Time to make the Sabbath black again. I had great difficulty pulling together this week’s collection of black metal, and music next door to it (I’m apparently forbidden from using the term “blackened”, at least temporarily). I have a massive list of new music in this vein that I’ve assembled over the last week alone. I wish I had time to make this collection two or three times longer than it is. In other words, just another Sunday.
Lots of eye-catching cover art in here, too.
Almost exactly one year ago Metal Blade announced the signing of the Greek black metal band Ravencult, and now, roughly five years after their last album, a new one is on the horizon. Bearing the name Force of Profanation, it’s set for release on November 11. The first song in today’s collection is the album’s first advance track, “Beneath the Relics of Old“. Here’s what the band said about it:
“In this first sample of our new album, one can witness a big part of what RAVENCULT is all about in the Force Of Profanation era. Almost all important elements of the band’s sound here shine in their entirety, combining our adoration for the old thrash/d-beat pace with sinister Black Metal in a variety of tempos. Lyricwise, “Beneath The Relics Of Old” is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”, completing our vision of descending into bottomless depths of horror.
“For us, making steps forward means definitely not incorporating modern or more complex/technical parts; it’s all about honoring our roots and sound by maximizing aggression and morbidity each time, maintaining the riff-after-riff mentality while everything is executed with absolute determination.”
True enough — this new song is a riff monster, one ripper after another, heavy on the thrash end of the aggression scale and with an evil aura that grows even more sinister as the song progresses. Electrifying stuff.
(Thanks to Valder Lord for the tip on this one.)
Pre-orders are now live:
The Finnish black metal band KYY (Finnish for “viper”) will be releasing their debut album Beyond Flesh – Beyond Matter – Beyond Death on November 4 through Saturnal Records. I discovered this only after listening to the band’s only other release, a 2015 EP named Travesty of Light just last week. In trying to learn more about the band, I then found out about the album.
Travesty of Light is excellent. The first song is catchy as hell. If I’d known about it last year there’s a good chance it would have been on our 2015 Most Infectious Song list. But apart from the highly addictive quality of the main riff, it’s also thoroughly malignant, queasy, and gloomy. And when the song really takes off at the end, it’s a damned bonfire. The vocals are also a thing of horrid, agonized beauty.
And that’s just the first song. All the rest have equally compelling riffs and more dismal, dissonant melodies. They also provide more proof that KYY are adept at rocking, as well as igniting an inferno and building an atmosphere of sulfurous doom and damnation.
In addition to the stream of Travesty of Light, I’ve also embedded excerpts from two songs from the new album. They are frustratingly incomplete — and by that I mean the music sounds as killer as hoped, and I really wish I could hear both tracks in full NOW.
(Thank you Raven.)
Gespenst are from Aarhus, Denmark. Their debut album Forfald (Danish for “Downfall”) was released on August 9. I’ve been meaning to write something about it for weeks now.
I first learned (and wrote) about the album 16 months ago after listening to a stunning excerpt of the song “Life Drained To the Black Abyss”. The whole album has now also proved to be stunning.
Gespenst display a sure hand in crafting sweeping, immersive melodies that are full of pain and bereavement, leavening them with eerie (and beautiful) melodic touches that add an air of mysticism to the all-too-human sensations of emotional collapse.
These dissonant dirges climb to such heights of intense feeling that they frequently become majestic in their gloom, while the corrosive vocals and eruptions of blasting savagery from the shadows carve a twisted path through the surrounding pall of death and depravity.
Gespenst are dark and powerful spellcasters of a high order. Lose yourself in what they have wrought below.
I hadn’t heard of Sectasys before listening to this next song. They are from Venezuela, and on September 19 their first album Brotherhood of Chaos was released by Satanath Records. I first found out about the album through a link to the Sectasys Bandcamp page, where only one song is streaming — a track called “The Goddess of Death (Kali)”. That’s what I chose to write about today, only later discovering that the entire album stream is up on the Satanath Bandcamp page (and included below).
“The Goddess of Death (Kali)” is like a hybrid of gloomy, predatory black metal and occult doom. The bleak, heavy, grinding riffs are dismal and dire at first and then launch into a jagged, jabbing rush, with the two segments continuing to alternate with each other until moving into a viper pit of twisted swarming. The vocals are a kick, too, with trippy psychedelic wails alongside savage howls and growls. Should be interesting to see what else the album holds.
(Thanks to Miloš for the tip about this one.)
In August, Aureole and Mare Cognitum released a split album named Resonance: Crimson Void (available on Bandcamp here). But that’s not what this next item consists of. The next item is a previously unreleased single song that Aureole recorded in 2014, in between Resonance… and Aureole’s debut album Alunar (2014). Its name is “Stellar Remnants of A Crimson Void” and it “addresses a race of stone golems, who merge with the Citadel, and their eventual fall into obscurity.” “Eventually, like all things, they fall into obscurity, and Alunar continues it’s upward path, having absorbed their knowledge….” You’ll either know what that means or you won’t, but either way, the music is… stellar.
Very slow and very chilling, the music summons visions of an endless void. The rippling guitar melodies are beautifully sodden with grief, while the ambient textures are cosmic and strange. There may be a voice in there somewhere, adding to the unnerving qualities of the music… which is still spellbinding.
The song is a “name your price” download at Bandcamp.
(Thanks again, Miloš.)
This last item comes from the Norwegian Shining, and so it’s not black metal — but it’s still damned black.
This is a new, video for “House Of Control“, a track included on Shining’s most recent album, International Blackjazz Society, released late last year by Spinefarm Records. I saw this quote about the video by Shining’s Jørgen Munkeby:
“It’s so great to finally have a video for our song ‘House Of Control’, since it means so much to me. Not only are the lyrics very personal, but musically the track was also a bold step into a more varied and melodic landscape. We had no idea how that new direction would work out, but it has ended up being my favourite track off the album. I had so much fun shooting the video, and I’m very happy to present this steaming hot new clip!”
The lyrics really are very good, though they’re damned dark. So is the video. So is the song. As a package, it’s intense.