SEEN AND HEARD (BY DGR): VOLTURYON, NECROMANCING THE STONE, DAWN OF DEMISE, EVERGREY, MASTIC SCUM, SPURN, S-TOOL, NOCTEM
(DGR volunteered for round-up duty to start our week, and brings us new music from seven bands plus new-album news from an eighth.)
We have been trying our damndest to keep up with the flow of music that has been spilling forth from the gaping maw of heavy metal recently, but it has become clear that this is a war that must be fought on multiple fronts. Thus, I find myself once again deploying to the Seen and Heard front lines with a veritable smorgasbord of new music, videos, and album announcements for you to all enjoy.
I had a lot of fun figuring out where to position each band this time, as I have a very symmetrical idea of how things in this Seen and Heard should be approached — resulting in tremendously heavy music spilling into some infectiously light stuff and then returning right back to the abyss from which it came. You may need to settle in for this one; there’s a lot of fantastic stuff packed within this round-up, and it just goes to show that 2016 is proving to be a hell of a year for metal.
Volturyon – Hinterkaifeck
Volturyon return with a second single in the lead-up to the September release of their new album Cleansed By Carnage. Previously, the band had put out a speed demon of a track known as “Fungus Coat” and this time around they follow up with the song “Hinterkaifeck”.
Now, as prompted by the band themselves, you may be wondering what the hell a Hinterkaifeck is and why in the world the single art focuses heavily on a gentleman with a pickaxe. Well, Hinterkaifeck is short for the Hinterkaifeck murders, in which a whole family and their new housemaid were all murdered in rural Germany with a mattock and their bodies thrown in the farmhouse, which leads to this gruesome detail provided via Wikipedia:
“It was established that a mattock was the most likely murder weapon and that the younger Cäzilia had been alive for several hours after the assault. Lying in the straw, next to the bodies of her grandparents and her mother, she had torn her hair out in tufts”.
Given Wikipedia’s propensity to be an occasional bullshit generator, who knows how much is media sensationalism and the case itself was never solved, so you’re left with a disgusting scene and some hefty inspiration for a death metal song generations later. With Hinterkaifeck on Volturyon’s side and Gloria Morti’s obsession with death of all sorts on Kuebiko as well as the song “Josef Fritzl”, I feel like I’m being provided a pretty hideous education in German and Austrian crimes via death metal.
The song itself is one of the slower-grooving tracks on Cleansed By Carnage, but the fact that the song itself picks up in speed for a thundering double-bass run about halfway through the track should provide a pretty good idea for the overall tempo of the group’s new disc. In fact, “Hinterkaifeck” is one of the handful of times where the band do generally slow it down a bit and go for the “classic” buzzsaw guitar sound and weighty rhythm-section style of death metal. Between “Fungus Coat” and “Hinterkaifeck”, Volturyon have provided a pretty solid picture of what Cleansed By Carnage is like and its two generally blast-heavy speeds.
Necromancing The Stone – The Descent
Necromancing The Stone are the latest in what seems to be an explosion of supergroups going around at the moment. We’ve actually been following this band for a bit, so the name should be somewhat familiar to you — more so if you bounce around the net, because a lot of sites are interested in this band. For good reason too, since the lineup includes gentlemen who have been in such projects as The Absence, Arsis, and Black Dahlia Murder.
The music, however, has proven to be pretty different from those bands, and watching people react to that has been interesting. It’s got a classic flair to it, which actually shouldn’t be too unexpected because Arsis‘ James Malone on his own has a penchant for breaking out some very ’80s-style guitar playing and has done so in his own project, so the chance to really expand upon that has to have proven exciting.
The band’s new song “The Descent” was premiered over at the Deciblog a few days ago, and I figured since we hadn’t caught up with it yet, this would be a good time, especially amongst the extremely varied smattering of bands that I’ve collected here. Jewel Of The Vile is actually out pretty goddamned soon too, with an August 5th release date looming. Mark it as a personal curiosity, but I’m very interested to see how the reception on this one goes; I’ve been enjoying the handful of songs out so far.
Dawn Of Demise – Deride The Wretch
We go from one side of the spectrum to the other with long-running death metal band Dawn Of Demise. The group’s newest disc, The Suffering, will be out on August 28th via Unique Leader. Don’t let the label association mislead you, though, as Dawn aren’t the more classically flavored Unique Leader style tech-death/groove; instead, the band fall on the bludgeoning and brutal side of the spectrum. If you don’t believe me, the band put out a video for the song “Deride The Wretch”, and that song sure as hell proves the point.
It’s got all the hallmarks of an ugly-as-hell procession of death metal, and the low vocals sound like something bubbling out of a sewer grate. The time where the vocals are actually decipherable has a pretty fun blast run to it, but the song is content to be defined by its heavy, stomping chug of a guitar riff until it absolutely has to speed up. “Deride The Wretch” switches between these two frequently, so you get your fair share of disgusting vocal work and hammering drums. Nothing too ‘tech about it, just a frighteningly violent and percussive death metal affair over the course of a tad more than three minutes.
Evergrey – Distance
I had a little fun with the next two songs because I think they’re actually related in one pretty obvious way, despite being on complete opposite sides of the metal spectrum. Also I figure after the initial onslaught of music and the group that follows, this band would be a good way to break up the pacing a bit.
Evergrey are a personal favorite of mine. The group have a pretty storied career by this point and managed to return to form triumphantly with 2014’s Hymns For The Broken. One of the things that really set that disc off was the music video the band put out for “King Of Errors”, a gorgeously shot video that saw the band teaming a fantastic song with Patrick Ullaeus and his rEvolver Film Company crew. Having found a niche there, Evergey have once again returned to the beautifully shot video realm with the new video for the song “Distance”, taken from the band’s upcoming September 9th release The Storm Within.
