The last of these MISCELLANY posts was more than three months ago. I’ve obviously done a piss-poor job getting the series on anything like a regular schedule. Of course, I would be foolish at this point to predict when No. 75 will happen. Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
I think we probably need a reminder about how the MISCELLANY experiment works: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before (usually bands whose names I’ve only discovered recently) and I listen to only one or two songs, usually from their most recent releases. I write my immediate impressions of what I’ve heard, and then I stream the music so you can make up your own minds. Unlike everything else we post at this site, I don’t know what the music will sound like in advance, or whether I’ll like it.
My first selection comes from a four-man band named Palinopsia from Poultney, Vermont. They wrote yesterday to call our attention to their first EP, entitled Murmurs From the Well Nothing More, which was released on June 3. The EP is on Bandcamp, and the song that’s set to begin streaming there is the EP’s second track, “Silt”.
I thought the song was a really interesting blend of styles — the heaviness of fat, sludge/doom riffs and grinding bass notes; high-pitched, quasi-psychedelic lead guitar traceries; acidic black metal shrieks; and gargantuan death/doom roars. The songs starts like a slow, steamrolling crusher, ramps up into an equally crushing juggernaut that will get your head moving, and ends in a creative finish that mixes both speeds and gives a lot of prominence to those concrete-splitting guitar and bass riffs, with a pulsating motif riding in the background. You can feel the drumwork in your spine, too.
“Silt” is a really striking — and really obliterating — song, and I can’t wait to come back and hear the rest of this EP. What a nice discovery!
Murmurs From the Well Nothing More is available on Bandcamp as a ‘name your price” download.
TEMPLE OF GNOSIS
I learned about Temple of Gnosis from a PR firm’s recent e-mail. The band is a new one-man project, the creation of someone from Belgrade, Serbia, who calls himself H.M.T. The band’s debut EP, Mysterivm Magnvm, was released just two days ago by Goathorned Productions and it’s described as a concept work based on the “alchemical process of Enlightenment”, and specifically on the initial step of “deconstruction” along the path toward “transformation of mind and spirit”. That was intriguing, as is the cover art, so I ventured forth into the music.
The song I chose for this MISCELLANY excursion is the EP’s title, track, which clocks in at nearly 8 minutes. This turned out to be as interesting as the Palinopsia song, but in a very different way.
There’s a pronounced mystical quality to the dark ambient sounds and the distant monastic voice in the song’s opening minutes. Eventually, a drum beat kicks in along with cavernous death growls and a driving riff as the ambient noise becomes more harrowing and discordant. There are some choral voices and some frightening, distorted spoken words in the song, too — and “frightening” is probably the best word overall for this offering of doomed, esoteric, atmospheric metal. I’m definitely intrigued enough to want to hear the rest of the EP.
Mysterivm Magnvm is available for download and for order on CD via Bandcamp and at the Goathorned Productions e-shop (here):
Forgotten Horror are based in Kuopio, Finland. Aeon of the Shadow Goddess is the name of their second album, which is scheduled for worldwide release on June 19, 2015, by the Finnish label Woodcut Records. However, the album was released in Finland last month and it’s available for listening on both Soundcloud and Bandcamp right now.
The song I picked as a test case for this MISCELLANY experiment is the one that’s set to play first on the album’s Bandcamp page, “Behold A Shadow Goddess”. The song begins in slow morbid fashion and then begins to race ahead on a drive train of rapidly pummeling drums and the whir of drill-bit riffs. There’s a powerful, thunderous quality to the sound, and lots of twists and turns in the rhythms and the riffing, with both choral voices and high, abrasive shrieks in the mix, too.
A really good combination of old-school and modern extreme metal styles that’s both atmospheric and bone-rattling.
Aeon of the Shadow Goddess can be downloaded or pre-ordered on CD via the Bandcamp link below:
I must admit that I do a terrible job keeping up with messages we receive on the NCS Facebook page or looking at things that other people post on the page; it’s about all I can do to get through the daily e-mail traffic, and some days I fuck that up, too. I often let a month or more go by without checking the messages sent to us on Facebook. Not only do I feel rude in not answering messages promptly, I feel frustrated because I know I’m missing out on some music I would probably enjoy.
This is on my mind because yesterday I happened to glance at the messages sent to us on Facebook — and found dozens of them that had arrived since the last time I looked. One of the most recent was from a one-man band named Violet Cold, who linked us to a Bandcamp stream of an album named Desperate Dreams. I followed the link because the music was described as “euphoric black metal” and because the band is from Azerbaijan.
It turns out that Desperate Dreams isn’t Violet Cold’s latest release — that would be a two-song EP named Astral Suicide that was released at the end of May. But I was directed to Desperate Dreams, and so that’s where I went.
I decided to leap into the middle of the album as a test of the music, and listened to the title track. And holy shit, it really is kind of euphoric black metal, with sweeping synthesizer melodies layered over rapid-fire drums and caustic shrieking. It pulses with energy, it makes you want to move, it has an elevating quality in its ambience, and before it ends it sort of starts to sound like an extreme version of ’80s new wave music!
I confess that I couldn’t resist listening to one more song and I moved back to the track that’s set to begin playing when you launch the Bandcamp stream — “La Petite Mort” (and if you don’t already know what that means, look it up). At first, the hooky keyboard machinations make the song sound even more like dance music than the title track, though the blast-beat drumming, harsh background static, and cauterizing shrieks do eventually come in — as do those sweeping waves of synth melody.
This is an unorthodox union of styles, but I think it works — and like every other selection in this episode of MISCELLANY, I do intend to finish hearing all of it.
Desperate Dreams and the other Violet Cold releases are available on Bandcamp: