SHADES OF BLACK: WORMWITCH, FIN, PURE, KOLLAPSE, MOTHER MOON, FUNERAL BAPTISM
I didn’t damage myself too badly last night, only moderately, and so I was able to prepare this selection of music that I thought was worth recommending. I’m beginning with songs from forthcoming albums by four bands and concluding with two recent EPs.
Much of the music in this collection isn’t strictly black metal, but has enough kinship to the genre that I can justify including it. Hope you find some things to like.
In another one of these SHADES OF BLACK posts last month I reported that Prosthetic Records would be releasing the debut album Strike Mortal Soil by Vancouver, BC’s Wormwitch on May 12. At that point I didn’t have any music to share with you, but now I do.
The song released last week is “Everlasting Lie“. It’s a rumbling, hard-sluggging bruiser that shows the band’s hardcore roots, but it blasts and rips, too. There are some magnetic guitar leads and scintillating soloing in the song, as well as completely scalding, throat-lacerating vocals… and a breakdown that’s a skull-smasher.
In February I included the first advance track from FIN’s new album in another one of these collections. The album is Arrows of A Dying Age, and it’s set for release on April 28 by Folter Records.
That first song, “Hold Fast… Thy Lament“, 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.
Now there’s a second song to listen to, “A Wall of Stone“. It’s often incinerating in its intensity, but once again displays FIN’s rhythmic dynamism and vocalist/guitarist M.K.‘s talent for crafting melodies of great vibrancy and emotional range. Drummer D.F.K. pulls out the stops, too, blazing away like a bonfire in the song’s most frenzied passages.
Pure is a one-man black metal project from Switzerland, founded by Bornyhake (from such bands as Borgne, Enoid, Deathrow, and Darvaza, and also a former member of Kawir). Pure’s fourth album, J’aurais Dû, will be released on May 13 by Symbol of Domination (Belarus) and Obscure Abhorrence (Germany).
Two songs from the album are currently available for listening — “Je tuerais le monde pour ta lumière” (a free download at Bandcamp) and “Anonyme et sans visage” (on YouTube). Both of them are dramatic, emotionally evocative pieces.
“Anonyme et sans visage” is an electrifying, warlike charge that’s also atmospheric, with an air of grim, forlorn majesty. The anguished, tormented quality of the vocals adds to the song’s intense emotional force.
“Je tuerais le monde pour ta lumière” provides an immediate contrast to that first song, initially proceeding at a slower, stately pace and then building to a gallop, and eventually a savage storm (with a softer, entrancing interlude along the way). The vocals are once again wrenching, and the melodies are often searing in their sense of debilitating grief.
SYMBOL OF DOMINATION:
Like Pure, Kollapse is another recent discovery, and they come from Aalborg, Denmark. Their new album Angst will be released on May 19. It was recorded and mixed by Jacob Bredahl and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. The cover art was created by Thomas Martin Hansen.
What first interested me about Kollapse was a video for a song from Angst named “Void“. The video was made by made by Dukkefar (www.dukkefar.com). It’s a transfixing thing to watch — mysterious, ominous, and even frightening. The changing facial expressions of the girl in red, in particular, are amazing.
It’s a great visual accompaniment to the song, which is itself mysterious, dark as old blood, and brutally crushing. The buzzing riffs ratchet the tension mercilessly, aided by the boiling extremity of the vocals, and even in the song’s quieter moments, there’s a sense of creeping derangement. When the hammer comes down, it pounds like a sledge against the skull.
A second song from Angst is also available, on Bandcamp. That one is “Gueules Cassées“, and it’s every bit as dark, as massive, and as riveting as the one in the video. It creates a sense of growing dread and catastrophic doom, relenting only for an interlude that has an introspective but still unsettling feeling. The bass and drum work in both songs, by the way, is heavy and hard enough to split concrete, and the gloomy melodies prove to be quite memorable.
Now I’ll turn from advance tracks from forthcoming albums to two recently released EPs. The first one is Bathed In False Light by a Baltimore band named Mother Moon, who blend together elements of black metal and post-metal to create music that’s stunningly powerful. It was released on March 25 and is available as a “name your price” download at Bandcamp.
I was completely hooked by the powerful, pulsing riff and bone-breaking bass and drum work in the opening track, “Deaf Our Ears“, and the song’s bleak but soaring melodies are intensely alluring as well. A softer, haunting guitar instrumental provides a reprieve, but the song ratchets the skull-cleaving intensity and destructiveness back into the red zone by the end.
“In Droves” is a rumbling and pile-driving crusher that explodes into bursts of violent chaos, with the vocalist turning himself inside-out in a stunning display of howling pain and delirium.
“Transmission III” provides an unnerving, spectral interlude made of electronics and samples, while “Color Me Grey” is as doomed and terrible as a mounting pile of corpses, becoming only slightly less dismal and poisonous when it kicks into a hammering groove that pounds the pulse relentlessly.
The long title track closes the EP. At the outset the lilting, almost ethereal guitar melody and compulsive rhythmic drive provide the only minutes of brightness in this very dark and devastating EP (even though the vocalist is still tearing himself apart in the background). But just past the halfway point, the intensity of the song mounts, its physical force surging by orders of magnitude, and the sludgy bass rumbles your guts as a prelude to a final volcanic eruption of turmoil and torment.
To conclude this collection I have an EP released on March 21 entitled Gate by Funeral Baptism. The group began as the solo project of Argentinian musician Damian Batista (ex-Akral Necrosis). After releasing a debut EP in 2014, he moved to Romania in 2016, and this new EP includes a second member, vocalist Liviu Ustinescu (Din Umbra).
Following a deeply ominous instrumental opener, the EP assaults the senses with three compact tracks of ravaging, dynamic black metal, with a clear, powerful production that includes a deep, heavy bass presence and ferocious, bone-breaking drum work.
Spirals of eerie, dissonant melody, poisonous, needling riffs, and bestial growls contribute to the music’s pestilential atmosphere, but the high, trilling guitar leads and chiming chords add vibrant elements of defiance and haunting melancholy, and the songs’ powerful grooves will get your head moving, too. A really excellent short release.
In recent days, Loud Rage Music announced that it will release Funeral Baptism’s debut album in the second half of this year. That will be worth watching for.
Wow! Not one bad thing in this list. Awesome post as always. Really digging that Wormwitch and Kollapse!!