We’ve arrived at the middle of the work week and I find myself in the mood to round up and share with you a couple of news items and six new songs, two of which are accompanied by videos that are well above average. I’ll cut this introduction short and just dive right in…
AT THE GATES
Three years ago At the Gates returned with their first new studio album in 19 years. The reception seems to have stoked the fires even further, because they’ve written 11 new songs that they plan to begin recording soon. And according to their announcement from earlier this week, they are feeling “more inspired than perhaps ever before”. They also allege that the new record will be “by far the most comprehensive album of the band to date, and will span all the way across the different elements of the band’s sound”.
There is also a new man in the line-up now. He is guitarist Jonas Stålhammar, whom the band recruited after the departure of founding guitarist Anders Björler in March. Stålhammar ought to be a familiar name to you. His current endeavors include The Lurking Fear, Bombs of Hades, God Macabre, and Crippled Black Phoenix, and his past endeavors have included (among others) Abhoth, Utumno, Macabre End, and the rendition of vocals on Doomsday King by The Crown.
The balance of the line-up is unchanged, and I am quite excited to hear what the new combine of Lindberg, Erlandsson, Larsson, Björler, and Stålhammar will bring us.
And because I always prefer to have some music to accompany everything we write, here’s the video for “The Night Eternal“, probably my favorite track from At War With Reality — and the use of Costin Chioreanu’s animated artwork also makes for a nice segue into the next item in today’s collection.
The Hungarian Perihelion have completed a new album named Örvény (Hungarian for “maelstrom”), which they describe as “a single journey with its seven songs seamlessly woven into each other and its lyrics revolving around dreamlike passages towards the subconscious.” It will be released on November 10 by Apathia Records.
I mention it for two reasons — first, because I have grown to love the music of this band (as regular readers of the site will know), and second, because Costin Chioreanu has created yet another piece of wonderful cover art for the new album.
In addition to this artwork and news, Apathia has also disclosed a teaser of music, and I might as well share that, too, brief though it is.
Possibly you’ve grown weary of my incessant praise of the Australian project Rebel Wizard, and so I’ve decided instead to begin lavishing praise on Nekrasov, which is the longer-lived and more challenging endeavor of the same creator.
Prosthetic Records reissued the 2016 debut album of Rebel Wizard (Triumph of Gloom), and now Prosthetic will be releasing a new Nekrasov album, The Mirror Void. In due course I’ll have more to say about the album, but for now am simply spreading the word about the first advance track.
Nekrasov is known for combining elements of black metal, power electronics, industrial, and ambient music in service of disturbing visions of a universe that seems to have swallowed humankind, where heat death is not the future but a sublime trauma, an escape vector, a death drive that embraces the notion that (to quote Nick Land) “life is a problem in search of a solution”. Or you may take something different away from the sounds — I’m not steeped in the musical lore of Nekrasov, having become only a fairly recent convert.
Considering “Whatever Pleases You, Keeps You Back” in isolation, it has a hugely compelling drive and a trance-inducing, astral melodic current, as if the spheres in the void are singing to us as we hurtle toward their embrace. Yet there is violence in the music as well, the kind of harrowing sonic abrasion and vocal scarification that wounds… or reveals wounds.
P.S. On Monday of this week Bandcamp Daily ran an article on “10 Bands Pushing the Boundaries of Extreme Black Metal” — and by my lights it’s a great selection of bands. One of those 10 is Nekrasov. You should go here to see the others:
And you should go here to pre-order The Mirror Void:
It’s become especially difficult to figure out what Forgotten Tomb will sound like from album to album, and it sounds like more surprises will be in store on their newest one, We Owe You Nothing. But based on the first single, it sounds like it will be a very nice surprise.
That single, which is the title track, comes packaged in a lyric video that includes an absolutely amazing montage of gory clips from horror movies — intermixed with photos of real-life horrors, i.e., serial killers. And the lyrics seem to be the imagined words of a serial killer, which simply add to the disturbing nature of the visuals. Perhaps needless to say, this is NSFW in most workplaces.
I might as well just announce right now that “We Owe You Nothing” will be on my list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. The pounding central riff is heavier than a very heavy thing; the squalling guitar solos and ringing,, dissonant leads are highly seductive as well as unsettling; the vocals are as maniacally deranged and psychotically murderous as the lyrics. Not surprisingly, doom hangs over the music, but this song is heavier and more death-metal oriented than I had been expecting. Bravo!
We Owe You Nothing will be released by Agonia Records on October 27th in Europe and November 10th in North America.
