SEEN AND HEARD: HATE MOON, GALARE, SENTIENT DIVIDE, DEATH CRUSADE, PLANET EATER, ARCTOS, ASCEND/DESCEND
Do you groan when you see these big round-up posts? Especially when they come three in a row, day after day? Is it too much to process? Do you feel overwhelmed by the volume?
These are what are known as rhetorical questions, i.e., a figure of speech in the form of a question that isn’t intended to elicit an answer, e.g., “Can’t you do anything right?” Right or wrong, too much or too little, on we go… this time with new or newly discovered metal from seven bands.
Fólkvangr Records tells us that “Hate Moon is a Norse-Gael symphonic black metal band hailing from Pennsylvania”, formed by “two Irish American descendants of Norse Vikings” (Tuathail and Tohmar) who have created music that “romanticizes the ancient Celtic world through a soundscape of historical fantasy”. Their debut album is The Imprisoning War, and the first item in today’s round-up is an album track named “Mountain of Death“.
Wracked with abrasion and soaring with eerie keyboard melody, “Mountain of Death” is a head-nodding and mind-twisting foray into realms both mystical and perilous. Partaking of elements drawn from both dungeon synth and second-wave black metal barbarism, including vocals manifesting truly unhinged ferocity, the song is fascinating. The shimmering keyboard melodies are gloomy but also convey an ascendant grandeur, while the riffs and vocals are lacerating — and that’s an alluring union.
The Imprisoning War will be released on September 15, on CD via Fólkvangr and digitally by the band.
Hate Moon Bandcamp:
Earlier this year we premiered two tracks off a debut EP by a an impressive young black metal band from Elizabeth, New Jersey, named Galare. The EP is now out on Bandcamp, and is well worth your time. But Galare aren’t letting grass grow under their feet — in fact, they’re releasing a new EP today (July 21), bearing the title The Cruelest Animal Vol. 1.
At the time of this writing, the new EP hasn’t yet appeared on Bandcamp, but one of the new songs did surface on YouTube a few days ago. It’s a bit of a departure from the music on the last EP but still quite good.
“Sol Beyond the Prism” is dramatic, stately, and deeply ominous. Terrifying vocal acid and unearthly roars scatter across a surrounding fog of scalding guitar, and the music grows increasingly intense… and ends before I was ready for it to end.
UPDATE: The EP has now been released and is available HERE. A stream of the EP is also now embedded below the YouTube player for “Sol Beyond the Prism”.
On July 27, Idaho-based Sol y Nieve will release the self-titled debut album by Sentient Divide, a band from Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, formerly known as East Sherman. The two songs now available for listening on Bandcamp — “Bloodgate” and “Gratify” — punch a whole bunch of my buttons all at once.
Blending black and death metal to good effect, Sentient Divide deliver a mix of plague-ridden gloom and carnivorous ferocity, with riffs that are sinister and seething, pestilential and swarming, bone-breaking and murderous. And as the riffs morph among these vicious forms, the tempo and rhythms change as well — blasting and stalking and bounding about in crusty romps.
Enhanced by eerie, spectral guitar vibrations, undergirded by deep, grinding bass notes, and featuring a tandem of abyssal roars and goblin shrieks, the songs generate an atmosphere of arcane horror. It’s chilling music that also buries its grasping, gory hooks deep in the listener’s head.
Rakieta /// Bomba is the name of the debut album by Death Crusade from Gdańsk, Poland. Released via Bandcamp on July 14, it consists of 10 compact audio assaults discharged with gut-slugging power and adrenaline-fueled fury.
The music is meaner than a junkyard dog and rampages like a big merciless juggernaut, mixing battering d-beat crust and slaughtering grind in well-written songs that each have their own memorable character. Wild, blood-raw shrieks and gruesome roars join forces in the vocal assault, laid over hammering punk chords and fierce guitar leads that flicker, swirl, and scald.
The album is a pure thrill-ride that’s really damned good, and doesn’t wear out its welcome.
The next song in this collection is “The Boats“, and it comes from the new album by Planet Eater from Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Entitled Blackness from the Stars, it’s set for release on August 4 and follows the band’s 2015 self-titled debut EP.
The PR material for the album recommends it for fans of Morbid Angel, Gojira, Converge, Strapping Young Lad, Sepultura, Deftones, and Neurosis — which is obviously a big spread of styles, and is suggestive of diversity in the album.
Not having heard the album yet, I can only comment on “The Boats”, which is very appealing. Featuring jugular-rupturing, hardcore-styled vocals and a bleak, threatening, immediately catchy riff, the song is one that grows increasingly intense, fueled by lead-guitar frenzy and battering drumwork. The melodic hooks and grooves in the song are solid, and I’ve found myself drifting back to it repeatedly in recent days. Hope you like it, too.
I’m closing this big collection of music with a new three-track EP by the black metal band Arctos (from Alberta, Canada), not because it’s the least accomplished of the releases in this post but only because it’s the one I discovered most recently. In fact, it’s really excellent, though I haven’t yet had time to give it the deeper attention that I think it deserves. The name of the EP is A Spire Silent, and it came out via Bandcamp on June 23.
The opening song, “Dawn… Sons of Death“, launches with a slow, beautiful, somber introductory passage that features a piano, but after a bridge it surges with power, driven by a fusillade of blasting drums, torrential riffing, and vehement snarling and howling. The music ebbs and flows, juxtaposing sweeping atmospheric melody and warlike aggression, and the result is both sorrowing and defiant.
Even a quick once-through of the remaining two songs provides convincing evidence that Arctos is a band worth following, and A Spire Silent worth more careful investigation.
On July 14th the Boston hardcore band Ascend / Descend released a new single named “Molt“, which follows their excellent 2016 EP Murdock Street. On this new track, Michelle Dugan pours fury and pain into the words while the band’s drummer and bassist punch a pneumatic beat through the song’s drive train. The vibrant chords seethe and batter away, but the song becomes much more than a hard-punching surge of vehemence. The flickering guitar lead that comes and goes through the song and the shimmering melody that closes the track are not only highly infectious, they bring a kind of emotional intensity that almost seems… hopeful.
You really went minimalist on that last entry, man. Don’t we Bostonians deserve a little more love?
Well, shit, don’t I feel like a moron. I’m glad someone finally pointed that out. I actually intended to take that one off because I was running out of time to write about it, and intended to include it in the next round-up. I’ll fix this tomorrow morning.
That Arctos record is excellent. A nice modern take on black metal, with a Bathory influence and a melodic death metal infusion as well (am i imagining it?)