Hey there. It’s good to be back on round-up duty. As I mentioned at the beginning of the week, I had to spend the last four days in something like the Bataan Death March for my fucking day job, except I was able to eat food and wasn’t scarred for life watching all my friends around me die in misery. I didn’t have to crap myself while walking either. But, I mean, by modern first world standards for a well-paid office worker it felt brutal. Please don’t shed too many tears, ‘cuz it’s over.
Anyway, there ain’t no fuckin’ way I can catch you up on all the good stuff I spotted since last Sunday and couldn’t write about, so I’m not even going to try. And I’m working on not feeling anxious and miserable about it. I don’t understand why people frown on having a few shots at breakfast. It’s very therapeutic. Here are some jewels you probably won’t find at some other metal site.
Speaking of therapeutic, the debut EP of Portuigal’s Systemik Viølence will do a masterful job of helping you discharge your desire to kick the living shit out of everything and everyone around you, without going to prison.
There are two songs available for streaming, though last night I was fortunate to listen to the whole thing, and it made me feel so much better. You might guess from the EP’s title that this is punk music, but different people have different things in mind when they think of punk, so I need to explain.
There’s plenty of rage, energy, and testosterone here, but these people also dump a slag of molten metal on your head, too. They cite influences from the likes of GISM, early Anti-Cimex, and Darkthrone. It’s d-beat-driven ugliness delivered with maximum destructive impact and utterly venomous vocals — a pure adrenaline surge that’s heavy as hell, dirty as your goddamn toilet, and with the kind of hooks and rhythms that would make even a sloth scamper and mosh. Also, fuck you.
Also, the samples stitched onto these songs are goddamn perfect.
Fuck As Punk will be released on April 22. Of course, it will be released on tape, limited to 100 copies — which you can order HERE. But there’s a shirt, too (limited to 30 units), and who wouldn’t want a shirt that says “Fuck As Punk”? (I haven’t seen the shirt, but I hope that’s what’s on it.) And for those who are tape-challenged, there’s a digital download — but sadly, you can only buy the two tracks that are streaming. Also, if you don’t like that, fuck you.
UPDATE: Okay, the shirt doesn’t say “Fuck As Punk”, but it’s a pretty fine shirt anyway (check it here).
AN ABBATH REMIX (BY CRYPTICUS)
Those of you with very long memories may remember that almost a year ago I spread the word about some remixes prepared by Patrick Bruss, who is not only the mastermind of the thoroughly awesome death metal band Crypticus but also a record producer and a remix genius. Within the last 24 hours I found out about the latest of his remix jobs, and this thing has been cleaving my skull into pieces through repeat listens ever since.
This particular remix takes Abbath’s “Ocean of Wounds” off his fantastic self-titled debut album as its source material and then transforms it into something like manna from heaven for headbangers. The original song is excellent to begin with, but it’s even more excellenter in what you’re about to hear — and it rocks your head for more minutes, too. There really is a kind of thoroughly metal inspiration in this transformation, a manifestation of spirit and skill that both pays homage to the original track and moves it in ways that expand its impact.
People with eggshell skulls should skip this cataclysm. People like me with heads as hard as stone will eat it up. It’s a pure earth-shaker. I bow down to Abbath and Patrick Bruss.
CULT OF THE HEAD
It’s only fitting that I follow that Crypticus remix with this next song by Cult of the Head from Liverpool, England, because I discovered it via a Facebook link by Patrick Bruss. When I first heard the song, it was one of two that was available on Bandcamp. When I went back to the link for another fix, the Bandcamp stream had disappeared. I can speculate about this, and my speculation is that this little EP will be released by some label, which would explain why the Bandcamp stream has (perhaps temporarily) vanished. Fortunately, a YouTube clip of one of the songs has surfaced.
This particular track is called “The Sanctimonious Horrors” (the other one that has become inaccessible is “Portents In the Fire”). The song blasts like a line of heavy artillery, tearing the earth into craters and flying clots of stone and uprooted trees. But mass destruction isn’t the song’s only selling point. It also incorporates interesting guitar and bass work and melodic currents that move with the confidence and strength of a python. As the song surges forward, the emotional power and magnetism of the melody only grows stronger, without ever sacrificing the song’s bone-rattling intensity.
And speaking of jolting force, you can feel the drumming on the song deep in your guts all the way through, and the vocals possess the searing, ravenous snarl of a black metal wraith. By the time the song has coursed through its widely varying movements and exuberant bursts of creative energy, I think you’ll be sold. I sure as hell was — this is remarkably good! There are few songs of more than 11 minutes in length that I can honestly say I wish were longer, but without doubt this is one of them.
Don’t make me beg, dudes: When and where can we listen to the other song and acquire this for our very own selves?
The worst thing I can say about this Athenian half-doom, half-melodic-death-metal band is that they don’t release enough music — though I think we’ve covered everything they’ve created so far.
DGR reviewed their first EP, Tales of Our Times, about one year ago, describing it as “largely introspective and brooding, while being frighteningly precise at creating ethereal landscapes in their music” and as “an EP that can make the skies on a nice day darken and become a harbinger of the rain to come”. And that seemed worth quoting, because…
Yesterday Aetherian released a new powerhouse of a song called “The Rain”, accompanied by their first music video. It’s yet further proof of Aetherian‘s remarkable talent for creating music that’s both electrifying and aching with pain. This song is one of the most savage and emotionally intense the band have written, with strikingly barbaric, blazing vocals, and explosions of blast-furnace intensity. And yet the melodic core of the song is immensely appealing — and of course very dark and dramatic.
The video for the music could hardly be more perfect. Visually, the band really convey the music’s surging emotional force — you can see that they are feeling the music, even under the often pressurizing gaze of cameras. And the wild, cloudy natural setting is tailor-made for the song. A great decision to film it in black and white, too. Kudos to Jim Evgenidis and Icon Filmworx for this fine film work.
“The Rain” is available for download on Bandcamp.
MOTHER WITCH & DEAD WATER GHOSTS
Unlike the other items in this post, the following music isn’t brand new. It’s an album called Ruins of Faith released last November by a band from Odessa, Ukraine, named Mother Witch & Dead Water Ghosts.
If anyone tells you that this is just another occult stoner doom band with a female vocalist (of which there are indeed almost as many as there are blades of grass), pay them no mind. Just listen to the first minute of the song, “Storm”. The song’s brutal, glacial opening notes are heavy and ugly enough to rupture spinal discs. And when the song hits its tank-like rhythm, and the wailing vocals take flight, it strikes home like a heavy metal arrow to the heart.
In that same song you get a taste of delicious psychoactive guitar soloing as well as the power of Maria Teplitskaya’s vocal range. If I had known about this song last year, it would have been on my list of 2015’s Most Infectious Songs — though I could easily have picked any of the others, because everything on this album hits so damned hard. MW&DWG do with ease what so many bands in this genre strain to do — they deliver staggering riff power, enhanced by a skull-clobbering rhythm section, while also sending emotions soaring with striking vocal and guitar melodies.
As a general matter, this style of metal is way down on the list of my own personal menu of genre taste treats, so coming from someone like me, I hope these accolades will be meaningful. This album slaughters most of the competition without mercy.
The album is available on Bandcamp.