The video itself has the band performing the song but also includes some gorgeous scenery shots that have vocalist Tom Englund wandering desolate landscapes. So if anything, “Distance” definately has its beautiful-vistas checkbox filled in. “Distance itself is a slow burner over the course of five minutes, defined by a crunchy guitar riff and a chorus that after one listen had already wormed its way into my skull. It’s different from the first few songs that came out from Hymns in terms of its slower pacing, but some of the more hallmark Evergrey sounds are still present — including Tom’s desperate vocal delivery.
I loved the hell out of Hymns and felt it stood with the band’s best for sure, so fingers crossed that Storm Within is able to reach that lofty mark as well.
Mastic Scum – The Vortex Within
Austria’s Mastic Scum put out a live DVD entitled RAGE [Live & Rare] not too long ago and even more recently put out a video taken from that performance for the song “The Vortex Within” — which initially appeared on 2013’s underrated C T R L release.
It may just be me, but after the initial appreciation of getting to hear the song again, I found myself musing on the opening rhythm guitar part. Mastic Scum are the masters of that style of groove, but I found it amusing hearing a similar crunch employed in both this song and the newer Evergrey track — showing that you can use some of the same building blocks of metal, but it is what you surround them with that really defines it.
Mastic Scum are relentlessly heavy, and this “Vortex Within” performance is a damned good demonstration of that. If you haven’t gotten the chance to check out the group’s C T R L release, we penned some words about it way after it had come out and I highly recommend giving that disc a spin as well.
Spurn – Comfort In Nothing
Spurn entitling their new disc Comfort In Nothing is proving to be a comedic mark on this end, mostly because one of the last things that would ever come to mind when it comes to Spurn’s brand of music would be the idea of “comfort” in any form. We touched base with this band back when their demo hit, and now they’re joining in on the full album release train, having put Comfort In Nothing out a little under two weeks ago.
The music is still multiple shades of recorded discord, bouncing happily alongside the powerviolence and grind crowd, with a sense that things could go off the rails at any moment. The group are a little more hinged this time around, as opposed to the desperately unhinged that defined that demo, but the music itself is still about as pretty as someone who has had a car burnout on their face.
I felt Comfort In Nothing — with its $1 CAD pricetag — would fit in well and help really ugly-up this collection of music, plus the more I can expose folks to the auditory violence these guys commit, the happier I am. You try to find any comfort in songs like “Old Man”, “No Next Time”, “Obsolete”, and “Spoiled Failures”. Hell, the title track alone is enough to trigger my smash-everything-around-me senses — which is why I have to be careful about listening to this one right now, otherwise I’ll never get this roundup done; I’m already two laptops deep and tired of logging into google docs.
S-Tool – Shovel Man
We go from the “goddamn this is ugly as hell” to the “goddamn myself for loving how fucking catchy this is” on the music spectrum. If it hasn’t already happened, I will probably soon be revealed as something of a Finnish goth-rock fanboy, having followed the circle of musicians that included bands like Sentenced, Poisonblack, Charon, and their ilk, and even a handful of side projects. Chief amongst that circle has been guitarist/vocalist Ville Laihiala, who recently returned with a new project entitled S-Tool after Poisonblack went on hiatus following their enjoyable sixth album Lyijy.
The band are a more straightforward and hard-rocking version of what he’s already done career wise, so S-Tool are a little heavier than his Poisonblack work, but the catchiness remains the same. The guy is good at surrounding himself with a group of people who can crank out some hard-rocking guitar work that appeals to the lizard part of the brain.
If you need proof, the group put out a video for a new song entitled “Shovel Man”, and I wasn’t kidding, that thing is like ear-crack. It is certainly not the heaviest thing in this post by a long shot, but it is right up there with Evergrey in terms of getting stuck in one’s brain and refusing to leave no matter how many head-desk contact slams you make.
Like a handful of groups recently, S-Tool are turning to the increasingly popular method of hoping to crowdfund their debut album, asking for €6.000 via a GoFundMe campaign and after 19 days are a little under halfway there.
Noctem – Haeresis Album Details
We don’t have any new music for this last one, but the news is exciting just the same. Spain’s Noctem have announced a new album named Haeresis, which will be hitting on September 30, and revealed the track listing and cover art. The artwork was designed by Seth Siro Anton, which is part of the reason why this made it in the round-up, because the dude is amazing at creating vivid imagery.
I really enjoyed Noctem’s last album Exilium and I feel like the band are one of those groups who have gotten better with each release, so the hype for Haeresis on this end is already on the high side. There’s no new music at the moment but the band have promised that more details will be coming soon, so right now all we have is the gorgeous cover art, release date, and a track listing that hints at some very interesting subject matter.
Haeresis Track List
1. Through The Black Temples of Disaster
3. The Submission Discipline
4. Blind Devotion
5. The Dark One
7. Whispers of the Ancient Gods
8. Conjuring Degradation and Morbidity
9. The Paths of the Lustful Abandon
10. Pactum With the Indomitable Darkness
The Volturyon and Dawn of Demise tracks are exactly the kind of songs that turn suckass Mondays into badass Mondays \m/
Spurn sound like the evil spawn of late-stage Deadguy and a steamroller. Quite enjoyable, in a discomforting sort of way.
Volturyon, making hate-crime and barbaric murder entertainment for the deranged 🙂
The two first Noctem albums vere allright, but not special enough to stick out. Exilium on the other hand saw them release their best album to date, and help place Spain on the metal map. I’m crossing my fingers for another bitch-ass awesome album that’ll help them conquer and enslave even more metalhead-territories.