Here in the good old U.S. of A. it’s Thanksgiving Day today, and so to all of our American readers, I want to wish you a happy fucking Thanksgiving. And if you’re puzzling over what to be thankful for, I have some new metal for you. You’re welcome.
That’s right, while the rest of the miscreants in U.S. metal blogdom are acting like normal, reasonably well-adjusted people and taking the day off, I’m still here like a good samaritan at the soup kitchen, feeding you nourishing metal so you won’t think no one cares about you, at least for today. As usual, I’ll also post something new on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this long “holiday” weekend, not because I’m better than anyone else but because I obviously have an undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Because it’s Thanksgiving, this holiday edition of what we normally call Seen and Heard is overstuffed, which is the condition of most Americans by the end of this day. So get ready to gorge yourself through the earholes with music from a dozen bands.
We’ll begin this groaning smorgasbord of sound with a new song by Nidingr. As explained in Karina Cifuentes’ guest feature at our site two weeks ago (here), Nidingr is the side project of Mayhem guitarist Teloch, and a new Nidingr album named The High Heat Licks Against Heaven is now set for release by Season of Mist on February 10.
Teloch will be joined on the album by bassist Sir Trelldom (Gorgoroth, God Seed, Gaahls Wyrd), drummer Myrvoll ( ex-Dødheimsgard (live), ex-God Seed (live)) and vocalist Cpt. Estrella Grasa. The wonderful cover art is by Valnoir of Metastazis.
Yesterday DECIBEL had the pleasure of premiering the new album’s first single, “Surtr”. It’s a flat-out war gallop, everything giving off that high heat from the album’s title… until things take a twisted turn. And speaking of twisted, the vocals are certainly that. A very interesting as well as invigorating song.
Nidingr on Facebook:
I’m going to stay within the realms of black metal for a few more more songs before moving on to different sonic comestibles, and the first one comes from Iceland’s Endalok. In August I wrote about this band’s debut demo Englaryk, and now they have a new EP on the way. Entitled Úr Draumheimi Viðurstyggðar, it will be released on January 20, 2017, by Signal Rex.
The song below is from that EP and its title is “Afskræming holds og sálar”. This feels like a trip through a wormhole, a weird and wondrous trip in which you sense vast dark panoramas flashing past, with ravenous alien creatures racing after you, howling their unhinged rage at your invasion of their domains. I have many more thoughts about this harrowing, disorienting, and surprising music, but for now I’ll just stop with that metaphor.
Endalok on Facebook:
Before leaving the landscape of black metal, I’ll share a new song by a band named Darkreverie, to which I was drawn by two things: First, the cover art for Darkreverie’s new EP Isis-Lupus-Brigit was painted by the Italian maestro Paolo Girardi, and that’s always a big inducement for me to explore the music of a band to which his art is allied. And second, Darkreverie is the solo project of Swiss drummer Damiano from the band Nihilo, whose excellent last album Dum Spiro Spero was the subject of a MISCELLANY post at our site back in 2014.
So far, no music has been released for streaming from the new EP, but we do have Darkreverie’s debut EP, Black Arts, which was released this past summer. Be sure to start the EP stream with the first track and then follow the tracks straight through from there. The first and fourth tracks are meditative piano instrumentals that shouldn’t be neglected, any more than the two jet-fueled metal songs that come between them — which have the jolting, jabbing heft of death metal and the swarming ferocity of black metal. I’m really enjoying the prominence of the nimble bass performances in both songs, too, as well as the demonic cacophony of the vocals.
Darkreverie on Facebook:
We’re about to move from savory black metal into a death metal feedbag, and to continue the transition I thought this next song would do nicely. It’s a cover of Bathory’s “Hades” from the 1984 self-titled album, as performed by California’s GraveCoven.
