SEEN AND HEARD: EX DEO, BEHEADED, VANIK, MALIGNER, NATVRE’S, GOODBYE KINGS
I haven’t been listening to as much new metal this week as I usually do. Something to do with the seismic impact of our election, I suppose. But I did start digging into new things last night and today. I’ve collected a handful of new songs in this post and will spread more of them before you over the weekend. As usual, no two songs in this group are stylistically alike.
To begin this collection I don’t actually have a full song for you, but whenever the remarkable Eliran Kantor discloses a new album cover, that’s reason enough for me to give the album some space. The one you’re gazing at above is his painting for The Immortal Wars, which is the new album by Ex Deo.
As you probably know, Ex Deo is an offshoot of Montreal’s Kataklysm who take as their subject matter the history of the ancient Roman Empire. It appears that the new album will focus specifically on the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, in which the Carthaginian commander Hannibal famously crossed the Alps along with three-dozen war elephants to mount a surprise attack on Italy, though the war also involved battles in Hispania and Sicily.
Below you’ll find a teaser for the album with a bit of epic music. The album will be released on February 24 by Napalm Records.
We’ll stay in the Mediterranean region for this next item, which is an advance track from the new album by Malta’s Beheaded. Entitled Beast Incarnate, this is the band’s fifth album overall in a 25-year career. It features cover art by Gabriel Alegria Sabogal and it’s scheduled for release by Unique Leader Records on January 27.
The song below is “The Horror Breathes” and it appears as the second track in the album’s running order. It’s a nasty piece of work — a turbocharged death metal attack loaded with howling vocals, a shrieking guitar, blistering drumwork, and riffs that sound like a giant table saw cutting through concrete. This thing leaves a lot of blood spray and bone splinters in its wake.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been depressed by recent events, which is part of why I haven’t been as excited about listening to new music as usual. But this next song is the first one I listened to after beginning to climb out of my funk, and it did such a good job of making me feel better that I’ve gone back to it every day since then.
The name of the song is “One More Dose”, and it’s the subject of an animated music video that was released a few days before the election. The song itself appears on the self-titled debut album of the band Vanik, which will be released later this month by Ván Records (pre-order here).
Vanik includes quite an eye-catching line-up: It bears the name of guitarist/vocalist Vanik from the band Midnight (and also Vandallus, Whitespade, Eternal Legacy, Breaker, Manimals, Sixx) and also includes bassist Ed Stephans (Ringworm, Shok Paris, Gluttons) and drummer Al Biddle (Toxic Holocaust, Cauldron, Diemonds, Castle).
The song is very damned catchy, and a headbanger’s wet dream, fired up by a hell of a solo and vocals that have just enough abrasion on them to sound ghoulish. I’ve also included a full stream of the album after the video. Looking forward to hearing the rest of it just as soon as I can pull myself away from having just one more dose, repeatedly.
Since I expect that Vanik track got your blood rushing, I thought I’d stay in the fast lane with these next two songs. Both of them are from a cassette EP named Demon by the band Maligner, which is being released on December 16 by Sweden’s Blood Harvest Records.
Maligner themselves come from Sweden (the Malmö area), though two of the band’s three members are of Latin American origin. Demon is their debut release, but from listening to these two songs you really wouldn’t know this is the first demo by a young band.
The two tracks from the EP that are now available for streaming via the player below are “Juggernaut” and “Shattered Reality”, and man, do they fly. Maligner jam the death/thrash pedal all the way down — basically through the floor. But although they blaze like a brush fire in a high wind, they do veer off the main path with no warning just to keep things interesting. Good song-writing and impressive instrumental flourishes combine with murderous vocal viciousness to make these songs a heart-pumping thrill ride.
The trio who call themselves Natvre’s came together in 2014 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Last year they self-released a debut album named Wrath. Since then they have signed with Argento Records in anticipation of releasing a new album next year, but in the meantime Argento is reissuing the debut on November 19 in a three-panel digisleeve CD format, as well as digitally. The reissue led to the recent “premiere” of a track from Wrath by CVLT Nation, and that’s finally what put Wrath on my radar screen.
The song premiered by CVLT Nation is the opener of Wrath, “Lazarines”. It hammers really damned hard in its powerhouse opening — and the scathing acid bath of a voice that then emerges is fucking deranged. And that’s all just a prelude to a massive blast of black metal rocking-out laced with some berserker lead guitar work. And if the low end of this song doesn’t loosen the teeth in your gums and vibrate your entire skeletal structure, I’ll be surprised.
Go HERE to listen to “Lazarines”, and below you can also check out another album track named “Prototype”. The latter song is just as electrifying as the first one, but more of a deranged and dissonant strafing run at first (with a pulsing little keyboard motif) before it settles into a heavy, rocking rhythm — and the song then moves back and forth between those two equally compelling states of play. Did I mention that the vocals are batshit crazy?
To conclude this collection, I’m taking a sharp detour for a song that isn’t metal, though the band do incorporate elements of sludge rock and metal into their music, along with classical and tribal music and jazz. The band’s name is Goodbye, Kings and they come from Milan, Italy, claiming influences that include Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Neurosis, and Tortoise. Their new album Vento was released by Argonauta Records on November 7.
A few days ago the band released a music video for a song from Vento called “Shurùq”, and we’re told this about the song’s name:
“Scirocco (from the arab Shurhùq, wind of noon) is a warm wind coming from Syria. It is also known as Shuruq, a muslim prayer for the sunset.”
This is an instrumental piece, like all the songs on Vento, and a spellbinding piano melody is at its core, one that is haunting and even desolate, as well as beautiful and buoyant. The engaging video has its own fascinations.
Though the focus of this writing is “Shurùq”, I’m also including a full stream of the album via Bandcamp. I haven’t heard the rest of Vento yet, but I’m certainly intrigued enough now to dive in.
Thanks for the write-up on Maligner! Our CD version of the EP will be out December 1st.
Thanks for continuing to post and write about new music. I understand your feelings. I am in the same sort of rut, for the same reasons. This election feels like a pretty strong blow to social progress. Not to start a debate or to go on about it, but it hurts. We just all have to look out for each other, listen to one another, and be there for our friends and family. We’ll get through this. We have to.
Stop pandering to Europeans and their pan-metal. Stick to American blackened atmospheric progressive grindcore.
[ducks while slinking out of the room]
But on point, I really dig the Ex Duo sound. I’ll be looking out for that one. The album cover is great, too. As always, thank you.
Oh, by the way, what happened to the title checkbox for a notice when someone responds? It disappeared on me in all browsers, disabled extensions, etc. I won’t know to respond when someone calls me an asshat, which, on the internet, is basically the equivalent of agreeing with them. Egads!
I tried to figure out why you’re not getting the checkbox. The plugin I use for that in the blog software is up to date, so unless there’s been some recent WordPress update that broke it and it hasn’t been updated, I don’t have an answer. And thanks for your first line, which gave me a needed chuckle.
I’m glad I could give you a chuckle and some more positive feelings in that other thread.
Weird about the checkbox. I’ll have to do some more research, because it seems like it must on my end then.
Goodbye, Kings is strangely enticing me in with that sweet minimalism. Also Ex Deo sounds promising, but damn that really is a ‘teaser’ for sure.
And now that I bother to take a look, the checkbox for notifications is gone for me too.
Not a bad track on this whole post. Thanks! I especially enjoyed Maligner, but I’m a sucker for violent FAST thrash metal.
As you can tell, I’m pretty much a sucker for that too, 🙂