We devoted ourselves largely to year-end LISTMANIA over the past week, but that didn’t stop the torrent of new metal from continuing to flow. I have a large list of interesting things I spotted during the week, and I’ve divided the best of them among several posts for this weekend.
In this first one I’ve collected five videos. Three of them are new and two are older. I picked these in part because they make for quite a varied montage of sights and sounds. I’ll mention that a new Kreator song and video also appeared yesterday, which you can find here, even though I decided not to include it.
ZEAL AND ARDOR
There have been some interesting discussions in our LISTMANIA comment threads about Devil Is Fine, the 2016 album by Zeal and Ardor. Some people think it’s too uneven and disjointed to deserve the acclaim it’s received this year (and in lots of year-end lists). While agreeing that it’s uneven, I’m in the camp of people who think the high points on the album are so creative and interesting that it deserves the attention — which is pretty much what I wrote within days of its release last June.
I think even many of the people who believe the album has been too hyped would agree that the title track is a stand-out, and last week Noisey premiered an official video for that very song. It was directed by Samuel Morris; Fabio Tozzo was the director of photography; and the chained man is Reny Quizeidioco. It’s an ingeniously conceived and beautifully executed video that provides a visual match for a great song. Go home to the flames now….
I don’t know about you, but when I saw Godchilla’s music described as “gonzo surf sludge” I couldn’t resist the urge to check it out. The urge became stronger when I learned that the band are from Reykjavik, Iceland, because for reasons that modern science hasn’t yet explained, the country seems to spawn more good bands per capita than any other nation on Earth.
The video below, which premiered at Noisey in November, was made by the band with the help of graphic designer Ingi Kristján. The music is a song called “Bum a smoke / Trash a car” from Godchilla’s new album Hypnopolis.
There’s something about the doll-like paper-mache representations of the band in the video that made my skin crawl. The song is unnerving, too. I’m not getting much of a surf-rock flavor from it. It’s more of a soul-sucking spiral down the drain into a lightless sewer. The doomed riffs vibrate at an intestinal level of heaviness; the psychedelic guitar leads and lashings of feedback claw at your sanity; the increasingly abrasive vocals sound like someone who’s had enough of a safe, drab existence and is about to leap over the edge.
MORS PRINCIPIUM EST
Calling something a “guilty pleasure” is a back-handed compliment. I wish I could just call this next song and video “a pleasure”, but honestly, I do feel guilty about it — I have a strong feeling that there’s a lot of nostalgia influencing my enjoyment of the song. It recalls a time when this style of galloping, keyboard-augmented melodic death metal was one of my gate-way drugs into extreme music, and fuck me, it still puts a smile on my face even though I’ve (mainly) moved off in other directions since then.
It is a catchy, theatrically bombastic beast, and the harsh-yet-melodic vocals in the chorus make me want to raise my claws to the skies.
The song is “Reclaim The Sun” and it comes from the new album by Finland’s Mors Principium Est, Embers of A Dying World, which will be released by AFM Records on February 10 (and can be pre-ordered here).
Yesterday we received news that on January 27, Ván Records will re-release (on CD) the self-titled debut album of a Belgian collective called Wolvennest (who also sometimes refer to themselves as WLVNNST). The album was originally released early this year by WeMe Records, digitally and on vinyl.
The members of the group include Kirby Michel (La Muerte), Corvus von Burtle (Cult Of Erinyes), Marc De Backer (Mongolito), John Marx (Temple Of Nothing), Shazzula (who has received attention for her experimental movie, Black Mass Rising), and Jason Van Gullick. On their debut album, Albin Julius and Marthynna from Der Blutharsch and The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand participated as guests and co-writers; that band also has a new album out.
I recognized Cult of Erinyes, but otherwise was unfamiliar with these names. What intrigued me was the description of the music in the press release as “the sound of ’70s krautrock paired with blackened rituals, reminiscent of early ’90s Norwegian black metal.” I went searching for something that might be publicly streaming and eventually found a Bandcamp stream of the album, but the first thing I found was the next video in this collection, originally released last May.
The video captures the band in their first live appearance in Beursschouwburg, Brussels, on April 29, 2016. This clip includes two songs from the album, “Nuit Noire De L’Ame” and “Partir”. I found the visuals quite enjoyable, in part because I can’t help but admire a well-dressed man who takes sips of wine in between scrambling the brains of listeners with his guitar.
The first song in the video functions as a kind of freakish, mostly instrumental introduction, a collage of electronic and string-driven sounds that become a foray into a kaleidoscopic hallucination, or simply dementia. A dreamlike, occult-sounding melody lurks within those sounds and eventually reaches the surface, segueing into the spooky organ intro of “Partir”.
About four-and-a-half minutes in, things get very heavy when the band reach the more abyssal depths of “Partir”. While the song’s massive anchor riff runs in a loop, the band spin webs of dark, mesmerizing melody though a layering of guitars, occasionally piercing the spell with weird squalls and shrieks of electronic disturbance. Damned cool.
I haven’t listened to the whole album yet, but that’s a priority for what’s left of this day. I’ve included the full stream after the video.
The Spanish band Inferitvm clearly draw musical inspiration from Norwegian black metal spawned in the ’90s, but one look at this new video tells you that witches and warlocks figure more in their conceptions than church burnings. Their lyrics are also described as rooted in the ancient cultures of the people who lived in the Balearic Islands of Spain (which include Majorca) and the “animist” rites practiced there before the Christian invasion.
The song in the video, “Aeons of War”, has really hooked me. It appears on a new Inferitvm EP named The War of the Witches, which was released by Abomination Records in November (the band also have a 2015 full-length called The Warlock). The song is fast, fierce, and fiery, featuring scalding acid-spray vocals, cool soloing, and a collection of dynamic riffs.
Inferitvm’s releases, including this new EP, are available through Bandcamp. I’ve included a full stream of the new EP along with the video.