I didn’t do a very good job this past week posting about new songs that I liked as they were coming out, and as a result I have a big collection of them gazing up at me with sorrowful eyes. I’ve picked four of them to recommend in this post, with the goal of keeping you off-balance. I’ve collected a few others for a “Shades of Black” post that I’m planning for tomorrow.
A couple of days ago Germany’s Ahab premiered a music video for the first complete track off their new album The Boats of Glen Carrig, coming from Napalm Records on August 28. The name of the song is “Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)”, and I’m thoroughly hooked on it. The riffs are enormous, and they drive the song’s bleak, somewhat dissonant melodic refrain into your head like railroad spikes. I’m more a fan of the enraged roars than the clean vocals in the song (what a shock!), but it’s a minor quibble.
I’m somewhat puzzled by what’s happening in the video — which is undeniably fascinating to watch, despite the uncomfortable scenes of waterboarding, the condemnation of which is clearly the focus of the imagery. There are hallucinatory moments which suggest that the victim may be mentally torturing herself as hooded men are inflicting the physical torture. If you have any interpretive insights, please do share them in the Comments to this post.
Nile’s new album is named What Should Not Be Unearthed, which is a risky title if the album turns out not to be so good. I haven’t listened to it yet, but my friend BadWolf has, and he has been raving about it. Yesterday the band released a lyric video for a song named “Call To Destruction”. Before I throw in my own two cents’ worth, here’s what guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders says about it:
“’Call to Destruction’ should leave no doubt as to the explicit and extreme nature of the new NILE album. These are some of our heaviest yet memorable tracks ever. The violence contained in every aspect of ‘Call to Destruction’ is echoed, through many varieties and creative permutations of heaviness and brutality, throughout the entire What Should not be Unearthed disc.
“The inspiration for the song itself comes from news reports in 2012 – when radical clerics were calling for the destruction of Egypt’s pyramids. Most of the lyrics to ‘Call to Destruction’ are actual direct quotes from the words of Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud – whose eloquence and quote-ability are clearly second-to-none. While this lyric video is filled with many images of violence and destruction of historical artifacts culled from common everyday newsreel imagery, its message is to communicate the insanity and futility of war as a tragic result of the clash of ideologies. This video’s sole purpose is to bring attention to the wanton destruction of artifacts in the middle east. None of the members of NILE in any way endorse any political or religious agenda with this video; NILE as students of Egyptian history are concerned about the preservation of the cultures of all peoples of our greater global community.”
Watching the video is an infuriating reminder of what has been lost forever at the hands of Islamic zealots (though history is replete with examples of ancient artifacts destroyed by Christian zealots around the world, too).
As for the song, it’s outstanding — a vicious, violent lashing of barbed-wire riffs and machine-gun percussion, with a brutal breakdown in the middle that’s a sure-fire headbanger, laced with a doomed but exotic melody and set on fire by an awesome guitar solo. One of the best and most electrifying tracks I’ve heard from Nile in a while.
“Call To Destruction” is available now as a digital single at iTunes. What Should Not Be Unearthed will be released on August 28th via Nuclear Blast. It’s available for pre-order here.
Tapered Limbs of A Human Star is the name of the new album by Philadelphia’s Hivelords, and it’s one I’ve been eagerly awaiting, perhaps even more so after seeing the wonderful cover art by Tim Buckley (the logo was rendered by Christophe Szpajdel). The album is coming out pretty soon — August 4 — and the first advance track materialized on Bandcamp yesterday.
The song’s name is “Vessel”, and it’s nearly 10 minutes long (the other three tracks on the album are also long ones). The dismal, distorted guitar notes that launch the song ring like corroded funeral bells, and that ominous melody becomes even more firmly implanted in the memory as the band start to rip, tear, and claw their way into the meat of the track with a fusion of blasting drums, vibrating riffs, and acidic shrieks. The maelstrom of sound intensifies and then ebbs as the band work their way through layered-guitar variations on that central melodic theme, accompanied by a variety of impassioned vocal expressions (including some amazing, protracted howls of anguish and/or rage).
It’s a bleak and brutal piece of music that eventually devolves into a squall of harrowing mechanized sound, but it’s completely riveting — a crushing mix of doom, sludge, and black metal that transports the listener into an apocalyptic landscape strewn with the wreckage of lost souls. And that melody turns out to be as mesmerizing as it is grim.
Tapered Limbs… will be released by Anthropic Records on vinyl, CD, and digitally. Hivelords are also embarking on a North American tour beginning later this month. I’ve included the tour flyer below the stream of “Vessel”.
For my last recommendation, I’m jumping the rails and going off-course.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Napalm Records that included an item about a new music video for a song by an Austria-based band named Russkaja (who describe their music as “Russian Turbo Polka”). The song appears on the band’s new album Peace, Love and Russian Roll.
I wasn’t familiar with the band, but I was both amused and somewhat intrigued by this statement about the song that was included in the e-mail:
“‘El Pueblo Unido’ is the first journey in southerly climes: An up-tempo ska song in Spanish plus South American flair including mariachi choirs. The content is to unite with like-minded people and to fight with the peace flag in hand for a planet where all peoples of the world have space and respect each other. The idea is to end oppression and injustice–a song that couldn’t be released at a proper time! The whole atmosphere is wrapped in groovy mid-tempo beats with playful vocals. Respect the people and people respect you!”
I didn’t jump at the chance to check out the video. Instead, I joked with a few people about that quotation. And then it dawned on me that I was probably being a dick, and I decided to watch the video. And damned if I didn’t like it!
The song is a crazy mash-up of styles (including some metal riffing), but it’s catchy as hell, and the animated video is a kick to watch. Baila!