Obviously, we have been in the throes of LISTMANIA, and a lot more lists are coming next week. Between working my gnarled fingers to the bone getting all the lists ready for posting and writing about songs and albums we premiered last week, I haven’t had as much time as usual to peruse new songs and videos. But I did some of that yesterday and this morning, and of course I found a lot of new things I thought were worth throeing your way — excuse me, throwing your way — so much, in fact, that I’ve divided these recommendations into two parts. The second one will come later today. I’ll also have a Shades of Black post for you on Sunday.
I will tell you at the outset that I haven’t heard all of the albums featured below, only a few songs from each one. I’m writing about them now because I fear I’ll never get around to writing a full review. Also, there’s faster stuff and slower stuff collected in this two-part post, and I decided to arrange the music so you go back and forth between the two speeds.
In 1996, Poland’s Vader released an album entitled Future of the Past. That was the third album for a band that had already been in existence for more than a decade, and it included covers of 11 songs by other metal bands whose names are household words. Now, nearly 20 years after the release of that album, Witching Hour Productions has just released Future of the Past II – Hell in the East. It’s a musical celebration of what Vader refers to as “the biggest bands of the Polish metal underground of the ’80s and ’90s”.
So yes, this is also a covers album. On this new one Vader perform songs originally recorded by 12 other Polish metal bands. And one consequence of this that’s interesting is that Vader doesn’t exactly sound like Vader on this album.
But that’s not the only Vader album that Witching Hour Productions released a couple of days ago. They also re-issued that 1996 album Future of the Past (now called Future of the Past I), which includes recordings of songs by Sodom, Kreator, Celtic Frost, and Black Sabbath (and also Depeche Mode). And the label also released an 11-track live album called Before the Age of Chaos – Live 2015 that was recorded earlier this year in a club in Białystok, Poland.
All this stuff is available on CD, and it’s also available for download at Bandcamp (via the links below). I’ve barely scratched the surface of these new releases, but I’ve enjoyed the few songs I’ve heard so far from each one. Check ’em out below.
If you’ve been listening to Vader tear shit up, get ready to slow down. Tombstones are a Norwegian band with five albums to their credit, but I somehow managed to remain ignorant of them until I came across the latest of those albums, Vargariis, which was released by Soulseller Records on December 4.
The band themselves say on their Bandcamp page for the album that it represents an evolution from “their previous stoner-influenced sound”. Not being familiar with their previous sound, all I can do is comment on what I’ve heard from the new album — and what I’ve heard is damned good.
The main reason I haven’t heard all of this new album is because I got stuck on the first track, “Barren Fields”, which I’ve listened to a half dozen times. So really, it’s the band’s fault for starting the album with such goddamn mighty riffs and gripping drum rhythms. I get the slow headbang going every damned time, and then I wait eagerly for the psychoactive lead guitar melodies and wrenching vocal wails to kick in.
By the time the song ends in an intense, head-wrecking crescendo, I feel well and truly clobbered, with little rivulets of drool coming out of my mouth and a glassy-eyed thousand-yard stare.
I did finally manage to make it through the second song, and guess what? It’s another gem. I bet there are even more lying in wait before the end of Vargariis.
(Thanks to “M” for the tip on this album.)
Last month I discovered (and wrote about) Into the Abyss, the excellent debut album of a Greek death metal band named Abyssus. The group 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. That debut album, released by Memento Mori in October, followed a series of EPs and splits.
This morning I learned that, for its first release, a new sub-label of Transcending Obscurity named Transcending Obscurity Classics will be releasing a compilation of all the music from those earlier Abyssus creations under the title Once Entombed…
It includes the band’s latest split material with crust grinders Slaktgrav, their EP Summon the Dead, (those songs were also included in a split with the Czech band Morbider), the songs from their split with Greek death metal compatriots Nocturnal Vomit, and finally, the band’s debut EP Monarch to the Kingdom of the Dead. The music will be presented in reverse chronological order, with the latest material appearing first.
Also today, one song from the new compilation called “Remnants of War” was launched on Bandcamp. This track originally appeared on the split with Morbider. There’s a lot of morbid old school atmosphere (and punk energy) in this rumbling, lumbering beast, as well as catchy-as-hell riffs and raw, nasty vocals. Very cool.
For more info about Once Entombed…, including pre-order opportunities, go here: