( Norwegian blogger Gorger is back, highlighting still more releases that we have overlooked. To find more of his discoveries, type “Gorger” in our search bar or visit Gorger’s Metal.)
Whilst Islander is sulking in a hotel room in the gaudiest city in the US, because the slot machine stole all his cash after he couldn’t avoid the temptation of just testing them and trying to score some, I’m grabbing the opportunity to step in and steal the attention. Or I’m chipping in and helping out. It all depends on how you see it.
This time around, we’ll be blazing some black metal from Sweden as an appetizer, and feasting on a two-course black metal entrée from Canada, before blasting some explosive American death metal for dessert.
MURDRYCK – ANTOLOGI MMXV
The title almost suggests that this is a form of compilation released in 2015, but most albums are collections of various shorter works with a musical leitmotif, and as such, anthologies. Antologi MMXV is the band’s second album, released digitally in mid-February, and released on CD a few months later.
The band’s first album came out in 1999(!), the same year as the band started up. At that time blackened dark ambient was supposedly on the agenda. Gradually, the band disappeared from the radar altogether…
Exactly what has happened in the meantime is beyond me, but the band re-emerged in 2014, and the line-up is seemingly completely replaced. The Swedes have also changed their musical direction into quite melodic, but still pretty raw, black metal. The band now consists of the duo Skärseld (guitar and bass) and Gast (vocals), with Vintermord as hired drummer and Peste as guest guitarist on three songs.
The music is a rich wall of vital guitars, not entirely unlike Mörk Gryning in style. Gast has replaced his vocal cords with rusty razor blades, and the vocals may be a matter of taste, seeing as it’s more necro than the music. We’re talking stylistically somewhat akin to Hat on the first Gorgoroth albums and Nocturno Culto on the good old Darkthrone albums. (Just a directional clue, not exact references.) I have a liking for his sharp voice, and I appreciate the hissing even stronger in “Hymnens Svarta Toner” (The Hymn’s Black Tones), the only song with Swedish lyrics.
At first listen, the band feels somewhat imperfect, but hypnotic rhythms and swarming guitar, along with shrilling roughened witch shrieks, creates a wonderful hypnotic effect. The band writes good songs, where even intense sequences have enough dynamism and diversity to maintain attention, while the music can stand being played loud. The only thing that pierces the eardrum when I crank up the volume is the barbed wire vocals, and that’s the intention.
I’m not a big fan of the opening song, but from there on this kicks ass in the means of juicy profanity, and when you learn that the band offers a name your price, you have no excuse to escape.
Antologi MMXV was released by Black Lion Productions on April 16th.
FORTERESSE – THÉMES POUR LA RÉBELLION
With a relatively small scene such as the hard core of Québécois Métal de Noir, you risk certain periods of high activity. Not long ago, Sorcier des Glaces saw their sixth offspring, North, leave the nest, and now both Forteresse and Neige et Noirceur are ready with their fifth albums. Forteresse is unfortunately one of the bands I’ve lent my ear least to. At least it feels all the better to ascertain that they make a clean sweep with Thèmes pour la Rébellion.
With “Thèmes pour la Rébellion“as the title, and the stated objective of honouring all those who yearn to finally hoist the banner of liberty, and see it wave high and proud, there is a whiff of separatism over these French Canadians. Their objective is also to pay homage to the old traditions in a time when few remember the historical and cultural aspects that helped shaped La Belle Province, the beautiful province, Quebec. The band’s parole is patriotic, epic black metal with obvious revolutionary undertones. Whether or not they really support the paramilitary Front de libération du Québec, ain’t my fucking business. The cover design is, however, not taken from any revolutionary action, but from one of several major fires in 1845 and was painted by local artist Joseph Légaré.
The first thing I notice is the juicy and intensely powerful sound that surrounds this treaty for the rebellious Québécois revolution. The sound is not as necro as it used to be round the edges, but don’t despair, it is still sharp in both scratch guitars and rasping vocals, lacerating holes in the eardrums to provide the music with a passage so that it can flow freely and gnaw through the nerve fibres. Mixing and mastering in Necromorbus Studio has surely had an effect on the final result, which has a grand burning touch.
Even the music has changed a little, at least if Forteresse, as I imagine, have previously been musically related with others from Quebec and Montreal. The local patriotic variety of black metal is typically characterized by epic atmospheric moods with raw necrotic wrapping. A lovely contrasting combination.
Pitched guitars are also this time hovering above the hammering riffs, creating atmosphere, but the bombastic and belligerent apparition has got a bit more in common with traditional aggressive Norwegian and Swedish frontal assaults this time. The drums runs at a speed of one hundred and hell, and the combination of fuming jet-black metal and burning sound constitutes a red hot storm that burns and chars everything in its way. Much like a nuclear sonic test explosion in urban areas.
