I spent most of this weekend catching up on new music (and making a few discoveries of older music, too). I compiled one round-up on Saturday, another one devoted to black metal yesterday, and that still wasn’t enough. So I’ve collected more new music or videos from five other bands in this post. Contrary to appearances, I do have a life — but it wasn’t devoted to much else besides metal since Friday.
Yesterday brought a most welcome announcement that I wasn’t expecting: The fantastic Polish black metal band Mgła has completed the recording of a new third full-length album named Exercises In Futility, and it will be released in the late Summer of this year on the Northern Heritage and No Solace labels. It includes six tracks and 42 minutes of music — and yesterday one of those tracks became available for listening.
For this who may be new to Mgła, the band (whose name means “fog” in Polish) was started in 2000 and now consists of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Mikołaj “M.” Żentara (who is also a member of the fantastic Kriegsmaschine) and drummer Maciej “Darkside” Kowalski. Their last album was 2012’s With Hearts Toward None, which was tremendously good.
I remember seeing some news in the spring of 2014 that they would not be playing live again until this year so that they could work on a new recording, but yesterday’s announcement came out of nowhere, with no advance fanfare that I’ve seen.
The new song is “Exercises In Futility II”. It’s just as good as I expected it would be — sweepingly beautiful in its own unearthly way, but sharp-edged and thundering, too, with an atmosphere that’s menacing and portentous. The drumming is wonderful, the vocals are savage, the dark melodies are transporting… it’s very easy to lose yourself in this mystical netherworld that Mgła have created.
Beneath the track stream I’ve included the song’s lyrics, which are as fascinating as the music.
There is a style in total denial
A certain elegance of fear
Hesychasm is so much convenient
With the desert within ourselves
Stray dogs lead disciples of Oedipus
As the shrouds gently cover
Exquisite paroxysms of ruin
And well mannered choking on nothingness
The cracks in soma, psyche and pneuma
Are as one way mirrors
It’s one well lit desert
And the pyres extend beyond the horizon
and cold flames flicker upon ashes of hope
Through hallways carved in a crystal
On to the uttermost parts of the pit
Jostling through cadavers of former selves
You would swear there’s amusement in the eyes of the dead
A reward for the perseverant:
Unceasing howling of the heart
Bound to walk this path
Nether, again, nether – now and forever
I wish it was classic fire and brimstone
But clearly there is a very special plan
Paved with havoc and shattered virtues
As if there were any other paths
With every dream The pyres grow taller
An enemy of trust
A misled scholar
In vain endeavor
Walk this path
Now and forever
I found out about Cataya for the first time on Saturday. They are a relatively new band from the border region of Belgium and Germany. To date they’ve released two singles along with accompanying videos, and they’re working on a debut EP projected for release this coming fall. You can see and hear both of the videos below.
The second single and video came out last week, and the name of the song is “tal sperre“. At almost 12 minutes, it can’t be summed up in a few blithe phrases. It moves from the ethereal to the pulverizing, from torrents of swarming riffs and hammering percussion to searing melodies that move like high clouds driven by the jet stream, from the soft shimmer of isolated guitar notes and the hum of strings to explosive bouts of barely controlled fenzy.
It’s a beautifully written and beautifully performed post-metal instrumental piece that travels a broad and changing emotional landscape, but with an overarching sense of threat and tension that builds to the breaking point — and hangs like a drop of congealing blood.
And man, the video is pure genius in the selection of imagery and the way in which it meshes like hand in glove with the music — a tremendous partnership of sight and sound.
The name of the first single is “sombre sommeil“, and it’s available as a free download on Bandcamp. It’s a long, slow build from cosmically ambient to thundering, and the video is another masterful combination of sight and sound.
The Dutch death metal band Apophys need no introduction to regular readers of this site, because we’ve written about them frequently. Their debut album Prime Incursion was released in April by Metal Blade (and it’s available here).
A couple of days ago, Apophys released a video for a song from that album, “The Red Planet”, which was filmed and directed by Sebastiaan Spijker (http://www.beyondthedigit.nl). Here’s a statement from the band about the video:
“The lyrical theme behind ‘The Red Planet’ is the idea of creation and transcending what has been done before. The main character in the song creates something so perfect he values it above anything else. We tried to weave this concept into the plot of our new video; you will witness an entity from a place unknown fashioning his own form of life, only to keep wanting more after the success of the first one. Things get chaotic, risky, and weird. In the end, his experiment results in five human-like organisms that will be the start of a completely new race.”
And apparently, these new organisms have a facility for playing hard-hitting death metal. I for one welcome our new masters from the Red Planet.
Man, it’s been a long time since we heard from the maniacs in Vancouver’s Nylithia. I first found out about this riveting ensemble in March 2012 (writing about them here), and then in September of that year we had the pleasure of debuting a Nylithia song called “Hyperthrash”, and then wrote about their next song in January and a new video in May of 2013.
In a nutshell, they were working on an album also called Hyperthrash, releasing one song at a time for download, with separate artwork and videos for each song. And as of the last time I wrote about them, they’d churned out four tracks — “Trainsaw”, “Immersed In the Maniacal”, “Vein of Creation”, and the afore-mentioned “Hyperthrash”.
That was two years ago, and I haven’t seen anything from them since then — until Saturday, when they released a new song named “61-50-7“. The song includes a very cool intro that seems to fit the meaning behind the song’s title (more on that later), and the balance of the song is very damned cool, too — a blazing bonfire of technically immaculate death/thrash that goes off in different directions from what you might expect.
These guys continue to stand out from the crowd, and I’m even more anxious (if that were possible) for the whole album to be released.
In case you were wondering (and of course you were), 61-50-7 is the Chemistry Abstracts Service Registry Number for Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family.
I’m not sure when Hyperthrash is going to be ready for release, but we’ll definitely keep you posted as we learn more. The band’s previous releases are all available at Bandcamp.
Because the tastes of the people who write for our site are quite diverse, I think we do a pretty good job covering a broad spectrum of metal. But although we do tend to focus on the more extreme sectors of metaldom, it seems that we rarely post about brutal death metal and slam. So last week I randomly decided to check out a BDM band that our friend Vonlughlio strongly recommended on the Blast Family Facebook page that he administers — and that proved to be a nice piece of luck.
The name of the band is Omnipotent Hysteria and they’re from England. Their 2015 two-song promo was released just about a week ago, and it’s available as a “name your price” download on Bandcamp. To my ears, these two songs capture exactly what I want in this kind of metal — rocket-attack snare hits that make your eyes bulge, jet-fueled riff frenzies that bleed poison from every pore, pulverizing grooves, and gutturals that are ugly enough to give Medusa a run for her money. If this doesn’t get your blood rushing you need to get out of the nursing home more often.