I had a great weekend, thanks for asking. I devoted it to visits by out-of-town family and a two-day picnic, and NCS took a distant back seat, which is why there was no weekend round-up and no SHADES OF BLACK column. We avoided going dark only though the valiant efforts of Andy Synn and DGR.
Predictably, I now have a big list of new songs and videos to share around, too many for one post. We’ll start with offerings from five bands, and I’ll have at least one and probably two more round-ups this week. Might get one more done today, but maybe not. A meteor strike could decimate my home, the chime on a dryer could alert me that it’s time to get the clothes out, I might feel like chasing a passing car, the lorises might commence war games again. The crystal ball is cloudy.
The new Keres EP (released July 12th) is an exception to the (admittedly porous) rule in our site’s title, but it’s a slam-dunk exception: Justin Helvete’s voice is a truly remarkable instrument. And everything else about these three songs is also remarkable.
Keres was formerly known as Worship of Keres. Under that name, and with a different vocalist, they released an excellent 2016 EP named Bloodhounds for Oblivion (briefly reviewed here). Since then, Keres have released a sequence of singles this year, and now this new self-titled EP.
The gritty, gut-busting riff and neck-snapping drum beat that lead off “All My Friends Play With Fire” is audio heroin, and the experience just gets more and more exhilarating when the vocals come in, joined by a highly infectious darting guitar lead. Heavier clouds of doom descend briefly when the pace slows and those sky-soaring vocals turn to growls, but the song never loses its fierce grip.
After I looped that opener through my head 3 or 4 times, I wondered whether Keres could keep it up through the next two songs, and hot damn, they really do. Both of them are just as intensely addictive, just as skull-cracking, just as supercharged with powerfully head-moving riffs and clobbering rhythms, and just as melodically seductive.
“The Buried Path” and “Freight of Time” are more somber and less adrenaline-fueled than the opener, more sinuous and insidious, but they’re both exceptionally good (and at the 3:15 mark in that last track, Keres punch the gas and give your head another thrill-ride). And my god… the vocals are simply wondrous.
With bands like Khemmis, Crypt Sermon, and Pallbearer now riding very high, this seems like the perfect time for Keres — and I have no hesitancy mentioning them in the same breath as those bands.
Based on notes at the Keres Facebook page, the band are now working on a debut album named Obscure Fires of an Earthen King which they hope to complete by this fall. God speed to that.
In April of this year I premiered a track called “A befalazott” from Homo Maleficus, the new album by the one-man Hungarian project Nagaarum. The album was released on May 3 by GrimmDistribution (Belarus) and NGC Productions (Hungary) — one of 14 full-lengths (in addition to two splits) that this prolific creator has released since 2008.
Not long ago Nagaarum released a video for another track off the album, one named “Dolgunk végeztével“. Both the song and the video are riveting. I asked Nagaarum for a comment about it, and he provided this:
“My aim was from the beginning that I must do everything in this project. All the instruments, lyrics, vocals (except female parts), mixing / mastering, release artworks, homepage and video recording/cutting.
My sixth videoclip is done now for the track ‘Dolgunk végeztével’.
“This idiom means in Hungarian ‘When we are done’. During the video recording my friends from the University of Pannonia gave to me much more help. I have a chemist’s degree, so this was what made easy the contact with the Chemical Lab that appears in the video.
“The subject of the album Homo Maleficus is the human nature, the human behaviour. You can stream it on my Bandcamp site.”
And indeed you should stream the album for yourselves, particularly if you have an adventurous ear. But at a minimum you should focus your attention on this video.
From this song alone you’ll understand that Nagaarum follows his own path, braiding together strands of ominous doom, uneasy ambient sounds, head-cracking and highly compulsive drum rhythms, vibrantly pulsating riffs, industrialized pneumatic jolts, poisonous black metal leads, reptilian melodies, growling vocals, and an ever-changing array of tempos and electronic textures to create a fascinating musical trip — a dark trip to be sure, but one that gets its claws around your neck.
You won’t want to look away from the video either.
I believe the first time I heard the name Hades Archer was on April Fool’s Day 2014, when Metal-Archives suddenly posted almost 50 reviews for the band’s 2008 EP, Penis Metal, one of which concluded with the reviewer proclaiming, “If you excuse me, I’m going to the streets and shout ‘PENIS METAL’ as loud as I can in front of the police.” Another claimed, “Despite the novelty of this EP and the jokes I’m sure it gets, it’s quite satisfying but for some reason my asshole hurts now and I feel like a cigarette.” All of those reviews are still there, along with other more recent ones.
Anyway, this Chilean band have a bunch of other releases besides Penis Metal (though it’s likely that one will never be forgotten), including a third album named Temple of the Impure that will be released by Hells Headbangers on October 13. It’s alliteratively described by the label as “a fucking firestorm of filth and foulness, a forever-flowing fount of unnervingly hypnotic ultra violence”. Based on the one advance track that’s just surfaced, it’s hard to quarrel with that.
“Chaos Terratosis Chimeras” is a violent hurricane of sound, a hurricane made of furiously abrading riffs, hyper-speed drumming, vicious growls, and frenzied arpeggios. At about the 2:20 mark, the berserker fury ebbs briefly until a punishing pick slide announces a resumption of the slashing, the cutting, and the disembowelment.
Hades Archer have sharpened their sound on this song compared to what I remember from the past, although even with the increased clarity it’s still a harrowing and electrifying assault on the senses.
II: Vanishing is the new album by Longhouse from Ottawa, Canada. I wrote once before about the album when an advance track appeared in March. Since then the album has been released, and I wanted to say something more about it in an effort to encourage you to listen to it. So here are some thoughts about the album opener “Hunters Moon“, along with a full album stream.
I really have become completely captivated by this song — though the entire album is damned captivating. It’s a powerfully haunting track right from the start, but the spectral emanations in the music are balanced by staggering heaviness.
It’s a spellbinder for sure, but one that pulls the listener’s thoughts toward cold, void-like chasms of peril and desolation, and when the band turn the power dial way up about five minutes in, quickening the pace to that of a juggernaut and flooding the senses with high, harrowing streamers of sound and caustic demon shrieks, the effect is devastating.
Back in 2013, in the days when my MISCELLANY column made a fairly regular appearance around here, I sampled the music of this Barcelona band by focusing on a video they made for a track off their second album ¡¡¡Viva Dios!!!. I liked what I heard, yet managed to overlook their follow-up album, Satan Is Losing Momentum, when it arrived very late last year.
Thankfully, I’ve been saved from the ill effects of my obliviousness (at least this time) by the recent appearance of the band’s video for a track named “Counterlife“.
Dejadeath made this video themselves; in fact, they take pride in their 100% DIY approach to everything. No doubt it’s easier to maintain that commitment when you’re as talented as these people are at just about everything they do, including making videos.
This video in particular is a real bat-shit crazy head-trip, though it’s a strange and kaleidoscopic trip that fits the music very well, in part because the music is itself very idiosyncratic and harder to pin down than a globule of mercury.
There are some devilishly heavy grooves in this song, but you need them, you need something to hold onto, because there’s a destructive maelstrom of other sounds coming at you like a fast-moving thunderhead. And while you might expect (and you do get) harsh vocal intensity, you also get rising, wailing, doomy clean vocals that are almost equally intense.
The whole song is intense — a splintering of sanity, a fracturing of physical integrity, a bonfire of hopes, a demolition of dreams — and all the way through you also get a heavy dose of thick, fuzzed-out riffs that are as highly infectious as they are calamitous.