On Thursday I mentioned that I was on the verge of leaving Seattle for a trip related to my day job. I’m still on that trip, which has taken me to a mountainous region of Utah for a “retreat” hosted by the company I work for. This happens every year, and it’s always fun. This year may be even more fun than usual, because so far I haven’t subjected myself to alcohol poisoning.
Yesterday and this morning I had time to pull together some new music and one news item. Despite the title of this post, most of the following six bands either straddle the line between black metal and death metal or might be considered all the way over on the black-metal side of the line. But the title wasn’t intended as a straight genre descriptor. There are other reasons for the title, which you’ll discover soon.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the new album by the Finnish band Krypts, because their 2013 debut full-length, Unending Degradation, was damned good. The name of the new album is Remnants of Expansion, it’s embellished with artwork by Timo Ketola, and it’s coming out on October 28 via Dark Descent.
The first advance track from the album, “Entrailed to the Breaking Wheel”, is now streaming on the Krypts Bandcamp page. It’s a mid-paced, lurching stagger of wounded death, with a moaning melody redolent of doom and degradation — broken by a torrent of blasting drums, slashing and swarming riffs, and deep malignant growls. Very tasty.
Pre-orders for Remnants of Expansion will begin on September 22.
In 2013 Andy Synn made the discography of Tasmania’s Ruins the subject of his 32nd SYNN REPORT, with an introduction that included these words:
“The guitar tone is the sound of a man strangling the life out of his instrument, wringing every drop of black blood from the contorted strings, the vocals a blast-furnace bellow of pestilential misanthropy, and the drums… Well, it’s the one-man wrecking machine David Haley behind the kit, delivering an overwhelming barrage of sonic devastation and brooding, slithering groove.”
When we published that post the band had recently released their fourth album, Place of No Pity. Details for their fifth one have now been announced. Its name is Undercurrent and it will be released by Listenable Records on October 28.
No music from the new album has been made available for listening yet, but the band did upload a new video to their Facebook page a few hours ago. It’s a live performance of “A Lesson In Ruthlessness”, the second track from the band’s last album. I can’t figure out how to embed the video in this post, and it’s not up on YouTube yet, but I encourage those of you who are Facebook users to go check it out at this location.
CORRECTION: There is in fact a track from the new album that’s available for streaming. The song is called “Faust” and it was included in a Listenable Records sampler released over the summer. Check it out below.
You can (or will be able) to pre-order Undercurrent in a variety of formats at these locations:
On October 30 Invictus Productions plans to release the debut EP by a black/death band named Spectral Apparition. I think they are from the UK. The name of the EP is Manifestation, and it was recorded at Priory Recording Studios and produced by Greg Chandler (Esoteric, Lychgate). It sounds fantastic.
I have very quickly become unhealthily obsessed with this three-track EP. The music revels in the majesty of agony and the ecstasy of death. It has an almost cinematic quality, like a soundtrack – dramatic, savage, beautiful, and as grim as an endless sea of bones marinating in blood.
The vocals are utterly wild and terrifying; the percussion is punishing (and addictive); the riffing is cyclonic; and the whammy-bar soloing is orgasmic. I feel like prostrating myself before the mastery of this Spectral Apparition.
Like Spectral Apparition, the Roman band Totalitarian is another new discovery for me, and a damned impressive one. Their debut album De Arte Tragoediae Divinae will be released on February 2, 2017. That’s a long way off, but I think it will be well worth the wait, because of this new song, “Supreme Death Worship”.
It leans more on the black metal side of the continuum between black and death metal. The song is in excess of 13 minutes, and is steeped in the toxic ichor of dark gods oozing down the throats of helpless humans. Totalitarian build their aural poison with seething riffs, massive drums that tumble and boom, ghastly reverberating growls and shrieks, and melodies that (true to the song’s title) generate an atmosphere of occult death worship, calling forth demonic titans to stride through the membrane between dimensions.
Immense, implacable, hypnotic horror…
BLOOD OF SEKLUSION
Blood of Seklusion hail from Modena, Italy. The song below is “Unconventional Warfare” and it comes from an album named Servants of Chaos, to be released in 2017 by FDA-Rekotz. It originally appeared in a label sampler that came out several months ago but has recently been making the rounds via a Soundcloud upload.
This is powerful, head-clubbing sound — stomping and groaning at first, rampaging later, a ferocious, feral, punk-fueled assault of Swedish-styled death metal with immense HM-2 guitar tone and equally potent drum and bass munitions. The raw, braying vocals (which made me think of L.G. Petrov) seem to emanate from a throat choked with clots of congealing blood.
Top-shelf barbarism… (and thanks to Tito V. for the tip on this band)
To wrap up this round-up I have a single called “Frail” by a Chicago band named Moral Void. It’s a dismal and destructive dose of blackened-hardcore-crust laced with dissonant, hornet-swarm riffing mixed with d-beat thundering, magnetic drum rhythms, and caustic blackened vocals.
This is a style that a lot of newer bands have been embracing, to the point where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack. Based on this single, Moral Void seem to have the right head-battering stuff.