SEEN AND HEARD: HOUR OF PENANCE, DEVOURING STAR, HENRY KANE, CVINGER, HANGING GARDEN, DISILLUSION, MYLINGAR, EMPTINESS
Yes, there are quite a lot of names in the headline of this post, but what follows isn’t quite as daunting as you might think. The first two items consist of news and art for forthcoming releases, but no music yet, and the last two items are just brief teasers of new music. In between I’ve sandwiched four full songs and videos, and I’m quite happy with what I’ve chosen, not only because the music is very good considered in isolation but also because collectively they make for a nice, varied playlist (and the two videos and album covers are quite eye-catching, too). At least it should be nice for people who have eclectic tastes. Here we go….
HOUR OF PENANCE
That’s a hell of a metal album cover up there, isn’t it? It was disclosed yesterday by Italy’s Hour of Penance and Prosthetic Records, who will release the band’s new album Cast the First Stone on January 27, 2017. The cover was created by Gyula Havancsak, whose work we’ve praised before in these pages.
The announcement was accompanied not only by a quote from our site (yay!) but also by the following statement from the band’s vocalist Paolo Pieri concerning the concept of the album, which revolves around the idea that “the injustices suffered during the Crusades and Colonialism do not justify the chain of hate that propagandizes the destruction of the West”:
“I believe that the political situation in recent years has brought to light again a millennial conflict between West and East. Events like the terrorist attack at the Bataclan, where we only played a few months before the massacre, have influenced the lyrics on this record very much. It does not matter who has thrown the first stone, but who first evolved his ideology to seek peace and coexistence instead of war to the bitter end.”
Hmmm… I’m guessing HoP won’t be invited to perform at any Trump rallies.
Here’s the track list:
1. XXI Century Imperial Crusade
2. Cast the First Stone
3. Burning Bright
4. Iron Fist
5. The Chains of Misdeed
6. Horn of Flies
7. Shroud of Ashes
8. Wall of Cohorts
9. Damnatio Memoriae
And I’m devoting attention to this news why? Because Hour of Penance do not disappoint. That’s been scientifically proven.
And here’s another piece of metal artwork, this one created by the talented David Herrerias for a new EP by Finland’s Devouring Star, which was just announced today. The name of the EP is Antihedron, and it will be released by Devouring Star’s new label, Dark Descent Records. It includes these three tracks, with a run time of 25 minutes:
1. Breath of the Void
2. Star below
3. Angel of Null
Additional artwork for the EP has been created by Cold Poison and Ani Corvus. As for the music, we are most eager to hear it, given the high quality of the band’s 2015 debut album Through Lung and Heart. Watch these spaces for further developments… or just continue to hang around NCS:
Okay, now it’s time for some actual music to go along with further news and artwork.
The first song I’ve selected is by a new band named Henry Kane — a name you may recognize as belonging to the soul-devouring supernatural antagonist in the Poltergeist film series. The band, and this next song, caught my eye not only because of the cover art but also because Henry Kane is the solo project of Jonny Pettersson, who is also a member of a long list of excellent bands including Wombbath, Ashcloud, and Syn:Drom.
The name of the song is “Vinst eller fölust” and it comes from an album that will be released by Transcending Obscurity Records. The song, in a word, is a monster — overpoweringly thunderous, saturated in HM-2 distortion, driven by a head-hammering snare, given a queasy feeling by a diseased bit of guitar at the end, and made certifiably insane by Pettersson’s wide-ranging vocal calamities. If you’re looking for a genre label, think crusty death/grind, or deathly grind/crust, or grinding death/crust. Or just forget about the label and give it a listen:
I’ll turn now to a new video from the Slovenian black metal band Cvinger for a song called “Martyr Shrine”. It appears on their 2016 album Embodied In Incense, which we premiered (here) earlier this year. The engrossing video, which is quite well done, was directed by Ghuilherme de Enriques. It includes brief nudity, and so may well deserve a NSFW warning. As for the song, it displays the qualities I tried to sum up at the time of the premiere in this way:
“The entire album is a punishing, but twisting and turning, experience. Presented with a powerful production, it amply delivers crushing black metal ferocity, yet provides much more than pulse-pounding savagery. It brings dynamic tempo changes, unpredictably mutating riffs, and haunting atmospheric touches. The whole album is a gripping listen — it will put your neck in an iron grip and won’t let go.”
