The weekends at NCS are usually all mine. No one else’s compositions to ready for posting, no premieres to write, no day job to fuck around with my own desires (usually), and this weekend my spouse has also been away having fun without me (or at least I hope she is). With all the cats away, this mouse has plenty of time to play (metal).
And so, in addition to all of the reviews and streams I tossed your way yesterday, I have a torrent of more metal to share on this Sunday, beginning with this collection of singles, advance tracks, and one full release selected from a massive list of things I heard over the past week. I’m not including streams and new videos from better-known bands, such as the ones that appeared from Solstafir and Heaven Shall Burn, but you can view them through those links.
As previously reported, Nashville’s Loss have a new album named Horizonless, which is due for release by Profound Lore on May 19. We finally got a taste of the new music last week through the premiere of a track named “All Grows on Tears“.
The song is monumental, monolithic, massive, mesmerizing, a megalith erected to memorialize the entropy of life, the fall of all joy into the void, the unavoidable submergence of human existence into a lake of despair — though brightness also blooms near the end. Stunning.
Thanks to my comrade Andy Synn, I learned that Norway’s Kampfar released a video for “Mylder“, from their 2014 album Djevelmakt (reviewed here, in three lines). As the band have explained, they reached back even beyond their last album Profan for the song in this video because it is both a mainstay of their live set and “a statement of everything that Kampfar represents as one of the leaders of Norwegian Black Metal in this age”.
This is an exceptionally well-conceived and well-made video for an exceptionally good song (which I wrote about here, after it first appeared). And with that, I’ll leave you to feast your eyes and ears upon it.
The band formerly known as Thränenkind is now King Apathy, which is also the name of Thränenkind‘s most recent album, released last year (the reasons for the name change are explained on the band’s Facebook page). The next item in this collection is a video for a song from that album named “Homeruiner“. I’ll introduce the video with this excerpt from Andy Synn’s review of King Apathy:
“There’s a feeling of longing and yearning that underpins King Apathy that somehow translates into a surprisingly hopeful vibe, despite the album’s gloomy, Katatonia-esque aesthetic. It’s a compelling mix of downbeat and determined, which means that, while it probably won’t strike a chord with all our readers, those who do connect with it will keep that connection for life.”
I’m certainly one of those people for whom it struck a chord, and this song hits it hard.
Pyrrhon’s Doug Moore has formed a new band named Weeping Sores and their self-titled debut album (with cover art by Caroline Harrison) will be released in a CD edition on April 10 by Dullest Records. Moore wrote the songs, plays guitar and bass, and voices the lyrics, but he is also joined on the recording by Pyrrhon/Seputus drummer Stephen Schwegler and violinist Gina Hendrika Eygenhuysen.
When I first noticed the existence of this project last week, it was through a song named “The Nature of Faith“. I tardily discovered this morning that the entire album is now streaming and available for download at Bandcamp. I wrestled with whether to delay writing about the album until I could listen carefully to all of it, and decided instead to just follow my original plan — to write about only the first song I heard — and help spread the word about the full album stream so you can explore it yourselves. If you’d like to read a full review in advance, there’s a very good one by Cody Davis at Metal Injection (here).
“The Nature of Faith” travels far away from Pyrrhon‘s hard-to-pin place on the metal map, though it’s no less intense — just intense in a different way. Moore‘s voice falls into a cavernous growl, and the song beautifully threads heart-aching melodies through a maelstrom of harrowing riffs and earth-cracking rhythms that bespeak imminent catastrophe. A thoroughly gripping, emotionally powerful doom/death juggernaut that sticks in the mind long after the finale.
The previous releases of the French duo Skelethal have made me eager to hear their debut full-length, Of the Depths…, which will be released by Hells Headbangers on June 23. I’m even more eager now, having heard the next song in this collection — “Chaotic Deviance“.
This is the kind of death metal that you can tell was created by people who have a deep love and abiding respect for the classics, but it doesn’t come off as a calculated re-tread of anything in particular. This particular song is an absolute torrent of explosive, thrashing energy, with a break that’s an immediate headbang trigger, paving the way for a bit of ghastly off-tempo oppressiveness before an incendiary send-off.
I learned about Mico through a recommendation from a Facebook friend who happens to be a very talented musician. Following his recommendation, I checked out the two songs now available for listening on Bandcamp from Mico‘s new album Segunda Muerte (which will be released in June on a new label, Carne Débil). Both of those are below, as well as a video for the second one, which makes good use of the album’s cover art.
Also included below is a video showing the mayhem that apparently occurs at a live Mico performance. The song in the video is “Astilla” from the band’s 2016 EP Irreal (or 1RR34L).
Mico are three dudes from Cali, Colombia, two of whom also contribute contrasting vocals. The two new songs currently streaming are “Resquicio” and “Un Agudo & Prolongado Rechinar”.
“Resquicio” is very hard to label, which is part of its attraction. It begins in slow, mystical, gloomy fashion — and then erupts like a volcano, a pyroclastic flow of violent but intensely compelling riffs, furious percussion, and maniacal leads. It’s the kind of intricate and inventive grindcore mayhem that will spin your head all the way around.
“Un Agudo & Prolongado Rechinar” has more in common with the intro to “Resquicio”. An unfolding of slow, reverberating guitar and bass notes in a mist of abrasion, it’s both ethereal and unnerving — and somehow entrancing despite its many unsettling elements.
In preparing to write about Mico, I scrolled through their Facebook page and came across a link they had provided to this next song by another band from Cali, Colombia, the name of which is Umbral. The song is a single released last September called “Incertidumbre“, which was apparently included in a split release with Holy Family.
In just the first minute, “Incertidumbre” will crush and splinter every bone in your body and tear your mind to tatters as well. And after that, when Umbral push the throttle forward, the music becomes even more dismantling and apocalyptic. The riffs and the rhythm section hit with overpowering physical force, and the vocals are out on the bleeding edge of torment and delirium. Negative hardcore of unusual force… and I damned sure hope there’s more of this coming soon.
GRIND OF THE DEAD
Staying in full-on-destruction mode, the next song is the title track to an album named No Lives Matter, which is the most recent effort by Grind of the Dead from Haverhill, Massachusetts. CD and vinyl editions of the album will be released through Skeleton Sun Records on May 26.
This song begins in the red zone, painting the walls red with blood spray, and then somehow becomes even more violent and electrifying. I assume the light-speed drumming is programmed; if not, I’d like to send a get-well card to the hospital where the drummer was admitted after this performance.
To conclude this collection, I decided to make a sharp turn, leaving mayhem in the rearview mirror and entering an exotic musical realm in which there’s no good way to predict where your imagination may take you as you listen.
This track is “The Forest Is Our Temple“, which is the opener of the new album Music For Megaliths, the fourth full-length by Harvestman. For those who may be encountering that name for the first time, Harvestman is a solo project of Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till. Music for Megaliths will be released on May 19 by Neurot Recordings; the artwork is by Thomas Hooper.
I admired the description of this song in the press release we received, referring to “the pulse-regulated drone of The Forest Is Our Temple,’ revving up like a generator powered by arcane currents”. If you’re mystified by the source of one particular melodic current in the song, as I was, I have now discovered that it’s the sound of a hurdy-gurdy. I’m completely enthralled by this track.