Yesterday CVLT Nation premiered another song from To Venomous Depths, the new album by Atlanta’s Cloak. It has only strengthened my own eagerness to hear the whole album, and based on the group’s previous EP and a previous single (“Beyond the Veil“) that I included in a previous round-up, I was already as eager as a dog dry-humping a warm leg. (Okay, yeah, I need to work on my metaphors).
“To Venomous Depths/Where No Light Shines” continues to display Cloak’s ability to mix and morph genres in highly successful ways, drawing upon both venerable classic metal stylings and occult flavors of rock (along with wellsprings of vocal bestiality) to produce a song that will get your head moving and sink its sinister melodies into it as well. (Standout drum and bass work here, too — they ensure that sitting still will not be an option.)
To Venomous Depths will be released on November 10 by Season of Mist. Cloak has also got an East Coast tour scheduled for November; I’ve included the dates after the links.
Nov. 18 Atlanta, GA @ The EARL – album release show
Nov. 25 Raleigh, NC @ Slims
Nov. 26 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ JUCIFER
Nov. 27 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Nov. 28 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Nov. 29 Asheville, NC @ Odditorium (w/ ALL HELL)
Just days ago I frothed at the mouth over the latest releases by the prolific one-man UK black metal project Stroda. What I didn’t realize then, but have since discovered, is that Stroda is only one of its creator’s endeavors. There is another one named Plague Cross.
Unlike Stroda, there is a Plague Cross song on Bandcamp. Entitled “On the Judgement of the Sun“, it was released on September 4. It does sound like a plague, so dismal and pestilential is its melodic core. It flares like a fever, and drifts like phantasms rising from a mass grave. It rampages and it stomps, it swings and it jabs. It gets its hooks under the skin. And it leaves me wanting to search for more Plague Cross.
Don’t be left standing at the station, gazing forlornly into the distance. Get on board this train now and spread the word. While you’re at it, get on board the Stroda train too (yes, you can be in two places at once).
This next item was a truly impulsive choice. Before I had even finished my first cup of coffee this morning, I came across a very recent e-mail from Berlin-based Lares in our over-stuffed in-box. In fact, it was the most recent one sitting there when I fired up the mail reader. Their message said, “This music is for people who like dark doomy and sludgy riffs with a touch of black metal covered in clouds of psychedelics!” Since I am one such person, I decided to check out their debut EP Mask of Discomfort (released May 17, and featuring excellent cover art by Daniel Danis and Ted Titus).
The EP is 35 minutes long, which puts it in album-length territory, but Lares calls it an EP and so I will, too. Because it’s 35 minutes long, I haven’t even made it all the way through Mask of Discomfort. But I want to mention it anyway, because the odds are that I won’t have time to write about the whole thing later.
The first song set to play on the Bandcamp player is the closing track, “Witness of Lares“, which is what quickly convinced me that I needed to find a place for Lares in this round-up. The syncopated drum rhythm and the massive grinding bass line that open the song set the hook, and the titanic riffage, scalding howls, and trippy guitar emanations that follow just reel the listener in… or rather, pull you along on this big juggernaut for a hellish road trip, with a slower detour that’s both staggeringly crushing and nightmarishly hallucinatory — and the song proves to be melodically memorable, too. Outstanding!
BILLY BOY IN POISON
I do like this final song, but to be honest, the main reason I’m including it here is because of the combination of the music and the extraordinary video that accompanies it.
There’s undoubtedly a story behind this Danish band’s choice of a name for themselves, Billy Boy In Poison, but I don’t know what it is. It certainly leaves you guessing about what brand of metal they churn out, and based on this song — “Iron Grip” — one could say it’s a brand of modern death metal.
The song comes from the band’s second album, Invoker. It skitters and jolts, batters and bruises, pounds and seethes, with a vocal tandem of roars and shrieks expressing the lyrics, and with a depressive melodic interlude that provides a haunting contrast.
And based upon the lyrics (which are quite good and which can be read accompanying the video’s description here), the “Iron Grip” of the song’s title refers to self-destructive behavior, the kind that tears a person apart.
There are two Anastasia’s featured in this video. Alhough Anastasia Kirikova’s face is never seen, you do see her hands at work on the face you do see, which reveals the beauty and expressiveness of Anastasia Bezrukova. I’ve learned that the latter Anastasia was a famous Russian child model, though she is obviously now no longer a mere child.
The video was filmed and directed by Danil Golovkin, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Invoker will be released on November 11. For further details about the release, watch this space: