SHADES OF BLACK: LEVIATHAN, HUMAN BODIES, DEAD IN THE MANGER, HIC IACET
Here is a collection of recommended items from the blacker end of the metal spectrum that I spotted and heard yesterday; I have some others that I’ll feature tomorrow. I wrote most of this last night, just before the alcohol-soaked holiday party hosted by the place where I work. The parts that don’t make any sense were written this morning as I began the long road to recovery.
Yesterday brought additional details from Profound Lore about the next album by Leviathan: As previously disclosed, the album’s title is Scar Sighted; it will be released March 3 digitally and on CD; it was produced, engineered, and mixed by Billy Anderson; and it includes nine tracks. There was also this info about the album’s packaging, with a reference to the artwork I’ve included at the top of this post:
“Scar Sighted” will be packaged as a boxed CD edition (the only version of the CD this will be available as) which will come with eleven two-sided inserts featuring exclusive paintings by Jef Whitehead himself (one of them being the one pictured, LEVIATHAN logo watermarked specifically for online purposes, there is no actual front cover for “Scar Sighted”). The vinyl edition, to be released a month or so after the CD/digital version will also be specially packaged and will be released via the artists’ own Devout Records imprint (in which we will directly update you on its progress in due time).
This is an album I’m eager to hear, in part because I have a feeling it will include some surprises (see this interview of Wrest for reasons why I think that). This is the track list:
The Smoke Of Their Torment
Gardens Of Coprolite
Wicked Fields Of Calm
A Veil Is Lifted
All Tongues Toward
Last May I wrote a review of five songs by a Boston quartet who call themselves Human Bodies — four songs that appeared on a December 2013 release called Demo MMXIII and a single from late January of this year named “Scapegoat”. The music was a primal, gut-punching, thoroughly enraged fusion of black metal, punk, and hardcore that put me in mind of bands like Horned Almighty, Sargeist, and Darkthrone in their more punk-fueled moments.
I found out yesterday thanks to a tip from Kim Kelly that Caligari Records (who also sent me a promo) has finally released a new Human Bodies EP on tape entitled No Life. No Life consists of six tracks, one of which is “Scapegoat”, and they fly by in about 12 minutes. It’s a hell of a ride — I already wrote briefly about this EP when it surfaced on YouTube in October, but once is not enough.
Believe me, this is really good — a blasting, barreling, dynamic barrage of black/punk, full of head-whipping riffs, squalling feedback, grinding bass, booming drum work, and rancid vocal excretions. Even when the band ease up on the accelerator in “Covenant” and “Exhibitionist”, they’ve still got you by the throat, pumping infectious venom right into your veins. And when they jam the pedal to the floor, it’s like being hurled into the path of a tornado. Raw, primal, and dangerous rock ‘n’ roll delivered by and for demons.
The No Life tape will be limited to 200 copies; I’m not sure whether it will eventually be made available as a download. The tapes can be ordered here. Stream the EP below.
DEAD IN THE MANGER
As in the case of Human Bodies, I first discovered Dead In the Manger last spring, about a month in advance of the release of their excellent debut EP Transient by 20 Buck Spin — which I reviewed here, and from which we premiered a song. At that time I didn’t know who was in the band or where they were based. Later, I discovered that I actually know one of the people in the band, but they still prefer anonymity.
Dead In the Manger have recorded a debut album named Cessation that 20 Buck Spin will release on February 3. I’ve heard a few of the songs, and they’re going to blow people away. One of them premiered yesterday at Noisey (with an introduction by Kim Kelly). Its title is “Part IV” and it’s downright head-spinning — an unusual concoction of earthquake drumming, serpentine riffs, and dissonant jumping notes that will trace an alien double-helix inside your head. I like the phrase Kim Kelly used in her intro: “diabolically unique”.
Listen to “Part IV” here.
Hic Iacet are from the Galicia region of Spain. They released a demo in 2011 (Hedonist of the Death) and an EP in 2012 (Prophecy of Doom). They’ve now recorded a debut album named The Cosmic Trance Into the Void that’s projected for release in early February on 12″ vinyl by Iron Bonehead Productions. The cover art is by Abhorym, and the LP will include an 8-page booklet by Cesar Valladares and Raquel Tamayo.
I haven’t heard either of Hic Iacet’s earlier releases, but I have now heard a song named “Mahakala” from the new album. The powerful a cappella vocal that begins the song is immediately striking, a medieval-sounding mantra that resonates like it was recorded in a cathedral. It doesn’t prepare you for what follows — a dynamic, thundering storm of black/death metal voiced by inhuman monsters and infiltrated with bleak, buzzing melodies that prove to be quite memorable. Whether raining down torrential riffs or marching in a grand infernal processional, the music turns out to be as striking as the solo voice with which the song begins. Listen below.
Was hoping they were going to get that out this year, but I guess not
Should have known you’d be on this band before I was. 🙂
That Dead in the Manger track is awesome 🙂
Glad you liked it. The album is going to be a real eye-opener.
Psyched for Leviathan. Really hope Human Bodies gets a digital release – I don’t have anything to play tapes except my car, which I only have when I’m back in San Diego.
Holy shit Hic Iacet is good!
Hic Lacet sounds interesting and i’d be following it up from now on. Whats more interesting is the general inclination that bands are actually turning to Hinduism and Buddhist, broadly eastern, mythologies and ideas for inspiration. What’s all the more ironical is that barely a few metal bands try to take inspiration from it here.