SEEN AND HEARD (BY DGR): KHONSU, DÉPARTE, FROM THE VASTLAND, WASTEWALKER, EVERGREY, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, HANNES GROSSMANN
(DGR prepared this large roundup of new music streams, with one item added by the editor.)
I’ve been slowly gathering up this veritable feast of heavy metal for this roundup, basically doing my usual duty of being the last line of defense for metal news that often pops up and we didn’t catch right away for a variety of reasons. This time around, I’ve got a huge collection of six [now seven] different items, some of which I’m sure you’ve likely crossed paths with but we didn’t dedicate words to and others because they may not be in the usual NCS coverage wheelhouse. I even managed to include some serious lighter fare this time, to help brighten up the mood musically after the first two full onslaughts [now three] hit your musical listening systems.
So let’s kick this thing off with a real quick one that happened as I was writing this intro, and then dive into the meat of it and romp around in its innards for a while.
KHONSU – ARTWORK TRAILER / “A DREAM OF EARTH” SNIPPET
This one is going to be quick, mostly because there isn’t a huge block of heavy metal music proper — but it just happened, and I’ll be goddamned if I don’t say that I am immensely excited for this disc.
Khonsu is a project that we’ve been covering for some time, and at least two of us are incredibly excited about the upcoming release of The Xun Protectorate in November. Just a day ago, Khonsu uploaded this video to the net, containing some ambient music from the song “A Dream of Earth” whilst also providing a trailer containing some of the artwork and a full tracklisting for the disc.
While the only song we’ve heard from this album so far has been the two-minute blaster “Visions Of Nehaya” – which appeared on the 2014 EP Traveller – we’re still kind of shaking in our seats as we await the full release of this album. Khonsu has been a fascinating project that between its EP and full release Anomalia has shown that it’s unbound by specific genres and willing to cover a ton of ground. The fact that this time they’re going for a full sci-fi piece is very exciting.
DÉPARTE – “GRIEF ECHOES (GOLDEN SCARS)”
Tasmania’s Départe are one of a growing legion of bands from Australia and its immediate neighbors who we need to keep an eye on, as they’ve already been putting out some absolutely bludgeoning music during the group’s relatively young career. Last week the folks over at Lambgoat grabbed a premiere of their song “Grief Echoes (Golden Scars)” that you absolutely need to hear. The song is part of the group’s new album Failure, Subside, which will be due out on October 14th.
The song is absolutely apocalyptic, starting out dissonant and echo-heavy and continuining the sonic devastation from there. The whole track is a seven-minute-plus cavern journey into a nightmare. “Grief Echoes” is not a kindly experience, and in fact the song itself is actually pretty evocative of its title. You have vocalist Sam Dishington just roaring through the whole track, but he’s buried by a two-ton weight of sound from the instrumental brigade. “Grief Echoes” is effective at creating a fear-inducing atmosphere of despair, and the fleeting moments of beauty are destroyed by what sounds like the band just crashing down around them. This song is definitely worth your time.
FROM THE VASTLAND – “I & MY SERPENTS”
After DGR had delivered this post, our comrade Andy Synn alerted us to the existence of this next song, which I decided to jam into DGR’s cavalcade of new sounds. It comes from an old favorite of many of us here, the band From the Vastland, which is the brainchild of Iranian musician Sina but has also benefitted from his success in recruiting collaborators. On From the Vastland’s new album — Chamrosh — Sina is the composer, guitarist, and vocalist, and this time he is joined by both Vyl (Keep of Kalessin/Gorgoroth) and Spektre (Horizon Ablaze/Harm) on drums and Tjalve (Den Saakaldte/Pantheon I/Horizon Ablaze/1349) on bass.
As of today, we have the first advance track from Chamrosh, which is named “I & My Serpents”. I do believe there are in fact serpents performing on this song, in addition to those other talents — great venomous serpents of sizable girth and rapid-striking power. They writhe in a frenzy at first… and then Sina hypnotizes them with an interlude of slowly raining guitar notes. They sway to the deliberate rhythm of the drums, until the spell breaks and they begin to strike again with renewed focus and strength, while putting you in a deep, dark trance, to wait your turn for the final slaughtering death blows.
(This really is a good song!)
Chamrosh will be released on September 26, and you can pre-order the album here:
WASTEWALKER – “FUNERAL WINDS”
Wastewalker are another group some of you should be familiar with, and last week brought a bounty of news from the band, including the November release date of the band’s debut album Funeral Winds. On top of that and its gorgeous cover art, the group uploaded the title track for people to enjoy.
“Funeral Winds”, the song, is a little bit less frenetic than the group’s debut track “The Consumption”; it’s a more tightly bound package, with a flair for the epic before it descends into what could be conservatively described as shred-guitar-pornography for its bridge.
