Two days after promising Part 2 of a round-up, here it is. I’ve been fighting (and losing) a brutal battle with a vicious cold. Between that bloody conflict and other commitments, both related and unrelated to NCS, I got thrown off-track.
Most of the items in this collection were the ones I intended to write about two days ago, but since then I’ve found many other new things to like, including the one that begins this post. I might do another one of these for tomorrow, depending on how the land war in my sinuses goes. Looks like I’ll be living in the recent past for a while.
Season of Mist has revealed details about Nightbringer’s new album, as well as an advance track. The album’s name is Terra Damnata and it’s set for release on April 14. As you can see, the cover art by the talented David Herrerias was also revealed, as well as this comment about the album by the band:
“May this stand as a simulacrum of the eternal light of divinity, reflected and refracted through the smaragdine gem fallen from heaven and buried in the burning depths of the earth where it smolders with the darkest light. From the Low House of Black Apollo logoi resounds from the heart of the world, is answered in the heavens by the trumpeting angels of apocalypse, the clarion of an aeon’s end. The eight tracks presented here are eight aspects of a sorcerous path that shines like dreadful starlight in the long night of the close of the Kali Yuga.”
Listen below to “Serpent Sun”, which premiered at DECIBEL. Nightbringer described it as “Theme for a god, solar soliloquy, incubated to rise for the fall.” The song is a barn-burner — fiery, immense, dramatic, casting an aura of ominous and savage majesty. The sweeping keyboards and sparkling guitar melody are as gripping as the giant boom of the drums and the wild ferocity of the vocals. It’s enough to make normal humans cower like mice beneath the swooping shadow of a great raptor overhead.
You can pre-order Terra Damnata here. The track list is below.
1. As Wolves Amongst Ruins
3. Midnight’s Crown
4. Of the Key and Crossed Bones
5. Let Silence be His Sacred Name
6. Inheritor of a Dying World
7. The Lamp of Inverse Light
8. Serpent Sun
I owe Loïc.F (Autokrator, NKVD) a big thank-you for introducing me to the music of Lvx Hæresis. This Swiss project began to take shape in 2013, releasing a first single in 2015, and now their debut album Descensŭs Spīrĭtŭs has been completed and scheduled for a March 11 digipack CD release by Atavism Records, with eye-catching cover art by Lemmy Gonthier. It was mastered by V. Santura (Triptykon, Dark Fortress, Secrets of the Moon, etc.) at Woodshed Studio.
The first advance track from the album, which appeared early in this new year, is simply denominated as “II”. It’s a mighty, mid-paced monster — solemn, savage, and suffused with an aura of rising indigo-shaded majesty. As thoroughly dark and grim as the song’s melody is, the remarkable vocals are a cauldron of boiling vehemence and bestial passion. When the music does explode in storming and hammering crescendos, it becomes almost overpowering.
This really is a stunning surprise, a song steeped in the blood of occult ritual and unsettling in its otherworldiness, but absolutely gripping from beginning to end.
This is the second time I’ve decided to feature a track from the debut album by this Turkish death metal band in one of these Seen and Heard collections, the first occasion coming in mid-December when I heard the title track to Engulfed In Obscurity — after first seeing the spectacular cover art by New Zealand’s Nick Keller.
The new advance track is “Conqueror From Beyond the Outer Gates”, and it’s another dynamic stunner — as dismal and morbid as a freshly unearthed mass grave and then as barbaric as a plundering berserker horde. The stench of death hangs heavy about the song’s introductory section, and when they turn on the afterburners both the speed and savagery of the music jump into the red zone. You’ve got to love the swooping, slithering, wraithlike guitar solo, too. This album has all the signs of being one of this new year’s highlight death metal releases.
Engulfed In Obscurity will be released in February by Hellthrasher Productions on CD, with a vinyl edition coming in April or May through Blood Harvest Records. I’m including the Bandcamp stream of the new song below, and if you let it continue to run, you’ll hear the first one as well.
I’m going to stay in the death metal vein for a few songs. This next one is a track from Gnosis Prmordial, a new EP coming later this month from the Mexican death metal band Question, whose very good debut album Doomed Passages was released in 2014. The cover art for this new EP was created by the excellent Misanthropic Art.
The first advance track from the EP is “The Day the Sun Ascended Black”. It begins at a gallop and then rumbles and leaps, to the accompaniment of a lot of bone-saw whirring and ghastly howling. The tempo, the drum progressions, and the grinding bass lines change constantly, and there’s pleasing variety in the riffs as well. It’s obviously quite diseased death metal that honors old school legacies, but as the song unfolds it becomes much more interesting and adventurous than you might at first suspect. I’m very impressed.
Gnosis Primordial will be released on January 27 by Chaos Records. Pre-order via the Bandcamp link, which follows this track list:
1.The Day the Sun Ascended Black
2. Eons in Slumber
3. Silhouettes of Reality
4. Descent Into Oblivion
5. Consciousness Unborn
We get lots of e-mails every day from bands who don’t have labels or skilled PR advocates behind them. My goal is to at least sample all the music that comes in, but it’s hit or miss from day-to-day whether I succeed, and equally random whether I’ll find time to write about what I like. This is one of those random occurrences when it all worked out.
Zetkin hail from Vienna, Austria, and their first and only release is an EP named Vanguard that came out in May of last year. The four songs are politically charged honorariums to “the militant working class action, from the trenches of World War I to the tunnels of Vietnam”. Apart from its political inspirations, the music is a hell of a head rush.
The songs are a hybrid of Bay-Area thrash, d-beat crust/punk, and the buzzsaw brutishness and suppurating gruesomeness of early Swedish death-metal, with raw, red-eyed vocal fury. And as you might be able to imagine from considering those ingredients, the songs are skull-battering, steamrolling, rampaging, mouldering, and seriously head-nodding, and you’ll find some sweet soloing in here as well.
In a nutshell, Vanguard is bursting at the seams with electrifying energy and it packs a mean punch (it will keep you off-balance in other ways too). It’s available on Bandcamp, where you’ll also find a link for ordering the EP in a recently released vinyl edition, if any copies remain.
TENDRILS LOOM OVERHEAD AS MOSS BELOW
I have starkweather to thank (again) for tipping me to the last selection of music in this round-up. Apart from the source of the recommendation, I was induced to explore this music because the band’s name is Tendrils Loom Overhead As Moss Below. How could you resist a band with a name like that? Obviously, I couldn’t.
Only later did I learn that Tendrils Loom… is a collaboration between Jared Cave Moran, the owner at Speed Ritual Records (who handles vocals, drums, and strings) and Wesley Foll (who also handles strings). Their self-titled debut EP was released through Bandcamp on January 5, presenting songs with titles as intriguing as the band’s name: “Parturition of An Apparition” and “The Pulsating Black Void”.
I would like to borrow starkweather’s descriptive words before adding a few of my own: “Guttural, filth encrusted, discordant death that channels void dwellers such as Portal, Abyssal, Antediluvian, Mitochondrian and adds more disjointed noise and skronk.”
Apart from seconding those words, I’ll add that the riffing is thick and noxious, the drumming is frequently jaw-dropping in its speed and dexterity and the vocals are goddamned monstrous. There’s also an improvisational quality to the songs as well as frequent and unpredictable changes of pace, and all of this adds immediacy and interest.
But while undeniably fascinating, the overarching sense you get from listening to this madness is that you’ve fallen into a seething pit of offal in the depths of a slaughterhouse, a pit infested by vipers that have lost their minds.