Well, I’m back in the saddle after getting repeatedly thrown off my horse by an exhilarating ride at California Deathfest over a long weekend in Oakland. I do plan to finish writing about the event and posting more of my crappy cell phone photos, but just to prove that things are getting back to (ab)normal here at the site, I thought I’d collect some outstanding songs and eye-opening videos that I discovered over the last 24 hours while recovering from a cataclysmic hangover-and-bangover. Presented in alphabetical order by band name…
The very cool cover art that appears at the top of this post attracted me to a new EP that has just been released today on tape by Broken Limbs Recordings for a Floridian band named Ad Nauseum. Two of the songs from this four-track release — “Walls” and “Locked In” — are currently streaming on Bandcamp, where the EP is available as a “name your price” download, and the cassette can be ordered HERE. And those two songs are hellishly good.
And by “hellishly good” I mean ugly as sin and brutally destructive. Ad Nauseum create a mercilessly hammering, sonically mutilating assault that ranges from mid-paced rampaging to gut-liquifying sludge/doom, with ghastly, unhinged vocals as black icing on a very putrid cake.
Rhino come our way from Montreal, Canada. They describe their music as “atmospheric post-hardcore”. Last week Deathbound Records announced the release of a new Rhino single named “Latitude Ø”“, which is available on Bandcamp now and will be included on vinyl re-release of the band’s Footnotes EP early next year.
This song makes for a nice follow-on to those Ad Nauseum tracks. It is indeed atmospheric, and entrancing, but with plenty of weight and the kind of contrast between earth-rumbling physicality and phantasmagoric spookiness that pulls you in, and drags you under. Dismal and despairing music that will get heads moving.
Ever since Norway’s Shining began releasing still photos of their video shoot at the Trolltunga mountain ledge nearly 2300 feet above the ground (700 meters), I’ve been anxious to see the finished product. Yesterday the video premiered at Invisible Oranges, and as far as visual spectacles go, it definitely does not disappoint.
The song featured in the video is “Last Day”, and it appears on International Blackjazz Society, which will be released by Spinefarm Records on October 23. I haven’t yet listened to the album, but my NCS comrade (and editor at Invisible Oranges) Joseph Schafer calls “Last Day” “the most straightforward song” on the album. He writes that “[t]he rest of the record marries the more progressive side of Blackjazz with the singles-driven approach of tis followup, One One One“. The new album is available at this location.
To watch the video, go HERE.
This next song is another I discovered as a result of the fantastic cover art (by H.V Lyngdal) for the album from which it comes. Well… the artwork plus the fact that the album will be jointly released by I, Voidhanger Records and Fallen Empire Records, both of whom have track records of releases that warrant attention to whatever they do next.
The band here is an entity named Skáphe, which is the creation of Philadelphia-based musician Alex Poole, who has an impressive list of other projects on his resume (including Chaos Moon, Krieg, Esoterica, and Lithotome). This new untitled album will be Skáphe’s second, and the song released yesterday on Bandcamp (denominated solely by a Roman numeral) is electrifying.
It’s a soul-blasting storm of terrifying proportions, both thundering and frightening. The inhuman vocals alone are enough to induce nightmares, while the shape-shifting melodic leads are both hallucinatory and hypnotic. When the music moves at its top speed, it’s absolutely scathing, and when it slows, it will choke the life out of you.
The album is projected for release on January 30, 2016, on CD by I, Voidhanger and on vinyl by Fallen Empire.
I found this next item thanks to an early morning tip from Grant Skelton. It’s a video that CVLT Nation premiered today from Australia’s Space Bong, who some of you may remember from another song by the band that I randomly tacked onto a personal update near the end of September. The video is for a song called “Slow Spring” from the band’s recently released album Deadwood To Worms, and it was created with the assistance of Capital Waste Pictures.
When you’ve got 14 minutes of music to play with, you can make a video that works as a short film, and that’s what the band and Capital Waste have done. And when the music is as utterly pulverizing and poisonous as “Slow Spring”, you know bad things are going to happen — and they do, as a trio of powerful businessmen are made to pay the ultimate price for their depredations. Everything about this video is perfect — beautifully filmed, beautifully edited, and astutely displayed in slow motion to fit the pace of this titanic song. It’s one of the best videos I’ve seen all year, and I bow my head in respect to filmmaker Liam Somerville.
I will say again as I said the last time I wrote about Space Bong, do not be misled by their name: This is monolithic sludge/doom that’s as serious as a heart attack, with a perilous dissonant melody that rises up from this sonic avalanche like the slow-motion sparks from the bonfire at the end of this amazing video. Don’t miss it.
And to conclude this round-up I have two songs from Deeper Than Sky, the new album by VHÖL that’s set for release by Profound Lore on October 23. I suspect that the people in VHÖL cringe when they see people referring to the band as a “super-group”, but that’s what they are, because let me remind you about the line-up: vocalist Mike Scheidt (YOB), guitarist John Cobbett (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Ludicra), bassist Sigrid Sheie (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Amber Asylum), and drummer Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros, ex-Ludicra).
Both of these tracks — “The Desolate Damned” and “Red Chaos” — have previously premiered at NPR and SPIN, respectively, but now they’re both on Bandcamp, where the album can be pre-ordered. Both tracks will put a high-voltage thrash charge through your head and leave it smoking. Mike Scheidt’s varying vocals are fantastic (is there anything that dude can’t do with his voice?), the unconventional soloing is wonderful, the riffs are addictive as hell, and the songs also hit with heavyweight power.