For me and many others, The Grim Muse by Poland’s In Twilight’s Embrace was one of 2015’s highlights — a multifaceted and uniformly strong melodic death metal album loaded with fantastic riffs, memorable lead-guitar melodies and solos, powerful performances by the rhythm section, and absolutely ferocious vocals. The band are now following that stand-out album with a new three-song EP entitled Trembling, which will be released by Arachnophobia Records on May 25 (which is also the day set for Arachnophobia’s release of a vinyl edition of The Grim Muse). Today we bring you a full stream of the new EP.
These three new songs were recorded by the band during the same sessions that produced The Grim Muse, but were set aside with the idea of this EP specifically in mind. True to the band’s penchant for creating variations in their core sound, each song is distinctive, no one of them quite like the other two — yet all three are both dark and blistering.
When I reviewed The Grim Muse last year, I wrote that “much of the persistent savagery that runs through the entire album, despite the variations in style among the songs, is attributable to Cyprian Łakomy’s voice, which is an inflamed, panther-like howl, ravenous and hair-raising at all times.” And that remains true for this new EP — though as you’ll see, Cyprian puts some variations into his vocal assault to suit the differences in the songs, especially in the final track.
“Laughing Stock, a Burning Stake” is a galvanizing way to open the EP, a blazing burst of melodic death metal that links arms with early At the Gates and adds a bit of a punk vibe as well. After an opening barrage of double-bass munitions and raking riffs, the song bounds ahead with a mix of jabbing, jolting start-stop chords and a swarming, rising chorus melody (along with a very catchy solo by guest guitarist Simon from the band Superhalo).
The EP’s second track, “Into the Mouth of Madness”, moves between up-tempo galloping with nimble, darting riffs, and slower, moodier sections. In this song, the band also integrate elements of black metal, with slashing tremolo riffs and a high, trilling melody that seizes the attention as soon as it appears.
As good as these first two tracks are, though, the EP’s highlight may actually be the cover song that brings it to a close. In this track, In Twilight’s Embrace honor the long-running Polish punk band Armia with a metal take on a famous Armia song called “Opowieść Zimowa” (“Winter’s Tale”). Cyprian Łakomy has explained the choice of this song as follows:
“Legenda, the second album of Armia, is in my opinion not only the most unique landmark of Polish music, but also one of those records which stick to you for a lifetime. Right from the moment I heard it as a teenager, I was totally blown away by the utter darkness these songs channeled and the unconquered spirit they possessed. The whole opus has this grim, dark and cold feeling which perfectly corresponds with the Polish reality of the early 90s with its fear and trembling. At the same time, there is a deep yearning for the worlds far beyond this place. In this respect, I find the band’s founders Tomasz Budzyński and Robert Brylewski a perfect songwriting duo with the gift of creating new realms through sound.
“‘Opowieść Zimowa‘ is perhaps one of their strongest songs – full of horror and a weird kind of beauty at the same time. Covering it has been on my mind for years and I couldn’t be happier that we have finally done this. This is our homage not only to Armia, but to Polish music in general and the otherworldly power it was able to conjure back in the day.”
The band’s cover really is a thoroughly electrifying experience, an intensely catchy romp with a dark and defiant atmosphere, and on this track Cyprian mixes in a raw, sneering punk style along with his usual blackened snarl.
The Trembling EP and The Grim Muse LP will both be released on the 25th of May via Arachnophobia Records. Trembling is now available for pre-order HERE.