As you can see, I decided to give the “Seen and Heard” title a rest for today, but that’s still what this post really is — another selection of music I’ve come across in recent days that I thought you might enjoy as much as I have. Most of what’s in here is new, some of it only newly discovered by yours truly. As is usually the case, the featured music is stylistically diverse. And because this is a birthday weekend at NCS, I decided to really load up this post with a lot of listening.
We’ll start this collection of music with the debut EP from Norway’s Nachash, a four-track offering entitled Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse. Though it was released in February of this year (through Unborn Productions), I only discovered it recently, and what a discovery it has been.
The four long songs on the EP are rich and multifaceted. The final track “A Necromancer’s Lament”, which is set to play first on Bandcamp, is like a melding of stoner doom and black metal; the riffs are so goddamn delicious that I got pulled headfirst into the rest of the EP as if I’d been sucked into a whirlpool.
And it turns out that all the other songs display an equally fine talent for riff-crafting. “Astride the Chasm’s Depths” is a ripping torrent of black thrashing ferocity; “Crimson Monarch” escalates the savagery in a cyclone of scything riffs and thundering drums, punctuated with off-pace movements of doomy hallucination; and “Scale the Inferno” builds an atmosphere of suffocating dread through a mix of grim, storming tremolo riffs — and then shifts gears into a monstrous processional march of ghastly, howling black/doom.
Really catchy, really evil, really heavy music — and as icing on the cake the reverberating vocal terrors are convincingly ravenous. Two of the band’s three members conceal their identities, but I have no doubt this isn’t their first rodeo.
This next item is a new two-part demo by a band from Montreal, Québec, named Gevurah. Entitled Dialogue of Broken Stars, it’s the third of the band’s short releases since 2011 (I wrote here about their 2013 EP Necheshirion, released by Profound Lore).
The first track is bleak, dissonant black/death, conjuring hallucinations of malign alien forces tearing through the membranes that separate our dimension from theirs. The swarming riffs, echoing guitar leads, and serrated growls and howls build that atmosphere of cold dread quite effectively, yet the music can get stuck in your head, too.
The second track is an extended ambient piece that is no less alien and chilling in its atmosphere, but more like a perilous drift through the void of deep space than being caught in the throes of deadly chaos.
Dialogue is available now on Bandcamp, and a 7″ vinyl edition is expected from Graceless Recordings later this winter.
Malencontre are a black metal band who come our way from Ukraine, with a debut EP named 13 that was released in January 2015. I discovered the EP through a recommendation from another Ukrainian musician and a friend of the band.
The high, piercing treble ringing of the opening riff to “На том берегу” is an immediate grabber, and the song doesn’t lose its hold as it segues into a bouncing rhythm and then a slower, mesmerizing gait before starting to race again. It’s a really dynamic and memorable song that rocks as well as rips, with tinges of folk influence in the music. Flesh-rending vocal passion in here, too.
The following track, “Город”, works a similar kind of magic, with a memorable melody at its core and more rhythmic dynamism spinning out around it.
13 is a wonderful little gem that deserves a lot more exposure. It’s a “name your price” download on Bandcamp:
In September we premiered a song named “Itami” by the multinational band Serocs from their new album And When the Sky Was Opened, with an introduction by Austin Weber. As some of you may know, Austin has taken on another writing gig for Metal Injection, and on Friday he premiered a full stream of the Serocs album at that site. I’ll give you an excerpt from Austin’s write-up about the album:
“For those unfamiliar with Serocs, they play a rather chaotic and venomous form of technical death metal that often reminds me of mid-era Cryptopsy. Even after numerous listens of the record, I’m still catching new things every time I spin it since it’s a very intricate album featuring outstanding performances by each member.”
It really is a very good album, and you should go here to give it a listen:
Abyssus began life in 2011 as the solo project of Athenian vocalist and musician Kostas Analytis and now also includes guitarist Panos Gkourmpaliotis and bass-player Kostas Ragiadakos. Following a series of EPs and splits, the band released their debut full-length Into the Abyss via the Memento Mori label at the end of October.
It’s a full-force assault of old school death metal with a doom undercurrent that inspires fond memories of lots of classic bands. If you look at the tags on the album’s Bandcamp page, you’ll see references to Asphyx, Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, and Massacre, but perhaps the most relevant reference would be Obituary. The songs are well-written, well-performed, and as infectious as they are head-wrecking, both when the band are rampaging and when stalking in the dirge of a grisly funeral procession.
I’ll also mention that, lyrically, the album is a bit unusual, since many of them are based on historical events. “Enthrone the Insane” was inspired by the Roman emperor Nero (37-68 A.C.); “Across the Fields of Death” was inspired by the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War between France and Great Britain against Russia (October 25th, 1854); and “Visions of Eternal Pain” was inspired by the allied bombing of the Piraeus Harbor in Greece on January 11, 1944.
(Thanks to KevinP for turning me on to this album.)
THE CORONA LANTERN
This next band is based in Prague in The Czech Republic. Following a two-track debut demo released last spring, they’ve now brought forth a debut album named Consuming the Tempest, which is available on Bandcamp.
It took me a while to make my way through this album — because I got so stuck on the first track set to play on Bandcamp, “Apathy That Resonates”. It’s as grim as heart failure but man, it’s really catchy, and Daniela “Dahlien” Neumanová’s voice is bestial enough to curdle blood. And you’ll be happy to know that if you get stuck on that song as much as I did, the rest of the album is loaded with more gems.
“Sludge” and “doom” are probably the best genre descriptors, and the album is indeed freighted with a heavy dose of wrenching agony and emotional breakdown. But the band pull from other genre traditions as well, and there are some beautiful melodies and lots more virally infectious riffs salted throughout this powerhouse of an album. And if you want a different side of Daniela’s voice, be sure to check out the dose of sonic morphine called “A Ray of Black Light Lantern”.
To close out this Sunday collection, I’m veering off our usual beaten paths and also making an exception to our “Rule” (the one about singing) — but trust me, this is an exception worth making.
GRGA is the solo project of Gustaf Lindström. For about four years he was bassist for the Swedish death metal band Repugnant, but he was also the bassist and one of the founding members of the Swedish pop group Subvision along with Tobias Forge (guitar and vocals) and Thomas Daun (drums). And along with Forge, he is also rumored to have been one of the original members of the now meteorically successful Ghost. Lindström was also vocalist for the band Iron Lamb, among many other projects in which he has been involved over the years.
More than a year ago, Lindström released a two-song demo named Overblown for his new solo project GRGA, with assistance from Thomas Daun on drums and his former Repugnant bandmate, guitarist Johan Wallin (the music also includes backing vocals by Love Utterstrom and Maria Larsen). I discovered the demo by coming across a video for the title track that was released last month. The video is an interesting thing to watch, and the music hooked me right away.
In describing the music, Lindström and/or others have thrown out such names as Samhain, Iggy & The Stooges, Motörhead, The Dead Boys, and The Doors. Rather than try to wrap your mind around the idea of such a combination, just listen. I’ve got the video for “Overblown” below, as well as a Bandcamp stream for both tracks on the demo.