In my own humble opinion, lyric videos are better off left alone unless the lyrics are actually worth reading. That may seem obvious, but there is abundant evidence that many metal bands don’t share that opinion. Fortunately, the lyrics that appear in Hanging Garden’s new video are well worth reading (and hearing) — even though they’re fairly grim and disturbing.
The song in the video is “Sirkle of Onan” and it’s from this Finnish band’s new EP Hereafter, which has just been released by Lifeforce Records and includes guest vocal appearances by Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), Alexander Högbom (October Tide, Centinex, Volturyon), and Victor Wegeborn (The Moth Gatherer). In fact, Wegeborn’s vocals play a co-starring role in this particular song, which is dark and heavy, ethereal and mesmerizing.
The video, by the way, is intriguing to watch for reasons that go beyond the lyrics.
I have our old friend and occasional contributor deckard cain to thank for alerting me to this next song. It’s a completely enthralling 10-minute single named “Alea“, and marks the first music from this German progressive metal band since the release of their last album (Gloria) ten years ago.
I can’t say I’m familiar with Disillusion’s earlier recordings, and I can’t say that progressive metal is high on my list of genre favorites — but man, “Alea” hooked me the first time I heard it, and I’ve stayed hooked. The rhythmic interplay is jolting and beguiling; the soaring guitar melodies are cosmically sublime; the vocals (almost entirely clean) well-earn an exception to our Rule; and the instrumental permutations and changes of mood that unfold as the song moves along are captivating. It’s also very infectious and memorable, and the song’s finale — which is introduced by an engaging saxophone solo — goes off like rockets in the sky.
“Alea” is available here:
Now, to close this large round-up, I have those two tantalizing teasers I mentioned at the outset. The first concerns a band named Mylingar.
I know very little about Mylingar — where they are from, how many people are in the band, what their background is. They were recommended to me by a respected musician, and they have an EP named Döda Vägar that will be released by Amor Fati Productions late this year. The chilling artwork was created by Beyond Art (Brian Nguyen), who has also worked with Sortilegia, Nawaharjan, and others; the logo was created by the ubiquitous Christophe Szpajdel.
If you look up the band’s name at The Font of All Human Knowledge, you’ll find this explanation:
‘Mylingar’ is a Swedish word that is the plural of ‘myling’. It’s a Scandinavian legend that speaks about ghosts/spirits of unbaptized and/or unnamed children that have been forced to roam the earth until they could force someone to name and/or bury them, in fact ‘killing’ them for real so they can finally rest. In a way, they haunt people in order to get killed/buried. They haunt lone wanderers in the woods, jump on people’s backs and demand to be carried to a graveyard. They are very aggressive and become heavier as you come closer to the graveyard, so that you might sink into the ground carrying them there. If you don’t do as they ask you, they might kill you in a rage.”
That sounds promising, doesn’t it? So does the excerpt below of one of the EPs five tracks, a song named “Såren”. Listen below (I’ll have more to say about this EP in due course)….
The final teaser in this post, and it’s an exceedingly brief one, is for a new album by Belgium’s Emptiness. Information about the album is just as abbreviated as the teaser. The only details released so far (as far as I can find) are these: It will be released by Season of Mist; it was produced by Jeordie White (Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle) and mixed by Sean Beavan (NIN, Guns ‘N Roses, Shining (No.)). Nevertheless, I’m including this news because of how good the band’s last album was — 2014’s Nothing But the Whole.
Disillusion’s Back to Times of Splendor has been a big guilty pleasure of mine. I highly recommend checking it out if you like this song (and frankly I think the old stuff is much more powerful in all its cheesy glory).
Wait, what? Guilty pleasure? Wtf
Back to Times of Splendor is anything but cheesy or a guilty pleasure. Personally, I’d just call it phenomenal, and leave it at that. Any album that makes me think, “So this is what Opeth (back when they played death metal) or Spires would sound like if they wrote a melo-death album,” is doing something very right indeed.
BtToS is one of *the* best progressive death metal albums ever, and deserves way more kudos than it receives.
So the Emptiness teaser wasn’t even a tease, so I’m miffed! Goddamn it! And yet, I kind of don’t want to hear anything until I can hear it all together when it’s released. So I’m no longer miffed. Easily my top one or two most anticipated releases this year. I can’t wait to see how they progress.
I guess I’ll listen to whatever else is on this page now.
Henry Kane sounds killer, I need to hear more! 🙂
there is a pretty cool song for devouring star on bandcamp.
Damn that Disillusion track is killer. The vocals were quite a surprise to start with, but after a while just seemed to fit perfectly.
That disillusion record is going to be sweet.
Welcome back Disillusion, my old friends!