GraveCoven is a two-person outfit whose members come from Bog Oak and Swamp Witch. Only a few days ago I lavished praise on a new two-track GraveCoven EP named Coughing Blood (2) — so named because it’s the second installment of tracks destined to appear on a forthcoming album named Coughing Blood. This morning I received a Bandcamp alert about this new cover of “Hades” and wasted no time pouncing on it.
Speaking of coughing blood, this will knock your teeth out and then kidney-punch you for mumbling. So damned good!
You can download “Hades” at Bandcamp for a buck:
GraveCoven on Facebook:
Now it’s time to sharpen our forks and knives for an extended course of death metal delectables, beginning with another song from the debut album by Echelon, which premiered yesterday at Echoes and Dust and which I first learned about through a tip from our Norwegian friend eiterorm, which he introduced with the proclamation, “This is the sound of true death metal.”
And don’t I know it — because only last month we premiered the first advance track (“Plague of the Altruistic”) from Echelon’s second album The Brimstone Aggrandizement. For those who aren’t aware of Echelon, take a look at the line-up for the new album:
Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, Demiurg, Putrevore, Megascavenger, etc., etc.) – Guitar
Dave Ingram (Hail of Bullets, ex-Bolt Thrower, ex-Benediction) – Vocals
Johan Berglund (Ribspreader, Demiurg, The Grotequery) – Bass
Kjetil Lynghaug (Johansson & Speckmann, Paganizer) – Lead Guitar
Travis Ruvo (Akatharta, Cropsy Maniac) – Drums
Yesterday’s song premiere was a track called “Of Warlocks and Wolves”. It’s a fierce, thundering, electrifying race, with an especially prominent, giant bellowing riff that comes out of nowhere, freakish bursts of incendiary soloing, a wonderfully pulsing bass line, and the kind of drumming that you can feel in your intestines — not to mention a melodic core that sticks in the head. The whole thing is like an eye-popping death metal fireworks display. And of course, Dave Ingram is Dave Ingram, and no one else is.
To listen to this latest track, go here. Three other tracks are now up on Bandcamp, and I’ve added them below. The Brimstone Aggrandizement will be released by Transcending Obscurity Records on December 22.
Echelon on Facebook:
I sense that you’re not sated with death metal yet, and so I invite you to enjoy a second helping. What follows is a two-song EP named Last Echoes of Life released last month by a band from Oulu, Finland, named Revulsion. And by the way, I should alert you that this holiday edition of Seen and Heard is loaded with music by Finnish bands — not by design, but that’s just the way things worked out.
Revulsion of course don’t have the pedigree of the members of Echelon (few bands do), but damn, they don’t sound like fledgling newcomers either. These songs are explosive, with massive grooves as well as turbocharged riff and drum frenzies, teeth-loosening bass work, and full-throated vocal horrors. I’ve had an absolute blast listening to these two thoroughly galvanizing and highly infectious tracks… over and over again.
NCS contributor Grant Skelton sent me the following item, which he wrote, for inclusion in the next Seen and Heard, and I’m including it here while we’re still feeding on death metal delicacies (or perhaps they’re feeding on us).
“As the year winds down, we’re all putting the finishing touches on our “Best Of” lists. And this is one album I’ll be very happy to include in my own.
“Way back at the beginning of 2015 (in one of my very first articles for NCS), I mentioned the then-untitled album from the Dutch band Slechtvalk. I am happy to write that, after almost 2 years, that album has a title AND a release date! Also, your first taste of a new track is available.
“The album Where Wandering Shadows And Mists Collide will be released December 20. Until then, Slechtvalk have given us the album’s opening number “We Are” to tide us over. “We Are” is a flagrant, anthemic diatribe enkindled by wrathful, white-hot energy. The scorn in this song is so palpable that you’d think the lyrics were aimed at you personally. At 3:40, it’s much more straightforward (not to mention straight-for-the-throat) than much of Slechtvalk’s previous material. If you like what you hear, I’ve provided a preorder link.”
