Happy Hangover Day to one and all. In this Saturday round-up I’ve included one exciting news item and four songs that I discovered over the last 24 hours, which I’ve also found exciting. The first two are older songs. I tend to focus in these round-ups on brand new material, but I’m including these two not only because they’re very good but also because both bands have new albums in the works. The third and fourth songs are more par for the course — just-released advance tracks from forthcoming releases.
We begin with the exciting news item. Our brother Joseph at Invisible Oranges was quick on the trigger yesterday, spreading the news about Khôrada, which is how I found out about the announcement. For those who don’t patronize IO, Khôrada is the name of a new band whose line-up includes the three refugees of Agalloch, whose visionary founding member set them adrift last May.
In addition to Don Anderson, Jason Walton, and Aesop Dekker, Khôrada includes Aaron Gregory, former guitarist and vocalist of San Francisco’s sadly deceased Giant Squid.
As Joseph wrote in his IO piece, and as the band themselves have made clear, we should not expect that Khôrada will sound like Agalloch, or like Giant Squid. It would have been surprising if that were Khôrada’s goal, but the possibility has been explicitly ruled out. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement on Khôrada’s Facebook page:
“The band insists they have no interest in repeating the sound of either of the former bands. ‘There is no way I’d want to do that” Anderson insists. “We respect the legacies of both AGALLOCH and GIANT SQUID too much to exploit them. Obviously, some of those sounds might creep in, but as far as intending to channel that style—no way. We all want to do something new.’”
What they will sound like has already been the subject of speculation, some of it educated and some of it complete shots in the dark. The band’s announcement included this statement: “There is something incredibly powerful and monstrously heavy happening here.” That sounds cool, as far as it goes. I have no guesses of my own, simply extreme eagerness to find out what this undeniably impressive collection of talent will concoct.
For more info, you might want to begin following this page:
Heid is the name of a Spanish pagan metal band whose music draws on the folklore of their Castilian heritage. I learned of the band only yesterday from the news that they will release a new album named Alba (Daybreak) on November 14, for which traditional Spanish rhythms such as the “jota”, “rumba”, and “zorzico” are the foundation of this songs. That intrigued me, and so I checked out the band’s first release, a 2014 EP entitled Voces de la Tierra Dormida, which includes the use of such instruments as recorder, whistle, violin, bagpipe, bandurria, and Spanish acoustic guitar.
I’ve quickly become addicted to the EP’s opening track, which is why I’ve included it in this round-up. “No Habrá Paz” is a hard-charging, high-energy ravager with intense growls and shrieks in the vocal department, but the ethnically influenced guitar melodies that surface repeatedly are the real highlights.
Voces de la Tierra Dormida is available on Bandcamp for a reasonable price. We’re told that the lead-up to the new album will include videos and other surprises. If you like what you hear in “No Habrá Paz”, just let the player continue to run, and the rest of the EP will unfold.
I was attracted to the music of this next band, a Russian group named Vorvan, through a press release about their new album Once Love Was Lost, which will be co-released on October 14 by the German hardcore-punk/metal label WOOAAARGH. According to the press release, it was mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge) and includes guest appearances by members of Converge, From Ashes Rise, Punch, Afgrund, Plague Widow, and Distaste. Having been attracted by those pronouncements, I checked out Vorvan’s last release, which happens to be a cover of the song “Struck A Nerve” by Machine Head that came out last February.
It helps to have good original material to work with, but with that acknowledgment, Vorvan deserve a lot of credit for turning the song into a hard-slugging, skull-battering, electrifying piece of metallic hardcore viciousness.
Once Love Was Lost will be available as a gatefold double-LP with a 32 page booklet. I do have the promo for this new album, and am eager to explore it — though nothing from it is yet available for me to share with you.
Now I’ll turn to new songs. This one is the first advance track from a album named Mors Sola by the one-man Hungarian black metal band Aornos. It’s coming on September 24 in CD format via Symbol of Domination Productions, a Belarusian affiliate of Satanath Records, and Germany’s Kristallblut Records. The song is “Lone”, and it’s a free download on Bandcamp.
The frenzied riff and blasting drums that launch the song get the blood rushing, and the symphonic keyboard melody that soon appears gives the music a grim and ominous grandeur, just as the ugly, grating vocals lend it an air of pestilential evil. Additional gripping riffs will greet you as the song proceeds, mixing flurries of ferocious energy into the deepening occult atmosphere of infernal majesty.
P.S. There’s a second excellent track from this album (“A Dream”) in a video on YouTube. You should listen to it, too — and to make that easy, I’m including the stream below.
SIN OF GOD
For the final new song in this collection I have an advance track by another Hungarian band from an album that’s also coming our way from the Satanath Records camp. In this case, the band is Sin of God, and their album Aenigmata will be released on September 23.
As manifested through “Phosphorus”, Sin of God’s brand of music is a hellish form of death metal that makes use of both thundering, pile-driving grooves and sinister, vibrating guitar melodies, both thrashing rampages and brute force stomping, with both dismal dirges and scintillating solos. The vocal department gives us deep, heartless growls, amplifying the music’s dark aura of… well… rotting corpses being piled high.