I’m still surrounded by excellent new metal, like a cork bobbing in the ocean. In a post yesterday I collected four recently released songs and videos, and I have more to recommend today. In this post I’ve included three more new songs and one new album stream, followed by music from two releases that are not quite as new but are new to me. The music here falls within the realms of black metal, although as you’ll find out, the tracks are still quite diverse.
This is a long post with a lot of music in it, and perhaps I should have broken it up into pieces. But though it may appear daunting in its length, I hope you’ll stick with it, because there’s a lot of good metal in here from some tremendously talented bands.
This first new song caught my eye because the band — whose name is VI — has a line-up that includes current or former members of Aosoth and Antaeus. The cover art by the talented Alexander L. Brown is a real eye-catcher, too.
The band’s debut album De Praestgiis Angelorum is scheduled for release on September 25 by Agonia Records, in a 6-panel digipack CD and on vinyl. There’s also a shirt that features that cool cover art. Look at all this tasty stuff:
But what about the music? Well, it’s very tasty, too, at least judging by the advance track that premiered earlier this week — “Il Est Trop Tard Pour Rendre Gloire”. Actually, based on a listing at Bandcamp, it appears the full title is “Il est trop tard pour rendre gloire. Ainsi la lumière sera changée en ombre de la mort.” Though Google Translate is hardly foolproof, it tells me that the title means: “It is too late to give glory. So the light will be turned into the shadow of death”.
I’m including a stream of the song below, in two different players. It’s a damned firestorm of dissonant riffs and throat-shredding vocals, paired to a transfixing drum performance. And when the conflagration slows, the chiming guitar chords and swirling solo will keep you just as pinned in place. Intense and memorable, this is a killer song.
P.S. The line-up of VI consists of INVRI (Aosoth, ex-Antaeus) on guitars and vocals, BST (Aosoth, ex-Antaeus, ex-Aborted) on bass, and Blastum (ex-Aosoth, ex-Antaeus, Merrimack) on drums.
Norway’s long-running Tsjuder have completed work on their fifth album, and their first one in four years. A few days ago Tsjuder revealed the title (Antiliv) and cover art, and also premiered an advance track named “Demonic Supremacy”.
This new song is old-school, punk-and-Motörhead-influenced black metal savagery, which by the band’s own description harkens back to Bathory and Celtic Frost. Commanding riffs, an incendiary guitar solo, and a rocking breakdown make for some genuine demonic supremacy. And the song’s slow, sulfurous finale is just as grim and hair-raising as the rest of the song is galvanizing. This sounds like an instant classic.
Antiliv will be released by Season of Mist in North America on September 18 in a variety of formats, one of which is a CD “digibox” edition that includes five bonus tracks, among which are covers of “Deathcrush” by Mayhem and “Unholy Pagan Fire” by Beherit. The album is available for pre-order at this Bandcamp page:
I’ve written about the Swedish black metal band Mephorash quite often in the past, most recently in February when we premiered a lyric video for the title song to the band’s most recent EP, Sfaíra Ti̱s Fo̱tiás — which unfortunately has not yet been released because of the label’s difficulties in finding a satisfactory pressing plant. However, though that EP has been long-delayed, I’m happy to pass along information disclosed yesterday about the band’s new album, as well as one of the new songs that appears on it.
The new record is entitled 1557 – Rites of Nullification, and it features cover art by Michael Cowell (www.michael-cowell.com). It consists of four tracks over a span of 42 minutes, with each track representing one of “four Qliphothic anti-worlds which pertain to antagonistic spheres of revolt against the four classical elemental worlds of creation in the traditional Sephiroth”. In preparing the album, the band worked closely with occult author G. De Laval, who wrote the lyrics and whose Black Magic Evocations of The Shem Ha Mephorash inspired the album’s conceptual approach.
Each track of the album also features additional vocals from the vocalists of Malign, Hetroertzen, Embrace of Thorns, and Fides Inversa. The tracklist is as follows
1. Riphyon – The Tree of Assiyah Putrescent
2. Phezur – Dissolving The Sea of Yetzirah
3. Cheidolun – Breaking The Blade of Beriah
4. Berberioth – Vandalising The Throne of Atziluth
The song that appeared yesterday through a fascinating music video is the opening track, and it includes additional vocals by Nebiros (Malign, ex-Ofermod). The harsh, echoing chant and booming drums that launch the song quickly shroud it in an occult, ritualistic atmosphere, and it remains ominous, fearsome, and gripping all the way to the end.
