SEEN AND HEARD: CRYPTIC FOG, RITUAL NECROMANCY, FRONTIERER, KAVYK, DOGZILLA
I realize this is the third day in a row when I’ve compiled a round-up of new music. Some of you who don’t check in with us over the weekends are going to find a truckload of new tracks that have appeared since the end of the day Friday. Moderation, however, has never been our thing. I guess you could say we’re extreme in more ways than the music we tend to prefer.
It also gives me ghoulish pleasure to say that we’re not pausing after this: Three track premieres will be following this round-up today. And there will be another round-up tomorrow (which will be my effort to complete the SHADES OF BLACK collection that I began yesterday but couldn’t finish due to a vicious hangover).
To begin, I have a nearly 12-minute song from the debut album of Cryptic Fog, which at the time of this recording was a two-man operation consisting of guitarist/bassist Dave Bennett and drummer/vocalist Dan Klein. The name of the album is Staring Through the Veil, and the Swedish label Blood Harvest will release it on October 27.
“Cleansed By the Black Flame of Absolution” is nearly relentless in its headlong, turbocharged rush, but it’s amazingly catchy for such a long and head-spinning piece of death metal. Warlike and intense, jolting and swirling, loaded with blast-beats and fusillades of double-bass, it also includes bursts of crazed, dissonant melody, blazing chords, and lots of frenzied fretwork. The vocals are almost as kaleidoscopic as the music, a mix of monstrous, reverberating growls, horrific roars, and inflamed clean vocals, which are gritty and also soaring.
“Cleansed By the Black Flame of Absolution” is an imaginative composition that’s a thrill to hear, and one that I think will stay with you, too.
At the end of last week Dark Descent Records gave us a video for another track from Disinterred Horror, the forthcoming second album by Ritual Necromancy of Portland, Oregon.
“Command the Sigil” is a black/death barrage that’s so blood-freezing in its atmosphere and so staggering in its frenzied ferocity that it takes your breath away. Warped, blaring arpeggios, squealing pick-slides, and white-hot bursts of demented soloing explode through storms of thundering double-bass and gales of savage, grinding, and jabbing riffs. Cavernous, vicious growls and toxic yowls further feed the music’s utterly bleak and barbaric aura.
You can hyperventilate before listening, or after. But either way, you’ll need the extra oxygen.
Another track named “Discarnate Machination” was included in Dark Descent’s New Release Sampler in July, and I’ve included that stream below, along with the new track, which debuted at DECIBEL. The album is expected in early 2018.
Roughly 10 months ago in another of these round-ups I wrote about an electrifying video that depicted the performance of the Scottish band Frontierer at the UK Tech Metal Fest, held in England on July 7-11, 2016. And now the band have released another video that includes performance footage.
This video is for the song “Bleak” from their 2015 album Orange Mathematics. It’s a well-named song, because it really is black-hearted and bone-bruising — an amalgam of completely wild, jugular-rupturing vocal vehemence, skull-splintering grooves, weird buzzing and shrieking guitar freak-outs, and bursts of brute-force jackhammering. It builds to a climax of near-catastrophic intensity.
The black-and-white video is really fucking intense as well. It mixes film of the band’s recent live performances in various venues around Europe with flashes of other imagery — and the whole video flashes and strobes in a way that epileptics should avoid. But I think it’s a perfect match for the music. Credit to Mitchell Gillies for editing and producing it.
Frontierer are working toward the release of another album in 2018. Something to look forward to.
Back in 2015 we premiered a track from the debut demo by a band from Hammond, Louisiana, named Kavyk, and just days ago the band released a lyric video for a song called “Everything Wilts” from their upcoming split with Cosmic Behemoth (which includes members of Haunter).
This is a nightmarish track, unsettling on multiple levels. It combines elements of black metal, progressive metal, and atmospheric doom. It’s dissonant, grim, and sludgy, and it’s strange, mercurial, and ominous. There’s an active, bubbling bass in the song, and drum rhythms that are unpredictable. The guitar grinding and bludgeoning rhythms are very heavy, and the vocal rasps and howls are mind-scarring.
And there’s also a shimmering melody that’s haunting, to the point of stiffening the hairs on the back of your neck. It’s a sorcerous bit of sinister spellcasting in a song that ratchets the tension, and relieves it only with visions of stalking shadows.
The final song in this collection is from the debut album by a band from Tarnów, Poland, who have chosen to call themselves Dogzilla. The album’s name is Astral Worship, and it will be released on September 30. The track below is the album’s opening song, “Sun“.
This is recognizably a sludgy form of stoner metal, but it’s also unusual and relentlessly surprising. You’ll figure that out quickly from the extended, mind-warping introduction to this long track. I don’t know what kind of distortion and effects pedals they used to create the guitar sound in the opening minute, but it’s weird as hell.
After that sound begins the process of scrambling your brain, the band proceed to throw listeners even more off-balance by changing tempos without warning. They do lock into a groove with a catchy riff, but that doesn’t last long. You don’t hear a voice until two-and-a-half minutes in, a gritty clean voice.
The tempo continues to change. The song crawls and moans and slithers like a python, with the vocalist wailing intensely over the psychoactive fog the band pump into your lungs as they pull you down, staggering, into a muddy, maggot-infested swamp. Doom and oppression are the order of the day.
But then things change again at about 7:30 — and the song becomes a shrieking, mauling, jackhammering juggernaut (though it still alternately lumbers like a golem), with an exotic solo that sounds like an opium dream and a flurry of alien dual-guitar freakishness that paves the way for an eerie kind of astral projection at the end.
The Kavyk track is killer. That artwork is f*ing amazing. Thanks for the heads-up.
Some of Cryptic Fog’s guitar work reminds me a lot of Thy Darkened Shade (in a good way)