Last Saturday I explained that because of a serious brain injury to a close friend and colleague, I wouldn’t be able to write much for the site this week other than introductions of premieres I had agreed to host, and that has proven true. When not working at my fucking day job, I’ve been with her and her family in the ICU. That’s not likely to change in the coming days. My friend is showing signs of progress, and it seems likely that she will wake up soon, perhaps today or tomorrow. And then we will begin to find out how the injury has affected her mental and physical functioning. I’m optimistic, and terrified.
Though my routine this week hasn’t been anything close to normal, I have discovered a few excellent new songs and videos, thanks to recommendations from friends, and I thought I would collect them here. I’m grateful for the supportive comments I’ve received from readers, and for all the posts I’ve received from our regular writers and guests this week to keep this train rolling on down the line.
Visions of Exalted Lucifer is the name of the new album by the Dutch black metal band Cirith Gorgor, who began worshipping the Devil through their music back in the mid-’90s. This is the band’s sixth studio album and their first since 2011 (in the intervening years, the band’s line-up has changed). It was released by Hammerheart Records in February. Not long ago Hammerheart and the band released a lyric video for the song “A Vision of Exalted Lucifer”.
It’s a bleak, searing, barbaric song (the vocals in particular are paint-stripping acid sprays), laced with dissonant guitar writhings and gravel-throated bass rumbles, but there are some captivating riffs in this song as well. Really good stuff.
GREY HEAVEN FALL
About 10 days ago I finally got around to reviewing the remarkable album Black Wisdom by the Russian band Grey Heaven Fall, which was released last October by Aesthetics of Devastation. Yesterday brought a video for a song on that album named “Tranquillity of the Possessed” (the video is titled “Tranquillity In A Black Room” — you’ll see why), a song I described in my review as “in part slow, woeful, and doom-stricken and in part a blazing bonfire — a cacophony of distraught, dismaying noise capped by an explosion of tearing riffs, demented guitar pulsing, and manic percussion”.
It’s an amazing song, and this creative performance video captures the frenetic, disorienting, phantasmagoric quality of the music.
I’ve really missed Kartikeya. I didn’t realize how much until I listened to their new single, which debuted yesterday: “The Golden Blades”.
Singles are all this Russian band have released since their 2011 EP Durga Puja and their last album (released that same year), Mahayuga. This new one (which I discovered thanks to TheMadIsraeli) features Shravan Sridhar on violin. It’s a wonderful combination of Indian ethnic music, jolting grooves and other body-moving rhythms, savage vocals, and a swinging melody that gets stuck in the head.
You can stream and buy the track here (and explore Kartikeya’s other releases as well):
THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL
We turn next to an official video for a song named “Von Sturmer” off the forthcoming second album by Sweden’s The Order of Israfel, which is named The Red Robes.
This one is an “exception to our rule” (the one about singing), but it’s a worthwhile one — a heavy, hook-filled, mid-paced piece of narcotic rocking doom that eventually picks up the pace briefly as the blood begins to fly in the video.
Red Robes will be released by Napalm Records on May 27 and can be ordered here.
via Revolver (and thanks to eiterorm for tipping me on this one)
Rebel Scum is a new New York band I learned about because its line-up includes Kenny Zotara, who is a member of a band we’ve covered before, Theatre Nocturne. They’ve recorded a debut album named The Scoundrel, which will be out on June 26, and on May 6 they’ll be releasing a single from the record called “Speed Freaks“. I got a chance for an advance listen to the single, and now you will, too.
Rebel Scum are churning out some devilish rock ‘n’ roll that will make you want to get loaded, jump on a big, smoking chopper, and eat up the highway, with Satan as your co-pilot. It’s a very catchy tune, and the vocals are filthy and venomous, as they should be. Before you know it, you’ll be yelling out “Speed!… Freaks!” right along with the song.
The album was recorded and produced by Joe Leising at Rotten Metal Recordings in Buffalo, NY. The band’s full line-up is: Zack Rot (Bass and Lead Vocals), Kenny Zotara (Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals), Brandon Schmidt (Lead Guitar), and Eareckson Murray (Drums).
The final item in this collection is a video named “Der Seher” from the Berlin-based black metal band Seher, whose debut album Nachzehrer seems to have been released digitally in December 2015 and later on vinyl via Vendetta and tape via Totenmusik. The video, however, is for a track from the band’s previous release, a 2015 demo.
“Der Seher” is a fire-breathing, adrenaline-surging race at the beginning, with a huge bass sound that resembles a driving piston, furious drumming, and a seething melody that gets its hooks in you — not to mention a scalding vocal performance. Almost halfway through, however, it grows even darker and doomier as the pace slows, before the band gradually bring the music to a boil again. There’s a grim, desolate, hopeless feeling in the song, which is matched by the video’s wintry urban scenes (almost devoid of life) that accompany the track. I’ll certainly be exploring this band’s music further.