I hope everyone had a good Christmas Day, even if the day itself is nothing special to you. As you may have seen, NCS was alive and kicking despite the holiday, with three premieres yesterday. And we’ll continue to kick for the rest of the week with a rollout of more year-end lists by NCS contributors and invited guests, plus assorted other posts.
I wasn’t able to get a SHADES OF BLACK post done for Sunday, but it’s coming soon… and may be a two-parter, because there’s a lot I want to write about. But to start the six days that remain before New Year’s Eve, I selected three recent songs and one new EP that sound like the antithesis of peace on earth, good will toward men, because I can only take so many demonstrably impotent platitudes of that nature before I have to dose myself with flesh-eating music.
The consumption of flesh commences with a track from Catacombs, the new third album by the German harbingers of total death in Atomwinter. The album will be released by Trollzorn on February 9 (digital, CD, and gatefold LP). And isn’t that a hellishly fantastic album cover?
“Necromancer” is the name of the track. You can feel it eating your flesh from the first second. Famished, savage, and slavering at first, it transforms into a black hole of morbid death-doom, and then proceeds to move back and forth between those two states of malignant grisliness while also giving your neck a good work-out with heavy doses of punishing groove.
If you’re hungry for a lethal dose of old school death in the vein of such bands as Asphyx and Bolt Thrower, prepare to slobber all over yourself because you’ve come to the right place.
For more release info, check the links below.
3. Dark Messiah
4. Sadistic Intent
5. Ancient Rites
6. Gathering of the Undead
7. Carved in Stone
9. Morbid Lies
10. Funeral of Flesh
Finland is home to a new band named Limos, who wrote to us recently about their first single, “Encompass the Spirit“. I fell for it hard right from the first listen. Although the lyrics are about more personal and universal subjects than the legendary glories of mythic northland warriors, something about the highly attractive melody (which to my ears has a pagan/folk resonance) puts me in mind of such sagas.
The song gets the blood rushing hard with battering drumwork and big booming riffs, and the tone of the lead guitar comes very close to the skirl of bagpipes. Another great strength of the song is in the vocal department, where you’ll hear the kind of savage, emotionally evocative growls that might bring Johan Hegg to mind.
A very good introduction to Limos, and let’s hope for more soon. “Encompass the Spirit” is a pay-what-you-want download at Bandcamp.
In August of this year we called attention to the first two demo tracks recorded by a new melodic black/death band named Rex Demonus, and were also able to reveal their line-up, which is impressive.
Rex Demonus is a project begun by Swedish composer and guitarist Håkan Stuvemark, the driving force behind the mighty Wombbath and also a member of Skineater and Pale King (he was also a member of In Thy Dreams, which split up after releasing two albums in 1999 and 2001). The recording line-up of Rex Demonus further includes drummer Jon Skäre (Wachenfeldt, and also a performer on Skineater’s latest EP) and vocalist Leon Low from the Malaysian band Nonserviam, with a guest vocal appearance by Håkan’s frequent bandmate Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Skineater, Pale King, etc.) and guitar solos by Nonserviam’s Vinoth Krm.
Rex Demonus have now revealed a third demo track, which is named “Damnatio“. The song is in attack mode right from the start, thanks to the utter viciousness of the vocals and the high-speed percussive blasting. But the grim riffs are immense, panoramic, and majestic, and the leads are scintillating. There’s an unexpected interlude lurking within the song as well, and a gloriously heroic finale to reward you at the end.
I have to assume that a full Rex Demonus album is headed our way in 2018 (fingers crossed), but for now, “Damnatio” and the two previously released demo tracks are all now available together at Bandcamp under the title Tenetur et Relicta.
A fragment of the lyrics to the last song on this next EP stuck with me as I began contemplating what to write about the music:
the judgement is upon me
the gravitational pull
casts me on the red floor
of the nest of nightmare
Those words stuck with me, because they capture the impact of the music itself. Fangs is indeed a nightmarish experience, with an inescapable gravitational force. It’s very unsettling, but also surprising in a way that such black/death explorations of violence and horror rarely are, because it is also often entrancing.
Fangs is the debut release of an Italian project named Husk, which seems to be the work of a solo artist named Summoner. According to the Bandcamp page, he “started the project in mid 2017 to perform raw and deep black metal with minimal atmospheres”. However, I think there is a significant atmospheric component to the music.
To be sure, Summoner’s noxious voice, which emits an array of bestial growls and splintering howls, together with the corrosive guitar tone, gives the music a raw effect — and it also delivers immense, supercharged, spleen-rupturing punishment. But these qualities are coupled with an unholy atmosphere of hopelessness and terror.
The dismal, moaning melodies are insidious as well as doomed; and there are ringing, squalling, wraithlike melodies in a spectral tone, sometimes laced with dissonance, within these songs — as well as moments of sorrowful beauty (especially in the instrumental that ends “Black Altar”).
It’s all frightening, but keeps you on pins and needles, as if you’ve entered a supernatural realm in which red eyes and gleaming teeth can be seen in the shroud of perpetual night.
Some smart label should snatch this up and give it a physical re-issue.
UPDATE: Lo and behold, a smart label is already preparing a physical edition of Fangs. UK-based Death Kvlt Productions is accepting pre-orders for a limited-edition cassette tape release that will include a fourth bonus track exclusive to the tape. It will be released on February 5. Pre-order below.
Death Kvlt Bandcamp: