SHADES OF BLACK: CAULDRON, CORPUS CHRISTII, EPPING FOREST, GRIMFAUG, IMBER LUMINIS, ONIRIK, STREAMS OF BLOOD, VELDES, YPOKOSMOS, ZIFIR
I guess I’ll be surprised if anyone remembers, especially those of you who lost an hour of sleep last night, but a week ago I began what I said would be a two-part SHADES OF BLACK post. Before I could finish Part 2 for Monday I came across a bunch of new songs, and that collection became Part 2. I still want to recommend the songs that I had picked for the original Part 2. They’re all in here, a week later than I had planned, but of course I’ve added a few newer tracks, too. A whopping ten songs in all.
With one exception, all of these tracks are from albums or EPs that haven’t been released yet, and I’ve organized them in alphabetical order by band name. I have a separate collection of recent full releases, and if time permits I’ll try to pull those together before the usual tornado of the work week begins spinning tomorrow.
To begin, I have “Severe Martyrdom“, a severe song from Regnum-Phobos by the Spanish band Cauldron. This is their second album and it will be released by Darkness Within on March 14th.
“Severe Martyrdom” begins slowly, building an oppressive and ominous atmosphere, but soon enough it begins to rampage with grim ferocity… and further changes lie ahead, including a lot of cool bass work and vocal variations (though all of them except the chants are barbaric). Heavy, savage, and interesting in all its infernal permutations, the song is a very attractive inducement for Regnum-Phobos.
Cauldron on Facebook:
“The Curse Within Time” is the next song. It appears on an album named Delusion, which is eighth full-length by the Portuguese black metal band Corpus Christii. The album will be released by Folter Records on April 28.
For a band whose career is approaching the end of its second decade, Corpus Christii sound not merely experienced and self-assured, but full of unholy fire. The vocals alone burn with conviction and tremendous, throat-ripping passion. The song is also an engrossing piece of darkness, its rhythms and pace changing repeatedly, rocking infectiously and reaching crescendos of incendiary ecstasy.
Epping Forest is another Portuguese band, and one with an impressive line-up, including two former members of Corpus Christii — drummer Menthor (Enthroned, Nightbringer, Lvcifyre, Bestia Arcana, etc,), who is also in the next band whose name you’ll see in this collection (Grimfaug) and guitarist MystiCosmoS (who has performed live with Corpus Christii). The line-up also includes vocalist Azrael (Morbius) and new bassist Trevash.
The band’s second album lebaBVoid was released by Unexploded Records on March 10. To quote from the album’s Bandcamp page: “Conceptually, LEBABVOID focuses on the similarities of the mythological universes from the different ancient civilizations. It takes the Sumerian myths as a background for a brand new universe, giving birth to newly refurbished deities and myths…”
Two songs are now streaming on Bandcamp, “Kria: Resistance is useless” and “Hereafter: We are alone in the end“.
An exotic melody opens “Kria” and then it becomes an overpowering black/death juggernaut with a sweeping, dramatic melody that contrasts with the song’s visceral percussive force and its eerie guitar vibrations. Outstanding vocals, too, which move between ghastly roars, maddened bestial howls, and theatrical clean proclamations.
“Hereafter” is just as electrifying as “Kria”, and maybe more so — bombastic and thundering, stately and eerie, ripping and ravaging, and pitch-black in its bleakness. It’s an incredibly dynamic, richly patterned song, loaded with fantastic, lethally infectious riffs and wonderfully vibrant lead guitar performances. Can’t wait to hear the rest of lebBVoid!
On March 17th, Iron Bonehead Productions and Altare Productions will be releasing (on CD) an eight-track split called MMXIV-MMXVI by yet another Portuguese band, Onirik, and the part Belgian, part Portuguese band Grimfaug. Each band recorded original songs for the split and also covered a track by the other. The split was mixed and mastered by Semjaza (Thy Darkened Shade) at the Sitra Ahra Studio in Athens.
I’ll come to a song by Onirik later in this collection, but one of Grimfaug’s tracks is the next song here. Grimfaug’s last release was an album named Defloration of Life’s Essence — ten years ago. These new recordings are the work of Norgaath (Coldborn, Strid, Nightbringer (live)) and the aforementioned Menthor — who is the drummer for both bands on the split. The song below is “Hour of Sacrifice“, which features Skjeld of Nyktalgia as a guest vocalist.
The song has a cold, nightmarish, and sometimes hallucinatory quality, as well as manifesting a sense of wild, delirious abandon. The vocals are absolutely maniacal, and when the song is in high gear, the speed of the blast-beats and the poisonous writhing of the riffs is enough to take your breath away. In its slower movements, it generates an atmosphere of fearsome draconic majesty. In a word, amazing.
Imber Luminis is one of several solo projects of Belgian musician and record producer Déhà, who is also a member of Maladie and We All Die (Laughing), among many other bands. The new third Imber Luminis album is named Nausea, and it’s set for a March 26 release by Naturmacht Productions. Yesterday we got a stream of the first advance track from the album, “The Withering and the Wake“.
The song is an intensely magnetic one, in the sense that it grips you by the throat immediately and never lets go. The music has a depressive resonance, yet it’s also glorious, heart-swelling as well as aching, reflecting desire as well as loss (at least those were the emotions I experienced). The intensity of the vocals has a lot to do with the song’s strong grip, and the sorrowful, tormented clean vocals are just as compelling as the terrifyingly vicious ones. Man, this song nearly made my heart explode.
