SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: CLOUDS, WITCHERY, GRAVEBOMB, POHJOISEN SOTURIT, DO SKONU, DAVID BOWIE
Greetings brethren and sistren on this beautiful Saturday. At least it’s beautiful where I am, deep in the heart of Texas, where I’ve been visiting family members the last couple of days. In fact, it’s such a beautiful morning that I felt compelled to ugly it up with new metal. I found some good ways to do that, which you will hear below, and I found one other surprise, too.
But before we get to music that will bruise the day, I’m beginning this collection with something that’s as beautiful in its own way as this morning. And before I get to THAT song, I’ll leave you with YouTube links to some new music and videos that appeared just yesterday from the following bands, though I’m not writing about them here: Hail Spirit Noir; Madder Mortem; and Dark Tranquillity. I’ll also embed the videos at the end of this post if you’d rather not leave our humble site to hear and see them.
I thank Grant Skelton for alerting me to this first song, which appeared about five days ago. Its name is “How Can I Be There” and it’s from Departe, the second album by the band Clouds.
Clouds‘ is the brain-child of vocalist/musician Daniel Neagoe (Eye of Solitude, Ennui, Colosus), and Departe is Clouds‘ second release. The first album included contributions from an eye-catching list of metal names: Pim Blankenstein from Officium Triste and The 11th Hour; Jarno Salomaa from Shape of Despair, Jón Aldará from Hamferð and Barren Earth, Kostas Panagiotou from Pantheist, Déhà from Deos, God Enslavement, and many other bands; and Anders Eek from Funeral.
I haven’t yet found a complete list of the contributors to Departe, though snooping on Clouds‘ Facebook page reveals that Pim Blankenstein has returned, and that the album includes appearances by Natalie Koskinen of Shape Of Despair (vocals) and Shaun MacGowan of My Dying Bride (violin).
Departe will be released on November 1, 2016. Allow yourself to fall completely into this magnificent song:
Roughly six years after their last album Witchkrieg, Sweden’s Witchery are returning with a new album named In His Infernal Majesty’s Service. Below you can check out the lyric video for the first advance track to be released from the album, a blood sucker named “Nosferatu”.
In His Infernal Majesty’s Service will arrive on November 25 via Century Media Records. “Nosferatu” is available on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital platforms. CD and vinyl pre-orders are being accepted here.
Gravebomb are from Gothenburg, Sweden, and their debut album Rot In Putrid Filth was released in April of this year. I haven’t heard the whole album, but I did stumble upon the recently released lyric video for a track called “Sentenced To Beheading”, and it’s a very tasty tune.
By “tasty”, I mean that Gravebomb churn out some authentically ghastly old school death metal, heavy on the HM-2 buzz saw bombardment and with grooves that are capable of inducing severe neck sprain. Also, the vocalist sounds like he is literally vomiting as he regurgitates the words. The song punches all sorts of my buttons, and punches them hard. Unless you duck, it will punch you too.
I discovered this song and video via an e-mail we received this morning from Inverse Records and liked it so much that I shoe-horned it into this post as the last thing I did before publishing it.
The song is “Sisu” and it comes from a debut album entitled Oksat pois… ja isa latvuksista by a Finnish band named Pohjoisen Soturit. The song is a real skull-smasher, heavy as lead and with a doomy inflection in the melody, and it’s also a great headbang trigger.
The vocals are another standout feature of the track — enormously deep, well-rounded growls that probably drew curious bears into the snow-blanketed setting of the video. The sounds of the Finnish language have always made metal songs sound even more metal to my non-Finnish ears, in much the same way as songs sung in Slavic languages, and that’s true of this track as well.
Oksat pois… ja isa latvuksista will be released by Inverse on November 11.
Later this year Forever Plagued Records will release the fourth album by the one-man Ukrainian black metal band Do Skonu on vinyl and cassette (I believe it was originally released relier this year by Thou Shalt Kill! Records). Fittingly, the Ukrainian name of the album (Ад) translates to Hell. I haven’t heard Do Skonu’s previous output, but the following advance track from Hell — “Black Witching Flame” — is a clear winner.
For more info, check these pages (and to hear a couple more songs, visit the Bandcamp page below):
I discovered the final song in this collection, “Killing A Little Time“, through a piece in The New York Times this morning. It’s a previously unheard David Bowie song that appears on the original cast recording of the musical theater piece that Bowie created shortly before his death, called Lazarus, with Michael C. Hall channeling Bowie. The song includes musical and thematic elements that I think will appeal to metal lovers even if they’re not also Bowie fans. Here’s Jon Pareles’ introduction to the song at The New York Times:
“David Bowie left a postscript to his catalog with “Lazarus,” the 2015 musical-theater piece built around his music. The original cast recording includes three previously unheard Bowie songs: “No Plan,” “When I Met You” and the most angular and enraged of them, “Killing a Little Time.” It’s a searing tirade at mortality — “No sympathy/This furious reign” — that could have fit directly onto his final album, “Blackstar.” The beat heaves and erupts, the harmonies thicken and bristle with modern-jazz dissonance, and twin-guitar riffs slice crosswise against the dramatic declamation of the melody. Michael C. Hall sings with faithful Bowie inflections, a tribute that only underlines the finality of Bowie’s loss.”
Okay, here are those three new songs and videos I mentioned at the outset of this post, without further comment from me:
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR
Clouds is great, like despair wrapped in velvety smoothness.
And I can see the metal appeal of the David Bowie track too. There were times in there I did a double take and wondered if it wasn’t Bowie himself singing. Michael Hall really nails it.
Man….that Clouds tune is fantastic! I will definitely be picking that one up for sure!
That new Clouds song is good, but I am doubting they can top the first album.
It looks like the skeleton hand on the Witchery cover is doing the two in the pink one in the stink sign!
The Shocker! |_||
I did a double take when I read that Shane McGowan from The Pogues was gonna sing with Clouds. Alas, it was not to be.
It’s frightening how similar Michael C Hall sounds to Bowie, even if he’s not the original (of course). I never knew a) he could sing, and b) sing like Bowie.
God that Clouds song was incredible
Any idea if Clouds’ Departe will be released independently?
Love the Ajattara’ish grizzly vocals of Pohjoisen Soturit.
Do Skonu is scheduled to appear in my playlist some time before Forever Plagued releases it on December 16th. Looking forward to it!
I’ve been looking forward to some new music from Witchery, that’s great news! And Gravebomb sounds killer 🙂