SEEN AND HEARD: BLOODWAY, ANTROPOFAGO, OVERCLIFF, PHOBONOID, SLOW, RAMAGE INC.
My calendar says it’s Labor Day here in the U.S. I am a law-abiding citizen, and therefore I will do as commanded, and labor. But it’s not exactly hard labor. It’s just writing about a lot of excellent new metal that I heard over the weekend. Also, our pal Grant Skelton made it even easier by writing one of the following features himself (I’ll point out which one when we get to it.) This collection is a fine example of the diversity of metal — hope you’ll enjoy it, while you are laboring.
When I last wrote (here) about Bloodway, the Romanian group led by talented graphic artist Costin Chioreanu (Twilight13 Media), it was to praise a song called “Walking Past Near the Lighthouse” (and its accompanying video) from the band’s then-forthcoming album Mapping The Moment With The Logic Of Dreams. The album is now out, and in recent days the band released another video for the album’s second track, “The Transfinite Castaway”.
The song’s instrumental opening is sludgy, dissonant, and foreboding, but the high, ringing guitar melody that follows it is cosmically beautiful. That, too proves to be only an interlude, and the music soon grows heavy, discordant, and strange — and the narrative in the shadowy, perplexing video becomes even more strange as the music continues to twist, turn, and pound its way forward to a vibrant, transcendent finish.
The video was directed and edited by Costin Chioreanu and filmed by him, together with Gina Sandulescu and Marius Costache. The characters in the story were played by Claudiu Chihaescu and Crina Cristina Marian.
Mapping the Moment With the Logic of Dreams is available for streaming and download here (and I’ve included the full album stream below the video):
Bloodway official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bloodways
Bloodway official Bandcamp page: http://bloodway.bandcamp.com/
Twilight13media official website: http://twilight13media.com/
The French death commandos Antropofago recently released their second album Æra Dementiæ via Kaotoxin Records, which we premiered and reviewed here. In recent days Kaotoxin have also released an Antropofago single consisting of two songs — an album track named “Helter Skelter” and a cover of Sepultura’s “Arise”. And to make this event even sweeter, the single is available as a free digital download.
I’ve already frothed at the mouth over “Helter Skelter”, which we premiered here in July, and now I want to do some frothing over this “Arise” cover. The original of the song is, of course, fantastic, and Antropofago more than do it justice. Their cover is absolutely blistering, an obliterating full-bore assault. Listening to it is like jamming a live power line straight into your neck. There’s also a white-hot solo in the song, along with truly monstrous vocals. Wish it were longer.
The new album includes a guest appearance by Gorod’s Nicolas Alberny and it’s available both digitally and as a limited-edition double-CD, which includes the band’s six-track EP Between Fear and Madness as a bonus.
More info about the single is available at this location:
And the new single can be downloaded for free here:
Overcliff are a new band from Athens, Greece. One of my Facebook friends linked me to a demo track the band recently posted on YouTube, and it’s really good — and beyond that and the band’s location, I know nothing more about them.
The name of the new demo track is “Artificial Evolution”. There’s a needling riff in the song that really burrows under the skin right from the beginning and stays there while the band open the gates to a gale of dense, rapid-fire riffs and drum artillery, as well as a gruesome vocal tag-team of distorted roars and boiling-in-oil shrieks. The song follows an unpredictable course, which is part of its attraction, becoming a swirling whirlpool of scintillating melody before its demented finale.
Actually, the whole song is kind of unhinged, but man it’s good. I don’t know exactly how to classify the music in genre terms. I only know I want more.
Once again I have my Serbian friend “M” to thank for turning me on to this next band, a one-man project from the Martian moon Phobos (Metal-Archives says Phobonoid is from Italy, but who believes those people?). Phobonoid released a debut EP named Orbita in 2013 that received a very positive reception, though I neglected to hear it. Now Phobonoid has created a debut self-titled album, which features fascinating original cover art by Bob Layzell and continues the fantastical narrative that began in Orbita.
Two songs from the album are available for streaming on Bandcamp, “Alpha Centauri” and “Fuga nel vuoto” (“escape into the void”) — the latter of which is the only track on the album to feature a human drummer (Fred BM). I suppose you could call the music a stew of black, death, doom, and industrial metal, with elements of dark droning ambience in the mix.
Simply put, “Alpha Centauri” is a maelstrom of overpowering sound through which a bleak but affecting melody surfaces and submerges. When the music slows, it becomes a catastrophic, light-devouring doom device; when it’s firing on all cylinders, it feels like it will tear right through you. Its droning, electronica-laced finish doesn’t make it any less unnerving.
The second song is just as otherworldly, beginning like a slow tumble through the void and eventually ramping up into an industrialized hurricane of sound and fury.
Phobonoid will be released on tape by Rising Beast Recordings and on CD by Dusktone Records.
(Grant Skelton wrote the following piece about our next installment in this collection.)
Originally out of Belgium, Slow are now based in Sofia, Bulgaria. This atmospheric doom metal project is the brainchild of Deha. According to his page on Metal-Archives, Slow is but one of a slew of Deha’s bands, and in the vast majority of them he is is the sole member. Slow is one of those bands.
It would be quite a task to find a band whose sound is more in synch with their name. Those searching for scorching solos, tremolo picking, and blast beats shall have their hopes dashed upon this monolithic altar of suffocating despondency. Slow’s newest album IV – Mythologiæwas released in April through Russian label GS Productions.
This music makes no haste of any sort. Rather, it festers in the filth of its own vile and polluted soul, while sparse, clean vocals are a melodic and woeful accompaniment to the wailing whispers and grovelling growls. The first movements of the second track “II – The Drowning Angel” are harmonic yet brooding. But the track’s latter half lowers the coffin lid and nails it shut. Abandon all hope before listening and then revel in said abandonment.
IV – Mythologiæ can be streamed below via Bandcamp, and is just under $8 USD to buy.
To close out this collection of new songs, I’m featuring one by a band from Edinburgh, Scotland, named Ramage Inc. (named for the band’s vocalist/guitarist Bryan Ramage). Their new album Earth Shaker is the third in their discography, and it was released just three days ago. I haven’t heard the entire album, but the one I have heard has really hooked me hard. It’s very different from the kind of extreme music I usually listen to, which is a sign of how good I think it is.
The song that has grabbed me is the first one set to play on the album’s Bandcamp page, a track called “Guardian”. Like most of the songs in this post, this one is hard to pin down in genre terms. It includes some massive, meat-cleaving, pneumatic grooves; flurries of progressive guitar excursions; some truly catchy melodies; and beautiful, arena-worthy, extended guitar soloing.
While Ramage does include some hair-raising black-ish shrieking and gritty vocals in the song, most of his vocals are more in the vein of power metal — but he has terrific range and sings with great power and passion. Even a prejudiced listener like me is really digging what he does with his voice.
I guess I will eventually move past this song to the rest of the album. If it’s even half the grabber that “Guardian” is, it will be well worth the time.
Damn, these are all really good. Had a feeling I’d like Overcliff and Phobonoid, but Ramage Inc. surprised me. And Deha will pretty much always have something good attached to his name.
Glad you liked this collection. Ramage really surprised me too.
so much great stuff, it’s hard to pick a favorite. it might be a three way tie between Antropofago, Overcliff and Phobonoid 🙂