SEEN AND HEARD: THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, BARDO METHODOLOGY, CONVERGE, HORRIFIED, MUERT, KARNAR, INTRCPTR, CURSED MOON
Because this is our first round-up of news and new music this week I’m including some items that you may have already noticed elsewhere. But to increase the chances of surprising you with a new discovery, I’ve also included a few excellent new songs from more obscure names. I’ve also chosen them from among a very big list of new releases with the aim of providing diversity of sound. Before we get to the music, I have a couple of news items to share.
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
Two days ago The Black Dahlia Murder posted that photo at the top of this post on their Facebook page, with no comment. It shows the hand of the esteemed Kristian Wåhlin, aka Necrolord, nearing completion of a very eye-catching piece of red artwork.
Putting two and two together, we can deduce that this will become the cover art for a new album by The Black Dahlia Murder, the existence of which was disclosed in June. In addition, more recent disclosures indicate that the album will be called Nightbringers and will be released on October 6.
BDM will be performing on the Summer Slaughter Tour this year, and the band have stated that their set list will include one of the new songs from Nightbringers. We will be eagerly awaiting the first singles from the album, as well as the whole release.
In April I wrote about the first print edition of the marvelous on-line magazine Bardo Methodology, which is dedicated largely (but not exclusively) to wide-ranging and in-depth interviews of metal artists, mainly from the realms of black and death metal, delving into subjects that go far beyond the music itself, including mysticism, philosophy, history, and much more.
The content reflects the site creator’s extensive knowledge of metal history, music, and many other subjects, and his ability to draw out the people with whom he’s communicating, to peel back the layers of their interests and thinking. The results are unusually engrossing.
This week I learned that Bardo Methodology launched an on-line page for the printed publication, which is itself a visually fascinating excursion that brings the publication to life. And while I still strongly recommend obtaining a physical copy (if you still can), the web version is well worth exploring, thanks to the remarkable work of Bardo Methodology’s web developer, Fabio Carretti. To see what I mean, go here:
Converge has released a two-song 7″ EP named I Can Tell You About Pain, their first new music since 2012. It’s a precursor to a new album that’s also slated to arrive this year. The title track was released through a music video two days ago via NPR Music. Both songs are also now available for $2 on Bandcamp.
The two tracks are quite different, but both (unsurprisingly) are very good, with the title track unleashing a barrage of hammering destructiveness mixed with freakish guitar torture and unhinged vocal meltdown, and “Eve” both gliding and picking at the scabs in your psyche as it begins, and then inflicting its own form of emotional pounding and ever-ratcheting torment, with an intense chorus melody that memorably manifests anguish and exsanguination.
The video is damned intense, too. I can’t pretend to explain what it signifies, but I couldn’t look away either.
If Adam Burke’s artwork for the new album by the UK’s Horrified doesn’t compel you to listen to the music, there may be no hope for you (or perhaps you just need to visit your optometrist for a prescription update). Entitled Allure of the Fallen, it’s set for release on September 29th via Shadow Kingdom Records.
The title track is below. It has a beautifully doomy and sorcerous beginning and ending, and in between it becomes an invigorating gallop filled with head-twisting guitar work, anthemic soloing, a broad range of riffs, and vibrantly vicious vocals. The song is a kaleidoscope of sound, death metal at its core but adventurously pushing beyond those boundaries as well.
For decades I’ve wanted to visit the Canary Islands of Spain, which are located about 60 miles west of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean, in part because of their fascinating history and in part because they look beautiful. But all is obviously not well in the Canaries; there is poison in those beautiful veins, as you’re about to discover.
Muert is a black metal band based on the largest of those islands, Tenerife. Their third album Ye Canariae Abezan will be released on September 7 by Hammerheart Records, who recommends it for fans of Sarcofago, Sadistik Exekution, Blasphemy, Sammath, Revenge, Teitanblood, and Aura Noir. Just reading those names started me drooling, and the cover art increases the appetite even more.
The first advance track from the album is “Olar A Muert”, and it’s an electrifying display of rampant barbarism, thrashing and howling like a caged demon, but with a hammering, booming drum performance that undergirds all the death-worshipping savagery with immensely powerful grooves. Even when the slaughtering pace relents, the song keeps its claws firmly on the listener’s throat. What a powerhouse track this is!
Karnar are a death/thrash quartet from Novara, Italy. Their debut album Take Their Heads was released via Bandcamp on July 1. The final track on the album, “Satanic Beliefs“, is the subject of the video that I’ve installed as the next item in this round-up.
My eyes grew bigger and bigger as this song pushed ahead, marveling more and more at the technical chops of the performers and perhaps even more at the inventiveness of their songwriting. It’s a rush from beginning to end, one that veers and vaults in unexpected directions yet never loses its cohesiveness. It put me in mind of the likes of Gorguts and Dysrhythmia.
Given the strength of “Satanic Beliefs”, I plan to investigate the rest of Take Their Heads (and I’ve included the album stream below, along with the video).
INTRCPTR is a Los Angeles instrumental duo consisting of guitarist Ben Carr (5ive) and drummer Larry Herweg (Pelican, ex-Lair Of The Minotaur). Their first EP, I, was released on July 21 by Magic Bullet Records. This is another record in today’s collection that I’ve only just begun to explore, but the first song from the EP that’s set to play on the Magic Bullet Bandcamp stream is so damned good that I couldn’t resist including it here before diving deeper.
“Sandstorms” is the song below, and I may have become unhealthily addicted to it, though when I eventually moved past it and fell into the beautiful, wistful, almost dreamlike contrast provided by the opening minutes of “Ruby”, I realized I would have to devote time to all of the album very soon.
Both of the performers are obviously very, very good at what they do and in this song they’ve created something that magnetizes the mind and punches hard as well. In describing the sound, Magic Bullet makes references to Kyuss.
When this next song first started I thought I’d been transported back to the ’80s, when I listened (and danced) to my fair share of gothic new wave and post-punk. And then the vocals kicked in. Lo and behold, we have another mean bastard, because surely the mis-matched in-laws would never allow a white wedding of the two star-crossed lovers that birthed this son.
Cursed Moon is the solo project of Los Angeles musician Sal “Hellraiser” Yanez. The debut album, Rite of Darkness, is scheduled for release on October 27 by Hells Headbangers, and includes covers of songs by Oz, The Sisters of Mercy, and Skinny Puppy, as well as original tracks — one of which, “Rise of the Antichrist”, is the final song in today’s collection.
“Deathwave” is the name that Cursed Moon has given to the style of this music, and it represents the latest hybridization of extreme metal, though in this song the source of extremity lies mainly in the vocals. This song really is damned catchy, though it undoubtedly will appeal most strongly to people (like me) who still have an affinity (and in my case a nostalgic one) for new wave and post-punk from decades past.
I had the same reaction to INTRCPTR! I wanted to listen to the whole album but had trouble getting past Sandstorms. For me, the opening may be the catchiest for an instrumental song since Pelican’s Ephemeral.
Looking forward to getting deeper into Karnar, too. First song is great.
Horrified is just Horrendous but black metal and I’m loving the shit out of it!
I do find Cursed Moon very interesting. And as you mention, it does bring back memories of some old bands I was listening to back then (in addition to the ones you mention, I do recognize influences of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Fields of the Nephilim, Joy Division, … to name a few. Nice trip down memory lane !
I am looking forward to hearing the remainder of this album.