I’ve been immersed in compiling LISTMANIA features the last few days, but at the same time I’ve been noticing the appearance of new songs, many of them from albums headed our way in the new year. I’ve rounded up 9 of them here that I’ve enjoyed, with a range of metallic styles. I organized them sort of like a bell curve, with things starting hard and then getting more melodic in the middle, and then descending again into increasing ugliness and violence by the end.
Also, serious question: Should I divide collections of this length into smaller parts and spread them out over the day? Or does it matter?
I’m afraid that if I googled “lock up” these days, I’d get stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The world obviously needs to grind again, and the real Lock Up is here to help us do that.
Since the band’s last album Tomas Lindberg departed as the vocalist, replaced by Brutal Truth’s Kevin Sharp. Still in the fold of this all-star line-up are bassist Shane Embury (Napalm Death), drummer Nick Barker (Twilight of the Gods, and at one time or another almost every other good band known to man), and guitarist Anton Reisenegger (Criminal, Brujeria, Pentagram [Chile]).
The new album is named Demonization, and it will be released by Listenable Records next year. Below you can listen to the album’s first single, “Mindfight”. The sound of the guitar in the song loosened my bowels. The drumming and the bass work loosened my joints. Sharp’s voice may have raised welts on my ass. Unless those were there already. Damn, this song is an electrifying piece of ferocity!
(Kudos to DGR for the link to this one.)
The Dutch avant-garde black metal band Dodecahedron made quite a strong impression with their self-titled 2012 debut album. It’s been a long wait, but they now have a new one named Kwintessens that’s set for release by Season of Mist on March 17.
Yesterday DECIBEL premiered the new album’s first advance track, “Hexahedron – Tilling The Human Soil”, in a feature that repeatedly compared the music to Deathspell Omega. In fact, as I recall, that’s all they said about the song.
The new song does indeed revel in dissonance and high-speed derangement, but there’s more to it than that, as you discover when it begins to glide and pound and the lead guitar melody begins to slither and swirl in surreal fashion, to the accompaniment of an engrossing bass performance. It’s a neuron-twister, as hallucinatory as it is scathing, as technically impressive as it is dynamic and unpredictable.
Kwintessens is already available for pre-order HERE. (Thanks to Austin Weber for sending me the link to the song first.)
Following their debut release last year of No Gods, No Masters, UK-based Allfather signed with Static Tension Recordings for the release of a new EP named Bless the Earth With Fire, which was released last April and from which we had the pleasure of premiering a song called “Raskolnikov”. The EP also made the first installment of Andy Synn’s “Best of British” feature this year. About one week ago, Allfather brought out a new single via Bandcamp.
The song is named “Inherit the Dust”, and the band is donating all proceeds from its sale to a refugee assistance organization in the UK (this one). It’s a powerfully infectious song, one that jackhammers with skull-splintering power but is also laced with catchy melodic motifs. And in the final third of the song it briefly shifts gears, becoming a goddamned crusher with a dismal lead guitar performance before turning into something thoroughly incendiary for the finale.
If you’re seeing this Australian band’s name for the first time, it might help to know that according to the band it’s a combination of “hadal“, a word derived from the name of the Greek god Hades that refers to “the deepest trenches in the ocean”, and “maw“, “the symbolic or theoretical center of a voracious hunger or appetite of any kind”. Austin Weber reviewed their debut album for us in 2014 (Senium).
The band’s new album is named Olm, and they describe it as “a departure from their break neck technical death metal roots, now dabbling with sprawling atmosphere, thunderous grooves and memorable, crushing guitar lines melded with their dissonance tinged hooks that they’ve become renowned for.” In recent days the band unveiled a video for one of the new songs, “The Olm”.
The video is very well done, and the song is indeed anchored by thunderous grooves and dosed with slow, serpentine, spectral guitar emanations. It’s a barrage of jolting physicality, but kind of trippy, too. I like.
Olm will be released on February 3rd. It’s available for pre-order HERE.
UR is the name of a new Polish group whose members are reputedly also involved in the bands Bloodthirst and Bloodstained. Their debut EP Hail Death features eye-catching painted cover art by Krzysztof Sikorski and it will be released by Arachnophobia Records on December 15. One track from the EP is now available on YouTube, and I’m quite taken with it. The song’s name is “Total Inertia”.
