The last gasps of this year have exhaled two poisonous releases that have caused vigorous buzzing within the savage circles of war metal — the first new release by Spain’s Teitanblood since the band’s last album in 2014, and the debut offering of a Canadian band called Death Worship, whose members come from the ranks of Blasphemy, Conqueror, and Revenge. Both releases are available for streaming on Bandcamp, but I’ll add a few words about them as introductions to those streams.
TEITANBLOOD: ACCURSED SKIN
On the 13th of December, with virtually no advance fanfare, the Spanish duo Teitanblood released a new 12″ vinyl EP named Accursed Skin, with the assistance of their usual allies Norma Evangelium Diaboli and The Ajna Offensive. The EP consists of two long songs — the title track and a second song called “Sanctified Dysecdysis”, which also appeared on the band’s 2012 EP Woven Black Arteries in a CD edition.
Both songs are more alike than they are different, though to these ears “Sanctified Dysecdysis” sounds even more dense and murky, more covered in filth. The vocals in both songs are a cacophony calculated to convey madness, frenzy, agony, hatred, and horror, and they succeed. The vocal performances are absolutely harrowing.
“Accursed Skin” is alien and viciously hostile. It begins and ends with strange, unsettling ambient sounds and distant voices, which seem bent on beginning and ending the task of dismantling the listener’s sanity. In between, a cyclone spins down to earth and leaves wreckage and death in its wake. When the storm is in full force, the guitars generate a chaotic, discordant squall and a poisonous vibrating haze that rolls like a wave, propelled by blasting snare beats and double-bass thunder.
To prevent full sensory overload, Teitanblood periodically move the song to a slow, staggering, stalking pace, with the riffs becoming heavy, heaving, and morbid. They also pull the trigger on a sonic flamethrower, spewing deranged, scorching solos hot enough to boil the air.
“Sanctified Dysecdysis” is also loaded with horrifying vocal madness, blasting percussion, and murky, buzzing riffs — along with shrieking, berserker guitar soloing and changes of pace that bring the band into a stomping lurch or a doomed stagger. There are skull-cracking hammer blows in this track that you won’t find in the newer one, and for the finale the band combine utter instrumental chaos with the rising of massed choral voices, as if we’ve become witnesses to an apocalyptic mass that is ending with the lights going out, everywhere.
These are ugly, abrasive, terrifying storms of sound, but they also exert a kind of paranormal fascination, successfully launching the listener into unearthly realms where there’s nothing safe or sane to hang onto. I found myself strangely mesmerized, the minutes passing without my noticing.
I’ve included both the full Bandcamp stream and a YouTube stream of the title track below. To order the EP on vinyl, CD, and digitally, use these links:
For Teitanblood fans, I would also recommend reading this recent (and rare) interview with frontman NSK:
DEATH WORSHIP: EXTERMINATION MASS
The Ross Bay Cult has risen again, this time through the long-awaited debut EP by the band Death Worship, whose release was timed to desecrate Christmas Day. The EP features performances by members of Conqueror, Blasphemy, and Revenge: guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ryan Förster (aka Deathlord of Abomination and War Apocalypse) (who wrote the songs and the lyrics), backing vocalist Gerry Joseph Buhl (aka Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds), and drummer J. Read. The name of the EP is Extermination Mass.
The names of those three other bands are so revered in the circles of war metal that the EP would likely have been hailed and praised even if consisted of nothing but vomiting sounds. And some of the vocals do sound like the vomiting up of internal organs. But there are other sounds as well.
There is, for example, a persistent, dismal buzzing noise generated by downtuned riffing. It’s not completely atonal, but close. And it’s not unchanging — you can detect it rising and falling, the speed of the pick-hand slowing and accelerating. But for the most part the riffs aren’t the main attraction. They serve mainly to fog the senses with a cold, fetid miasma and to build a pervasive musical atmosphere of cruel barbarity.
There are exceptions. In “Abomination Storm”, the haze is segmented by pile-driving sledgehammer chords. At times in “Evocation Chamber”, the music bounces. The opening of “Holocaust Altar” is slow and dismal, while the intro to “Desolation Summoning” is a brief bit of swaggering and stomping, and there’s a rocking rhythm in the back half of both that track and “The Chaos Trance”. Most notably, “Superion Rising” includes a highly infectious riff that you can actually bang your head to (though it’s the only one like it on the EP).
Bursts of furious, demented leads and acetylene solos also leap from the speakers like one of those alien larvae erupting from their victims’ chests, though they don’t last long.
But there are other aspects of the music that are maybe even more successful in holding the listener’s attention throughout this bestial EP. The vocals are a ghastly conglomeration of panther-like howls and shrieks, violent retching sounds, and rapid-fire snarls. Some of the lyrics (which will be printed) make you want to chant right along with them.
And then there’s J. Read’s drumming, which is inhumanly fast and vaults and veers through a multitude of eye-opening and skull-cracking progressions, in addition to just blasting away like automatic weapons fire. There’s even the makings of a drum solo at the end of “Holocaust Altar”; if only it had continued….
Extermination Mass pulses and surges with black, bestial, decimating energy, in keeping with the EP’s nihilistic themes. And I’ve found that the songs reveal things upon further listens, when you have the ability to focus on the pieces that go into these sonic slaughterfests rather than simply being mercilessly mowed down by them.
The EP also includes a 30-minute interview with Ryan Förster as the final track, which I found interesting, in part because it includes comments about the history of Blasphemy and Conqueror, as well as a discussion about the themes of the EP and the future of Death Worship.
If you listen you’ll hear references to a more expansive release of Extermination Mass, as compared to the vinyl edition that was exclusively distributed at the Nuclear War Now! Fest V in Berlin this past November. I guess I’m not sure whether the EP now available on Bandcamp is that full release, or whether something further is still coming.
Extermination Mass is available through Nuclear War Now! here:
Death Worship in Facebook: