As I explained in a previous round-up today, I managed to find some time to catch up on new things yesterday. The previous round-up focused on album announcements with artwork (and one very good new song), and in this one I’ve collected some new music streams plus one older one that has really gotten under my skin. Lots of music in here, but I hope you’ll give all of it at least a test drive.
I was one of the fortunate few who got an advance listen to Panopticon’s new album Autumn Eternal, and therefore I had my say about it in July (here). I won’t repeat or attempt to summarize that review, except to say that this is one of my favorite albums of the year. And today, everyone else gets to hear it, too — because it’s now available for streaming (and purchase) on Bandcamp.
I urge you to listen to the whole album below, and then go to this location and grab it:
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT + GNAW THEIR TONGUES
I’ve been expecting something frightening ever since I learned that these two bands would be collaborating on a new album, but I’ve also been prepared for surprises. Although in retrospect I see a certain kindred nihilistic spirit in these two, and a shared talent for plumbing the depths of darkness, at the same time their approaches to their murderous crafts have been sufficiently different that imagining the results of their union was a real challenge. But now we have a glimpse of the results.
Yesterday CVLT Nation premiered the first song from this collaborative album, N.V. Its name is “Visceral Repulsion”. There’s a little pulsating electronic tone that comes and goes in this song that was so unexpected I’m mentioning it first. It’s surrounded by a cloud of black noise, by tumbling drum beats that also got their hooks in me, and by huge, hammering riffs. Also piercing the cloud of noise are some truly hair-raising shrieks, and the song also includes eruptions of explosive blasting percussion, wave fronts of distorted riffing, and finally a slow, sombre melodic segment that becomes hypnotic as the riffs and drums methodically come down like piledrivers.
I’m going to have to move this album way up in my listening queue….
N.V. will be released by Prosthetic on November 13. Pre-order here.
I learned of this next band (and the next two featured in this post) through tips from my Serbian friend “M“, who has an uncanny ability to find releases on a daily basis from bands I’ve never heard of. In this case, the band is a Minnesota group named Blood Folke, and I’ve really become hooked on their debut album My Heart In the Brilliance of Fire (released by Init Records this past July).
Though vocalist/guitarist Dan Wieken and drummer Bryan Pierson are powerful performers, it’s the sound of Lauren Gaffney’s viola that made this album stand out for me. At first, I wasn’t sure what instrument was making that sinuous and sensuous sound, both eerie and soulful — I thought it might be a tenor sax or even a guitar with some kind of very interesting effects pedal. The contrast it provides against the methodical hammering riffs, the spine-shaking drums, and the vocalist’s wrenching shrieks is very appealing. It makes the music both pulverizing and spectral at the same time.
Lauren Gaffney pulls an array of sounds out of her instrument — at times it also sounds like a wailing siren or the searing scream of some alien biomechanical entity (as well as an actual viola) — but throughout the album it enhances the music’s overarching atmosphere of gloom and peril, yet lodges strands of hypnotic beauty in this blackened, doomed panorama as well (most pronounced in “Glass Grenade”). Amazing album that’s not only fascinating but also infectious as hell. I can’t stay away from it for very long.
The album is available now on vinyl HERE. It’s streaming on Bandcamp, but I don’t know if there will be a digital release.
The next item in this collection is a stream of the new album by a duo from Stockholm (Jens and Jörgen) who call themselves Regnvm Animale. The musicians apparently trace their roots to the Swedish crust and d-beat scene, but Et sic in infinitum brings a substantial infusion of black and folk metal into the brew. And it’s an intoxicating brew indeed.
Since the last band in this collection featured a viola, I’ll mention that the final track on this album (“Grund”) includes a banjo performance, though it’s used in what’s really a folk song rather than a metal song. To get a better sense of what the rest of the album is like, check out “Förfallet”. It blends tinkling acoustic guitar and bird song at the beginning, but then segues into a gripping, dark, tremolo riff and hard-driving rhythms. The song includes other strikingly catchy riffs, as well as a brief lead guitar motif that got its hooks in me from the first listen. On top of all this, the vocalist delivers the wrenching yells and screams of a man coming apart at the seams.
Elsewhere in the album (as on the track that follows “Förfallet”), there’s even more of a pagan/folk influence in the melodies as well as spoken words and clean vocals (including guest female vocals) mixed with the impassioned yells. (For yet another sample of the album’s diversity, check out “Inåt”). The one consistent element in this diverse and consistently gripping album is the high quality of the riffs and melodies — they’re immediately engaging and have proven to be quite memorable.
The album is available as a download or on CD via Bandcamp.
SECOND TO SUN
Second To Sun are a Russian trio whose second album The First Chapter will be released on November 16. Once again, I have “M” to thank for discovering them. In addition to some previous releases, the group’s Bandcamp page currently includes a stream of two songs from the new album — “Land of the Fearless Birds” and “The Blood Libel”.
These two genre-bending songs employ pneumatic, jackhammering rhythms and big, booming riffs that are groovy as hell, as well as shimmering cosmic sections and eruptions of solo guitar pyrotechnics. But what hooked me were the high, piercing keyboard melodies (sometimes reprised by the guitar) — beautifully eerie, and seriously addictive. The mood ranges from the forlorn and the bleak to something splendorous.
The First Chapter is available for digital pre-order now, on Bandcamp.
Last, I bring you a new video by a melodic death metal band from the Galicia region of Spain named Bloodhunter. The video is for a song named “Dying Sun” from the band’s 2014 self-titled debut album (released by Suspiria Records and now available on Bandcamp).
I suspect one reason this band has drawn attention is that the group’s vocalist Diva Satanica is both beautiful AND sounds like an enraged and ravenous animal. But that alone would not be reason enough to pay attention — it happens that the high-voltage music in this video (which features a very cool dual-guitar solo) is also quite good, and the video is fun to watch, too.