The song blends together a variety of metal ingredients, with a persistent overhang of doom. It begins slowly, with a phalanx of bruising riff chugs and gravel-throated death growls, and then accelerates into a gallop as the vocals turn clean, giving the music a more classic, occult doom feel. The energy and intensity continue to build, driven by rapid-fire guitar jabbing, though the song eventually slows to a dismal stagger. A promising herald for the new EP.
Here’s the full track list:
1. A Dying Star
2. The Tongue of Fire
3. Let the Darkness Come
4. Total Inertia
5. Only Bones Stay Here
In the summer of 2015 the British band Code (who were the subject of this past April’s SYNN REPORT) engaged in what turned out to be an interesting experiment. They entered the studio to re-record songs from their previous releases, while giving each of them a different twist (or several different twists) from the originals. Those experiments have now been collected in a new EP named Lost Signal that will be released by Agonia Records on January 25.
According to a press release, the EP includes three songs from the band’s 2015 album Mut “performed with a strong metallic approach” plus one song from each of their first three albums “performed in a more subtle and introspective style similar to that seen on the Mut album.”
The first of these re-recordings surfaced in recent days, and it’s a re-working of a track called “Brass Dogs” from the band’s 2005 debut album Nouveau Gloaming. To appreciate what Code have done with the song, I’ve included the poisonous original track (which comes across like an opium-induced nightmare) along with the new version, which is still dreamlike but more hauntingly seductive and beautiful — though plenty heavy.
Here’s a full list of the songs featured on Lost Signal:
– “On Blinding Larks”, “Cocoon” and “Affliction” from Mut.
– “The Rattle of Black Teeth” from Resplendent Grotesque.
– “The Lazarus Cord” from Augur Nox.
– “Brass Dogs” from Nouveau Gloaming.
The EP will be available on vinyl and in digital format from Agonia Records, and can be ordered here (thanks to starkweather and Andy for tipping me to this):
I found out about this next song thanks to a Bandcamp alert. It’s a single named “Cubicle” by a Chicago band named Varaha, and is described as a premiere from their debut EP, which will be released on December 16.
The music is an atmospheric piece that I found entrancing. Though you can feel the bass and the drums in a very physical and earthy way, the music equally has an evanescent, ephemeral quality, almost like imagining the northern lights cascading overhead while your feet are firmly planted in solid ground. That contrast appears in the vocals as well, which move between soaring angelic tones and ugly, abrasive snarls and shrieks. Almost transcendentally beautiful, but heavy and haunting too.
Like Varaha, Xenotaph was a new name that came my way via a Bandcamp alert for the release of a demo version of a song that will appear on their forthcoming album. Xenotaph are from the vicinity of Oakland, California, and their Bandcamp page includes one previous release, an EP named Vitae Iactura.
This song worked its way deeper and deeper under my skin the more it unfolded. The metronomic drum rhythms and swirling haze of guitar distortion become almost hypnotic, despite the grating, wounded-beast harshness of the vocals. The undercurrent of depressive but attractive melody seeps in like a dark ichor that proves to be highly potent, and irresistibly intoxicating. Ominous, mournful, and doomed, it invites you to crawl down into the grave and commune with lost souls.
To conclude this collection I give you the first advance track from a debut album named Beasts of the Temple of Satan by Seattle’s Crurifragium. The band was formerly known as Warpvomit and includes several current or former members of Demoncy. The album will be released on January 30 by the esteemed Irish label Invictus Productions.
The song that appeared in recent days is “Stigmata Excruciation”, and here I would like to remind you of what I said about this round-up being shaped like a bell curve, coming down at the end into a vortex of ugliness and violence. Even the press release for the album describes the band’s music as “resolutely crude and barbaric and forsaking any niceties like ‘progression’ or good taste,” exploding “with a filthiness beyond compare”.
“Stigmata Excruciation” is all that, and maybe more. You could wash this music in high-strength industrial detergent for a week and still not get it clean, so filthy with distortion and rancid with putrescence it is. There’s an authentically berserk quality to the vocals; they leave sanity as just a distant glimmer in the rearview mirror. And the soloing is a particular savage form of guitar torture, producing sounds that resemble some poor animal whose limbs are being torn off — or a mind that has been completely cast free of its moorings.
But the hammering grooves in the song do get their hooks in you, and the music possesses a kind of demonic vibrancy that’s damned electrifying. Good stuff!