Even more recently the band updated their original lyric video for the aforementioned “The Consumption” with audio from the debut album, instead of the demo tracks they had been using beforehand; so if the click-midi drums were bothering you, all of that has been updated for a much fuller sound this time around — demonstrating, at the very least, that there’s going to be enough guitar work on Funeral Winds to keep people entertained for a long while.
EVERGREY – “PASSING THROUGH / THE PARADOX OF THE FLAME”
And here’s the lighter fare that I was joking about in the brief intro to this article.
Very long-time readers of this site should know by now that I have a soft spot in my heart for Sweden’s Evergrey and have been following their career for a decade=plus now — which has provided a wealth of material from Tom Englund and crew. In 2014, the band returned with a triumphant-sounding album called Hymns For The Broken and now the group have a new disc in their armory, due for release in a few days (September 9th): The Storm Within.
This news bit is actually a two-fer; one part you’ll be familiar with, as Evergrey have made a new trend of having some gorgeously-shot music videos, and the other one is a more traditional lyric video for the song that I think is probably the catchiest one on the disc. “Passing Through” is the group’s recently released lyric video and it was one of the first songs I found myself thinking that they’d try to get out there in some form after my first spin of The Storm Within. It’s an upbeat number, with the trademark desperate vocal style that Tom Englund has honed over the years, but on top of that you have a keyboard line that bounces up and down throughout the song which turns it into a hard-driving rock number. Keep in mind: “Passing Through” pops up right after the crunchier “Distance on The Storm Within”, so you very much go from one side of the spectrum to the other with those two songs.
The other video was released a little while ago but I don’t think we covered it, and it actually features the oft-hidden weapon of Evergrey’s sound, Tom’s wife Carina. The two have a sad duet on the disc known as “The Paradox Of The Flame” which veers really close to ’80s power-ballad territory circa 2016, but the video itself is again just gorgeous. The two are portrayed as being on very distant parts of a sparse landscape — much like the imagery used in the song’s lyrics — and there are wide sweeping shots of both of them across a vast seaside.
Carina’s been a part of Evergrey’s sound for a very long time, often handling a large amount of the vocal work in many of their songs, usually interplaying with Tom’s own, so it’s nice to see her popping up in the music video, especially given how prominant she is in what works out to be a very sad song, one that also sets the mood for the back bit of The Storm Within as a whole.
HEAVEN SHALL BURN – “BRING THE WAR HOME”
We’ve already run our review of Heaven Shall Burn’s Wanderer, due out on September 16th. However, just because we’ve reviewed something doesn’t mean the press cycle stops — much as we would love bands to say, ‘Well No Clean Singing already weighed in, so let’s just put the damned thing out”, apparently there’s the whole print cycle, the actual producing of physical goods, inventories to manage — you know, all the nitty-gritty stuff that we here took to writing to avoid considering as part of our careers.
Last week, Heaven Shall Burn let slip a lyric video for the song “Bring The War Home”. It’s a more traditionally chuggy Heaven Shall Burn track, the vocals still acid-laced and vicious as ever, huge, chugging riffs laying the landscape for pit brutality, and a nice melodic array of lead-guitar work to really grab the listener. I would like to echo our review, though, that Wanderer is a great disc and actually has quite a few surprises hidden within it. I’m a big fan of the back half of the album, as the band basically go full-blown death metal for a few songs before coming back to the trademark unholy combination of melodeath, metalcore, and vicious shred-metal mid-sections that the band have made a career of.
HANNES GROSSMANN — “THE CRYPTS OF SLEEP” ALBUM STREAM
This next part is going to be scary, so I need you to sit down and take a deep breath, because I am going to ask you to do something we usually don’t. Not only that, I’m going to ask you to do so for the second time in one article. I’m going to ask you to leave the site for a bit.
I know many of you are used to the insulating, comforting womb that is NCS, but the world outside occasionally has things to offer as well, like a full stream of Hannes Grossmann’s new disc The Crypts Of Sleep, which Invisible Oranges managed to grab. We’ve been pretty excited for the next branch in the master tech-death drummer’s tree of his career, and this second solo disc was basically a collection of everyone he’s already worked with, roped together to create an even crazier meld of death metal and progressive aspirations.
The lineup this time was basically everyone who had worked alongside him in Alkaloid, and some guest solo guitar work from friends like Fountainhead and Per Nillson. I personally was very excited for this disc when I saw the crowdfunding effort announced, and it’s nice to see that the new disc has been released so quickly for people to consume. You can check it out, alongside what the collective over at IO think about it, here.
Editor’s Intrusion: The album is now up on Bandcamp, so you needn’t leave us after all:
Ive been so excited for Départe since i heard the first song. That was all i needed to hear to know how immense this album was about to be. The “Grief Echos” only further confirms my expectations for this release.
Should have a review this week (work and band commitments permitting)… stay tuned!
Oh man, i very much look forward to reading what you have to say about it. Ill be here!
That Départe track is really great. Love that super thick kick. This just put them on my radar and consider me excited.
Evergrey. Just awesome. Massive soft spot for them also.