SEEN AND HEARD (PART 2): SCHAMMASCH, ABSU, ARKHON INFAUSTUS, DARK HABITS, PAROXSIHZEM, DUMAL, PANZERGOD
Schammasch – photo by Andrea Stoppa
Happy Saturday. I’m continuing an effort to catch up on things I spotted over the last week but didn’t have time to write about. For this Part 2, I decided to include mostly news items, and leave a lot of the remaining new music I’d like to recommend for Part 3. Not sure when I’ll get Part 3 done, maybe in time to post later today but most likely for tomorrow.
The first three items here are announcements of new albums, with artwork. The last three are new tape and CD releases that provide reminders about very good releases that originally appeared last year or early this year. And sandwiched in the middle is a bit of recommended new music.
Here at NCS we’re big fans of the Swiss band Schammasch. And so it was exciting to see the band’s announcement this morning that they plan to release a new trilogy of records as the follow-up to last year’s Triangle trilogy. The new series will be entitled The Maldoror Chants, and the first album — The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite — will be released on the 9th of June. Here’s the cover art, along with the band’s description of the new trilogy:
“As the title clearly tells, the concept of those records is based on the grand novel “Les Chants de Maldoror”, one of surrealism’s dire fathers and up to this day one of the biggest literary mysteries and outgrowths. Having been an inspiration to Schammasch ever since Contradiction, the times have come to give this inspiration the room it deserves. Each record will follow one specific moment of the book, the first one being “Hermaphrodite”, a short story which appears aside the main story line in the book’s first half.
“From a musical point of view these records are to be seen as an artistic experiment, apparently deriving from a different place than what we’ve done so far. Focus lies on telling instead of singing, atmosphere instead of technique, flow instead of structure. Don’t expect anything but explore everything.”
Schammasch have already made pre-orders available at their web store (below), along with a video teaser (also below).
This morning, while scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I spotted the artwork you see above, along with this statement by the artist, the amazing Zbigniew M. Bielak:
“A little sneak peek into the art of upcoming ABSU album! One of the illustrations will premiere as a shirt on band’s coming tour. Catch them live and check it out!”
Absu also posted the same artwork on their page, with this statement:
“‘A Clavicular Spiral’ illustrated by renowned artist Zbigniew Bielak. This piece shall be represented as a tour garment and subsidiary artwork for the upcoming album, Apsu, to be released soon.”
Apsu was first announced more than a year ago, and its release was expected last year. I hadn’t heard much about it for a long time, but this suggests that the end is near. Good!
If you happen to be new to Absu despite their presence for more than two decades, I collected some history and samples of their music from across that span of decades in this REARVIEW MIRROR post.
The French black/death band Arkhon Infaustus, who began releasing music in the late ’90s, haven’t been heard from since 2007, when they released their last album, Orthodoxyn. However, I spotted this announcement today by Les Acteurs de l’ombre Productions, along with the artwork above:
“Twenty years after its creation, breaking a decade of silence, Arkhon Infaustus raises from the shadows to finish its work and taking over where the souls, facing that long silence, have fallen.
“2017 will be the year of resurrection, because Arkhon Infaustus is taking up arms again…
“New logo, new coverart, new EP to be released in October 2017 /// artwork by Cäme Rdr“
It appears that the new EP, whose name is Passing the Nekromanteion, has been recorded by a different line-up than the one which produced the last album. Now, the band are a duo, consisting of founder DK Deviant (aka DevianT Von Blakk) (vocals, guitar, bass) and new drummer Skvm (Temple of Baal, The Order of Apollyon, etc.).
I’m eager to hear what the new music sounds like.
Dark Habits are a trio from Glasgow, Scotland, who wrote to us recently about their debut of a single (with its own artwork) called “Black Tabs” from a forthcoming five-song EP named Cave Paintings that will be released on May 5th. The music is recommended for fans of such bands as Dead In the Dirt, All Pigs Must Die, and Converge.
“Black Tabs” is a thundering barrage of raking, ripping, howling destruction that also includes some brute-force hammering that’s hard enough to loosen your teeth. As for the genre mixing, there’s some blackening in this stew of violence, too. Good stuff.
