(Like the good cowboy he is, DGR has stepped forward to handle round-up duty today.)
We at NCS are big fans of posts full of genre whiplash, and this roundup of things that caught our eyes and ears last week will likely be one of those. We try to always keep our giant fish net of news-and-music catching open for stuff to fall in and we like to clean it out whenever we get the chance, even though you would’ve figured that last week things should have slowed down just a bit…you would think.
However, just because it’s close to the end of the year and time for everyone to begin writing up summaries of their favorite albums of 2017, and just because our editor managed to escape from the loris horde encircling the NCS compound for a vacation, does not mean heavy metal got the hint and decided to slow down for a bit. We did here in our little comfortable corner of the ‘net, but that doesn’t mean everyone did. And so we go outside to clean off the radar dish and see what landed in the net over the past week.
Afgrund – Royalty Of Crust
Let’s begin with grind monsters Afgrund, a longtime personal favorite who right now find themselves in a situation that currently sees two different lineups of Afgrund laying claim to the name, with all of the attendant drama.
The version of Afgrund we’re posting about here, formed out of founding members Pat and Andy as well as longtime drummer Panu, are grearing up to release a new album entitled The Dystopian, which will be due out January 5th, 2018.
So far, the band have put out two songs from said upcoming full-length, “Archiac Plague” and the newly released “Royalty of Crust“, for a grand total of three minutes of music between them. We’ll even include both here just to make sure your faces are suitably seared off by the time those three minutes wrap up.
Afgrund like their songs high-speed and blast-filled, and “Royalty Of Crust” is no different, consisting of a hefty blast section charging into a pit-riff before wrapping things up. “Archaic Plague” is a little bit more bringers-of-the-apocalypse on the music front, and the minute-fifty of that song is the more abrasive of the two.
It’s good to see the Afgrund crew back at it, though, as the group have some excellent albums under their belt and The Dystopian is seeming like it will only add to that collection.
Alterbeast – Apex Night Eclipse
Last week saw the premiere of local Sacramento high-speed tech-death crew Alterbeast’s first single, “Apex Night Eclipse“, from their upcoming album, Feast, over at MetalSucks. “Apex Night Eclipse” has actually been something of a longtime live staple for the Alterbeast crew at this point, having popped up in the group’s setlist over the past year or so of live performing as the group have been able to hit the road with increasing frequency.
Feast is due out February 23rd via Unique Leader, close to four years — a little under three weeks short of four years, to be precise — since the band’s debut album Immortal, and it features a much different lineup, amongst them new vocalist Michael Alvarez of Flub. The band have also been sure to highlight the fact that current Trivium drummer Alex Bent recorded the drumwork for Feast, and it makes sense that he would slot perfectly into the annihilator-of-drumkit position of a tech-death band, given his history with groups like Brain Drill and Arkaik.
Feast has got a pretty tall task ahead of it as the followup to its hyperspeed predecessor, Immortal, but February 23rd will likely sneak up on us a hell of a lot faster than we think, and we’ll be sure to know more by then.
Shining – Svart Ostoppbar Eld
While we’re keeping with the themes of genre whiplash, how about we go for another neck-snapping turn from the shiny and polished world of tech-death to the much more raw and miserable land of black metal with Shining, whose release date for the six-song album X – Varg utan flock draws closer and closer.
Last week saw them release the album’s seven-minute opening song, “Svart ostoppbar eld“, upon the world. The band have been unleashing other songs from X, but “Svart…” as the opener does an excellent job of bringing the speed up a notch. Minus vocalst Niklas Kvarfoth’s trademark miserably harsh wails, the opening bit of “Svart…” has a really strong opening headbanger of a guitar and drum gallop within it.
X – Varg utan flock is a little under a month away from us now, bearing a release date of January 5th 2018, a perfect release to make sure that the opening part of your new year is as bitter and miserable as can be.
Hellish God – Tagimron Is Summoned
Continuing down the genre-whiplash path we go from the raw black metal misery of Shining to something a little more chugging death metal, because we tend to specialize in that round these here parts.
Sometimes you see a song and know almost immediately before hearing it that the people inhabiting your site will probably love it. Italy’s Hellish God are a newer face to NCS and a somewhat new band (as of 2015, but you know how album releases can make a band seem like they’ve only existed since yesterday), with only an EP titled Impure Spiritual Forces to their name. They are putting the final touches on their debut album, The Evil Emanations, which will come at us via Everlasting Spew Records. The Evil Emanations will be joining the a handful of the bands in this post with a January 8th release date.
Last week the band released the song “Tagimron Is Summoned“, a suitably hellish blend of fire and brutal death packed into four minutes. “Tagimron” features some pretty heavy old-school death grooves as the main chunk of the song, but is also more than happy to wipe that slate clean with a wall of high shrieks and blasts, particularly the set that takes place a little bit after a minute-twenty into the song.
Hellish God had previously released a song entitled “Anti-Cosmic Decree” upon the world back in November as well, if “Tagimron” isn’t enough to give you a sense of what The Evil Emanations will be about.
Harakiri For The Sky – You Are The Scars
Among the list of sentences it never occurred to me would look bizzare until I wrote them, Billboard premiered the new Harakiri For The Sky song “You Are The Scars” from the band’s upcoming mid-February release, Arson.
“You Are The Scars” contains a lot of the hallmarks of a Harakiri For The Sky song, including a little over ten-minute runtime, and like its immediate predecessor single “Tomb Omnia“, the new single suggests that the group’s latest release will be a hybrid sound of their more melodic direction from 2016’s III: Trauma and the miserable, lightly melodeath infused post-black metal inspired flavor of 2014 release Aokigahara. Considering that Arson’s track-listing includes a song entitled “Heroin Waltz”, we can rest assured it’s not going to be the most cheerful of their releases so far.
The group’s lyric video for “You Are The Scars” keeps the running themes of the band’s lyric videos going, among them that the lyrics are actually being handwritten as they appear within the song — which must take forever to film and edit together. “You Are The Scars” as a song, however, is gorgeous, including multiple segments in which that opening melody finds a way to worm itself back into the song. Harakiri For The Sky even break out the wall of drums for the final, closing bit of the song, sending “You Are The Scars” out in one final conflagration to wrap things up.
Long Distance Calling – Out There
Here’s a group we haven’t touched base with in a long time. Long Distance Calling are now back to an instrumental four-piece band for their new album due out in early February entitled Boundless.
Whilst I am a self-avowed fan of the group, we haven’t had too many chances to cover the Long Distance Calling crew, and last Friday gave us an excellent opportunity as the group dropped a beautifully shot video for the song “Out There“, which has the band hiking through the Dolomites for some absolutely gorgeous scenery-porn amidst a sound backdrop of instrumental prog-rock that is something of a return to the band’s earlier form.
It’s a more peaceful song than the colleciton of depression, anger, nihilism, and crushing destruction the previous batch of music contained, and I figured it’d be a perfect fit for a post in which we have tried to fling the reader back and forth from one slice of heavy metal to the next. To end on Long Distance Calling felt like the stars aligning, especially with that bass-guitar-heavy opening bit.
Boundless is due out February 2nd, 2018.