This is the second part of a Shades of Black post I began yesterday. At the risk of drowning you with such a large torrent of music (but when has that ever stopped us?), I have another compilation, plus three full recent releases, plus advance tracks from two more that are slated for release next month. All of them are recommended, of course.
Trümmerfarben is the fifth album from Germany’s Thormesis since 2008, but I don’t think I’ve heard anything from the previous ones. The new album has a release date of February 10 via MDD Records, and what you’ll find below is a lyric video (in German) for a song called “Waheelas Fährte”.
There’s a damned catchy riff at the start of the song, and the melody persists when the blast-beats and skin-stripping shrieks begin. The rhythm changes to rocking, too, and there are some surprising acoustic instrumental interludes in the song that will catch you unawares, along with clean vocal harmonies.
It’s tremendously vibrant music, sometimes with a pop bounce to it, but sorrowful as well. And let me repeat: This is damned catchy. I’m nearly finished with our 2016 Most Infectious Song list, and this one goes on the candidate list for the 2017 edition.
MAHTOWA DEATH MARCH
I don’t pretend to understand this cover art. It may connect in some subliminal way to the title of this new demo, Positivity Offset By Misery. Or not. When I saw it, however, I did recognize the name Mahtowa Death March — it’s a hard name to forget, especially because it’s associated in my memory with some very good and very interesting music.
Two years go I wrote a short review of MDM’s 2014 debut demo, Mansorrow:
“Six songs run roughshod for a total of 13 minutes, and it’s a helluva lotta fun — a heady brew of punk and rock riffs, scything black metal chords, bluesy guitar leads, ripping solos, vicious shrieking, appropriately raucous production, and even a dose of industrial-style drum pneumatics. It’s got hooks, it’s got hammering, it’s got a general air of nastiness, and no two songs sound exactly alike.”
It seems that I completely missed MDM’s next release, a February 2016 EP called Self Invasive Thought Therapy. I need to catch up with that one, but for now I’m focused on Positivity Offset By Misery, released on January 25 of this year.
This new release is as unorthodox and as difficult to sum up succinctly as the debut. One thing is again clear: MDM knows how to write rocking riffs over looping metronomic beats — and then filthy up the compact songs with abrasive distortion and ear-bleeding shrieks. There are also guitar leads in some of these new songs that sound like throwbacks to bluesy psychedelic jams from the ’60s, and manifestations of modern-day psychosis.
Once again, the songs are different enough from each other that the trip through the demo is a journey of discovery, right up to the clean vocals in the last track. Very good.
DUSKTONE: AUDIO INTROSPECTION FOR APOCALYPTIC MINDS
The Italian label Dusktone has just released its first compilation of music, entitled Audio Introspection for Apocalyptic Minds. It’s available on digipack CD and as a digital download. It includes a dozen tracks by a dozen groups, “giving a nearly complete overview of the bands featured on Dusktone roster from 2015 to 2017″.
I haven’t yet explored this comp, but I do recognize some very good names on this list… so I thought this was worth passing along. Here’s the line-up, followed by a stream:
1. Neige et Noirceur
4. Cold Body Radiation
7. Black Hate
9. Terra Deep
12. Opera IX
I came across Maniacal Violator’s e-mail to us at just the right time, because I was feeling in the mood to be maniacally violated. Musically speaking, to be clear.
Dead and Out of Control is this Massachusetts band’s debut EP, which was released on December 28, 2016. In the course of five tracks and about 26 minutes, the band pursue a twisting and turning course that includes slow, dismal dirges, blasting black metal sandstorms, and demonic thrashing assaults that are way too vicious to be party music.
With a thunderous drum weapon in the arsenal, a convincingly maniacal vocalist, nimble bass cavorting, and a seemingly endless supply of bleak but hook-filled riffs, Maniacal Violator are a big and welcome surprise. Get on board this hell train now.
I hadn’t heard of Holocausto before reading about their new album War Metal Massacre, which will be released on April 1, 2017, by Nuclear War Now!. NWN explains that in the mid-90s, “Holocausto was instrumental in the development of the unique strain of black metal that emerged from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil at that time”, a style of savage music popularized by Sarcófago. Holocausto apparently moved toward a more straightforward form of thrash after their debut album, but have now returned to their musical roots on this new one (which features a reuniting of the original Holocausto line-up).
Side A of the album includes re-recorded versions of tracks that first appeared in the mid-’80s and Side B consists of three new ones. Of the two songs that are publicly streaming on Bandcamp, “Destruição Nuclear” is one of the old songs and “Eu Sou a Guerra” one of the new ones. They don’t sound like 30 years have separated their creation. Both have a huge, heavy bass pulse, gut-punching drumwork, scalding vocal ferocity, and magnetically attractive riffs. I’m especially addicted to the slithering lead-guitar melody that surfaces like a viper in the new song.
This is electrifying music that doesn’t sacrifice song-craft despite the destructive fury burning at the molten core of the songs. If you let the stream below continue to run, you’ll be able to hear both of the two songs without lifting a finger.
P.S. Holocausto’s 1987 album Campo de Extermínio included descriptions of Nazi crimes against Jews that led to accusations of anti-Semitism, which the band has “always denied”, “while maintaining that they were only trying to expose the horrors of the Holocaust in all its gruesome detail”. (Source: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/holocausto-mn0001400252)
ALTARS OF ASH AND BONE
I learned of this next album via an e-mail. It’s the first release (entitled I) by the band Altars of Ash and Bone, and appeared on January 6 of this year. The band consists of vocalist Eth and multi-instrumentalist Akhos — and that’s all I know about them. I don’t even know where they are located.
When I searched for more info after being decimated by I, I found a review of the album by occasional NCS contributor Kaptain Carbon at his Tapewyrm blog. I do enjoy his way with words:
“Altars of Ash and Bone presents a bleak and harrowing vision of the future; one that is covered in the cinders of human remains. With a guitar tone that is near window shattering, a bass sound that should be arrested, and a production level that is maddening, the noise compliments the horrific nature of the band only in the way ravings of a madmen signal attention. I is logically the first of many demos and or uncategorized releases from this band and I could not be happier for their future.
“Finding things like this is important for me because it reminds everyone that good and challenging music still exists. The nature of each of them to buck expectations is exciting as some of them segue into long interludes only broken by chaos while others feel like they are running down empty streets with shoes falling off. Altars of Ash and Bone channels a sense of wild abandon which is halfway between entertaining and terrifying. If I never hear from this band again, it will only alleviate a ball of stress which is welled up inside of me.”
This really is a fascinating EP, apparently recorded mostly through improvisation. It shifts between states of mind and sound that are all unnerving and even hallucinatory, though in different ways. Droning ambient segments in the first and last tracks have a spectral cast and set your thoughts adrift, not knowing on what shore they might wash up. Abrading storms of horrifically distorted riffs, berserker soloing, and terrifying, tortured vocals shred all exposed skin into a mass of raw wounds. Bitter, desolate, and frenzied melodies achieve connections, fleeting though they may be.
The changing drum rhythms give the music a pulse and a semblance of structure, but they don’t pull the sound down from the piercing high range where it dwells, way up there in the sky where the oxygen is burning like a firestorm in progress. This is the sound of hate gone nuclear.