After two weeks in Texas, I’ve had 36 hours in Seattle and am now about to head north to Vancouver, with two bodyguards to fend off the paparazzi, of course. We will be taking in a Bolt Thrower show this evening (I know I’m being an asshole, but it doesn’t happen often, so I think I get a break). Before hitting the road, I thought I’d throw a few things your way that lit me up in my listening yesterday. Variety is the spice of life, and there’s quite a bit of variety in this selection.
I’ve forgotten how I stumbled across this next video. I saved a link to it before leaving Seattle two weeks ago (which was right when the video came out) and finally checked it out. It’s a single video named Room 69 that spans three songs by a San Francisco band named Mohicans (pictured above). To say the video is bizarre would be an understatement, but it’s damned entertaining, even if it’s loaded with WTF? moments.
I think I’m just going to keep quiet about the events in the video and let you discover them for yourselves. I will include this explanation from the band that appeared on their Facebook page:
“So we were practicing in San Francisco’s Tenderloin for a while. We shared a shitty room with 6 other bands. It was always trashed. Everyone around the place lived in short stay hotels, and were of another world. Then one day there was a drive by shooting outside, and 6 people were shot. It was a bit nuts. But out of this, we had a nutty idea for a video.”
I will comment on the music, even though I don’t know the names of all the individual songs. It’s loaded with beefy, bone-jarring riffs that hammer and chug and lash like a bullwhip. There’s a pleasing boom and grind to the bass notes, and the drum rhythms will shake you by the neck like a rag doll. Also, the vocalist sounds like his throat is regularly abraded with heavy-grit sandpaper.
Mohicans deliver a catchy, crushing, thoroughly headbangable blend of hardcore and metal that’s impossible not to like. This has been scientifically proven, so don’t try to argue with me.
I’m not sure if these three songs will be on an EP or an album, and I’m not sure when they will be released. If I find out, I’ll update this post.
UPDATE: I’ve learned that the three songs will be released soon as part of a 7-song EP on Boxing Clever Records (web site here).
The next band in this collection is a German melodic death metal group whose new album Dwelling Within was released about a week ago by Yonah Records. It’s their second full-length. Although I haven’t heard the entire album, I did check out two songs that are available on YouTube. The first one is the title track, and the second is an official video for a song called “Last Masquerade”.
Horrizon have a knack for writing hook-filled music that slashes, jabs, and gallops, songs that can get stuck in your head but still have a sharp edge of extremity, thanks in part to a vocalist who can howl like a rabid wolf and growl like a bear (and his clean vocals are very good, too). The music also includes some arena-ready guitar solos guaranteed to put a smile on the most dour of faces.
No molds have been broken in the making of these songs, but I have no doubt that long-time fans of Scandinavian-styled melodic death metal will eat this up; I sure did.
(Thanks to Lord Farin for the tip on this one.)
The next item in this collection comes from a Chilean black metal band named Animus Mortis, who’ve been around since 2004. Last November the ATMF label released their second album, Testimonia, and although I missed it then, yesterday I saw that Godz Ov War / Third Eye Temple will be releasing it on 12″ vinyl later this year. They’ve put a song from the album on Soundcloud that’s really good.
“Hyperbole of the Senses” is sweepingly powerful, a senses-filling torrent of memorable melody and thundering percussion, both atmospheric and ravaging in its intensity. The song includes magnetic lead guitar motifs and a variety of vocal expressions that are never less than impassioned, and it will pick you up and carry you away, like dry leaves lifted aloft in a gale of wind. Beautiful music that’s also very heavy.
BLACK SPACE RIDERS
The new, fourth album by Germany’s Black Space Riders is named Refugeeum, as a reference to both “refugees” and “refuge.” To quote from press materials about the album, “the band has left its orbital wanderings at least thematically and turned instead to an earthly, eternal issue, one that is, sadly, very topical again: flight and expulsion – loss of home – profound sorrow – the will to survive – hope for what may come – hunted and hunter – victim and perpetrator – acceptance and rejection.”
I’ve heard random songs by this band in the past, but never dived into any of their albums from start to finish. I think that’s about to change. They’ve recently release a video for a 10-minute song named “Run to the Plains”. Based on what I remember of those scattered tracks I’ve heard in the past, the band have interwoven some different stylistic elements into their core of spacey psychedelic stoner doom, and the result is a very strong piece of music that’s hard to label.
The repeating bass line in this song is so good that they could have put the sound of a cat hacking up a fur ball on top of it and the song would still be a winner. But there’s a lot more to the song than that highly addictive bass line: a beautifully matched duo of vocalists, one soft, high, and almost ghostly, one harsh and explosive; shimmering, cosmically oriented guitar reverberations; perfectly chosen and immaculately timed drum rhythms; a bluesy, psychedelic guitar solo; the sound of a cathedral organ and choral voices; and here and there, just when you need them, eruptions of neck-snapping intensity.
There’s a narcotic, psychoactive quality in this beautiful, heavy song; I’m finding that I need a fix of it about every hour.
Refugeeum will be released by Black Space Records and Cargo Records on July 24. The album is available for order now on vinyl and CD from the band’s web shop HERE, and it’s available on Bandcamp as well (I’ll put the Bandcamp stream of “Run to the Plains” right after the video):