That stunning vista above these words is what greeted my eyes this morning. I’m on a short vacation in the presence of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I’m not telling you that to be a dick, but only because I know how vitally interested you are in my every movement, except perhaps for bowel movements.
I did tear myself away from awestruck gazing at the horizon long enough to listen to four new songs, one of which comes with a video. I thought all four were good enough that they would make a nice collection for this Saturday morning, saving me the agony of trying to sift through all the other good stuff that came out since my last round-up.
The first two songs are exceptions to our oft-violated Rule, and the last two open up the extremity throttle in very different ways.
The treasured Warduna have announced the release of a new LP named Runaljod – Ragnarok. It will be issued through By Norse Music on October 21 and it completes the band’s Runaljod trilogy, which began with Runaljod – gap var Ginnunga (2009) and continued with Runaljod – Yggdrasil (2013).
Yesterday the band shared the first track from the new album, a song called “Odal“. It includes appearances by the two children of Einar Selvik, who composes and performs Wardruna’s songs on hand-crafted ancient Norse instruments. The press release we received included these comments from Selvik:
“‘Odal’ represent such things as family, heritage, birthright and allodial right but also inheritance in broader and more metaphorical sense. Serious and reflected poetry melting together with the sound of a child’s voice is for me a very strong expression in itself. And with thematic like this as a starting point, it is safe to say that doing this song together with my own two children made it very emotionally charged for me, which I can only hope is something reflected clearly in the end result.”
I think his hopes have been realized. “Odal” is a fascinating song, both physically compelling (the drumming is irresistible) and spiritual, with beautiful vocal harmonies and an ethereal ambient melody that in other hands would be ascribed to a keyboard but here is probably some kind of old horn. Mesmerizing.
Devin Townsend’s new album is named Transcendence and it will be released on September 9 by InsideOutMusic. The album track released yesterday is “Secret Sciences”.
As we all know by now, it’s difficult to predict what directions Townsend will take from release to release, or even from song to song. I’m one of those people who doesn’t much care, because I’ve so consistently liked (almost) everything he has done in his evolving solo career. This song is no exception. It’s a real ear-worm, beautiful and gliding and eventually anthemic, but with enough boom and punch to get heads moving. And of course Townsend’s soaring voice is still a marvel.
Okay, now it’s time to turn to more extreme forms of metal. In fact, one could hardly imagine a more direct contrast than the sharp turn from the last track to this one.
Beginning in 2012 I’ve written a lot about the music of England’s Unfathomable Ruination, but until today I somehow missed the fact that the band have a new album named Infinitude set for release on August 31 by Sevared Records. Thanks to a tip from our friend Tito V., I discovered not only that news, but also a stunningly vicious new song and video from the album called “Pestilential Affinity”, which was released today.
The engrossing video was directed by Guilherme Henriques. It involves worms, beetles, dark fluids, filth, more worms emerging from a place where they shouldn’t be found, a shapely feminine form that is undergoing some kind of transformation, and juddering film of the band discharging this uber-adrenalizing piece of music — which is explained in this way by the band:
“Pestilential Affinity – It concerns the process of realising that something that was desired, once achieved, is actually detrimental – an attractive outer shell that hid negative, harmful elements. As time passes that shell is slowly dropped or stripped away and that inner truth is revealed. And once that happens, needing to find the strength to break free: to overcome the trap most people fall into, of denying the truth you know through clinging to your previous illusions or just pure apathy as a reason keep this negative element in your life.”
The song is a real scorcher, highly accelerated and technically explosive, with toxic blackened riffs and gruesome vocal horrors anchored by lethally weaponized drumwork.
I discovered this French band this morning through a message from Egregor Records, which will make Dysylumn’s new EP Chaos Primordial the label’s first release, on October 1 (in digipack format). We are told that Egregor is a side project of Wintermoon Productions (Black Arts Ceremony, Inquisition, Ascension, Horna, Pseudogod, Hetroertzen, etc.).
Like Egregor, Dysylumn are based in Lyon, and the line-up consist of drummer Camille Olivier Faure-Brac (aka Oliver Kaah) and vocalist/guitarist/bassist Sébastien Besson (ex-Antropofago). Prior to this new EP, Dysylumn released another one (self-titled) in 2013 and a debut album, Conceptarium, last year.
This new EP’s title track has been made available for streaming on Bandcamp, and it’s tremendously impressive.
I know that I overuse the word “enthralling”, but that’s what this is — an extremely heavy, indigo-dark amalgam of black and death metal. It begins in a mid-paced rhythm with doom-laden chords, dissonant notes, poisonous tremolo riffing, and gargantuan vocals — and then it begins to seethe and boil with venomous intent. A high, attention-riveting guitar melody eventually surfaces, adding a scintillating luminescence to the song’s ominous, pestilential atmosphere.
II. Chaos Primordial
III. Œuf Cosmique