SEEN AND HEARD: GIGAN, BENEATH, ERYN NON DAE., ATRIARCH, LIVERUM, THE SHADELESS EMPEROR, RAVENTALE, GYRDLEAH
That’s Jinx Dawson’s coffin up there, rising above the stage at Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle last Saturday night. Trust me, she was about as far from dead as you could get, but that’s where she was, inside that box when the lights came up. The crowd went crazy when she came out, and didn’t stop until a while after Coven finished their headlining set on the festival’s last night.
Someday soon I’ll write about the festival, and maybe a little about the chaotic experience of actually helping put on a festival instead of just watching the show. That’s a box I’ve now checked off on the bucket list, even though it wasn’t on my bucket list before the planning for NWTF began last year. As I think back on the experience, I’m lucky I didn’t kick the bucket before the weekend ended. Nevertheless, we’re doing it again next year, and perhaps I will emerge less exhausted, having learned a few things from the first outing, but probably not.
Anyway, since about the middle of last week I’ve had no time to compile a round-up, and am thankful to DGR for stepping into that breach not once but twice (even though he too helped out with the heavy lifting at NWTF). In the meantime, my list of new things to check out became typically overwhelming. To make the job of choosing somewhat easier, I’ve focused on more recent revelations, and perhaps will dig deeper into the last week or two in the coming days. So, let’s begin….
What a wonderful album title: Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence. I don’t know what it means, but it’s still wonderful, and it seems perfectly suited to the music I’ve heard so far from the new album by Gigan.
The title of the album’s first single is also damned cool, and also somehow seems suitable to the sound: “Plume of Ink Within A Vacuum“. As for the sound, I’ll borrow these words from a press release:
“Intelligently constructed it’s entirety by founding member Eric Herseman, Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence is a psychadelic sonic voyage that embodies trans dimensional chaos, and is drenched in frantic fretboard pyrotechnics that bend time and space.”
Extravagant words, but well-justified by this extravagant new song. I recommend that you take some deep breaths before listening, because it left me breathless. And speaking of pyrotechnics, the drumming on this mind-melting song is as stunningly pyrotechnical as the fretwork.
The album will arrive on September 15 via Willowtip. The striking artwork is by Dr.Winter / Teratogen.
Around here, we’ve been ardent fans of Iceland’s Beneath for years. And so there was much hooting and hollering among the NCS staff when Unique Leader announced that a new Beneath album would be released on August 18. Its name is Ephemeris.
“Constellational Transformation” is the name of the first advance track that appeared yesterday, and I thought it would be fitting to place it here, right after that previous sci-fi themed madness from Gigan, in part because Ephemeris itself reportedly represents “an odyssey through the forthcoming millenniums of exponential colonization of planets and galaxies by human induced technology; a world where technology has gone way beyond the frontier of the imagination”.
The music here is savagely brutalizing and thunderous, but also a fireball of fleet-fingered fret-darting and turbocharged kit-work. And it’s even a bit atmospherically dreamlike, too. A very, very fine launch of the run-up to this eagerly awaited album.
Ephemeris was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, At The Gates, etc.), at Studio Fredman. The album features the work of a new drummer, Mike Heller (Malignancy, Control/Resist, Fear Factory).
Beneath on Facebook:
ERYN NON DAE.
In the early years of this site it seemed that I wrote almost non-stop about the French band Eryn Non Dae. (END.), lavishing attention on both their debut album Hydra Lernaïa (2009) and their second full-length Meliora (2012). Some videos of music from those albums have emerged in the following years, but we haven’t had any new music from the band. Thankfully, that’s about to change…
…because a little bird has whispered in my ear that END. will enter the studio in August to record their third album (and fourth release over all) with long-time collaborator Mobo at The Conkrete Studio.
In the past, much of what END. has created was difficult to classify in genre terms. As I once wrote of my favorite song on Meliora (“Hidden Lotus“), “it’s part progressive, part hardcore, part sludgy post-metal, ian absolute pile-driver of a track”, with riffs and lead guitar parts that “mix skull-cleaving aggression with moments of floating ambience”, vocals that are “white hot”, and “fascinating drum and bass rhythms are worth paying attention to all by themselves”. Check out the video for that song below.
You can be sure we will have more news about this next album as soon as it becomes available, and in the meantime you can follow END. here:
END. on Facebook:
This next song makes for a dramatic contrast with the first two in this collection. Its name is “Inferno“, and it comes from the new fourth album by Portland’s Atriarch. That album, Dead As Truth, will be released on August 11 by Relapse Records. Here’s a linguistic preview of the music from a press release:
“Dead As Truth sees Atriarch venture deeper into the blackened abyss with haunting incantations, exotic drones, and crushing aural experimentations that boldly embrace death’s cold heart. Fragments of post-punk, gothic doom, black metal, sludge, and noise complement the band’s desolate universe and further supplement their most immediate and formidable release to date. Atriarch prescribe the order that there is but one truth and that is death.”