It’s a long song, with variations in pacing and intensity, and it includes what sound like keyboards to give the music a persistently eerie, dramatic, and even bombastic air. The vocals, by the way, are utterly inflamed and savage.
The album will be released by Odium Records in late August or early September in a six-panel digipack with gold-foil-stamped seals woven into the artwork; a gatefold vinyl will be released later this year. The digipack can be pre-ordered through the shop at the band’s new website (www.Mephorash.com).
THE CLEARING PATH
Watershed Between Earth and Firmament is the debut album by a one-man Italian band named The Clearing Path. I’ve been reading good things about the album, though I hadn’t listened to it until Andy Synn reminded me that it has been out on Bandcamp for the last two weeks. And so yesterday I finally dived into it — and liked it a lot.
Within the framework of black metal, The Clearing Path follows a winding and progressive-minded course that includes elements of post-metal and hardcore, with a lot of complexity, technical flash, and dissonant melody to accompany explosions of sand-blasting savagery and passages of dreamlike beauty.
The music is unpredictable and occasionally disorienting in the multitude of variations it spins out, but it’s undeniably creative and never less than fascinating. The fact that this is the work of a single person makes it all the more impressive.
Watershed… is available from Avantgarde Music on Bandcamp, and the label plans to release it on CD in the coming months.
Luctus are based in Kaunas, Lithuania, and I learned of them only yesterday through an e-mail from Inferna Profundus Records, which will be releasing the band’s new album Ryšys later this year and offered to send us a CD of the new album. I’m usually reluctant to accept offers of CDs, especially when they have to be sent from distant lands, because of the cost to the bands and labels. So before accepting the offer I decided to pause in my rummaging through the in-box and at least briefly explore the music of Luctus.
Their last album, released in 2013, is named Stotis and it’s available on Bandcamp, so I listened to the first track — and that one was so good that it pulled me right into the second one, which grabbed me even harder. I didn’t have time to listen to the rest of the album, but you can be damned sure that I’m going to.
The first track’s name is “Nežiurėk, Nežibėk” and it’s a thundering black storm, with a heavy low end, exhilarating riffs, and remarkably impassioned vocals that move from ravenous roars to harrowing yells.
The sound of heavy rain and astral keyboards moves the first song right into the second one, “Audra Slenka Virš Miesto“. And man, once it kicks into gear, it will roll over you like a tank attack. But it moves from thundering assault, to punk-fueled romp, to sweeping ambience in a way that works supremely well. And about half-way through, the band launch into a jolting riff that may make your head come off, so powerful is the urge to bang it hard. As icing on the cake, a very seductive melody moves through the song — and there’s a damned cool solo in here, too. One hell of a track!
Stotis is available on CD and digitally via Bandcamp, and I’ve embedded the full stream below. I encourage you to do at least what I did — listen to the first two tracks back-to-back, and let those be your guide as to whether the rest of the album is worth your time.
WISDOM OF SHADOWS
The last band in this music collection is a two-man atmospheric black metal group from Belarus who call themselves Wisdom of Shadows. They e-mailed us yesterday, and I impulsively decided to stop and listen to some of their music, in part because I’ve had pretty good luck with Belarusian bands. Their latest release came this past May, a two-song demo named Scream of Loneliness — which is available as a free download at Bandcamp. I found both songs thoroughly entrancing.
The demo’s nearly nine-minute title track is saturated in sorrow and drenched in despair, but it’s also absolutely beautiful in its bleakness. A slow, methodical drumbeat pulses like a heart while a combination of shimmering keyboards and rippling guitar, coated in a layer of distortion, cast an enveloping spell. Against that mesmerizing and even ghostly backdrop, the harsh vocals are harrowing in the extremity of their anguish.
The second track on the demo, “Steps of Death”, is a shorter, instrumental piece with a slow, repeating guitar motif that’s very much in keeping with the intensely melancholy atmosphere of the first song, almost functioning as an extended outro for that much longer track.
It’s easy to get lost in this short release, and certainly makes me hungry for more music from these dudes, and lo and behold…
…it turns out that Wisdom of Shadows is a “side project” and that the two men behind it also have another band named Tartavara. The latest Tartavara album, released in February of this year, is entitled Зов Древних. I’ve listened to a couple of songs from it, and really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far — so I’m including a stream of that one down below as well. The music has more of a pagan/folk metal air than Wisdom of Shadows (and it includes clean vocals), but it also leans toward the dark and despondent end of the emotional spectrum — and it’s also beautiful.