I’m slow out of the blogging gate today, partly because I overindulged during the usual Friday night blow-out with my co-workers and partly because I had trouble deciding what to write about for this round-up. The problem, as usual, wasn’t too few ideas but too many.
Before moving on to the music I ultimately selected, I’ll mention a handful of news items:
First, you might remember that last August we premiered the full stream for a hell of a good debut album by Portland’s Bewitcher, accompanied by these words (among others): “Bewitcher seem to have discovered a hidden vault filled with pure riff gold. Every song on the album is packed with electrifying guitar work, blending thrash, speed metal, Motörhead-style rock, first-wave black metal, and even elements of the classic NWOBHM in a way that’s as infectious as a rampaging new plague virus without a cure.”
The news is that Graven Earth Records, a small cassette-based label out of Colorado, is releasing a limited-run (200 copies) cassette of Bewitcher’s debut on April 28th. Go here to check that out (the rest of their catalogue looks pretty cool as well).
Second, CVLT Nation landed a trio of good premieres late this week that I’d recommend you check out — the full stream of the debut album by Nephilim’s Howl, from which we premiered a song earlier (available from I, Voidhanger on May 19th); a new song off Wolfbrigade’s forthcoming album Run With the Hunted (available from Southern Lord on April 28); and a full stream of the new demo by Montreal’s Deathbringer, which is now available here.
And third, Invisible Oranges also hosted a quartet of good premieres this week that are worth hearing: the full stream of Pale King’s new album Monolith of the Malign (available here); the full stream of Enisum’s Seasons of Desolation (available here); the full stream of Idre’s Unforgiving Landscapes (available here); and a song from the debut EP by Canada’s Mind Mold (available here).
In addition to all that, here are the items I chose to write about today:
SECOND TO SUN
Second To Sun is a two-man instrumental Russian band with an eclectic style that I’ve written about on other occasions. Last year they released a series of cover songs originally recorded by Behemoth, Bones, and Darkthrone, along with an excellent full-length album named Blackbound, and in January they released a video that I wrote about for the first part a four-part track from Blackbound named “Mrakobesie“.
Since then, they’ve released two singles, both of which I’ve included below. “Alyoshenka” came out in February, and “Devil” appeared yesterday. These appear to be the first cuts from the band’s next album, with more to come, one-by-one.
“Devil” launches with a creepy introductory passage and then alternates between, on the one hand, volcanic eruptions of thundering percussion, grim slashing riffs, and eerie keyboard augmentation, and, on the other hand, irresistibly head-bangable groovy riffs — everything anchored by a huge, gravelly bass line.
Like “Devil“, “Alyoshenka” generates an ominous atmosphere, but sweeping keyboards also give it an air of spectral melodic grandeur. It’s also pulverizingly heavy.
I’ve been seeing a lot of praise dropped on the web for this German band’s third album, Vision Wallows In Symphonies of Light (which features Lille Gruber from Defeated Sanity as session drummer), but just haven’t had time to listen to the whole album. It was released yesterday by Willowtip, though there’s still only one of the album’s four long tracks streaming on Bandcamp.
That track is “Amid the offal, abide with me”. Willowtip recommends the album for fans of Deathspell Omega, Gorguts, and Ulcerate, and when you listen to the song you can understand why. It’s technically exuberant and head-spinning; dissonant and unsettling; barbarously violent; punishingly heavy and jolting; and so densely packed with intricate variations, moods, and instrumental acrobatics that it’s tremendously absorbing no matter how many times you may hear it.
I feel like an idiot for not paying closer attention to this sooner.
Raise the Torch is this English band’s third album and, like the one above, it was released yesterday (by Spinefarm Records/Candlelight Records). We’ve already posted an enthusiastic review of the album by Andy Synn, who described it as incorporating “strands from classic Thrash, Black Metal, Death ‘n’ Roll, and even some strutting ’80s Hair Metal swagger, resulting in a sound that’s part Entombed and part Enslaved, part Metallica and part Mötley Crüe… and all sorts of awesome”.
Yesterday the band released a video for one of the new songs, “Scaling the Gods“, which Andy referred to as a “Skeletonwitch-esque blend of classic Metal guitar work and modern heaviness”, making “for a frankly irresistible combination, mixing and matching fret-burning leads and bombastic, infectious riffs with almost reckless abandon”. Enjoy the video below (I did).
Postvorta are an Italian band who combine sludge and post-metal (and other ingredients). Their new album, Carmentis, will be released by Third I Rex and by Argonauta Records on May 14. The two tracks from the album that are now publicly available for listening are very good. The first of those, “Patau“, is up on Bandcamp. The second one, “Cervix“, is exclusively streaming at MetalItalia (HERE).
It will take you nearly 11 minutes to experience “Patau“, and what an experience it is. Bleak and crushing (and heavy enough to vibrate your kidneys), it segues twice into uneasy dreamlike instrumental passages — with a catchy drum rhythm and what sounds like a saxophone (but might just be a guitar effect) the first time. The riveting drumwork is a highlight throughout; the riffs hit the head and spine like mallets; and the vocals are wild and tortured, reaching excruciating levels of torment in the final minutes, when the band lock into one tremendous groove after another.
“Cervix” is another long track in which Postvorta deploy similar sonic weaponry, to similar good effect. Tremendously dark and detonating in its “physical” impact, rhythmically compelling, and atmospherically desolate for the most part, but leavened with an almost bright and frolicking interlude.
WHEN ICARUS FALLS
To conclude, I have a song that I’ve listened to four times over the last 24 hours (which is saying something, given how long it is). Needless to say, the music has really set the hook in my head. It’s a song called “A Blue Light” by the Swiss post-metal band When Icarus Falls. The track is off their new album Resilience, which was released yesterday by Czar Of Crickets Productions (and can be streamed in full via the first link below).
Like almost all the other songs in this collection, “A Blue Light” is a long track (over 12 minutes), but never boring. Using both heavy and ephemeral elements and an array of hook-laden drum-and-bass patterns, the band lure the listener in, the repeating patterns becoming irresistible — even when vocalist enters the picture with increasingly crazed cries and delirious proclamations. The band push and pull, creating an ebb and flow of energy as the song progresses, but persistently returning to the rhythmic/melodic patterns that got their hooks in the listener’s head in the opening minutes. Highly infectious, and quite mesmerizing….