To begin our series of weekend posts I’ve assembled the following collection of diverse new songs, one of which comes with a video. Tomorrow we’ll have a premiere and an extra-large SHADES OF BLACK post. I might try to work in something else, time permitting.
Apart from the quality of the music, I also chose the following songs for this post because of the quality of the cover art for the forthcoming albums that will include them.
I dipped my toes in the roiling dark waters of this Lithuanian band’s music when I impulsively selected their self-titled debut for an episode of the now nearly defunct MISCELLANY series two years ago. Now they are returning with a debut full-length entitled End of Chapter, which will be released on May 19 by Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions.
The album’s cover is one you’re not likely to forget after seeing it. It was created by Valnoir of Metastazis, whose niece Mathilde will no doubt be followed by this chilling image of her face deep into her twilight years.
The song below is denominated “XI” (as was true on their debut EP, the album tracks are all simply Roman numerals). It’s a mind-bending piece, heaving and oppressive, pavement-cracking and eerie, a hybrid of deep sludgy riffs and flesh-rending vocals, percussive cannonades and wraith-like guitar vibrations. It builds in intensity and destructive power, coiling the tension like a big winding spring and then releasing it in a glorious display of shimmering, heart-pounding melody.
The next song in this collection is “Deluminate“. It comes from Trumpeting Ecstasy, the new album by the Maryland/Pennsylvania collective Full of Hell, which will be released on May 5 via Profound Lore.
The album was recorded with Kurt Ballou at God City Studios and was mastered at Audiosiege. It includes guest vocal appearances by Aaron Turner (Sumac/Old Man Gloom/Mamiffer/Isis), Nate Newton (Converge/Old Man Gloom), Andrew Nolan (Column Of Heaven/The Endless Blockade), and Canadian singer/songwriter Nicole Dollanganger. Like the previous album in this collection, it features cover art (by Mark McCoy) that you likely won’t forget once you’ve see it.
“Deluminate” doesn’t last long, only long enough to blast the listener to smithereens in a powerhouse assault of electrifying violence. A viscerally compelling piece of savagery for sure.
Mountains Crave is based in Leeds, UK. The group includes past and present members of A Forest of Stars, Old Corpse Road, The Afternoon Gentlemen, Gets Worse, and Masochist. They released a debut EP at the end of 2014 and have now completed work on a first album, As We Were When We Were Not, which will be released by Avantgarde Music (no release date has been announced yet).
Press material explains that the album was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s 1962 lecture on visionary experience and “explores themes such as spiritual enlightenment, death and the afterlife and man’s kinship and subsequent alienation from the universe”. The cover art was created by the distinctive Adrian Baxter.
The first advance track is “Istigkeit (We Saw Them Of Old)”. An unearthly refrain slithers through the opening cyclone of sound, but what really hooked me was the melancholy, folk-like melody that surfaces before you reach the end of the first minute. The band elaborate on that melodic theme as the song progresses, with changes in the vocals as well, and the music reaches heights of sorrowing grandeur and wrenching anguish (with a moment of pensiveness, too).
Nyctophilia is the seventh album by the Brazilian band NervoChaos, whose career began in the mid-’90s — though the group that recorded Nyctophilia includes four new members, with only drummer Edu Lane remaining from the original line-up. The album will be released by Greyhaze Records and Cogumelo Records on April 7. The cover art was created by Brazilian artist Alcides Burn.
Being unfamiliar with the band’s previous releases, I can’t compare this next song with what they’ve done before, but I sure do like it. The name of the song is “Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam” and it comes in the form of a just-released music video.
The hard-rocking song is powerfully infectious, made of one magnetic riff after another and a rhythmic drive train that gets the head moving, with the lyrics snarled by a goblin in a way that makes you want to snarl right along with him.
I’m also encountering Beast Modulus for the first time. This New York City band’s second album, Being, will be released on April 7. “Barnburner” is the first advance track from the album that I heard. And man, it’s an infectious beast, too.
Killer thrash riffs, bruising hardcore clobbering, throat-shredding vocals, rhythmic dynamism, and some twisting, turning, swirling lead guitar work give a galvanizing energy and mercurial flair to the song. I didn’t even mind when they threw some clean vocals into the mix.
Another song named “Skeleton Key” premiered here yesterday, and I’ve included that stream below, along with “Barnburner”. The rhythm section shines in this song, too, which provides an effective contrast between the band’s heavyweight physical punch and the warped meandering and pulsing of the guitar leads. The song again includes contrasting vocals, which I again didn’t mind.
To conclude this collection, I have a track named “Muna” from Black.Mother.Earth, an album by the Croatian band Emphasis that will be released on April 28, with cover art by Ines Lala. It’s quite different from the other songs in this little playlist, but I’ve found myself completely enthralled by it.
Although I’m not positive, I believe Emphasis are an instrumental-only band, but this particular track includes the voices of Kristina Štebih, Iva Korunek, and Aleksandra and Iva Trupković.
But you don’t come to their voices until Emphasis have first worked their own sorcery, unspooling a slow ambient drift pierced by bursts of percussive energy and eventually joined by a layering of ethereal guitar notes. When the voices do come in, the interplay between them is transfixing, and so is the deep pulse of the bass drum and the mesmerizing effect of the guitar melody.