Now we come to the other band participating in that split with Grimfaug mentioned above. Onirik is a Portuguese one-man band whose last album was 2015’s wonderful Casket Dream Veneration, from which we premiered a dark, dreamlike, and unpredictable track named “Invocation and Defiance”.
The Onirik song available for streaming from the new split is “The Pantheon of the Tempter“. As mentioned earlier, Menthor plays drums on the Onirik songs and Grimfaug’s Norgaath performed bass on the track.
“Dark” and “dreamlike” are still adjectives that came to mind as I listened to the song, but it’s also explosively powerful and coursing with fierce intensity and with emotionally evocative melodies that are both immediately appealing and lastingly memorable. It’s the kind of song that picks you up and carries you away, body and soul, weaving a vivid and rapturous spell of melancholy and warlike grandeur.
About one month ago, in another of these SHADES OF BLACK collections, I wrote about a new song named “Detox” from the forthcoming third album by the German black metal band Streams of Blood. Entitled Allgegenwärtig (which seems to mean “omnipresent” in English), it was released by Folter Records on February 25.
Since then a full stream of the album has become available (here) at Zero Tolerance, and another song from the album named “Corrosion” has also surfaced on YouTube
The deep, cold, malignant riffs and howling barbarism of the vocals are manifestations of both ice and fire; the drum work is hard enough to fracture skulls; and if you’re able to sit still while this whirling dervish of a song works its devilish will, I’ll be very surprised.
I discovered Slovenia’s Veldes through the project’s 2015 EP, Descent (reviewed all too briefly here). A full-length named Ember Breather followed that in 2016, and now this one-man band has a new album called The Bitterness Prophecy set for release on April 28.
Veldes is the solo project of Tilen Šimon. He has already ably demonstrated his abilities as a sonic spellcaster, and does it again here on the next song in this collection, which is the new album’s title track. It’s a long song, long enough to pull you away from your cares and send your mind and your emotions off into an ice-covered land of epic sagas. The melodies that loop through the track are stained with tears and blood, both grieving and defiant, gloomy and soaring — and they’re all gorgeous. Only deadened souls could fail to be moved.
The Bitterness Prophecy will be available digitally and a CD edition is being release by Razed Soul Productions/Ominous Domain (US), and that will be available for purchase here.
These next two tracks are the only ones collected here that are aren’t from a forthcoming release. They were created by a German one-man band named Ypokosmos. I saw the name in an interview with the German band Vitriol, which I read in the course of getting ready to premiere that band’s new EP, and decided to search out some Ypokosmos music.
The first song is “Eon Alpha – Shivering Pulse of an Infinite Eon“, which was released in January of 2015, and the second is “Eon Omega – Synod Metacarnal“, which was released in March of that year.
By the complete happenstance of alphabetical placement, these songs are going to prove jarring as hell after that Veldes track. Grotesquely distorted and relentlessly destructive, and with vocals that are tangibly terrifying, the songs are dense, roiling hurricanes of ugly, frightening sound. But the massive, bone-grinding rhythms and crazed snare assaults that drive the song and the bursts of freakish lead guitar within them have gotten their hooks in me. Also, I enjoy dense, roiling hurricanes of ugly, frightening sound — and this stuff is off the charts.
Artwork does matter. I had forgotten whatever I might have known about the Turkish two-man black metal band Zifir when we received a press release last week concerning their new album Kingdom of Nothingness, but when I saw the cover art, I wasted no time in listening to this next song — because the cover art is immediately recognizable as the work of Russian artist Vergvoktre. Those of you who follow our daily artwork posts on the NCS FB page have seen his creations, because I’ve posted a lot of them.
Kingdom of Nothingness will be the band’s third album in a discography that also includes a split with Cult of Erinyes. The song below is “769“. It’s a slow march of death at first, laced with spectral guitar vibrations, and then builds in intensity, but without losing the atmosphere of otherworldly peril and encroaching doom.
The lyrics pour out of a strangled throat, the sounds of bile and bitterness, but ghostly wordless chants also rise up, adding to the music’s esoteric aura. The whole experience of the song is poisonous and unnerving, yet enthralling.
Kingdom of Nothingness will be released on May 31 by Norway’s Duplicate Records. For further release information, watch these spaces:
Zifir on the Web:
I’ve come down with a bad case of the flu, but despite a thick pulsating layer of molten lead between my forehead and my cranium, I made it through this fantastic post. Well, apart from Ypokosmos. My akin head drew a line right there. I’m spinning Zifir twice to compensate, though.
I ENJOYED YPOKOSMOS, MADAM.
Haha. Good for you, miss. But you should turn the sound down a notch, for you’re really shouting now.
When your brain feels the wrong size, the last thing you need is a cacophonous sonic earthquake. See, Islander gets that.
I’m sorry to hear about the flu attack, and under those circumstances I completely understand taking a pass on Ypokosmos. It would not be a beneficial treatment.
Thanks. I’m recovering, though. Better ram my head into the wall in order to prolong the sickleave.
Imber Luminis sounds awesome
That new Corpus Christii track brings a heavy Gaahl-influence to mind with the vocals. Compared to prior works, it is stronger, fiercer, and more passionate. A good direction for the vocals, I think.