SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: SLÆGT, CRUST, DEAD HEAD, THE RUINS OF BEVERAST, UNYIELDING LOVE, MASACHIST
One good thing about Good Friday was that my workplace had a holiday and so I stayed home, and therefore spent some time Friday night working my ears through a list of new metal I made this week instead of getting hammered with my co-workers, which is what usually happens on Fridays after work. As an additional bonus, I felt clear-headed this morning and ready for more listening (though with my head, “clear” is a relative term).
In an effort to keep this Saturday playlist from becoming too bloated, I decided not to write about some things that I figured most of our visitors have probably already discovered. But just in case you missed them, you can use these links to find the full stream of Nightbringer‘s new album at CVLT Nation (which we reviewed here), the first single from Suffocation‘s new album, a new Oranssi Pazuzu EP (Kevät/Värimyrsky), and a new song from the next Impetuous Ritual album.
As explained in this review, I really, really liked Slægt‘s debut EP, Beautiful and Damned, and I chose one of its electrifying tracks for our list of 2015’s Most Infectious Songs. With an expanded line-up, Slægt have recorded their first album, I Smell Blood, which is slated for release on May 5 by Ván Records. Its name is Domus Mysterium.
Judging by the first single, “I Smell Blood”, these Danes have cooked up more devilishly good dishes in this new album. This particular track seems to stew together ingredients from black metal, thrash, punk, “classic” heavy metal, garage rock (from Lucifer’s garage), and maybe even a whiff of retro occult psychedelia. It’s a heady brew with complex flavors but hits the brain stem with a lot of kick. Rock out to “I Smell Blood” below….
Slægt on Facebook:
I actually discovered this album earlier than last week, but only got around to listening to it last night (and again this morning). Its name is True Shades of the True World, released on March 1st by the Russian band Crust. Based on Crust‘s Bandcamp page, it appears to be the group’s third release overall (one of which I wrote about in 2015).
Despite what might be suggested by the band’s name, the music isn’t crust. Instead, it’s an amalgamation of sludge, doom, hardcore, stoner, and black metal that might make you think the band’s name has a typo in it and should have been written “Crush”.
The music does display crushing heaviness, and not simply the kind of earth-shaking heaviness manifested in its gut-busting drum-and-bass rhythms and thick, tarry, head-moving riffs. The music’s atmosphere is also crushingly bleak. The flickering tendrils of lead guitar discordance convey a sense of mental imbalance (or at least the influence of psychoactive drugs), and the vocals have the scraped-raw quality of desperation and incipient derangement. It puts you out on the fracturing edge of an urban wasteland, where life may not find a way despite what Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic Park.
The album includes two tracks without vocals, and they’re dramatically different. The first one, “The Wrong Place”, pulls you even deeper into the wasteland, while the closer “Space Justice” is a soaring, sweeping piece of eerie cosmic ambience. And I guess you could say there are voices in this last one, ethereal and angelic voices, coming from a place the inhabitants of Crust‘s musical world might dream of… but never reach.
Crust on Facebook:
As I’ve explained before, my own taste in thrash runs to violence and viciousness. The catchiest riff alone usually isn’t enough, if it isn’t accompanied by savagery and blood lust — which is why I’m mystified that it took me so long to discover Dead Head, though the long gap since their last release is probably part of the explanation.
According to Metal-Archives, their first release dates back to 1989, and they produced five albums between then and 2009. After eight years, they’re returning with a new full-length named Swine Plague, which Hammerheart Records will release on June 2nd. Below you’ll find a lyric video for the first song to be revealed from the album, a scorcher named “Helhuizen“.
This is a hard-hitting heavyweight song, one that drives with bone-breaking grooves yet also leaves you with the feeling of being on the brink of a chaotic rampage. It’s malicious and massively infectious, and the vocals sound like someone who’d really love to sink his teeth in your throat. Grade A thrash ferocity here….
Dead Head on Facebook:
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST
This next song makes for a dramatic change of pace and mood from the previous song in this collection. It’s a track named “Towards Μαλακία” from the new album Exuvia by The Ruins Of Beverast. Exuvia will be released by Ván Records on May 5th, with cover art by Julia Schneider.
For those who may be new to The Ruins of Beverast, it’s the solo project of German musician Alexander von Meilenwald. I wrote repeatedly about the project’s last album Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer during the year it was released (2013), and finally had the pleasure of seeing a live version of the band perform at last year’s California Deathfest (during which I made this video). I’ve been very eager for this new album, especially after listening to “Towards Μαλακία“.
The vocals don’t appear in this song until nearly four minutes into it. Until then, it has a dark and dreamlike quality, slow-moving and haunting, yet increasingly ominous and doom-tinged. When the vocals do appear, their harsh, gravelly tone magnifies the sense of peril that comes from the deep, lumbering bass and the hints of anguish in the spectral guitar melodies. The vocals themselves become both more anguished and more somber — though the somber clean voice which appears takes a skyward arc, just before a tumbling drum progression heralds a torrent of blast-beats and writhing riffage. What was ominous becomes venomous… and then shamanistic.
The Ruins of Beverast on Facebook:
The Sweat of Augury is the second release by a band from Belfast, Northern Ireland, named Unyielding Love. It was digitally released by the band last September, and I discovered it recently because it’s now set for a May 5 release on vinyl by the British label Feast of Tentacles.
This is a stunningly unnerving and destructive experience, one that left me breathless with the overpowering force of its impact, and with the fascinating amalgam of ingredients the band worked into their music — including grindcore, death metal, hardcore, sludge, powerviolence, and harsh noise. The songs range from blinding displays of high-speed ultra-violence to slower, skull-cleaving pieces of traumatic jackhammering, and by the time you reach the end of the sixth track and the start of the seventh one, things have taken a turn into a slow, dark dream… which then expands into a nightmarish vision of the apocalypse.
There are so many unexpected twists and turns that you really don’t know what’s coming next… except more surges of lunacy and adrenaline. The vocals are almost as varied (and as deranged) as the rest of the music, a mix of skin-splitting, boiling-in-oil shrieks and hollow, insane roars. The drumming is frequently off-the-chain. The bass tone is massive. The guitars are also frequently bludgeoning (except when they’re incinerating or simply boiling over with insanity). The ideas are exuberant and explosive. In a word, amazing.
Order (and download):
Unyielding Love on Facebook:
Masachist are a Polish death metal band composed of current or former members of such groups as Vesania, Decapitated, Shadows Land, Yattering, and Azarath. Their third album The Sect (death REALigion) will be released by Witching Hour Productions on April 28. It includes eye-catching cover art by Andrzej Zdrojewski.
The first song made available for streaming, “Selected For Execution“, is the last song in this Saturday playlist. Given the pedigree of this band’s members, it’s not surprising that the song is so damned good. It’s dismantling in its destructive impact and technically impressive, combining brute-force pummeling with fiery soloing, eerie wisps of melody, and ravenous, bestial vocals. It’s also a dynamic track, which changes in pace and rhythm and style that keep you even more firmly locked into the music.
The label makes references to the likes of Morbid Angel, Immolation, and Hate Eternal, and all those references ring true in the context of “Selected For Execution”.
Masachist on Facebook:
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST !! Two words….FUCK YES !! Always loved this band and this track is very intriguing to what the rest may sound like. I love the Native American undertones! Digging that Unyielding Love track as well. \\m//
NEW SLÆGT!! NEW SLÆGT!
YES! YES! 🙂
Hot damn, Slaegt is gonna own this year.
I love Ruins, but “Towards Malakia”? As a Greek, last time I checked Malakia was a slang term for masturbation.