Chilling words, but so is the sound of “Inferno”. The droning electronics, gut-punching drum reverberations, and ritualistic singing that launch the song are as cold as ice and as unnerving as a whisper on your neck as you walk alone in the night. As the voice becomes more stridently anguished and the guitar delivers a heavy dose of oppression, the gloom deepens… but this song proves to be seductive as well as desolate.
Dead As Truth was recorded and mixed by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios (Om, Graves At Sea, Vhol) and features artwork by Stevie Floyd (YOB, Dark Castle).
Liverum is a Norwegian/Polish metal band consisting of Adrian Dzieciol, Marcin Dzieciol, Andreas Midtgård, and Dimitri Victor Hermansson. I learned about them only yesterday through an enthusiastic recommendation from my NCS comrade TheMadIsraeli, who likened their sound to the kind of music Gojira used to make in their earlier years.
Liverum’s first album Discover Your Land was released on June 17, and was recorded at Hertz Studio (Behemoth, Decapitated) in Poland. I haven’t listened to the entire album, and I suspect we will soon have a review from TheMadIsraeli, but the two songs below that he threw my way — “Nebula” and “Natural Elements” — are certainly damned good.
There is indeed a strong flavor of Gojira in the music (especially in “Natural Elements“), though it would go a bit too far to say that Liverum is a clone (and hell, even if they were, I wouldn’t be complaining). Rhythmically jolting, dynamically paced, atmospherically bleak, sharply executed, and given added fire by the raw vehemence of the vocals, both songs are serious grabbers (and seriously addictive).
For a full album stream, go HERE.
THE SHADELESS EMPEROR
I first learned of The Shadeless Emperor through another round-up that DGR compiled about a year ago. At that time this Greek band had released a single called “Sullen Guard” from a forthcoming album named Ashbled Shores. The album still isn’t out yet, but not long ago the band announced that they had signed with Wormholedeath, and now these scattered release dates have been disclosed:
Digital: 01 August 2017 (Wormholedeath/The Orchard)
CD: 13 October 2017 (Aural Music Group)
USA: 08 September 2017 (Wormholedeath U.S.A.)
Japan: 20 December 2017 (Wormholedeath Japan/Disk Union Music Distribution)
In addition, the band have released another single in the form of a lyric video, this one named “Too Far Gone“. Like “Sullen Guard”, it’s an excellent offering of melodic death metal. This new track is mostly fast, ferocious, and crackling with electricity, and when the rush does slow somewhat, it’s to make way for some exotic-sounding guitar work, and the song ends with a layering of folk instruments that I can’t quite place (flute? recorder? something else?).
Listen to both “Too Far Gone” and “Sullen Guard” below.
Thanks to my Serbian Facebook acquaintance Miloš, who continues to prove himself a source of excellent musical suggestions, I found “New World Planetarium“. That’s the new single by a one-man atmospheric black metal band from Kiev, Ukraine, named Raventale (the creator is also a member of Balfor, whom we’ve written about before).
Metal-Archives tells me that Raventale has released seven albums, though I think this new single is my first exposure to Raventale’s music. I’m enthralled by this single, which is haunting, cloaked by the mantle of doom, and beautiful in its expression of longing and loss. It evokes mystical imaginings, but is still a heavy and sometimes galloping beast, one that gets the blood rushing as well as provoking sorrowful reveries.
To conclude this round-up I have a song called “The Lunar Circle” by a UK black metal project named Gyrdleah. Like Raventale, Gyrdleah is the work of a single individual, who goes by the name Flagrum. “The Lunar Circle” is drawn from a new 6-track EP entitled Passage Into the Night, which will be released on June 30 by Via Nocturna and is recommended by the label for fans of Burzum.
Slow and depressive at the start, with harsh vocals that are wrenchingly anguished, the song becomes more intense and animated though still bleak as it moves forward on the back of a rocking beat. It gets the head moving, and there are killer, heavy riffs in this track, too, along with an ambient outro that doesn’t feel out of place. Good stuff.
my god new gigan is amazing
NW Terror Fest was an over priced joke. Covenant was only a 100 and actually featured bands from Europe. It was basically nothing but local bands that anyone who actually lives here has seen multiple times. Oh, and Goatwhore, who are coming back in a few months and have been here so much its a joke. The only hedliner worth a damn that wasn’t from here cancelled, and that was half their draw for many people who went.
You should be ashamed to have associated with that joke.
I’m going to guess that you weren’t even there. I’m also going to guess that you have hemorrhoids that need treatment. Or maybe acid reflux. Irritable bowel syndrome?
Two out of three : (
Still a shitty over priced fest that was almost all local bands. Many people complained about it, but the cucks that ran it got their feelings hurt. Boo hoo!