SEEN AND HEARD: WITCHAPTER, SARKOM, FÖRGIFTAD, MANIC SCUM, DYING FETUS
No sooner had I finished last week’s 4-part new-music round-up on Saturday than I began exploring other things, and of course found other things I’d like to recommend. But I’ll be smart this week and not forecast further installments. I’ll do this one, and we’ll see how the rest of the week plays out.
I chose the following music (and a new video) in an effort to cross through a few different metal territories, stylistically speaking. Someone said variety is the spice of life, and so it is.
I found this new EP through a link on Facebook by Black Bow Records. Spellcaster is the debut release of a crushing UK sludge/doom trio named Witchapter. It’s available digitally now, and it seems that a physical release via Black Bow will happen on July 4th.
I got hooked like a trout through the gills from the first sound of the thick, sinuous riffs and gun-shot crack of the drums at the outset of “Veiled Aggressor“. I fell in lust with that song as it moved from massive neck-breaking to long, braying and groaning riffs and head-hammering rhythms, and eventually to a thoroughly dismal crawl through a thick, choking swamp. Highly addictive music, and the fact that the vocals sound like a man being burned alive was icing on the cake.
The python-like bass solo and contrasting snare pattern at the beginning of the follow-on track “Smoke On Sulphur” hooked me in a different way from the opener, but hook me they did. As the song evolves, it’s easy to imagine a giant serpent slowly slithering in darkness beneath a dripping rain forest canopy. Everything’s oppressive and humid, and venomous… and then about half-way through, the song kicks into a driving gear and it’s time to crank your neck again. But not for long, because the band soon enough drag your prone body into a tarry abyss, while delivering a moaning guitar melody that oozes defeat and desolation.
The final track is the longest one, at 10 1/2 minutes. Speaking of defeat and desolation, the opening segment is a glacially-paced soul-crusher, massively heavy and painfully anguished. The band make space for a snare-and-bass-drum combo to mimic the driving of coffin nails into your final resting place; it functions as a grim interlude before the doomed slog through a black and barren wasteland resumes, accompanied by ghastly, cavernous roars.
There’s one more interlude ahead… with slow, isolated strumming that takes the weight off your chest, but really doesn’t do anything to brighten the mood. The titanic heaviness returns, and tears seep like oil from the guitar melody that surfaces in the midst of methodical hammer blows.
Last November we premiered the fourth full-length, Anti-Cosmic Art, by the Norwegian black metal band Sarkom. It’s an excellent album, bursting with barbarous energy and jolting dynamism — from the gut-busting drumwork to the big, vibrant bass rumble, to the slash-and-burn explosiveness of the guitars, to the wild, feral, shrieking violence of the vocals. It expertly interlocks many of the touchstones of Norwegian black metal from the earliest days forward, with considerable variety among the songs, and a consistently explosive sound.
One of the songs, “Seen through the eyes of a paedophile priest“, is a dark fury of oppressive, swarming tremolo chords and thundering double-bass with eerie, wailing guitar work and disturbing spoken words to go along with scalding howls — and when the pace slows, the music becomes a doomed, dragging crawl full of poison and horror. And the band have chosen that song as the subject of a new music video, produced and directed by Andreas Luggen Martinussen and edited by Kolbjørn Voll Hjelmerud.
Frontman Unsgaard had this to say about the track itself and the video:
“I got the idea for this song after seeing the documentary Deliver Us From Evil. Pedophilia is something most people despise and don’t want to talk about, but it’s a deadly serious theme as these predators actually live amongst us. I did some research and the lyrics are based on how I would interpret the mind and thoughts of a pedophile.
“As for the video itself, it turned out pretty much as I had envisioned it, and I am very satisfied with the result. More so because it gave us the chance to work with a professional team with extensive experience gained in TV production. They also seemed to enjoy doing something different as working on this kind of music/video project was something new to them. I mean, the last TV production they worked on was ‘Paradise Hotel’…”
The video is indeed well-done, and of course unsettling. Watch and listen below — and if you happen to find yourself at Inferno Fest in Oslo, watch Sarkom perform on April 12th at the Dark Essence label night along with Slegest, Hail Spirit Noir, and Sulphur. (Sarkom will also be appearing at the Dark Easter Metal Meeting in Munich, Germany, on April 15).
Two years ago I discovered this Swedish three-man group of head-wreckers. At that time they had a debut album named Skit Ska Skit Ha on the way, and two of those songs were streaming on Bandcamp, which I wrote about. Now Förgiftad have recorded a new 7″ EP called Bränd Generation, with one song from the 7″ up on Bandcamp at this writing. The song is “Giftet Viskar Mitt Namn“.
I’m just going to paraphrase what I wrote about those other tracks in 2015, because it still holds true for this song: This is a turbocharged blast of catchy-as-hell punk riffs, with dynamic rhythms and acid-spewing vocal vitriol. These dudes burn like a gasoline fire and kick like a mule, but they also write really infectious songs — still.
The song is a name-your-price download at Bandcamp.
In June of 2012, in an episode of the late lamented EYE-CATCHERS series, I included the cover art that you’re now looking at. It was for a then-forthcoming EP called Carbonized by a death/grind band named Manic Scum from Kingsport, Tennessee. No music from the EP had been released at that point, so I wrote instead about a previous EP by the band. And then I lost track of Manic Scum….
They did release an EP named Acidic Remains in January 2016, which I managed to overlook, and along the way it seems they also dribbled out a few of the songs from Carbonized. And now, finally, all of Carbonized has appeared on Bandcamp.
You get six tracks, all of them in the one-to-two-minute range. And all of them are hell on wheels — big, beefy marauders that do an effective job vibrating your skeletal structure with thick, distorted riffs, steamrolling bass rumbles, and skull-cracking drumwork. While the vocalist roars like an elephantine monster, the band veer from massive, pile-driving headbangers to berserker rampages, from d-beat romps to gruesome stomps.
The music gets the adrenaline flowing in a flood, and it’s damned infectious (and damned nasty). It’s over before you know it, and thankfully very easy to just zip back and play it all over again.
Last but not least, here’s the just-revealed cover for the new album by Dying Fetus. The title of this eighth full-length by the band is Wrong One To Fuck With. The album will be released on June 23 by Relapse Records. I’m assuming that Dying Fetus haven’t decide to go for increased subtlety and nuance in their sound… which is fine by me.
And that’s all I have to say about that. You can catch about 30 seconds of new music in the album teaser below.
No other album this year will have a better title than “Wrong one…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Genius.
After hearing that album title, I half expected Dying Fetus to announce a co-headlining tour with Limp Bizkit.