost no break in between the parts of the song — the music flows continuously — but the tempo is in constant flux as the band move from one part to the next, and both the guitar performances and the drum work are impressively nimble and creative.
The one break that does occur comes near the end, just before the ninth part of the song, which functions as an instrumental exit that contrasts with all the head-spinning mayhem that precedes it. And “head-spinning” is the right adjective; so much happens in the song and happens so quickly that the first thing you’ll probably want to do after it ends is go back and listen more closely the second time around.
Crypticus put a few subtle instrumental and rhythmic variations into their rendering of “Scorbutics” that, to my ears, make it sound somewhat less primitive and bludgeoning and more energized than the original, and it’s further interesting to hear the song with Patrick Bruss’ cavernous growls in place of Martin van Drunen’s hoarse howl. Definitely the kind of cover that succeeds in staying faithful to the original but with enough differences that make the cover worth hearing in its own right.
This new mixtape is a “pay what you want” download at Bandcamp and is definitely worth collecting. Crypticus are continuing to create death metal with an authentically old-school, horror-stricken atmosphere but with the kind of technical flair and style that elevates it well above the run of the mill.
Yesterday Aborted debuted an official video for the song “Cenobites”, the closing track from The Necrotic Manifesto, which we reviewed not once but twice and also premiered as a full album stream. The video was directed and filmed by Patrick Häberli and stars Pussy Galore, in addition to the band.
The song is one of the best on a very strong album, a brutally grooved death/grind bulldozer with a fantastically eerie guitar solo and horrifically varied vocal slaughter. The video is a gory bit of sadism with cues to the Hellraiser movies and is probably best marked NSFW.
As we reported in mid-September, Belgium’s Saille are following up their excellent 2013 album Ritu with a new full-length entitled Eldritch, which features cover art by Colin Marks (Rain Song Design) and a heavy focus on horror literature with a strong Lovecraftian influence; the forthcoming digipack will include authorized quotes from the books that influenced the lyrics, along with the lyrics themselves. As before, the album includes classical instruments such as violin, cello, and trumpet — plus oboe and piano this time.
This morning Saille released a lyric video for one of the new songs, “Eater of Worlds”. It’s based on the classic horror novel It by Stephen King, which is one of the few novels I’ve ever read that actually gave me nightmares. The press release I received about the video included these comments by Saille keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen:
“This song has a mix of aggression, melancholy and epicness. Especially with the real recorded trumpets and strings. These really add to the quality of the song together with the rawest screams on any Saille album so far from Dennie Grondelaers. This one is a joy to play live and we’re eager to bring it to the stages.”
The song does indeed have an epic quality, both storming and beautiful but also bone-chilling, and the vocals (when both clawing and whispering) succeed in intensifying the music’s varying moods. This is a very good introduction to a highly anticipated album.
Eldritch will be released by Code666 on November 10 and is available for order here.
And to bring this post full circle, we conclude with Musica di Morte, the new EP by Twist Ending, a band whose members include Stevo do Caixão (who makes a guest appearance on that Crypticus EP and partnered with Patrick Bruss in Tombstones), Gregg il Macellaio, and Vanessa Nocera (Skeletal Spectre, Howling, Scaremaker, Wooden Stake).
I was immediately hooked by the extended introductory part of the first track, “Tormentula”, which is not at all what I was expecting (and further surprises lie in wait within each track), but it proved to set the stage quite effectively for the authentically ghoulish death metal to come. The horrifying aura of the music is enhanced by samples sprinkled here and there, but Stevo’s tyrannical vocal excretions would be horrifying enough all by themselves.
The music in the first three tracks is rhythmically dynamic and includes so much genre-crossing stylistic variety — including death/thrash, death rock, and a lot more — and so much instrumental exuberance that it proves thoroughly interesting from start to finish. Even the fourth track, which is simply a collection of samples and ambient electronic sounds proves to be engrossing.
Musica di Morte was released on Halloween and is available on Bandcamp now (a tape version is coming from No Visible Scars):