Jan 262016

Rotting Christ-Rituals


Sometimes I worry that we bombard you so heavily with new music that it might become exhausting, or just unrealistic to follow what we’re throwing at you. I’m kind of feeling that way today, which is why I changed the title of this post from the usual “Seen and Heard” headline — since this would be the fourth of those in four days. But despite the different title, that’s still what this is — a round-up of recently released music we want to recommend.


It seems like only a week ago that Season of Mist released the last advance track from Rotting Christ’s new album (featured here). Actually, it was only one week ago. But yesterday another track premiered. And of course I’m writing about it because I think it’s just as strong as the ones that have preceded it.




The new song is named “Του Θάνατου” (Tou Thanatos). Driven at first by a skittering riff, it transforms into a huge, majestic march with massed male voices and the boom of timpani. The skittering riff returns again, keeping the music on edge, and the song is also marked by a somber but riveting guitar melody. Dare I use the word “epic”? I believe I must.

To listen to the song, venture over to Metal Sucks via this link.

Rituals come out on February 12. You can order it here.







High Priest of Saturn-Son of Earth and Sky


(Grant Skelton wrote the following introduction to a new song by High Priest of Saturn, and then I’m again responsible for the next two selections. — Islander.)

On the heels of Comrade Aleks’ interview with vocalist Merethe Heggset comes the debut of the first new taste of High Priest of Saturn’s upcoming album Son Of Earth And Sky. Below is a stream of the album’s first track “Aeolian Dunes.” Heggset has mentioned that, with the exception of a few minor vocal overdubs, the album was recorded live. And the essence of that live recording is evident in this track.

This song (and indeed the entire album) could serve as the soundtrack to Aldous Huxley’s mescaline-induced experiment that would become The Doors Of Perception. This music is a journey into interdimensional regions of the metaphysical cosmos. Looking for altered states of consciousness? Perhaps leave your corporeal body and astrally project yourself onto an undiscovered planet where you communicate with two-dimensional beings who speak Sanskrit? Want to know what colors taste like? Sure, you could go through the trouble of consuming a mind-altering substance (please don’t). Instead, listen to High Priest Of Saturn. Spend what money you would spend on said lysergik tonic on High Priest Of Saturn’s new album Son Of Earth And Sky. Better yet, buy a T shirt and see them live, too.

At the end of Comrade Aleks’ interview, I commented that I was “in love with” this album. I easily see it being one of my favorites of 2016. This band are the embodiment of everything that made old psychedelic bands like Iron Butterfly and Blue Cheer great. The songwriting and instrumentation are refreshing and impeccable.

Son Of Earth And Sky will be out February 26 on Svart Records. Preorder on CD here and vinyl here.








Kozeljnik-Death Gives Unto Life


Thanks to my Serbian friend “M“, I learned yesterday that the Belgrade-based band Kozeljnik have released a new song, which turns out to be the first sample of music from a new four-track EP named Death Gives Unto Life. The EP will be released on January 27 by the Belarusian label Possession Productions.

I have very fond memories of this Serbian duo’s last EP, 2013’s Null: The Acheron of Multiform Negation. One of the songs from it (“Time, Neglected in the Wound of a Martyr”) got stuck so powerfully in my head that I included it in my list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs that year. So I was pretty damned excited to discover this new song. In turn, it has gotten me pretty excited for the new EP.

The song’s thick, driving riffs exert a magnetic pull, while the song’s sometimes dissonant melodies prove to be just as seductive. An air of sorrow surrounds much of the track, yet it has a defiant quality as well, and before it ends it’s racing and rocking. The song also includes a lot of vocal variety (much of it clean). Once again, it’s a multifaceted Kozeljnik song that resists genre classification, integrating elements of black metal, doom (and maybe a little heroic folk metal, too).

(The cool cover art is by Opposition ArtworksLuka Matković played session bass on the album.)








Hands of Despair-Bereft


Hands of Despair are from Montreal, Québec, and their second album Bereft is scheduled for release by Deathbound Records on February 9. Though I haven’t heard the whole album, a couple of weeks ago a friend turned me on to two tracks from it that are streaming on Bandcamp, and I’ve found myself going back to them almost every day since then. The band have also released a video for one of the two, and I’m including that below, along with the song streams.

I’m at the point that when I hear the first reverberating guitar notes in “Sleeper” I start to fall into a trance. I do that even though I know the song is soon going to erupt in an effusion of blasting drums and ripping tremolo runs. But I also know that entrancing melody is going to surface again in a variety of guises — which is part of what makes the song so damned memorable. Whether the band are racing hell-bent-for-leather or clearing space for a beautiful, rippling guitar duet, the shades and phases of that opening melody are always there. The song also features contrasting vocals (harsh and clean) that are all good, and a cool bass performance.

“Veil” (which is the subject of the new video) builds on a similar kind of dynamic — juxtaposing beautiful, softer melodic passages executed with a strummed guitar, rumbling bass, and pattering cymbals against heavier, harder, more propulsive attacks. The black metal elements of the band’s multifaceted sound are less present in this song, making way for something more doom-influenced, and the wonderful bass-and-guitar instrumental near the end almost sounds like bagpipes. (Or maybe I’m still under the influence of Robert Burns’ birthday yesterday.) Really good vocals, once again, as well.




  1. That Rotting Christ song is amazing. This and the last one released really remind me of Celtic Frost’s Monotheist, which is one of my favorite metal albums. It’s thick with atmosphere, like a coffee fart that lingers in the air, stinging your eyes.

  2. Think I’ll lay of the metaphors this time. Fart-man’s killing me over here.
    Lots of great music in this post!

  3. I’m really digging Hands of Despair 🙂

  4. Hands of Despair is certainly right up my alley, and of course that Rotting Christ track is phenomenal (as if we could expect any less, or any different).

  5. I think that’s my favorite of the new Rotting Christ tracks so far. And Kozeljnik is intriguing indeed – hard to pin down and the slightly off-kilter first section is music to my off-kilter ears. I’ll be returning to hear the full album when it drops.

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