Colorado-based Dark Descent Records must be very, very happy with 2017. (I’m talking about their slate of music releases, of course, because many other things about the year suck harder than a shop vac.) Here we are just past the halfway point, and Dark Descent has already served up new albums by the likes of Heresiarch, Undergang, Father Befouled, Bestia Arcana, Ascended Dead, Phrenelith, Ensnared, Gorephilia, Craven Idol, Lantern, Excommunion, Sarcasm, and Diabolical Messiah, and a new EP by Devouring Star (and I might have overlooked something).
But with more than five months left in the year, the label has a lot more nastiness up its sleeve, and today we’re getting a big taste of what’s to come. Today Dark Descent has released via Bandcamp and YouTube a new sampler that consists of a whopping 11 track premieres all at once, and they all happen to be from releases we’ve been very eager to hear, or that come as very intriguing surprises. Many appear headed our way before year-end; some may not arrive until 2018.
Below you’ll find some info about those 11 offerings, plus impressions of the music (aided by a bit of a sneak peak we got in advance), and of course streams of each song. To begin, here’s the track list:
1. – Invincible Force – Damned by Noise & Lust
2. – Necrovorous – The Sun Has Risen in a Land I No Longer See
3. – Gravehill – The Unchaste
4. – Ellorsith – Psychic Self-Defence
5. – Thantifaxath – Self Devouring Womb
6. – Desolate Shrine – The Primordial One
7. – Ataraxy – Matter Lost in Time
8. – Ritual Necromancy – Discarnate Machination
9. – Dire Omen – Malkuth
10. – Burial Invocation – Phantasmagoric Transcendence
11. – Spectral Voice – Visions of Psychic Dismemberment
INVINCIBLE FORCE (Chile): DAMNED BY NOISE AND LUST
Last Release: Satan Rebellion Metal (2015)
This Song: This band’s last album was black thrashing hell on wheels. Sounds like this new one will be too. Wild, vicious, skull-splintering, thoroughly electrifying stuff here.
NECROVORUS (Greece): THE SUN HAS RISEN IN A LAND I NO LONGER SEE
Last Release: Split with Anatomia (2013)
This Song: From what I’ve read, it seems the forthcoming album will be called Plains of Decay. The vibrant new track is part feeding frenzy, part dashing gallop, part morbid slithering, all good.
GRAVEHILL (California): THE UNCHASTE
Last Release: Skullbearer EP (2016)
This Song: We premiered this band’s split with Mordbrand last year, which was my introduction to the band’s music, and I was sold immediately. I’m still sold… this new track is a grisly, gruesome, up-tempo dose of barbarity with both spectral and face-melting soloing and a highly headbangable interlude.
ELLORSITH (Canada): PSYCHIC SELF DEFENSE
Last Release: Split with Mannveira (2016)
This Song: This song seems destined to appear next year on a new EP called Orbhàis. Grim, cruel, otherworldly, pulse-pounding savagery laced with dissonant chiming….
THANTIFAXATH (Canada): SELF DEVOURING WOMB
Last Release: Sacred White Noise (2014)
This Song: A new Thantifaxath release has been one of my most anticipated since the year began, because Sacred White Noise was so fucking good. This new sign of what comes next is highly appealing… both mesmerizing and tension-ratcheting, grippingly dramatic and chillingly unearthly, frenzied and bombastic and hallucinatory, and with an acoustic, violin-led finale… it’s perhaps the hight point of this whole sampler.
DESOLATE SHRINE (Finland): THE PRIMORDIAL ONE
Last Release: The Heart of the Netherworld (2015)
This Song: The new album will be named Deliverance From the Godless Void. I’ve been slobbering over the prospect not only because the last album was so strong but also because the cover art for the new one (by the band’s multi-talented sole instrumentalist, Lauri Laaksonen) is amazing. “The Primordial One” has gotten me even more slobbery, though it’s so ominous, cold, and harrowing that it’s also raising the hairs on my neck, too. For me, another of the sampler’s big stand-outs.
ATARAXY (Spain): MATTER LOST IN TIME
Last Release: The Festival/The Tomb (single) (2016)
This Song: I don’t recall hearing this band’s music before, but this new track is spellbinding, in a chilling and disconcerting way — haunting, bleak, and heavy, with tendrils of uneasy but seductive melody that glide like serpents, seeping poison. Very impressive.
RITUAL NECROMANCY (Oregon): DISCARNATE MACHINATION
Last Release: Void Manifest EP (2014)
This Song: The new second album by this PNW band will be named Disinterred Horror. Abyssal vocals and ghastly howls? Check. Noxious whirring riffs? Check. A foul and crypt-bound atmosphere of doom and festering decay? Check.
DIRE OMEN (Canada): MALKUTH
Last Release: Wresting the Revelation of Futility (2014)
This Song: I wrote about this band’s last album a bunch back in 2014, including a premiere of one of the tracks. So glad to see they’re back after a three-year wait. This new track is a rushing freight train straight from the gates of hell with a roaring horror driving the machine, trailing foul smoke and throwing off bursts of paranormal electricity.
BURIAL INVOCATION (Turkey): PHANTASMAGORIC TRANSCENDENCE
Last Release: Decomposing Serenades (split) (2011)
This Song: This was one of the surprises on the sampler (at least for me). Wasn’t familiar with this band before, and it’s been a long time since they released any new music. “Decomposing Serenades” is a good name for this morbid offering. Ominous, doom-drenched chords and melancholy threads of melody move together with maniacal rampaging, acrobatic drum- and fret-work, and truly eye-popping soloing. The whole song is eye-popping.
SPECTRAL VOICE (Colorado): VISIONS OF PSYCHIC DISMEMBERMENT
Last Release: Split with Phrenelith (2016)
This Song: The debut album by this Colorado band (with the same line-up as Blood Incantation, apart from the drummer) is entitled Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing. Based on their previous releases (a sequence of demos and splits) and the staggering live performance I witnessed at California Deathfest in 2016, this is another album that’s been on my personal list of most eagerly anticipated 2017 releases.
A sense of grim, ominous majesty rises up in the opening minute of this nearly 14-minute monolith, and then the song jets ahead in a burst of thundering drums, nasty scything riffwork, and cavernous proclamations. More twists and turns lie ahead, including bouts of glacially slow, oppressive slogging and paranormal eeriness as well as frenzied eruptions in which the band vividly display their abundant technical skills. Utterly foul, shiveringly creepy, morbidly doomed, and vibrantly electrifying.