This catching-up effort which began on Friday may have gotten out of control. I have music from 7 bands in this “final” installment, including three full releases as well as a quartet of individual tracks. And I put “final” in quotes because I still have a bunch of new black metal for a SHADES OF BLACK feature. I almost always post those on Sundays, but this time I may have to post it tomorrow. Depends on how long I can go without food, bathroom breaks, sociable interaction with my wife, rational thought, other distractions from our glorious mission….
TEMPLE OF VOID
“Huge, enormous, vast, immense, large, big, mighty, great, colossal, tremendous, prodigious, gigantic, gargantuan, mammoth, monstrous, monumental, giant, towering, elephantine, mountainous, titanic”. These are all synonyms for the word “massive”. By listing them, I’ve gotten a head start on the task of describing the first single from Temple of Void’s new album.
Ooops! I forgot “humongous” and “hulking”.
The new album is named Lords of Death, which is entirely appropriate because there is much death in the album’s first single, “Wretched Banquet“, as well as doom — indeed, more obliterating death than in the band’s dreadfully good debut album Of Terror and the Supernatural. It’s staggering from the first seconds, but when it accelerates it becomes brutally ravaging, and the wraithlike guitar leads lend it a supernatural aura to go along with the putrescent stench of decay.
Paolo Girardi created the cover art for Lords of Death. It will be released by Shadow Kingdom Records on July 18 (digital, CD, vinyl, tape) and by Hells Headbangers (vinyl).
The Wisconsin band Cavernlight made a fine debut with their 2015 album Corporeal, and early signs are that their new one, As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache, will be even more impressive.
I saw Cavernlight perform at Migration Fest in Olympia, Washington, last year (as described here). The highlight of the set was a song that featured the appearance of a guest female vocalist, Sarah Green, which I’m happy to say will appear on this new album. That same night included a stunning performance by False from Minneapolis, and the band’s vocalist Rachel N. also appears on this new album, as does vocalist Michael Paparo from Inter Arma.
The first excerpt from the album is the unsettling opening track “Lay Your Woes Upon The Ground And Know That The End Will Soon Swallow You“. An array of tormented vocals (including Rachel’s distinctive, wrenching howls) and groaning, glacial chords exude a deep sense of misery, while the song’s eerie melodies become hypnotic, even as they cast an oppressive and haunting pall of grief over the mind.
The album will be available June 16th on vinyl and cassette from Gilead Media and features artwork by Scott Zuwadzhi and Samuel Thomas Claeys.
Earlier this month we posted an interview by our Argentinian guest writer Matías Gallardo with guitarist Magnus “Magressor” Garathun of the Norwegian band Condor (he now lives in Australia). The interview revealed the unfortunate news (for fans) that Condor’s new album is most likely their last one. But that new album — Unstoppable Power — is very, very good.
Fully embracing thrash in the mode of such bands as Destruction, Evil Blood, Kreator, Razor, old Sepultura, Sodom, and Sarcofago, and largely shorn of black metal, the album is scorching, and earns its name. It was released on April 28th, and rather than attempt a review I will leave the stream below.
When I learned that Cathexis are ensconced in my old hometown of Austin, Texas, I needed no more enticements to explore the music, especially because I was actually in Austin last week visiting family and friends (and doing some work for my day job) when I first listened to the new Cathexis offering, Demo//2017. It was released on April 25th via Bandcamp, where it’s available as a “name your price” download.
The three well-written songs on this new release treat your head to a rocketing, vaulting, and veering thrill ride of technically acrobatic death metal in the vein of bands such as Gorguts. There’s a lot of kaleidoscopic exuberance in the riffs and seamless shifting of gears in the pacing, and all the performers shine in these displays of head-spinning athleticism, including the vocalist, whose gravel-gargling growls and ravenous roars enhance the music’s undercurrents of grim ghoulishness (which are most pronounced in the third track).
Get your brain twisted and your blood rushing through the stream below….
My first exposure to Minneapolis-based War/Plague was through their excellent 2015 split release with Portland’s Vastation last year, about which I vomited some enthusiastic words last August. They also released a full-length album last year named Carrion, which I failed to write about but which is well worth your time.
This year has already brought the release of two more splits involving War/Plague, one with Warwound and one with Axegrinder, both of whom are from the UK. The split with Axegrinder was a vinyl released on Record Store Day, but War/Plague have now put their track, “Disease”, on Bandcamp, where it’s a “name your price” download.
“Disease” launches in immediately gripping fashion, sinking its hooks in the head through compelling drum fusillades and dramatic riffing, and the song remains vibrant and intense throughout. While a violent, dark, and bruising onslaught of crust, made even more catastrophic by the untrammeled fury of the vocals, it’s a melodically memorable song, displaying the kind of song-writing skill that puts me in mind of bands like Martyrdöd and Amebix.
If Maim were just another competent and experienced death metal band, I probably wouldn’t have included this next song in today’s collection. But “Aura of Desperation” is out of the ordinary. It comes from this Swedish band’s forthcoming album Ornaments of Severity, which will be released by Soulseller Records on June 9th (the ghoulish cover art is by Mattias Frisk). For this new album, which is the band’s third, they reduced their ranks from three to two — Henric Ottosson (drums) and Christian Sandberg (vocals, guitar).
The song’s main drum rhythm, which is distinctive, is a big part of its attraction, and so are the central, pulsing riff and the wild ferocity of the vocal performance. The music is a huge adrenaline surge, and damned infectious, too — catchy from the first listen and still addictive after many more listens.
AOTV (ANATOMY OF THE VOID)
I have to force myself to stop this post, although I haven’t exhausted the new music I’d like to recommend. And, in a fairly random decision, I’m stopping with an album by the Russian death metal band AOTV (Anatomy of the Void). The album is Upgrade Or Die, and it was released on April 24th.
I haven’t listened to the whole album, but the opening track “Labor From Steel” justifies further exploration. Eerie guitar reverberations launch the experience, but soon enough the band begin to pound hard enough to crack the listener’s skull, though retaining the strange attractiveness of that opening melody.
And that’s just the beginning of a song that barrels through a lot of twists and turns before it ends — accelerating and decelerating, spiking the head with bursts of abrasive sound, crushing and scything, spiraling off into displays of manic, alien fretwork, and more. The vocals display some variety too — with truly gruesome gutturals and skin-splitting howls in the mix.
There’s a lot of music here, though it’s pricey for a digital download. Details at Bandcamp: