SEEN AND HEARD (PART 2): KHONSU, SCORCHED, KOSMOKRATOR, TOTTEN KORPS, IMPURE ZIGGURAT, SATANIC MIGHT, LETHAL SHÖCK
Well, as I warned in Part 1 of this round-up yesterday, my fucking day job did indeed screw up my plan to post Part 2 later that same day. As I also warned, the music in this one is more obscure and arguably more ferocious than the first collection. But believe me, it’s damned good stuff.
And because of the delay since yesterday, of course I’ve discovered one more new thing to tack on to what I originally planned, and it’s the first item in this collection.
We’ve been very eager and excited about the new album coming our way from Norway’s Khonsu, the name of which is The Xun Protectorate, and this morning the first single was released.
The Xun Protectorate is described as “a concept album about mysterious occurrences on a space station, or cosmic city, in orbit around the sun several centuries into the future”. It will be released on November 18 via Jhator Recordings and Plastic Head Distribution.
For this new album, Khonsu consists of two members — the band’s masked mastermind and alter ego S. Gronbech and Norwegian vocalist T’ol (Chthon, Killing For Company), and it also includes guest appearances by Rune Folgerø (of Manes and Atrox) on clean vocals and Arnt “Obsidian C.” Gronbech of Keep of Kalessin, who provides guitar solos on several tracks.
The new single is “A Jhator Ascension”, which glows with starry luminescence as it hammers and punches. The music is sweeping and dramatic, steadily elevating the listener’s pulse as it rushes ahead, while making room for a beautiful interlude featuring the voice of S. Gronbech before cranking up the power dial for the finale. It appears the eagerness and excitement of our expectations have not been in vain.
“A Jhator Ascension” is out now on an array of digital platforms, including ITunes and Spotify, an it’s also available for streaming and download on Khonsu’s Bandcamp:
We have some history with Delaware’s Scorched. In May 2015 I premiered a full stream of their self-titled demo which was about to be released by Unspeakable Axe; and just this past July our Norwegian friend Gorger praised their split with Putrisect (Final State of Existence) in his own distinctive voice and I made mention of their four-way split with Gatecreeper, Homewrecker, and Outer Heaven — albeit without giving specific attention to Scorched’s song.
And that’s everything Scorched have released up to now — but they have now completed work on an entire album named Echoes of Dismemberment. I’m already slobbery over the prospect of hearing all of it, but so far I’ve only heard what you are about to hear, and this song is really something else.
Listening to this song and reading the praise it received from Dutch Pearce when it premiered at DECIBEL, I have a feeling that Scorched are about to blow up. To be clear, I mean “blowing up” in a relative sense. I mean “blowing up” among extreme metal fanatics, and especially those who have some well-worn treads on the tires of their ears. In a circle of people who fear they’ve heard it all, I suspect this thing will go off like a Bouncing Betty, because it takes a powerful old engine and gives it a tune-up. (Yes, I have no mental barriers to the rampant mixing of metaphors.)
The song in question is “Rot In Confinement”. On the one hand, it’s a clobbering/battering piece of death metal thuggery. On the other hand, it throws open the blast furnace doors with soloing that will singe your eyelashes off. On the third hand, it disseminates a thick fog of dismal atmosphere. And on a fourth hand, it’s highly infectious.
Based on the photo above, these dudes look pretty youthful. You really couldn’t guess that from the music, though. They already sound like skilled veterans.
The track stream is still exclusive to DECIBEL, so you’ll need to go here to listen. To pre-order the album, use the Bandcamp link below.
Unlike Scorched, I have no history with Kosmokrator. But like Scorched, I discovered this next song through Dutch Pearce — and it’s another immediate winner.
The song is “Death Worship” and it appears on this Belgian band’s second EP, First Step To Supremacy, which is being released by Ván Records on CD and vinyl. Building a ghastly, ominous, hallucinatory atmosphere from the very beginning, Kosmokrator positively seethe with malignant intent. Deep, poisonous, buzzing riffs and hair-raising howls do the blood work on the song, punctuated by the crack of the drummer’s snare.
This is vicious, dynamic, thoroughly electrifying black/death of a high order that will settle into your head like a nightmarish opium dream. Enjoy!
To pre-order this album on vinyl or CD, go here.
If you trace the career of the Chilean death metal band Totten Korps starting with their first demo in 1989, you’ll find a long gap in their recording output between 1992 and the appearance of their debut album in 2001 (Tharnheim: Athi-Land-Nhi; Ciclopean Crypts of Citadels, on the Repulse Records label) and then another gap between that album and the one that came out last December, Supreme Commanders of Darkness. Over that same long span of years there’s also been a bit of a revolving door in their line-up. But Supreme Commanders is so riveting that all that history sort of becomes irrelevant.