The awesome-as-bloody-hell expression alone makes Thèmes pour la Rébellion a joy to listen to, while atmospheric spices, and almost subtle changes in drums, riffs, and vocals, are like flames, in ceaseless motion. Because the songs’ melodic and structural properties ain’t the easiest to spot and capture, I was unsure of the durability, but although the album seemed extremely sturdy at first encounter, it seems, if possible, even more killer after a good handful of spins.
Devilishly good from Forteresse!
Thèmes pour la Rébellion was released by Sepulchral Productions on June 24th.
Hear “Là où Nous Allons” right here, and visit Noisey to investigate further with your own ears.
NEIGE ET NOIRCEUR – LES T…N»BRES MODERNES
It’s interesting to see how Forteresse and Neige et Noirceur in 2016 have evolved in different directions, or at least chosen very deviating approaches to their Canadian black metal. Where the former opted for a red-hot homage to devil and fatherland, Neige et Noirceur has chosen the anti-conformist’s path of highest resistance. The only similarity is a warlike disposition.
Where Forteresse seems to wish an armed revolution welcome, Neige et Noirceur focused on an elder conflict, namely the Great War.
The sound is gritty, as usual, but this time even the music is harsh, granite-jawed, and churlish as a pimple on society’s butt. The whole thing is a sharp and filthy experience that scratches like sandpaper against the ear. Where some help make black metal more sanitized, Les Ténèbres Modernes (The Modern Darkness) is completely incompatible with commercial availability.
The vocal barks, grunts, and rasps are like a grater in an open wound. Guitar and kick-drum, aided by a wilful distinct sound, hurl blasting fires like machine guns. Sharp guitars sound like meat hooks slowly carving scratches on a blackboard. Layer upon layer of ominous and unpleasant samples (somewhat akin to Slagmaur at times), predominantly of war-related sounds, provide an ambient mechanical touch, suitable for providing discouragement and physical discomfort.
Les Ténèbres Modernes bears little resemblance to its predecessors, although the coldness subsists and the music is still a bit challenging and quite inaccessible to the vast majority. Indeed, it has a significantly greater coefficient of friction and resistance to general amusement than ever. This is uncompromising, caustic, and suffocating claustrophobic, and can consequently only be recommended to those who find pleasure in odious, bitter, abrasive, and hostile metal. If a band such as (and without further similarities to) Imperial Triumphant becomes too repulsive, you might want to keep your distance.
Grueling, rude, and as inhuman as pressure washing of the testicles or sandblasting of the eyeballs, Neige et Noirceur is still wonderfully hypnotic in all its hideous glory.
Les Ténèbres Modernes was released by Sepulchral Productions on June 24th.
Check out “Battlespirit” right here, and head over to a full stream hosted by Legacy Magazine to hear for yourself.
SHED THE SKIN – HARROWING FAITH
And now, some death metal to please those ever hungry death-mongers out there (cheers, Derek). These US death eaters are back after a teaser of forthcoming furore, released some 18 months earlier. The EP Rebirth Through Brimstone contained two good songs, but with a total playing time of about 8 minutes, I didn’t consider it a great necessity. The release was, however, a harbinger of a potentially lively clash of corpses. When the guys now release their first album, they also meet the expectations to the fullest.
The band became a fact after a tribute concert as homage to the deceased Tom Rojack and Cleveland’s death metal pioneers Blood of Christ. Shed The Skin somehow continue in their footsteps, much like Gruesome have taken over the legacy of Death.
The band’s death metal is dizzying melodic, without having anything to do with so-called melodic death metal. When fingers run up and down the strings like African killer ants, and ultra-tight rifftastic eruptions have an impact on the Richter scale, Shed The Skin‘s double guitarmageddon emerges as a beast that splinters steel with its front teeth while molars grind and pulverize glass with a chafing sound. Harrowing Faith may offer some rivalry for Cleveland’s existing waste renovation and recycling department.
Chronic riffing, hectic, variable drumming, and animalized growls are no news to the underworld of death metal, and much of it sounds relatively similar. Shed The Skin doesn’t sound similar. Sure, the foundation is the same, and it sounds death metal through and through, but in addition, the guitars create a firework display of barbaric melody. The vital, yet still devastating, death metal is never boring to listen to. The fact that it also alternates between sadistic joy and gloomy hatred, creates additional variety.
Allow me to steal the following sequence from the press release, as I like the formulation and agree completely: Harrowing Faith balances between “…melodic vs. gutted, blastbeaten vs. doomed-out, headbanging vs. skullcrushing….”
The sound is juicy and hard-hitting, albeit without a stellar phonetic dynamic range, with the finishing touches handled by Dan Swanö.
Behind an outer exoskeleton of timeless death metal, Shed The Skin offer a generously meat-stuffed signature, which comes much better into its own with a duration of barely forty minutes, where the music’s ominous moods have the time to soak the listener. Harrowing Faith is deadly fire-power.
Harrowing Faith was released by Hells Headbangers on June 24th.
Believe it or not, but these four albums are the last ass-kickers I’ve got on my list for now. There’s been other killer releases in the meantime, but NCS has covered them all. It actually feels liberating to have at least one blank list, but it probably won’t last for long anyhow.