According to the band, “‘Black Tabs’ describes an acid trip in which the narrator finds themselves mutilating Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, sex and victory”. The song is available as a “name your price” download at bandcamp.
Now I’ll turn to those reissues of previous releases I mentioned in the introduction.
The first one is Abyss of Excruciating Vexes by the Toronto band Paroxsihzem, which will be released in a limited pro-tape edition on May 26th by Krucyator Productions. The EP was first released last year on vinyl, CD, and digitally by Hellthrasher Productions. It’s really good. We premiered a song from it named “Isolation”, but rather than quote my own verbiage from that post, I thought I’d share some words from a review at Metal Bandcamp by my friend Justin C.:
“To me, the band’s riff-craft is what really holds my attention. Yes, they’re chaotic, diving through and around each other, overlapping pure crunch with dissonant stabs, but in a way, they’re surprisingly digestible. (This is all relatively speaking, of course.)…. Come for the riffing, or come for the smothering heaviness, but either way, Abyss of Excruciating Vexes is worth a listen.”
Indeed it is. The tape is limited to 100 copies and can be ordered at the following Bandcamp page, from which I’ve also lifted the music stream (it can be downloaded digitally at Bandcamp too).
Paroxsihzem on Facebook:
The next tape release I want to highlight is The Lesser God by the Pennsylvania band Dumal. It will soon be released by Underground Soundscapes in an edition limited to 100 copies, of which the first 30 orders will come with a hand-numbered, LP-sized print of the artwork stamped with the label’s logo.
This album was first released on CD and digitally on January 2, and became one of the first great releases I heard that month. Although I didn’t write as much about it as I wanted to, I did manage these words in a SHADES OF BLACK feature:
“This spellbinding album really does deserve much more extensive praise and detailed discussion of its nuances than I’m able to give it here. It’s loaded with fierce energy, compelling atmospheric melodies, passionate, throat-tearing vocals, and skilled instrumental performances by everyone in the band (which the clarity of production allows you to appreciate). The music wears its emotions on its sleeve, and the songs are so well-written that they inspire a strong emotional response as well.
“The opening track ‘Fane of the Clandestine’ is the one that convinced me to dive all the way into the album, and it’s one of the early entrants to my list of 2017 ‘Most Infectious Song’ candidates. But all of the songs on The Lesser God are enthralling and intensely memorable, whether sunk in the depths of despairing melancholy or surging with heart-swelling sensations of defiance and grim triumph that bring the music to the brink of the epic.
“This is a real gem that should not be missed. I would guess it will appeal especially to fans of bands such as Winterfylleth and Falls of Rauros.”
For info about how to order the tape version of The Lesser God, watch these spaces:
Underground Soundscapes Shop:
Underground Soundscapes on Facebook:
Dumal on Bandcamp:
A year and a half ago Exile Music(k) launched its first release on cassette with Deathshrouds Bestowed, the second full-length by Panzergod from Portland, Oregon. That tape edition was limited to 50 copies and didn’t last long. Now, Exile Music(k) has joined forces with Panzergod to release the album on CD — and this CD edition will include not only Deathshrouds Bestowed but also Panzergod’s 2016 EP Under Crimson Moons, which was originally released on cassette tape by Red River Family Records.
I reviewed the EP here last year, proclaiming that “Panzergod needs to be on the radar screens of all black metal aficionados”. I’ve included a stream of the EP below, as well as the opening track from Deathshrouds Bestowed.
Information about how to order the CD will become available this weekend at these locations:
Exile Music(k) Shop:
Exile Music(k) Bandcamp:
Exile Music(k) Facebook:
Once again, Schammasch just making everyone – musician and pleb alike – look like lazy bums in terms of their prolific output.
Seriously. They’re a machine. They make me tired.
I’m gonna to go take a nap.
Super excited that Arkhon Infaustus is finally releasing new material. Orthodoxyn was an incredible album, and I never heard it get the praise I thought it deserved. I hope the line up shifts have been for the better.
Also, not sure who did the artwork for the Arkhon Infaustus, but I’m going to guess it’s the same person who did Mayhem’s Esoteric Warfare.
Wow, Dumal is great. Especially Abrahamic Contagion has me pressing that replay button.