I’ve been messing with this site for almost 7 years and I continue to be astonished by how much good metal from all over the world appears on a weekly basis. And so a lot of new music awaits you in this round-up of metal in a blackened vein, but there could have been more. In fact, I forced myself to separate new music from five other bands and assemble those tracks in another one of these posts, though I can’t be sure I’ll finish it before being diverted by other things.
I’m starting off with tracks from two new releases that are headed our way from the Fallen Empire label, and then branching off into other directions.
We haven’t given enough attention to Lluvia (a one-man project from León, Mexico), even though the band’s last album Eternidad Solemne was celebrated in our friend Ben Smasher’s list of 2015’s best albums (and he’s not the only writer around the web who embraced the album last year). We have another opportunity to do better, because Lluvia has already completed a new album, the name of which is Enigma.
One song from Enigma is available for listening now, “Exiliado De Los Cielos – Coma”. It’s a long one that casts a long spell, using the thunder of drums and the rushing front of gloomy, vibrating chords to cast an ominous pall — something like the vista of awakening to skies and seas that have turned crimson while you slept. When the volume and ferocious energy of the song subside, as they do in its eerie, ambient second half, the music becomes haunting and desolate; the tides you hear could be rolling oceans of blood.
Immersive, atmospheric, hallucinatory black metal that provides the fuel for waking dreams….
I’m not sure when Fallen Empire will release Enigma. When I find out, I’ll add that info.
Jassa are a black metal band based in Vyritsa, Russia. Metal Archives lists a debut album from 2012 named Dark Years of Dearth, and they now have a new one called Lights in the Howling Wilderness that will also be released by Fallen Empire, in conspiracy with Amor Fati Productions. This album caught my eye thanks to the label’s references to such bands as Hate Forest and Forteresse, and the fact that Jassa share members with the wonderful Sivyj Yar.
Below you can check out a track from the new album called “Breath of the Most Ancient God”. It first appeared in July, but I’m only now discovering it. The song pulses with vibrant energy and juxtaposes bestial growls, blistering rasps, and an earth-shaking low end with waves of engrossing guitar melody. It also transitions into a hard-rocking segment that gets the head moving (reprised at the end) before another burst of riveting intensity punctured by the gut-busting boom of drums.
This is a dynamic, electrifying track, more than sufficient to put this album on the radar screen.
There’s no precise release date yet for Lights In the Howling Wilderness, but I understand it’s being pressed on vinyl and is projected for release in October.
On September 20, the German label Obscure Abhorrence Productions and the U.S. label Dread Records will jointly release a split by the French band Ende and Sorcier Des Glaces from Quebec. The title of the split is Le puits des morts. It includes eight tracks exclusive to this release and features guest appearances by members of Monarque, Forteresse, Brume d’Automne, and Chasse-Galerie.
I’m including a teaser of music on the split below, but the main focus for now is on a song by Ende called “Notre Falaise” that appeared for the first time in recent days. It’s also the first time I’ve listened to the music of Ende despite the fact that they have two albums to their credit before this — Whispers of a Dying Earth (2012) and The Rebirth of I (2015).
The long guitar instrumental that begins the song could be the gloomy ringing of chimes — if the chimes were frozen and fractured in a polar wilderness. It’s a completely enthralling way to begin the song, which only grows more enthralling and ominous as it unfolds.
As a savage voice conveys the lyrics with blood-freezing intensity, the layered guitars swirl like ghost lights around the staggering impact of a slow and massively heavy rhythm section. The pace and intensity of the music increase — broken for a time by the howl of wind and a creepy, flickering ambient section — building toward a rampaging, pulse-pounding finish.
Obscure Abhorrence will handle the CD release of the split, which will be available for purchase here, and Dread Records will do a limited-edition tape release, which is available here. I assume a digital version will also become available.
VOMIT OF DOOM
It’s time for a change of pace and mood, thanks to an Argentinian black metal strike force named Vomit of Doom. Their new 20-minute EP is named Magnus Cruelty, and it will be jointly released on October 13 by Symbol of Domination Productions (Belarus), Metal Masala (India), and Morbid Skull Records (El Salvador).
The one song streaming so far is titled “Black Metal Invasion” — an ambitious name for sure (are there any lands left for black metal to invade?), but one that Vomit of Doom earn with their music. Launched by an immediately infectious chugging riff, the song soon bolts forward in a rush of galvanizing black speed metal, accompanied by a vocalist who sounds like a demonic entity in the throes of a bloodthirsty fury.
Along with the riffs, the drumming on this track connects powerfully to the reptile part of the brain, and the expected guitar solo is fiery as hell.
Time to leap north and east to the other side of the world, where we find the Swedish band Jordablod. Their 2016 promo tape, which seems to be the band’s second release, was released on August 24 by Iron Bonehead Productions.
The demo includes two long tracks, “Chants of the Black One” and “A Sculptor of the Future”. The first one is an increasingly energetic amalgam of sulfurous vocals and doomy chords with absolutely magnetic reverberating lead guitar melodies. It’s like an inventive union of black metal, occult doom, and progressive rock from an earlier day, imaginatively conceived and beautifully performed.
The second song begins blazing from the start, and it’s both intensely invigorating and instrumentally extravagant, and more overtly progressive in its style. The clarity of the production allows you to focus on just how good everyone in this band is — or at least you’ll be able to do that when you go back for another visit after being swept off your feet and carried away the first time through.
This really is remarkably good. I’m very curious to find out who is in this band, because it doesn’t sound like the first effort of newcomers. It’s billed as a precursor to a debut album, but I hope Iron Bonehead will make this demo available for download by itself. Please?
To wrap up this collection, I have music from the wonderful self-titled July release of a band from Kajaani, Finland, named Hirsi (which I discovered thanks to a tip from my overseas friend Miloš). It seems that this EP was written and produced in a woodland cabin using old Finnish spells as their inspiration.
The first song that’s set to play on the EP’s Bandcamp stream is “Lest Iron Should Strike the Man”. It captivated me from the first time I heard it. I want to implant it in my head so that I can trigger the music with a mere thought. It rushes and rips quite effectively; the vocals are lacerating; and the immense, sludgy riffs in the song’s slower parts are spine-shaking; but the sorrow-tinged and highly addictive melodies are the real strength.
That song is followed by a sharp change of pace and mood which proves that Hirsi are a band of many talents. “Of Salt and Soil” is an entrancing piece, slow and sombre but mystical, expressed with acoustic guitars, clean vocals, and the trill of a haunting, evanescent melody. Not black metal, but a beautiful companion to “Lest Iron Should Strike the Man”.
If you begin the EP with these two songs — which I encourage you to do — you will probably be left wondering what lies ahead on the EP’s first three tracks. You’ll find that the way the first track begins and the way the last track ends have something in common, like a circle opening and being closed if you listen to the tracks in the order in which you find them in the track list.
You’ll also find that “Against the Lacerations of a Wolf” and “To Bewitch Fire” have more in common with “Lest Iron Should Strike…” — which is to say they are excellent unions of warlike power and enthralling melody, with perhaps more of a folk influence in the opener, while the second song is a thundering riff monster that’s both a flat-out cavalry charge and a grim and potent skull-crusher. “Ashes” is a mesmerizing instrumental interlude with an almost medieval air that sounds as if it’s played on chimes.
In short, Hirsi is a dynamic collection of songs, with great vocal variety as well as songwriting diversity, that makes for a captivating listening experience regardless of the order in which you hear the tracks.