SEEN AND HEARD: SHADE EMPIRE, SANGUE, BATHSHEBA, FLOODS, AUTISM, PYRIPHLEGETHON
Yeah, I know I did one of these round-ups yesterday, but I found myself with some extra time and some worthy new discoveries, so here we go again.
I’ve organized the following items in a back-and-forth, alternating sequence, between more melodic tracks and more savage ones. Hope you find a few things to like.
Do you ever get talked into going to a tear-jerker movie knowing that your emotions are going to be cunningly manipulated, and being conscious of it as it happens, and getting weepy anyway? That’s kind of how I feel about Shade Empire’s new song and video that premiered at DECIBEL last Friday.
Nearly four years have elapsed since this group from Kuopio, Finland, released their last album, the massive Omega Arcane. The new song, “Anti-Life Saviour“, is described as the lead single from an album to be released by Candlelight and Spinefarm Records.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m a sucker for the song, sucked in by its bombastic riffs and sweeping keyboards, by the wrenching growls and melancholy melodies, by the haunting, tear-stained soloing and the heart-swelling finale. I know I’m being played, and I’m falling for it.
As you’ll see, the video is chilling in more ways than one.
(Many thanks to our friend Booker for alerting me to this one.)
The great cover art by Timo Ketola for Sangue’s self-titled two song EP caught my eye. The EP will be released on April 1 by Nuclear War Now! Productions. The first of those two songs, “The Rite of Cosmic Void“, is now streaming on Bandcamp.
I haven’t found much info about Sangue. They are from Rome, and apparently content to let their music speak for them.
The dirtiness of the opening riff and muffled thunder of the drums made me think I knew what was coming, but something about the song distinguishes it from run-of-the-mill black/death murkiness. Actually, more than one thing: The vocals are striking in their aura of spectral monstrosity — they pierce through the choking fog of the riffs like a hellish beacon. And the riffs themselves turn out to be head-movers as well as blood-chillers.
The next item is a lyric video for a song named “Ain Soph“, which comes from the debut album of Belgium’s Bathsheba. Entitled Servus, it will be released by Svart Records on February 24.
Bathsheba’s line-up consists of vocalist Michelle Nocon (ex-Serpentcult, Leviathan Speaks, Death Penalty), drummer Jelle Stevens (ex- SardoniS), bassist Raf Meukens (Death Penalty, Torturerama), and guitarist Dwight Goossens (ex- Disinterred).
“Ain Soph” is a very interesting song that moves organically yet unnervingly among different musical styles, from heavy, seething and storming dissonance into a head-hammering groove and then an earth-shaking stomp — which is when Michelle Nocon’s doomy, occult wails make their appearance (along with savage whispers, shrieks, and growls). And then comes the psychoactive saxophone solo… and there’s another even more freakish one still ahead… along with a burst of marauding ferocity.
The song is one hell of a genre-bending hallucinatory trip. The video is a hell of a trip, too.
(I thank Grant Skelton for recommending this song.)
I haven’t yet listed to all of the self-titled debut EP by the New York band Floods, but I’m impressed by the first single, “Coercive”. The last song in this collection was a genre-bender, and so is this one.
“Coercive” integrates sludgy doom riffs, psychedelic guitar needling, torrential tremolo-chord lashings, maniacal percussive strafing runs, blackened demon shrieks, burbling bass notes, acrobatic arpeggios, and a tension-ratcheting atmosphere that carries the listener along a constantly twisting and turning path deep into the imagined bowels of some hellish asylum.
This is inventive, intricate, technically extravagant musical poison that’s also more than a little unhinged. It reminds me in some ways of the avant-garde black metal of Krallice but with more doom and death in the mix. I’m eager to hear the rest of the EP.
Floods was recorded with Colin Marston at Menegroth The Thousand Caves in Queens. It will be released on February 21. It’s available for pre-order as a “name your price” download at Bandcamp.
Autism are an instrumental post-metal band based in Lithuania, starting as a one-man project and then expanding into a full group. Next week they will be releasing their new album Film Noir, about which they made this statement:
“This album, sharing the same name as a cinematic genre, is driven by a mood of pessimism and menace. While working on this album, we decided to explore even more disturbing and uncomfortable topics. Alcoholism, drugs, physical and psychological abuse, manipulation…it is all a part of our everyday life. We have used real samples of some actual tragic life events to create a greater emotional impact to the listener and make him aware. This is not a casual album to listen to, but we believe that Film Noir will succeed to deliver the message we wanted to communicate.”
The one song from the album you can now hear, accompanied by a truly amazing video, is “Brittle Bones“. The music has a mystical, mesmerizing quality, yet it’s also intense and threatening in its atmosphere. At about the two-minute mark, a piercing guitar measure appears like a shooting star over the heaving heaviness below, and gets its hooks in immediately. And after a brief interlude of softness, the song really cranks the intensity and heaviness way up, thanks in part to vocal samples that send shivers down the spine, along with rumbling riffage that will get your head moving.
Film Noir will be released digitally and on 12″ vinyl, available via Bandcamp:
The Dutch artist Mories is the creative force behind numerous projects, including Gnaw Their Tongues, Cloak of Altering (which has also just released a new album), and De Magie Veterum. What I had forgotten until yesterday is that he is also behind a project named Pyriphlegethon that released a debut album called Night of Consecration (via Iron Bonehead) in 2015. And now the same Iron Bonehead will release a new Pyriphlegethon album on April 14 — The Murky Black of Eternal Night.
According to press materials, the new album differs stylistically from the debut and displays more varied songcraft. Based upon the new advance track, “The Serpent’s Tongue”, it should be well worth exploring.
I’m completely magnetized by the song’s melding of viscerally electrifying snare rhythms, sinister ambient waves, pulsing bass notes, grim but body-moving riffs, and flesh-eating goblin snarls. The song has an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere, but man, it’s also irresistibly infectious.
Shade Empire sounds less industrial and more majestically orchestral than before, which is a development I can embrace. And I laud the visually stunning video that lasts for no less than ten minutes.
I listened briefly to Pyriphlegethon yesterday. Sounds dauntingly enthralling.
I’ve also picked up Bathsheba. Most of it ought to be right up my alley, whilst a few elements are in the outer borders of my comfort zone. It sounds very exciting, though, and diversity is the spice of life.
Wow, Shade Empire was impressive! Reminiscent of Insomnium in tone and texture. Great stuff. Now to check out the rest. \m/
Man Autism just drew me in to a nice instrumental lullaby… and then it took a sudden dark turn with a 911 call of a little saying “mummy and daddy are having a fight” and that lullaby turned into a nightmare!
I was absolutely floored by Omega Arcane, so my expectations are ridiculously high, because I can’t see how they could possibly top that. I think your description of Anti-life Savior is apt indeed; and while I love it, I hope that the other tracks have more of the diverse, unpredictable approach to songwriting they’ve had on previous releases.
The Bathsheba track sounds promising. More varied in vocal approach than before. Her vocals on that EP and the Death Penalty album are good, but just not brining much extra. On this track they sound great, that together with the sax freak out. Also the drumming is more energetic, while the doom atmospgere is still there. Great !