Slechtvalk on Facebook:
Before we move on to other portions of this Thanksgiving banquet that aren’t in the death-metal red-meat part of the spread, I thought it might be time for a palate cleanser, a small and exotic taste of a new EP from the Mongolian folk metal band Tengger Cavalry.
I didn’t know this EP was on the way, but I received a Bandcamp alert last night and quickly followed it up. The name of the EP is kAAn and it consists of 8 tracks. It’s due for release on December 12 and is available for pre-order now. The song below is the opening track, “Accused”.
Tengger Cavalry on Facebook:
Now I’m going to move you farther down the buffet line and toward a series of dishes that are less easily classifiable than what has come before. Their ingredients still include varying quantities of death metal seasoning, but other ingredients are also in the mix.
The first of these offerings is an album by a two-person band named MROME from Andrychów, Poland. The album’s name is Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell. Unlike the other items in this musical feast, it didn’t pop out of the oven recently, but was instead served up hot in early August. But believe me, it’s still hot.
As noted, the music is hard to classify in genre terms. I want to say infernal death rock (not “deathrock”!), but I’m still not completely satisfied with that. The mainly mid-paced songs are organized around powerful, head-moving rhythms and fleshed out with dark, sinister, and sometimes quirky melodies, with equally sinister growled vocals that seem to well up from a throat choked with clotting blood. Keyboards are added sparingly and judiciously to give a bit of a hallucinatory air to some of the tracks.
There were times in the album when I thought of Hail Spirit Noir, other times when I thought of Mantar, and there’s a Danzig cover in here, too. The songwriting is top-notch, the songs are varied but always devilish, and man, they do get stuck in the head. This is a deeply under-the-radar gem that needs to be spread around.
Now we move back to Finnish nutrients again, this time via a band named Marianas Rest from the Baltic coastal town of Kotka. Their new album Horror Vacui was released in Europe on November 10 by Sliptrick Records, and it’s scheduled for a U.S. release in February.
What I discovered yesterday was a video for a song from Horror Vacui called “The Millennialist”. The visuals are interesting, with the band and their surroundings appearing to have been bleached to the palor of bone by the sun — save for evanescent flashes of bloody color.
I’ve also become highly enamored of the song, which is a dark, doom-doused piece of heavy spellcasting. The contrast between the booming bass piston in the engine room and the shimmering, shining, highly addictive melody that wafts over the top of the song like an aurora borealis is wonderful.
Marianas Rest on Facebook:
I’m not trying to include every genre of metal in this musical feast; even your bloated, gluttonous bodies have their limits. But I did feel the need for some speed as we draw closer to the end of this sumptuous repast. And so I have a song called “Altar of Extinction” by a band from Austin, Texas, simply named Id. It appears on the band’s EP Tinieblas, which was released on November 18 by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.
“Altar of Extinction” will put the spurs to your flanks and the whip to your butt. It’s as vicious as it is high-octane and it mixes in a pair of cool solos along with jackhammering grooves, thrashing gallops, and piranha-swarm riff frenzies.
P.S. Horror Pain Gore Death is having a Thankskilling sale, offering 50% off all purchases through their Bandcamp page (enter discount code HUSS2016); the offer expires Monday, November 28th, at 11:59 EST:
Id on Facebook:
And now, for the dessert course, we have scenes of Finns doing what I assume Finns always do at dusk — take off their clothes and run through forests, pausing for t’ai chi routines with glow sticks before pushing on toward the shores of frigid lakes. At least that’s what the members of Hukutus seem to be doing in this lyric video.
The video is for a single called “Nadiirit“, which was digitally released on November 17, though the video seems to have been around since mid-2015. The song takes off in a bounding loping rhythm, mixing deep, punchy, sludgy riffs and soaring keyboard melody, teeth-baring wolfish howls and gang shouts. In an interlude in the second half, the song becomes even darker and more haunting. Grim, but vibrant and memorable.
Hukutus on Facebook:
And that concludes this Thanksgiving feast. Please feel free to belch, fart, and stretch out for a nap. Our home is your home. See you tomorrow.