Yesterday delivered a bonanza of new metal discoveries, so many that I’m resorting to minimizing my own verbiage in order to roll out everything I found in one post without turning it into War and Peace. I realize this will strike many of you as a tragedy of near-mythic proportions, but I do not wish to dim the reputation of Tolstoy, him being dead and all, and unable to restore competitive balance with a sequel.
Yesterday Nuclear Blast announced that this spring it will release the 12th studio album of Sweden’s Unleashed. The title is Dawn of the Nine and it features cover art by the talented Pär Olofsson. There’s a story behind the artwork, as recounted by founding member, bassist, and vocalist Johnny Hedlund:
“The artwork represents the continuation of our previous album, which ended with ‘The Great Battle of Odalheim.’ The battle took place at Uppsala Fields in Sweden, and you can clearly see the king’s grave in the cover art work which also represents the future. You can also see the bombed out church in the far distance, the place of blood in the front, and the rune stone with the runic symbol of courage of the new dawn.”
I’m beginning to think this new album has something to do with Norse mythology. A band like Unleashed, I never would have guessed. Further clues lie in the track list:
01. A New Day Will Rise
02. They Came To Die
03. Defenders Of Midgard
04. Where Is Your God Now?
05. The Bolt Thrower
06. Let The Hammer Fly
07. Where Churches Once Burned
08. Land Of The Thousand Lakes
09. Dawn Of The Nine
10. Welcome The Son Of Thor!
But seriously, I’m very anxious to hear this.
Last week Metal Blade premiered a song named “Requiem for the Absurd” from the forthcoming album by Apophys — Prime Incursion. This is another album I’ve been eagerly awaiting, my eagerness only magnified by the interview I did with the band’s vocalist Kevin Quilligan last month (and yes, I’m mentioning that because I think you should read it). “Requiem” is a death metal freight train with the throttle wide open, but I want to throw myself right in its path and enjoy the experience of being exploded into atoms. But in addition to being explosive, the music is a whirlwind of technical flash… and it’s catchy, too!
Prime Incursion will be released on April 7 in North America and can be ordered here.
It has been a really, really long wait for new music from the UK’s Theoktony. Their debut album I was released in 2008 (I wrote about it here), and then the band split up. Guitarist Liam Millward continued working on new material and succeeded in recruiting new bandmates (Antony Jody Myers, Anil Carrier, Tom Hinksman, and Tom McKenna), and now the re-formed Theoktony are on the verge of releasing their second album — Loss. It will be made available via Dissected Records later this month.
Yesterday the band unveiled an advance track named “Apostate”. It’s a goddamn hornet swarm of seething riffs, blinding drumwork, monstrous vocals, and dark melody. Like that Apophys track, the song is loaded with technical flash and produces a quick but potent hit of adrenaline.
Ghold are a UK duo (Paul Antony and Aleks Wilson) whose name I spotted in a recommendation from a Facebook friend. I don’t know much about them, but they have a debut album named Of Ruin coming out sometime soon, and I like the cover art. I also really like a new song they began streaming. The name is “Partaken Incarnate” and it’s a tribal bass-and-drum monster, a rumbling, spine-shaking amalgam of diverse stylistic influences (mainly sludge) and equally diverse vocal expressions. It’s absolutely flattening, absolutely riveting, and absolutely fascinating — and there is a guitar (or maybe a keyboard?) in the mix, it just picks its moment to appear and burn out a few synapses.
Mexico’s Hacavitz have just posted the title track from their forthcoming fourth album, Darkness Beyond. When I discovered that, I also discovered that they had previously released another track for streaming, “Deadream”. Both songs are on Bandcamp, and I’ve included the player below.
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve heard this band’s music — I gather that their style used to be blackened death metal, and these two tracks still have the weight of death metal in their lower reaches, but they are more firmly ensconced in the realms of black metal. The music is by turns slow and stately, viciously flensing, and hard-rocking (in “Deadream”), with pleasingly tyrannical vocals. It generates an atmosphere that’s thoroughly morbid and ominous, but its bleak melodies will get their hooks in you. Really excellent.
Darkness Beyond will be released by the reliable Dark Descent label on February 24.
And finally, I bring you a song from a Colorado duo named Spectral Voice. The song’s name is “Rotting Auras” and it comes from the band’s January 2015 Necrotic Doom demo (their third demo overall, with two having been released last year). I’m thoroughly in lust with this song. It’s a lumbering juggernaut of death/doom that’s utterly gruesome and skull-cleaving. Cavernous vocal horror combines with titanic riffs and a pavement-splitting rhythm section to produce one of the best new creations in this genre that I’ve heard this year. When it kicks into gear, heads will bang, and the eerie, echoing guitar notes near the end are a nice touch, too.
The demo, which was self-released on cassette, consists of three songs and 22 minutes, and unfortunately it appears that all the tapes are sold out of the band’s online store. But this is so good that I won’t be surprised if we have a label reissue in the future.