I have a large collection of new songs I want to share with you, large enough that I’ve divided it into two parts. The second part (coming tomorrow) will be even longer than this one, especially because the odds are high that by the time I write it, more good new things will have surfaced that I’ll want to add.
In 2015 the German band Cranial made their debut with an EP named Dead Ends released by Moment of Collapse Records. The release initially drew attention because Cranial’s line-up includes connections to the late, lamented Omega Massif through the presence of guitarist Michael Melchers. And then it drew more attention because of the impressive quality of the music.
On February 10, Moment of Collapse will release Cranial’s new album Dark Towers, Bright Lights, and yesterday brought the debut of an immense advance track that we’re now able to bring you right here.
The album is a 45-minute work divided among four songs that reprise the album’s title — “Dark”, “Towers”, “Bright”, and “Lights”. Yesterday the German web zine Deaf Forever premiered one of those four tracks, “Towers”, and you can stream it below as well. When I first heard it, it knocked me flat. I still haven’t been able to get up.
“Towers” is a lengthy piece. But trust me, your interest won’t wane. It begins in unsettling and eerie fashion and then breaks open like the gates to a hurricane, filled with sandstorm riffing and ghastly howls. But Cranial don’t let you put your head down and brace for further storming, because soon enough you’ll want to lift your head and start banging it like a hammer on a nail. While a dismal, sinuous guitar melody slithers along, the main force of the band drive like a big jackhammer. And all this happens in just the first three minutes.
The variations in pace and style continue to unfold, as the music moves from crushing, blood-freezing passages of bleakness and despair, laced with extended roars of wrenching agony and crazed guitar leads, to pulse-pounding surges of intensity that pair shimmering guitar melody with additional bouts of absolutely staggering hammer blows.
A hellaciously good fusion of sludge and post-metal that makes me anxious to hear the rest of the album.
In the fall of 2015 we had the pleasure of premiering a song from Refugium, the second album by the Austrian band Anomalie. That was my introduction to Anomalie’s creations, which I found to be “emotionally powerful music that opens wide the doors to a place where sorrow dwells, finding beauty there, yet also capturing the mood of despondency with the kind of fire and fervency that causes the pulse to race faster, even if it is anguish that lights the fire.”
I’ve been eager to see what Anomalie might do next, and now we have a sign of that. On March 17, Art of Propaganda will release a new Anomalie album named Visions, and yesterday released a video for a track from the album called “Vision IV: Illumination”.
For those who might be new to Anomalie, it began as the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Marrok, who has performed with the likes of Harakiri For the Sky and Agrypnie, and on this new album he is again joined by bassist Thomas Dornig (also a live performer with Harakiri For the Sky) and drummer Lukas Schlintl (Bifröst).
“Illumination” is one of seven “Visions” presented through the new album. It’s a spellbinding song, though undeniably dark and desolating. It hits with heavy force and becomes ravaging in its fastest portions, yet it also has mystical qualities in the shimmer of its sweeping melodies. Marrok’s voice injects even more drama and passion, rising from harsh snarls to burning cries.
I suppose this could be considered a joining of black metal and post-metal, but however one might affix a genre label, it’s a dynamic and emotionally powerful song, right down to the beautiful, somber piano melody that draws it to a close.
The video for the new song was made by director Andreas J. Borsodi during the winter solstice of 2016 in a dramatically beautiful ice-and-snow-covered setting.
For further information and ordering, visit these pages:
It’s relatively rare for me to include music in these round-ups that I can’t directly share with you right here, but I’m doing that now because the track is so stupefyingly heavy that I’m compelled to mention it.
The track is identified only by the Roman numeral “I”, although rather than a song in itself it’s the first of three movements in a single 29-minute song called Scriptures of Grief, which is the name of the latest release by the Belgian one-man project Gateway. It will be issued on tape by Sentient Ruin Laboratories on February 3.
I wrote about another track from the album just before it was released digitally through Bandcamp last July, but never got around to reviewing the whole thing. But this new stream of the album’s first segment gives me an excuse to remind you (if you missed the digital release last summer) that Gateway have made a terrifically crushing, soul-scoruing behemoth of death/doom in Scriptures.
“I” drags, lumbers, and groans with such gloom-caked and heavily vibrating force that you can almost sense the foundations of your dwelling beginning to fracture. And when the pacing accelerates, it becomes an absolutely decimating storm. The voice in the song is as cavernous and gruesome as you could want for music of such appalling and abominable power, and the guitar leads are brilliantly penetrating and alien.
The track began exclusively streaming at CVLT Nation yesterday, and I encourage you to go listen to it HERE.
UPDATE: We now have the ability to share the track stream with you below. To pre-order this monstrosity, check these links:
This last item is a full stream of Trinitas, the new album by the German band Brutal Unrest, which will be released on January 16, 2017, by Hammerheart Records. I’ll be brief here, because TheMadIsraeli already reviewed the album for us in the third week of December, calling it “the first great death metal record of 2017”. Now you can form your own judgment by allowing this full album stream to wreck your head.