SEEN AND HEARD: BLACK BREATH, ABHORRENT, SCYTHIAN, LONGHOUSE, WAN SKIN, FUNERAL STORM
I’m still trying to catch up on recommending new music I discovered earlier this week. I unloaded a bunch yesterday, I have more today, and I’m hoping to pull together some more this weekend (although I’m leaving town today for a short vacation, and that may interfere with my blog compulsions).
As I reported when I first found out, Seattle’s Black Breath have a new record coming from Southern Lord on September 25. It’s their third, with the title Slaves Beyond Death. Kurt Ballou recorded the album, Brad Boatright mastered it, and Paolo Girardi painted the cover art — and that’s some good help to have.
I thought it would be tough for Black Breath to top their great last album, Sentenced To Life, but based on the title track that premiered at Noisey yesterday I think they just might.
Massive, smoking chainsaw guitar tone; bone-shattering drum fusillades; a pleasingly dismal melody; predatory vocal snarling; and a smooth shift from graveyard crawling into an explosion of thrashing, head-battering mayhem before the song ends. A dynamic song that’s simply awesome.
Go HERE to listen to the new song. I’ll also mention that Black Breath will begin a new West Coast tour in September in a Southern Lord package that also includes Goatsnake, Battalion of Saints, and Obliterations in September. The schedule looks like this:
9/16/2015 Mystery Box – Los Angeles, CA
9/17/2015 Alexs’ Bar – Long Beach, CA
9/18/2015 The Garage – Ventura, CA [*no Goatsnake]
9/19/2015 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
9/20/2015 Club Red – Mesa, AZ
9/22/2015 Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA
9/23/2015 Boardwalk – Sacramento, CA
9/24/2015 Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA
9/26/2015 Highline – Seattle, WA **BLACK BREATH record release show
9/27/2015 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
Abhorrent are a death metal band whose members include bassist Erlend Caspersen from Spawn of Possession, Lyle Cooper (Absurdist, ex-The Faceless), guitarist Marlon Friday (Absurdist), and vocalist Nick Brown. Their debut album Intransigence, which will also include some notable guest appearances, will be released by Willowtip Records on November 20th.
What first drew me to their music was the cover artwork by one of my favorite metal artists, Timo Ketola. And then when I heard their new advance track from the album — “Ifrit” — and now I’m thinking this will be an album to keep a close eye on.
As you might guess from this band’s membership, they churn out adventurous technical death metal, but they have some surprises up their sleeves on “Ifrit”, which I won’t spoil. And although the instrumental work will spin your head all the way around and the atmospheric/melodic touches will keep you coming back to the song, the music is still most definitely, at its core, a gruesome, vicious death metal beast. This whole album should be very interesting.
Scythian are a London band whose second album Hubris In Excelsis is being released today. It comes six years after their well-received debut, To Those Who Stand Against Us. This new album was recorded and engineered by Esoteric’s Greg Chandler at his Priory Studios and it was mastered by Mithras’ Leon Macey at Dreaming Studios. It features very cool artwork by Blanka Dvorak.
So far, two songs from the album have premiered — “Beyond the Dust” and the title track, “Hubris In Excelsis” — and both are now streaming at Bandcamp. The acoustic, ecclesiastically-styled introduction to the first song leads the way forward into a gripping guitar instrumental — followed by a hell-for-leather gallop that gets the adrenaline flowing. It’s an electrifying dose of blackened thrash mixed with ritualistic atmospheric parts that’s full proof, all by itself, that Scythian know what the hell they’re doing.
The title track wastes little time opening up a flamethrower aimed right at your head, while at the same time launching into a brutally effective skeletal demolition job. It’s a vicious thrash attack that manages to be very catchy as well as incinerating in its fury. (Extremely cool guitar solo in this one, too).
The album is now available for order here:
Now I’m going to turn to the first of three bands I discovered this week thanks to recommendations from a Serbian Facebook friend who puts me to shame in the amount of time he spends exploring new underground metal.
Longhouse are from Ottawa, Ontario, and they released their debut album Earth From Water via Bandcamp on August 7. I doubt that I’m going to have time to listen to the entire album or to review it, given how backlogged I am, but I at least want to say a few things about the opening (title) track — which has really grabbed me.
It’s hard to pin down the genre style of this song, so I’m not going to try. I’ll just say that it’s a rhythmically dynamic piece of music, with some very heavy, very catchy riffs, hook-filled guitar arpeggios, a slow, sinuous melody that proves to be very striking when it surfaces in the song’s back half, and the kind of snarling vocals that wouldn’t be out of place in a black metal band.
P.S. Check out “Gift of Fire” too. Very cool song — it’s as far as I’ve gotten in my listening so far.
You can grab the album from Bandcamp via the link below. And I also want to mention that the cover art is by Chris Volion at The Gilley van Weirden Workshop, because I think it’s very cool.
Wan Skin is a one-man atmospheric/ambient black metal project from Kurgan in Russia. The band’s debut release is an EP named Fortress of Solitude that became available on Bandcamp in late July via Nihil Art Records. As in the case of the last band above, I haven’t had the time to listen to the entire EP and it’s also unlikely I’ll find time to review it. But I am very high on the EP’s last track (which is the first one that begins streaming at Nihil Art’s Bandcamp page for the album and the only one I’ve heard so far).
It’s called “Mysterious Glimmer” and it’s about 9 1/2 minutes long. Wan Skin can clearly rip and tear when it wants to — that’s clear from the beginning — but it’s the slower, atmospheric parts of the song that send your imagination off into supernatural realms. A persistent, needling guitar melody digs under your skin while choral voices soar overhead, and a scarring black metal rasp keeps the song unsettling. The bass plays a prominent role in the long, ambient sections, and the song is dark, ominous, and threatening even at its most eerie and ethereal moments.
No question, I’ll be coming back to hear the other two tracks, because this one is fascinating.
Finally, we come to a Greek black metal band named Funeral Storm. They have recorded two new songs for a split release with the band Celestial Rite, whose roots go back to demos released in 1998 followed by a period of silence until 2012; apparently, the Celestial Rite songs are from among the older tracks. Fittingly, the split is named Funeral Rite.
The two new tracks from Funeral Storm feature Necroabyssious (Varathron) on vocals and Nick Christogiannis (Deviser) on keyboards, and one of them has recently become available for listening on YouTube. The song’s name is “The Necromancer”, and it includes a killer central riff that will not let go, against a backdrop of mystical ambient keyboards and a big bestial voice coming for your throat. There are more killer riffs in this song besides the one that seizes attention at the beginning, and the drumwork may seize control of your pulse, too. Excellent music.
“Ifrit” us my favorite of this bunch, it’s awesome 🙂
Scythian turned out to be an awesome beyond belief band. Yeah I admit, I downloaded the leak, but boy oh boy, this is some hellishly good metal. Not good, knock-me-out-of-my-slippers (yeah, it’s summer) good.
We’ll spare your life so long as you spread the word. Glad you enjoyed it.
Stumbled onto Longhouse a few weeks ago myself, thanks to that awesome cover art…good stuff. Theyre definitely a doom band, but it seems to “clean” for it to be considered sludge like Metal archives says
I think putting them under the big tent of doom is right but after that I give up. Definitely not sludge, as I think of it, despite some heavy riffs in the mix..
That Black Breath track is massive. I’m digging Scythian and Longhouse too.