SEEN AND HEARD: KZOHH, HÜZÜN, WINTER NIGHTS, NUCLEUS, WORSHIP OF KERES
I mentioned yesterday that this week has brought yet another flood of new music. Continuing to sift through what I’ve been seeing and hearing, I’d like to share and recommend new songs and videos from five bands today. Lots of diversity here…
The Ukrainian black metal band KZOHH includes members of such other excellent groups as Khors and Reusmarkt, among others. In early December I included some words about a great song named “Alousia et Pestilentia Ignearia” from their just-released second album, Rye. Fleas. Chrismon.
Yesterday the band released a multi-camera, pro-shot live video of their performance at the Via Sinistra III Festival in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on December 6, 2015. The name of the song performed in the video is “Massebegravelser”, which is also from Rye. Fleas. Chrismon.
The stately rhythms and grim, majestic chords of the music give it the air of a demonic ritual, and so does the appearance of the performance, with the band clad in black masks and hooded robes and the smoke of incense billowing into the air.
Halfway into the song, the music catches fire as the drums begin to blast and the chords turn into lashes, all of it driven by the feral savagery of the vocals. The band eventually return to the hypnotic, otherworldly gravitas of the opening, with the sound of chants drawing this black mass to a close.
“Hüzün refers to a type of spiritual anguish, suffered when we grow in attachment to worldly pleasures, and in turn experience a distance from God and spirituality. Hüzün is not the melancholy of a single person, but a dark mood shared by millions of people together.”
And that’s the explanation given by a duo from Porto, Portugal (Cláudia Andrade and João Freire) for the choice of their band name. They have recently released a single called “Silêncio” (featuring a guest appearance on guitar by Pedro Pimentel), which will appear on an EP to be released in March by Dissociated Records, and you can check it out below.
I thought this song would make a good follow-on to that KZOHH video, because it too has the air of a ritual. The deep droning tones, the slow, strummed notes, and the ethereal vocals create a mystical ambience that proves spellbinding. The mournful synthesis of strings and timpani that eventually appear deepen the music’s hypnotic effect while finding glimmers of beauty in loss.
Winter Nights are a melodic death metal band from Brooklyn who have released an EP and two albums, the last of which was An Endless Apocalypse in 2014. On February 12 — timed to coincide with the band’s performance at the Gramercy Theater with Fleshgod Apocalypse — they released a new single for streaming that’s very good.
The name of the song is “Encounters of the Frozen North“. It has a lot of thundering, jolting power along with some killer riffs and a dark, somewhat Eastern-influenced melody that worms its way into your head. The music is capped by jagged, tyrannical vocals that make a powerful impact and by a serpentine solo that underscores the reptilian menace lurking within the song.
I’m not sure how the band plan to distribute the single, but I’ll update this post when I find out.
Within the last week Unspeakable Axe Records launched a new song on YouTube from the forthcoming debut album by a Chicago death metal band named Nucleus. The name of the album is Sentient, and the song is “Cube”.
The label drops names like Demilich and Timeghoul in describing the music, and that inevitably creates some high expectations — but “Cube” delivers. It’s a dynamic, high-octane piece of music, with plenty of attention-grabbing instrumental pyrotechnics flashing above the tank-like low-end grinding. It brings a potent dose of brutality but engages your higher faculties as well. Good stuff!
Sentient will be released on April 15 and features wonderful cover art by none other than Dan Seagrave.
WORSHIP OF KERES
Worship of Keres is the name chosen by a four-person doom collective whose members appear to be split between Shasta Lake and the Bay Area of California. Their debut EP Bloodhounds For Oblivion was released via Bandcamp on February 14.
I’ve already forgotten how I came across this EP, but I’m glad I did. It’s an exception to our “Rule”, but a well-deserved one, because Elise Tarens has a great voice. But the pristine clarity and intensity of her ghostly yet soulful wails are only part of the music’s appeal. The band also deliver crushing, fuzz-bombed riffs geared to get heads moving and occult melodies that flood the mind with narcotic smoke. When they put their foot on the gas, accompanied by searing, psychedelic soloing, Worship of Keres heat the blood, too.
Per the band’s Facebook page, they are already working on a second EP projected for release in April.
KZOHH is seriously a crazy record. I love love love it. Sounds like pestilence and misery.
Gotta check the rest, but was super happy to hear mention of KZOHH. One of the last years very best.
It really is excellent — and I didn’t give it enough attention last year. Glad this video gives us a chance to remind people about it.
Worship of Keres won my heart on this list.
Wonderful! Very glad you enjoyed it.
Hüzün, Worship of Keres and, especially, Nucleus, all sound great. That Nucleus song alone almost makes up for the mildly disappointing Chthe’ilist record.
Kzohh sounds great. I had to jump back and listen to Alousia et Pestilentia Ignearia again. Sounds like one hell of an album.
I’m sorry but I had to laugh at the KZOHH vid,that bit when he’s on the ground was like something out of WWF wrestling and when he was getting up I thought some dude was gonna run out and put a cloak over his shoulders like James Brown lmao.
Hüzün is haunting
That Worship of Keres EP is sounding awesome – doomy riffs and an awesome singer.
Nucleus is awesome!! \m/
I’m marking my calendar for “Sentient”! 🙂
Their bandcamp has a 3 song ep for free too,which is awesome.
oh and a full length which is also free.