SHADES OF BLACK (PART 1): EASTERN FRONT, FLUISTERAARS, INSONUS, SURTR
We didn’t have an actual music post yesterday, so I’ve doubled up on this Sunday’s Shades of Black installment. In Part 1 I’ve selected three new songs, the first of which comes with a video, plus a full stream of a new demo. I’ll post Part 2 later today after I’ve finished writing it, barring a meteor strike on my house or an armed insurrection in the loris compound.
The British black metal band Eastern Front released their third album Empire (via Cacophonous Records) two days ago. Since their last album, 2014’s Descent Into Genocide, they’ve had a change of vocalists, with frontwoman Marder replacing frontman Nagant. On the official release date, the band also debuted a video for the third track on Empire, “The Fire Consumes“.
Empire is an album I’ve been meaning to listen to, since I’ve enjoyed Eastern Front’s previous releases. But alas, that hasn’t happened yet, although “The Fire Consumes” suggests it will be worth the effort. The song is relentless — it starts in a sprint and never flags, combining warlike barbarity and a bleak melodic undercurrent. The video amplifies the frenzy by cleverly injecting little bursts of hyper-accelerated frames into the footage of the band performing.
Empire can be ordered on Amazon, iTunes, and via Cacophonous Records here.
Fluisteraars‘ great 2004 album Dromers was one of the last metal album reviews penned by our friend BadWolf (here) before he went off to Invisible Oranges (and the album was also the source of a song (“De Doornen”) that I put on our list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs). Our long lost friend Leperkahn also devoted attention to the band’s last album, 2015’s Luwte — which was also excellent. In short, at least around this site, Fluisteraars is in the category of bands whose every release is worth jumping on with alacrity.
And so I’ve jumped on Gelderland, which is Fluisteraars’ new EP, scheduled for an October 28 release by the Eisenwald label. Well, to be precise, I’ve jumped on the one song from this two-track EP that’s now streaming on Bandcamp.
“Zijsselt” is a bit of a switch for the band. Dromers and Luwte were devoted to long-form black metal — “De Doornen”, for example, was an even 16 minutes and half the songs on Luwte were in the 13- to 15-minute range — but “Zijsselt” doesn’t break the five-minute mark. Yet although it’s a relatively brief song, it again reveals Fluisteraars‘ knack for constructing seductive melodies and moving adeptly between blazing bonfires of sound and more somber off-pace passages. The vocals, as ever, are flesh-scarring.
Eisenwald will release Gelderland on limited-edition 7″ vinyl and digitally, along wth related merch. Order here:
Insonus are an Italian duo whose debut EP Nemo Optavit Vivere will be released by the Mexican label Throats Productions. I found out about the release via an alert from Bandcamp because I had bought a previous release (by Suicide Emotions) from that same label. I’ve pre-ordered this one, too, on the strength of the EP’s first advance track, “Nihilistic Manifesto“.
The slow, reverberating intro to this song is captivating, and so are the harsh, depressive chords that follow. But all this is just a prelude to the main body of the track, which is fiery and furious. There’s still a wrenching bleakness in the music even as it begins to slash and burn, and the aching melody has a way of burning itself in the listener’s memory. Emotionally intense music, and a promising herald of the EP to come.
On September 29, California’s Eternal Frost Records released a debut demo named Nocturnal Mysticism by the band Surtr. The physical release is limited to 33 cassette copies on black tape, but it’s also available as a Bandcamp download. I decided to include it in this collection because it represents such as marked change from the first three items of music.
Metal Archives lists four bands with the name Surtr. This Surtr is a one-man project based in Placerville, California. The man in question is also the creator behind Nattferd, which has produced a long string of releases since 2010, as well as the operator of Eternal Frost.
I was expecting raw, bestial black metal for some reason, but what Nocturnal Mysticism delivers is a combination of slow or mid-paced grinding riffs that get the head moving and echoing, gleaming keyboard melodies that do indeed have a mystical — but highly addictive — quality. The songs are relatively simple and stripped-down, but are accented here and there with beautiful acoustic guitar passages and changes of pace and rhythm (you can even rock out a bit, especially in the dreamy closing track). I’ve found them spellbinding.
Good listening as the weather grows colder, preferably outside at night under a canopy of stars or a full moon.
(Thanks to Miloš for linking me to this album.)
Nice to see Fluisteraars here! They are a very local band for me, they are from the village next to the village i grew up and currently reside in. So this band really has something extra for me. I love the fact they named this new EP the way they did. Gelderland (province in the Netherlands) is a unique place in the Netherlands. It has a unique nature character, not at all like the touristy post card nonsense of the western parts, but proper woods, valleys and rivers. I love Gelderland, it always is a real departure in the “modern” Netherlands with all it’s big cities and trendy shit to a more simple, honest and natural environment. Lots of nice new bands are from this same area like Wederganger and Turia and all have a pretty recognizable style. Btw, the track’s name “Zijsselt” is possibly from the name of a forest area near the city of Ede called “De Sysselt” which is a very nice forest of coniferous trees that they used to plant there to counter the encroaching drift sands from the Veluwe area, to counter desertification way back in the day. So it’s this strange mixed forest of coniferous and deciduous trees combined with the odd heather field, it’s quite lovely.
Thank you very much for this comment — it’s very informative and sheds light on the band’s music. I had heard of Gelderland before because of Wederganger, but had never tried to learn more about the area.
What does Fluisteraars mean?
This band is new for me and I really like them.
And TwoFootedTackle, I think you’re right about Zijsselt/Sysselt: http://www.peterjansen.org/De%20Sysselt.html
Ah cool! So “Zijsselt” is just the old spelling then. I like the page, lots of nice information 🙂 thanks for sharing!
Fluisteraars remind me quite a bit of Taake, without sounding like a straight rip-off. I’m a sucker for the combination of melodious riffing and harsh vocals and the embedded song hits the sweet spot for me. Great stuff.
You should definitely check out their previous releases. So much good stuff on both albums, and “De Doornen” in particular remains a track I still go back to a lot, even with its significant length.
Thanks, will do!
Pfew finally some less-polished black metal on here. Surts is giving me a distinct early Gehenna/Dimmu Borgir vibe, which is great. On a personal note, when will bands stop brandishing these fake skulls (not saying they all should go out and get real ones, a la Hades)?
I am loving this SURTR release. Am i the only one getting an Ancient Wisdom vibe? Spot on with the cold weather listening recommendation
That opening scream from Eastern Front was super weak.
I’m not always long lost – The privileges of study abroad have cut into my blogging time, unfortunately 🙁
That said, new Fluisteraars is always good news, and predictably killer.
I just freaking LOVE this band.
Fluisteraars, I mean…
Wait.. there were other bands in this post??