This is my last morning in Anchorage for my fucking day job, at least for this trip. When I woke up before sunrise it was 3°F. Now the sun is up, and it’s 1°F — that’s One Degree. I’m definitely ready to come home.
In between packing and eating a formidable breakfast at the Snow City Cafe a few blocks from my hotel I listened to a trio of new songs and watched one new video that I enjoyed. I thought you might like them, too.
PILE OF PRIESTS
This Denver trio released an EP named Unholy Death in 2011, which followed a five-track demo in 2010 named Burn. Now they’ve completed a debut album entitled Void To Enlightenment, which features cover art by the masterful Sam Nelson (Stigma) and is due for release on December 12 (CD and digitally). The band recently released the album’s first single, “Incantations of Old”, and it’s fascinating.
The song is technically impressive, inventively constructed, and loaded with surprises. The gruff, throaty, tyrannical vocals and grinding riffs anchor the song in old school death metal territory, but the bounding bass notes, wild lead guitar machinations, creative drumwork, and highly varied rhythms and tempos spin it off into a multitude of other vectors (memories of Pestilence came to mind more than once). The guitar instrumental in the mid-section of the song is a huge eye-opener, and the bass and guitar solos that come in the song’s second half are gob-smacking.
These dudes have some serious instrumental chops and display laudable creative flair in their songwriting. Their new album seems well worth exploring.
Grima is the name of a duo from Siberian Russia. Their debut album Devotion To Lord will be released by Naturmacht Productions on November 28. I haven’t yet listened to the entire album, but I do really like an advance track that’s available on YouTube.
The name of the song is “The Beginning”. It’s an intense offering of atmospheric black metal that grows more and more emotionally gripping as the song unfolds. The central melody that moves through the song like an oscillating wave is highly memorable, and the variations on the theme that the guitarist weaves through the dense shroud of riffs and blasting drums are scintillating. Fittingly, the vocalist sounds like his heart is exploding from his chest.
There’s a dramatic change of pace in the song in the second half, and it’s absolutely entrancing when it comes, while the finish is just as mesmerizing (though in a different way).
Devotion To Lord is available for pre-order here.
This next song is the opening track of an album named Visions of Apocalypse that was released yesterday by Unspeakable Axe Records (a vinyl edition is due next year from Dark Descent). It comes from a Bay Area legends Insanity, who trace their roots back to the mid-’80s. There’s a long (and sad) history to this band, which you can read here, and this album marks a revival of sorts.
So far, given how little time I’ve had for music today, I haven’t made it past this first track — but it’s certainly an enticing introduction to the album. “Sacrefixion” is the name of the track, and it will get the blood racing in your veins fright from the beginning. It’s jet-speed death/thrash with a head-spinning display of technical athleticism — brutal and bludgeoning and blistering, with master-class guitar soloing that will threaten to pop the eyes from your skull.
The album is available for order or download on Bandcamp — HERE.
SWALLOW THE SUN
I’m going to presume that Finland’s Swallow the Sun require no introduction. Century Media released their new triple album Songs from the North I, II & III yesterday. I’m now unsure whether we will have a review of it, though it has been well-received by everyone on our crew who has heard it.
Yesterday the band released a new official video for a song called “Rooms and Shadows”. The video was directed and produced by drummer Vesa Ranta (ex-Sentenced and The Man-Eating Tree). It’s a very pretty song, and that’s about all I can think of to say in the few minutes I have left before leaving for my flight home. The album is available here.