I’ve finally reached what should be the last day of the project for my fucking day job that has kept me away from home for the last month and severely interfered with the all-important task of spilling my guts about metal on this site. I really can’t wait to get home.
I have a ton of new music to catch up on, but I probably won’t immediately dive back into blogging for a day or two since I also have about a thousand hours of sleep to catch up on, assuming my wife still recognizes me and will let me in the house.
I had a bit of free time this morning, so I pulled together this small round-up of music that grabbed me by the throat as I made a quick dash through the interhole looking for new songs.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the time when a first advance track would emerge from Four Phantoms, the new album by Seattle’s Bell Witch, and it happened yesterday. The song is “Judgement, In Fire: I — Garden (Of Blooming Ash)”, the second of the album’s four long tracks (and at 10 minutes, it’s the shortest one). Here’s the complete track list:
1. Suffocation, A Burial: I – Awoken (Breathing Teeth)
2. Judgement, In Fire: I – Garden (Of Blooming Ash)
3. Suffocation, A Drowning: II – Somniloquy (The Distance Of Forever)
4. Judgement, In Air: II – Felled (In Howling Wind)
photo by Alysa Herman
In an interview published at Pitchfork yesterday, the band’s Dylan Desmond commented on the themes of the album (the interview also includes a description of the related meaning of Paolo Girardi’s fantastic cover art):
As with all our songs, the idea is that it’s from the perspective of a ghost. Each “phantom” on this record is meant to represent a ghost in connection with an element. The songs, musically and lyrically, are stories from each particular ghost suffering a continuous death from the respected element of the song. At times they ask for mercy, other times they ask for it to continue in a sort of self-hating, masochistic frenzy. We’re approaching the concept of ghosts with the idea that “hauntings” are a surfacing of some type of subconscious, metaphorical expression of trauma.
He also described “Judgment, In Fire” as a song that’s about “being burnt alive forever in front of an audience”.
The song is titanically heavy and glacially slow. Protracted waves of distortion are punctuated by cataclysmic chord-and-drum blows and bouts of ghastly howling. As the distortion recedes (but never disappears), Dylan Desmond teases from his six-string bass a forlorn but mesmerizing melody and gives voice (in something that resembles a monastic chant) to the harrowing pain of a phantasm.
“Mesmerizing” really is the right word for the song, as it is for the music of Bell Witch in general — though “crushing” comes right behind it on the list of adjectives.
Four Phantoms will be released on April 28 by Profound Lore, and the label has now established a Bandcamp page for the album, where it can be pre-ordered. Here’s the track list and a link to the Bandcamp page, followed by a stream of the new song.
CULT OF ENDTIME
Almost four years ago I came across a Finnish death metal band named Cult of Endtime and reviewed their debut EP, Nuclear Witch. Now they’ve finished a debut album, In Charnel Lights, which the Finnish label Svart Records plans to release on May 29.
Today the band unveiled the album’s first advance track, “Cairns on Mercury”, and it’s the kind of thing that causes acolytes of grisly, skull-crushing death metal to salivate. With interesting, dynamic rhythms, bone-saw riffing, and throat-clawing vocal vitriol, the song is attention-grabbing as well as vicious. And the eerie, doom-crawling mid-section of the song is a sign that Cult of Endtime are as adept at pulling listeners down into the abyss as they are at romping like a golem cavalry. Really good stuff.