Last weekend I randomly picked three new short releases and listened to them back-to-back. And then I listened to them again in reverse order. And then I crawled around on the floor for a while trying to find my brain, which had been dislodged and fallen out somewhere along the way. I think I found it, though it might have been a walnut that I lost last week.
Anyway, I’ve decided to review all three of these lovelies in the order in which I heard them (the first time). The first two releases in this collection have some things in common with each other, but they could both hardly be more different from the third one. I’m not saying you should necessarily listen to them back-to-back, and it may actually be unlikely that your tastes are configured (as mine are) in a way that will make all of this appealing to you. But I do hope you’ll give each one at least a taste-test.
Finland’s Vorum have recorded a new EP named Current Mouth (the cover of which is above). It will be released on CD by Sepulchral Voice Records on May 18, with vinyl coming later. It follows the band’s 2013 debut album Poisoned Void. Current Mouth will leave you bleeding at the mouth, and probably from other orifices, too.
Vorum deliver five tracks of feral, furious, electrifying death metal. The music is loaded with racing, razor-edged riffs and a riveting drum barrage that’s more intricate than you usually find in this kind of frenzied rampaging. There’s a vicious, buzzing quality to the riffs; listening to the music is like having a gallon jar full of hornets whipped around in a centrifuge and than opened up right next to your head in a small enclosed space. But Vorum do find a few places, here and there, to give you some grooves, too.
The band also infiltrate their explosive music with a variety of swirling, rippling lead guitar melodies that turn out to be pretty catchy, along with some smoking hot soloing that burns like an out-of-control acetylene torch. And the vocals — holy hell — it’s the kind of enraged, depraved howling that’s so extreme you can almost feel the blood spray on your face from the ruptured jugular vein. It goes quite well with the generally unhinged instrumental assault.
Vorum rarely ease up the pressure on the gas pedal — it’s pretty much full-bore from start to finish on this EP. But Current Mouth is so thrilling, so venomous, and so nasty in its accelerated savagery that I’m fine with that.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t have any music to share with you when I started writing this review, but coincidentally Vorum’s label began streaming the EP’s title track just a couple of days ago — and so here it is:
Pay attention to the spelling: This is not Norway’s Nekromantheon. This is Bolivia’s Nekromanteion. And Germany’s Iron Bonehead Productions is releasing their new EP Cosmic Horrors on June 19. According to Metal Archives, this will be their third release overall, following a split last year and a demo in 2012.
As is often the case, I listened to the two songs on this EP, “Oath of Black Fire” and “Demonic Libations,” because I was so thoroughly taken by the cover art. I’m very happy I made that decision.
The two songs are offerings of fierce, riff-driven black/death that are primitive to the point of being primeval. It’s evil, vile, morbid music that’s either slow and dismal or blazing fast, with rancid, abrasive, echoing vocals that are just as ugly. You might expect this kind of music to be shrouded in distortion to enhance the filth quotient, but the instruments are actually pretty clear. And it doesn’t sound like there’s much if any post-recording trickery — it sounds instead like you’re standing right inside the band’s rehearsal space as they perform the songs. It sounds natural — it you can use that word in describing music that’s so unnatural in its aura.
I’ve been having a blast listening to Cosmic Horrors. Sadly, I don’t yet have any public streams of music from this beast to share with you, but I did find a stream of the band’s contribution to that 2014 split (the split is on Iron Bonehead’s Bandcamp here), and this is it:
And now we come to the thing that’s now like the other things, the yang to the yin of Vorum and Nekromanteion, or vice-versa.
Psychedelic Witchcraft is a one-woman band from Florence, Italy, the woman being one Virginia Monti (who goes by the name Mia). The band’s debut EP is named Black Magic Man and it appeared not long ago on Bandcamp.
There are no great mysteries about the style of music on this EP — consider the band’s name, the EP’s title, and the album cover, and you’ll be able to make a pretty good guess. I considered all that, and given my tastes, I shouldn’t like this EP, but I really do. Why do I like this? Let me count the ways:
1. That voice
2. Them riffs
3. Them guitar solos.
And by the way, credit where credit is due, some of the guitar work on the EP was contributed by Lorenzo Bianchi.
Mia really does have a great voice for this kind of retro-psych-doom-rock, as well as a knack for concocting catchy melodic hooks. As the second track proves, she can also write soulful ballads as well as rockers. And the solos really are very cool.