As I explained in Part 1 of today’s long column, this collection begins with three substantial works of atmospheric black metal largely devoted to “long-form” compositions, and then makes some sharp stylistic turns. The first item in this Part 2 is the third of those opening pieces and becomes a bridge to the veering course in the final trio.
Ecloss is a one-man project based in Paris. The Ecloss debut album, Diluvienne, was released on January 26 and consists of three long songs. The shortest of those, at about 9 minutes, is the opener “Mensonges De Profane“, which is what convinced me (without argument) to plunge into the even more substantial works that follow it.
Over a heavy rhythmic drive that alternately pumps like a pneumatic piston and pounds like a sledge, Ecloss cycles through riffs that abrade and gleam, eventually opening the door to a melody that simmers and soars, even though currents of melancholy are an integral part of the flow. A big clanging bass solo and a rocking drum beat provide a brief interlude before the music powers out into the cosmos again, and a dirgelike stomp provides a second break, leading into a spectral instrumental section, whose eerie, exotic melody swells into an uneasy yet entrancing wail when the rhythm section returns. Through much of this eye-opening trip, Ecloss shrieks the lyrics in a way that’s both vicious and tortured.
As mentioned, “Mensonges De Profane” seizes attention quite powerfully, and becomes an irresistible inducement to follow through into the more time-consuming second track, “De l’Encre En Souvenir“. Given the intensity of the opener, Ecloss makes a shrewd choice to begin this next piece in a way that’s somber and subdued… but that brooding simmer soon comes to an anguished boil. Slow, cascading melodies sweep across the song’s vaulted ceiling, pulling at the heartstrings as they go, while the rhythmic drive gallops and hammers. The music opens vistas both within and without, mixing introspective moodiness with breathtaking panoramas.
The song also includes a long softer passage made of crystalline guitar notes and subtle ambient shine, eventually joined by a big craggy bass and a measured drum pattern. It’s absolutely beautiful, a spell you hate to see broken, but Ecloss makes a seamless gradual transition into the resurgence of the music’s intensity, while also propagating the melodic spell forward at the same time.
One more long track is left — “L’Abattoir Des Comètes“. It employs the same musical strategies as you have by now come to recognize from the first two songs — the ebbing and flowing energies, and the blend of rushing physical drive and soaring, sweeping, mystical melody tinged in shades of sorrow. It has its own interlude as well, one that sets up a jolting, head-hammering rhythm and spins out first a darting, skittering riff and then a dark, mind-warping one around that foundation.
If you want to get completely lost in music, to become immersed in a master craftsman’s control over mood and imagination, you’ve come to the right place.
(Big thanks to DaNasher for pointing me to Ecloss.)
Okay, now it’s time for the first sharp turn that I promised, and you’d better make sure you’re sitting down and strapped in, preferably with a three-point harness.
The next song in this collection is “The Hunt“, which is one of five tracks on The Howl, The Whisper, The Hunt, a debut EP set for release on March 16th by the Vancouver, B.C. band SVNEATR. The Bandcamp page for the EP includes these words:
“We are systematically destroying our world. Without care, without remorse. The greed of our fellow man envelopes us in its dark cloud. We do unspeakable acts unknowingly, cogs in a wheel of “progress”. We turn our heads away and bury them in the sand because our lives are comfortable and safe. We hate so much and love so little.”
I have a powerful, lusting addiction to the first minute of “The Hunt“. It’s heavy-as-hell, with a drum and bass tone you can feel in the core of your spine, and with a lumbering, mid-paced cadence and a brooding, bruising riff that together make the music a guaranteed head-mover. Things change after that compelling start, becoming more eerie and then more brawling, the vocals coming in a high, rabid snarl.
But don’t worry, SVNEATR come back to that meaty opening section as a bridge, before the riffing begins to pulse and push over an absolutely electrifying drum-and-bass turn, and then things really go nuts. But the song ends as it began, making it very easy to just loop the track through your head again with an immediate re-play.
I’m suddenly very anxious to hear the rest of the album. The cover art, by the way, is an 1855 painting entitled “Wölfe reissen einen Hirsch” by Friedrich Gauermann.
MORMÂNT DE SNAGOV
Depths Below Space and Existence is the third album by the Finnish black metal band Mormânt De Snagov. It’s described by the issuing label, Pest Records, as “a boldly different Mormânt De Snagov than heard on previous outings”, with death metal and keyboards infused into the mix, as well as “hints of jazz music”.
What got me interested in the album was the song “Resist“, released through a music video, and later I also found the stream of a track called “Stories Untold“. “Resist” is a real live-wire rush, explosive and electrifying. There’s grim black thrash in the music and in the scalding fury of the vocals, but the song is also home to vivid, jabbing riffs and to a soaring, fluid melody that’s as catchy as the riffing. As the band move through these different parts of the song, it just becomes more and more addictive.
“Stories Untold” is an even more ambitious and frequently changing affair, one that includes deeper, more death-metal-like growls and barks as well as gothic clean vocals, along with those nasty banshee snarls. This one also includes an array of guitar solos, one swirling, another one that does sound jazzy, and a third long one that’s got a progressive flair. And the band create sharp contrasts, juxtaposing jolting power and soft, shining keyboard interludes. More in the vein of melodic death metal than black metal, it’s just as catchy as “Resist“.
Look for Depths Below Space and Existence on February 16.
You can probably tell by now that the course change within this post eventually led us toward faster and more ferocious music, but if that weren’t already obvious it will be now.
You might chuckle, or maybe roll your eyes, at the name of this Israeli band’s debut EP, which was released on January 26th: Black Fuck You Metal. And while the music does have a kind of fierce, feral, fuck-you energy, it’s more accomplished than you might guess from the album title.
In the main, what Svpremicist dish out is raw, ripping, take-no-prisoners black thrash. High-speed drumming, turbocharged riffing, and vicious, shrieking vocals provide the backbone of the music, and all of that is so electrifying and so infectious that I’d probably be happy as a clam if that’s all there were. But there’s more.
There’s “classic”, arena-ready heavy metal DNA in this genome, too, leading to changes in the rhythms and the riffing (and to eye-popping solos) that make you sit bolt-upright when they happen. And these really are true, well-structured songs, with variations in the pacing and the mood that make them even more interesting than if they’d just been balls-to-the-wall thrashing straight through.
So, whatever you might think of a title like Black Fuck You Metal, trust me when I tell you this baby is a gem. Now give it a listen while I go buy the thing… and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.