SEEN AND HEARD: MOURNFUL CONGREGATION, HEADS FOR THE DEAD, NATTRAVNEN, GREBER
I had originally planned to get a SHADES OF BLACK post ready for today since I couldn’t do it on Sunday (or yesterday), and I might still finish it before I turn into a pumpkin today. But instead I decided to begin this Tuesday with a collection of other things I spotted over the last 24 hours in the midst of the flood of new metal that’s been rushing out on a daily basis since the first of the year.
More than six years after their last album and almost four years after their last EP, Australia’s Mournful Congregation will release a new album named The Incubus Of Karma through 20 Buck Spin on March 23rd. This morning those details were revealed along with the album art — and the album’s first single, “Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment“.
The overworked word “crushing” doesn’t begin to describe the titanic power of Mournful Congregation. This new song is almost 15 minutes long, It lumbers like an earth-shaking goliath, one that moans in the throes of bereavement, roars its anguish, and shrieks in the pain of its impending death.
Funeral doom/death doesn’t get heavier than this, and it’s rarely more beguiling. The vocals are as staggering as the immense plodding rhythm, while the stricken dual-guitar melodies cast a long, deep spell.
(Thanks to Grant Skelton for being the first person to tell me about this new song.)
HEADS FOR THE DEAD
Eventually, Jonny Pettersson will be a member of every band, just as soon as he learns to do without sleep completely. Until then, he will be a member of every other band.
Yesterday Transcending Obscurity Records released a massive 36-track label sampler as a “name your own price” download at Bandcamp. It includes wonderful cover art by Misanthropic Art and it’s divided among four genre groups — death metal, black metal, doom, and experimental metal. It includes many track premieres, and the lead-off song on the sampler is one of those. It’s the title track to Serpent’s Curse, which is the debut album of Heads For the Dead — of which Jonny Pettersson is a member.
In this new group he performs all the instruments other than drums (which were performed by session member E. Bevenrud (Stass, Down Among the Dead Men)), with vocals provided by Ralf Hauber of Revel In Flesh. The album also includes guest guitar solos by Matt Moliti (Sentient Horror) and Håkan Stuvemark (Wombbath).
“Serpent’s Curse” (the song) seizes attention immediately through the sound of deep, blaring horns and staggering drum detonations, and the impact remains just as overpowering as the band begin to rush like an unstoppable juggernaut. The riffs are immense and ravaging; the rhythm work is spine-shaking; the doom-laden melodies (tinged with an air of exoticism and grim majesty) are penetrating; and the vocals are monstrously good.
The Transcending Obscurity sampler includes the premiere of a song by yet another band in which Jonny Pettersson is the composer and sole instrumentalist — Nattravnen. Perhaps the name will ring a bell, because I wrote about the project back in September 2016 when it first surfaced with music. In addition to Jonny Pettersson, Nattravnen includes famed vocalist Kam Lee (ex-Massacre, ex-Bone Gnawer, ex-Death, The Grotesquery, etc.).
The debut Nattravnen album is a concept record with lyrics based upon a “Gothic horror fairy tale” written by Kam Lee, which you can read here. The Nattravnen song from the album that appears on the T.O. sampler is “Suicidium, the Seductress of Death“.
Like that Heads For the Dead song, this new one by Nattravnen strikes with shuddering power. The jarring riffs and booming drum rhythms are skull-rattling, and when the blast-beats start and the riffing turns cyclonic, the music becomes a maelstrom of destruction. Kam Lee’s voice is as immense as a very immense thing, and the song’s melodic ingredients are frighteningly ominous, while also creating an atmosphere of fearsome grandeur.
P.S. There is actually a third band featured on the Transcending Obscurity sampler that includes Jonny Pettersson — and that band is Henry Kane. And I would have written about the new Henry Kane song, too, except I thought I ought to devote attention to one of the few remaining bands that doesn’t include Jonny Pettersson in the line-up. 🙂
The final track in this little Tuesday collection is “Backhanded Interest” (which premiered earlier this month at DECIBEL) and I do feel like it backhanded me across the mouth, and then punched me in the kidneys while hammering my skull with a tire iron.
The song is by a duo from Cambridge, Ontario, named Greber, the two men being Marc Bourgon (bass/vocals, ex-Fuck the Facts) and Steve Vargas (drums/vocals, The Great Sabatini). And yes, you read that correctly, there are no guitars on the song, or on the album that includes it, the name of which is Cemetery Preston.
“Obliterating” is the word that comes to mind first in reflecting on this massive marauder. The vocals are raw and unhinged; the bass riffs are hard and heavy enough to reduce tall building to tiny piles of smoking gravel; and the tumbling, battering, bone-smashing qualitis of the changing drum rhythms are seriously attention-grabbing. There’s doom and blood-thirsty violence and a healthy dose of head-nodding compulsiveness in this genre-bending song, and I’m now slobbering to hear more from Greber.
Cemetery Preston will be released on February 2nd through Ancient Temple Recordings (vinyl), Hibernation (cassette), and Pink Lemonade Records (CD). It’s also available for pre-order on Bandcamp. The excellent cover art is by Yannis Panos.
Already pre-ordered the new Mournful Congregation. S’gon’ be big!
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