Sundays are the days usually reserved for SHADES OF BLACK posts, but by coincidence most of the new songs I discovered yesterday that I thought I’d include in a round-up were in a black vein. So I’ve collected those here, and I’ll defer the others to a SEEN AND HEARD post tomorrow.
I really like the music of all four of these bands and hope you will, too. The first three items below are advance tracks from forthcoming releases and the last one is a new demo the band wrote us about.
I’ve been following this Chicago band since May of 2013, when I scribbled some enthusiastic thoughts about their 2012 demo, Fated By Will and Iron. In February 2015 I loosed another flood of enthusiastic verbiage about their third album The Furrows of Tradition (along with a track premiere). And then last year I gushed about one of FIN’s songs for a split with the Austrian band Totale Vernichtung — which still hasn’t been released yet.
After the first album, FIN has consisted of just two men — guitarist/vocalist M.K. and drummer D.F.K. They perform live as a two-piece and record their music (with few exceptions) so they can perform them live without additional bodies in the line-up. Over the course of the releases mentioned above, and their second album Refutable Arts of the Noble Reserve, FIN’s sound has evolved, and really seemed to reach its zenith in the last album, fully realizing a “triumphant sound”, using the speed and explosiveness of the music to achieve a feeling of buoyancy and exhilaration rather than a sense of something dark, cold, and evil.
What I discovered yesterday was a song from the band’s new album Arrows of A Dying Age, which once again features cover art by Sang Ho Yoshihiro Moon. It’s set for release on April 28 by Folter Records. The song is named “Hold Fast… Thy Lament“, and its lyrics seem to reflect the thoughts of an old man welcoming his impending death by his own hand rather than endure the torment of losing his mind.
I can’t say enough good things about the song. It displays the band’s trademark blaze of speed and shivering vocal ferocity, with stately slower-paced interludes and punk-inflected rhythms as well. But the central appeal of the song is in the heart-swelling high and mid-range guitar melodies, which to these ears have a medieval air.
I haven’t seen any links for pre-orders yet, but if I come across one I’ll add it here.
A Bandcamp alert that I received as a past patron of Satanath Records was the source of this next discovery. It’s a song named “Totenkampf“, off the debut album Mörk by a Ukrainian band who call themselves Lava Invocator. The album will be co-released by Satanath and More Hate Productions on March 27.
After discovering and enjoying “Totenkampf” I did some google searching about the band and found a video for another song from the album that Satanath launched on YouTube yesterday. That one is named “Gestapofallos“.
“Totenkampf” begins in a thundering, thrashing rush, full of vibrant, surging energy and nasty, abrasive vocals… but the music then slows, and my jaw dropped down at the 1:42 mark. That’s the point at which a dual-guitar solo rings out like a clarion call, the music’s atmosphere becoming somber and seductive. As the song’s intensity mounts again, you get another riveting guitar line before the band starts moving again like a bat out of hell.
“Gestapofallos” is another adrenaline-packed mix of riveting riffs, high-octane drum blasting, transfixing guitar melodies, and scintillating solos. Both songs are very impressive, and very promising teasers for this album.
“Totenkampf” is available as a free download at the location below, where the album is also available for pre-order.
Lava Invocator on Facebook:
This coming Friday Lifeforce Records will release an album entitled Lvcifer Es, which is the fifth full-length by a German avant-garde black metal band named Fjoergyn, and Lifeforce recently unveiled a video for the title track (which premiered at DECIBEL late last week).
The classically influenced acoustic guitar solo that opens the song, which seems to have a Spanish air about it, is wonderful, and that’s just the first of many attractions in the song — which also includes riffs that will get your head moving, a mix of choral voices, barbaric snarls, and strident proclamations, jolting rhythms, and theatrical symphonic overlays.
The song is full of twists and turns, changes of pace and mood, interesting instrumental sounds, and a wild vibrancy that keeps the listener rooted in place waiting to see what happens next. But as varied, elaborately patterned, and inventive as the music is, it holds together as a song, right up to the strange and hypnotic finale.
Lvcifer Es is available digitally on iTunes and Amazon, and can be pre-ordered in physical form from Lifeforce here:
Fjoergyn on Facebook:
The last item in this collection is a new demo called Hexed, Cursed and Jinxed released on January 21 by the Chicago band Terror Throne and available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp (where it’s also available in a physical edition). This appears to be the band’s most recent release, following a 2015 demo named Sedated By Darkness, Seduced By Death, which is also on Bandcamp.
But in doing some background research for this part of the post I learned from Metal Archives that Terror Throne has been around since the mid-’90s, with three albums in its discography in addition to other shorter releases. And I further learned that Terror Throne is the work of one man, Robert Campos.
Following an entrancing but also unnerving introductory track, this release delivers three varied, genre-bending songs named for each of the three words in the EP’s title, and concludes with an outro track.
The songs are propelled by a deep, surging low end and a varied drum performance, and feature ghastly growling and howling vocals. “Hexed” thrives on Campos‘ hard-drilling riffs and scintillating leads, the music becoming bombastic at times, while “Cursed” is a slower, doomier, affair with an aura of occult horror and all-too-human heartache about it (and the riffing and leads are still killer).
“Jinxed” ramps up the energy level again, juxtaposing grinding savagery and hallucinatory, deranged arpeggios, changing tempo and voltage without warning and keeping the listener off-balance but enthralled nonetheless.
After that mind-scrambling track, the EP concludes as it began, with a guitar instrumental that’s both abrasive and mesmerizing (but without the ghostly whispers that put the edge on the intro track).
This EP proves to be a small, multifaceted gem that shines brightly in all its changing faces, and a very nice surprise.
Terror Throne on Facebook: