I’m approaching this Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK post in a different way. As usual, I have a long list of new music I’d like to recommend to you this week, but as I begin writing this morning, I haven’t decided in advance which items from the list I’ll feature here, and that’s not usual.
I’m still in Texas, where I’ve been since Friday, but I’m flying home later today and am meeting up with some friends in advance of that, and I don’t know how far I’ll be able to go with this post before I have to stop. So, I’m going to put together the artwork, the music streams and links, and a few words for each selection before moving to the next one, and when I have to stop, I’ll stop.
In this Swedish band’s last album, 2015’s Rites of Nullification, my colleague Andy Synn saw the flowering of a band whose previous releases hadn’t really stood out to him. He wrote (here):
“Though the riffs are indeed sharper and more incisive than ever, the melodies bleaker and more evocative, the vocals more powerful and caustic in their venomous exhortations, what really sets the album apart from its predecessors is the sense of life and vitality that shines through on every single track, a palpable sense of pitch-black devotion that runs all the way down to the marrow.”
And yet Andy also wrote that “there remains a looming sensation of more still to come from the band, of greater potential lurking just beneath the surface that has only just begun to rear its head.”
We are about to find out whether the band have achieved that further potential. They are at work on a fourth album, but have just released the stream of a single from the album called “The Third Woe“, and it comes in the form of a beautifully infernal video made made by Carl Eek Torgersen.
The pitch-black devotion of which Andy wrote in the context of the last album is fully manifest in this new track, which is reverential, grandiose, and fearsome in its conjuring of majestic and sinister power. You might also find yourself humming its principal melodic theme long after the song ends.
The artwork for “The Third Woe“, which is visible in the video, as well as the art I’ve included above, was created by Jose Gabriel Alegría Sabogal. The single will be released as a 7″ vinyl in December by Shadow Records. Further info about the release of the single, and the album, will be forthcoming. Look for it here:
BLOOD OF THE MOON
The next song in this collection is “Devourer of the Flesh” by a New Zealand black metal band named Blood of the Moon. It will appear on a forthcoming 7″ EP called Night Devourer, and was just recently put up on YouTube, although I later discovered that it was originally released as a digital single in September 2015. It is also part of a 2017 sampler released on CD by Black Chaos Productions that includes tracks by 8 more extreme metal bands from the Antipodes.
The opening riff of the song is venomous and reptilian, the vocals an echoing roar, the drumming a pneumatic hammering. Soon after the voice changes to an incinerating shriek and the drummer really steps on the gas, a beautifully, sorrowful melody surfaces and flows slowly and grievously through the torrent of savagery around it. That melody is what nailed me to this song, although the sequence of changes that come after it (including more changes in the vocal expressions) tighten the song’s already iron grip around the throat.
Soli Contro il Mondo (“alone standing against the world”) is the second album by the black metal band Nova from Veneto, Italy. It was preceded by a debut full-length in 2014 named Il ritorno (“the return”). The new album will be released on December 18 by ATMF.
On the Bandcamp page for the album, you will find streams of two songs (so far), both embedded below: the opener “Guerra per il Firmamento” and “Contro il Drago e il Toro“. I was thoroughly captivated by both of them. The drumwork is riveting, the vocals are inflamed by raw passion, and the sweeping, panoramic riffs create a sense of sublime melancholy grandeur.
“Guerra per il Firmamento” very effectively interweaves and elaborates upon a folk-like melody in the midst of powerful storms of black metal ferocity. “Contro il Drago e il Toro” is more ripping and rocking, but no less dramatic, majestic, or sorrowing in its atmosphere. Both tracks are tremendously good.
RÛR is a Norwegian one-man band whose debut, self-titled EP was released via Bandcamp on November 13.
The comments on Bandcamp include such descriptions and accolades as these: “Absolutely incredible atmospheric black metal”, “Amazing evocative and epic black metal”, “Cinematic and triumphant melodies entrenched with a sober and organic production — amazing”. I couldn’t agree more.
The music has an uncanny ability to lift you into the air and carry you away, soaring on the sweeping gales of its glorious dark melodies, while also shooting bolts of lightning straight into the spine. All three of the songs are long ones, and as you make your way through them, be prepared to become alternately blasted with wild, surging energies and left spellbound. A fantastic new discovery.
(As is often the case, I have starkweather to thank for recommending this EP.)