I didn’t pay attention to Supreme Commanders when it first came out on CD in South America under the banner of the Chilean label Apocalyptic Productions. I’m paying attention now because on November 25 Blood Harvest Records is giving the album an international reissue on vinyl — and they’ve already set up a full album stream on Bandcamp.
I wish I had time for a more fulsome review, but all I’m able to do at the moment is urge you to listen to this. It combines incinerating intensity and barbarous savagery with the kind of songwriting skill that spikes them in your head. The songs also include changes of pace, transfixing solos, and other variations that help them keep a firm grip on the listener’s attention.
If you’re like me, you’ll get sucked into this vortex right away as soon as you hear the title track, and if you’re smart, you’ll surrender and go all the way in. Highly recommended….
To pre-order the vinyl edition of Supreme Commanders of Darkness, go here. I’m not sure if or when it will become available as a digital download.
As on many other occasions, I have my internet acquaintance Miloš to thank for turning me on to the French band Impure Ziggurat (which includes members of Necroblood and Svart Crown). Last year they released a first demo named Raping the Quantum Womb of the Macrocosm, and today they’re following that up with an EP entitled Serenades of Astral Malevolence (which was mixed and mastered by Cam Sinclair (Diocletian, Witchrist, Heresiarch)).It’s available on Bandcamp now, and the Magister Dixit label plans to release the EP on vinyl (now estimated to happen in late October).
When I first learned about this release, and even as I write these words, only one song is publicly streaming — “Summoning Oort’s semen (Crawling into the serpents’ nest)”. I’m not sure who or what Oort is or why one would want to summon his semen, but perhaps the answers may be found somewhere in the writings from which the band draw their inspiration, which according to this interview includes Graham Hancock, Immanuel Velikovsky, Charles Berlitz, Robert Bauval, David Childress, and Charles Hapgood. The band’s name is itself based on the band’s interest in ancient Sumerian civilization. They also seem to draw musical inspiration from such bands as Krieg, Demoncy, Von, Beherit, Archgoat, Black Crucifixion, and Belial.
The song you’re about to hear is mercilessly bleak but magnetically attractive, both when it pounds like a sledgehammer and when it goes berserk in a storm of scything/whirring riffs and blasting drums. The vocals are deep and monstrous, adding to the manifestation of horrors summoned by the music. And when the song nears its end, the band add one more variation, with a vibrating guitar melody that’s forlorn and achingly memorable. Completely electrifying and highly addictive black/death.
Satanic Might is a Polish band whose debut demo Arrival of the Winterwinds was self-released in a small tape run last April and is now being released on CD by Putrid Cult. There are six tracks on the demo, one of which is an outro track and one of which is a cover of Satanic Warmaster’s “Burning Eyes of the Werewolf”. I haven’t heard the whole release, only the two songs available on YouTube — “Arrival of the Winterwinds” and “Hymn To the Master of New Age”.
The main strength of both songs lies in the impressive quality of the buzzing, radioactive riffs and the depressive melodies, but the athletic drumming has a way of getting its hooks in your head, too, and there’s venomous conviction in the acid-spewing vocals as well. This is no-frills, old-school black metal, to be sure, but Satanic Might have learned their lessons well.
The CD version of the demo can be ordered here:
For the final song in this collection I’m turning to the Chiacgo band Lethal Shöck. I discovered the song because it’s included in a digital compilation by the German label Witches Brew, which was released on September 20. There’s a lot of good stuff on that comp, but this one really jumped out at me.
The song is “I Rock (In Hell)” and it appears on an album named Evil Aggressor. There’s so much solid-gold evil metal goodness in this song, not the least of which is the sing-along quality of the chorus (though I don’t expect you’ll be able to match the nasty, tyrannical quality of the band’s vocalist).
And once this track has hooked you, you’ll be happy to discover that there’s more songwriting genius lying ahead on the rest of Evil Aggressor. (If you want to get a taste of what these dudes can do when they step on the gas pedal, jump to the title track and thrash your reproductive organs off.)
Below I’m including a stream of this song, plus a stream of the entire Evil Aggressor album, plus a stream of the Witches Brew compilation.
<3 IMPURE ZIGGURAT
Impure Ziggurat is siiick. All of these were goods but that track grabbed me. Scorched is awesome as hell, too.
This Impure Ziggurat track is a BEAST, Need this EP asap.
Satanic Might sounds finnish as hell for a polish act, good stuff !