(We welcome back Norwegian guest contributor Gorger, who has provided us with another feature on bands we seem to have overlooked at NCS. For readers of Norwegian, please check out Gorger’s Metal.)
Thirteen months ago I did a short series of reviews (here and here) under the moniker “Metal Not Previously Featured On NCS”. Now that Islander is busy gazing into the sky I thought I’d chip in a contribution once again. (What? He’s working? Well, that’s what you get for only looking at the pictures).
There are more creative serpentine forces lurking and dwelling in the underground than ever. With all new creeping and crawling releases that are spewed forth, no one can keep track of everything. Thus, good stuff flies under the radar, undetected or forgotten and lost in the pandemonium (along with you-know-who).
Also, goodies are occasionally left behind at the station because the train is full and time is insufficient. Of course, most of my most favoured picks of recent months have been covered by the hard-working NCS crew.
Without further ado, here’s an exclusive selection of a few releases that have tickled my spell, put me under the feet, or swept me of my death. Darned, pesky idioms.
VORAGE – VORAGE (EP)
If staggering brutality with eclectic features, seasoned with pest and cholera, is your cup of arsenic, than this UK-based duo could be right up your back ally. To throw you some more bait, all instruments are handled by former שְׁאוֹל-member A.H.S..
The music, somewhat closer to Deathspell Omega than Portal, portrays a psychedelic occult berserker onslaught of crazed guitar works, creating a mood of dizzying heights and disturbing views of desolated worlds appearing as distorted and out of place. I’ll leave you with those haunting Lovecraft-images in your head.
PSYCHOPHOBIA – THE FALL (EP)
Time to anoint the nerves a little. This fine Polish quintet mix Death Metal with melodic finesse. Imagine melodic metal in a power/viking landscape run through a death metal grinder if you will.
With impeccable twin-guitars that throw rough riffs and melodic gems at you simultaneously and hefty drumming and ditto bass that’s flanked by coarse and high-caliber growling, this just grooves.
In addition to skilled technicality, the last pieces of the puzzle fall into place when both sound and songs meet the demands. The sound is crystal clear with plenty of punch, and the songs are constructed of good melodies with identity and characteristics.
VAEE SOLIS – ADVERSARIAL LIGHT
The metal scene in Portugal is obviously on the rise. Bands like Onirik, Lux Ferre,
Carma, Névoa, Dolentia, Örök and Enlighten have lately made an international impact. I’m very enthusiastic to observe that many of the new acts really kick ass. Vaee Solis is one of them, and they are a female-fronted black/doom/sludge quartet.
They present slow-moving, sharp, and dark tones with depressive melody lines that reek of sadness, hopelessness, gloom, and despair. In fact, this is unadulterated disgust made from a complete lack of faith, hope, and love. Adversarial Light doesn’t just bring slow black tonality with its black/doom, but rather a black version of sorrowful death/doom with a fitting touch of sludge into some kind of tardy DSBM style with a twist.
The band is a coordinated entity, where thoughtfully calculated instrumentation creates good dynamic flow and spice in the music. The percussion, for example, creates sizzling, sputtering, and blistering motions by vital usage of the sticks. This is topped by the desperate and anguished rasping vocals of Sofia Loureiro.
HELL:ON – ONCE UPON A CHAOS…
These Ukrainian death-monger cossacks blend mighty, grandiose, versatile, and potent death metal with some violently, frantically fevered thrash passages, frequently altering between different moods and metallic strategies. The epic moods might be my favourite amongst them, but this holds something for every death-fan. For while the band sit on its throne of knuckles and bones, all other sub-genre ingredients form both foundation and macabre ornaments around this dark cardinal.
On Once Upon A Chaos… (makes you think of a Deicide album, doesn’t it?) sees the band
introduce exotic instruments like sitar, jaw-harp, Shehnai (oboe-like instrument from northern India, etc.), and goat-pipe (What? Can I have a hit?) for the first time. Let’s hope they’ll continue using those things, for it sounds great.
On a side note: Two and a half months ago, the band released the compilation Decade of Hell, containing two songs from each album. It’s a “Name your price” release on Bandcamp. I haven’t had time to check it out, but if the former material maintains the same high level, this must be a small gold mine for anyone who wants to get better acquainted with these Ukrainians.