I stared at my long list of recent black metal releases that I found appealing. My eyes drifted further down the list to all the releases and advance tracks from weeks past that I had wanted to say something about, but hadn’t. That daunted feeling that crept into my head like a bad old friend, it locked up my brain. To unlock it, I tried to allow instinct to take over, and speared these five names based on the thought that the flow of the music would provide some interesting twists and turns as you move through them.
Upon encountering this one-man French band’s second EP, Sun, last year, I tried to sum up my reaction in these words: “Onirism isn’t the first band to combine utterly enthralling and transcendently beautiful sounds with the kind of savagery that makes you want to hide under your bed, but holy hell, they do it well.”
Later in the year I revisited Onirism through our premiere of a track from the band’s split with Pure Wrath, and left enthralled again.
Moving to a different part of our solar system, Onirism now has a new album entitled Falling Moon coming out through Naturmacht Productions on March 30. The one song revealed so far is “See the End of the Worlds“. A mainly mid-paced and sorcerous song, its gleaming keyboard and guitar melodies do seem to channel a kind of lunar mysticism. Yet the song is also home to some powerful (and hook-laden) riffs and beautifully nuanced soloing, as well as blasts of ripping aggression and shrouds of ominous gloom. The use of gothic clean vocals along with the scathing snarls effectively augments the song’s changing moods.
(Thanks to our reader HGD for reminding me to check out this song.)
The study of the mystical Greek goddess Hecate has produced fascinating but widely varying results concerning her origins, her aims, associations, and powers, and even the ways in which she was represented in ancient Greek artwork. But because one of those representations was as a three-formed figure thought to be connected with the appearance of the full moon, half moon, and new moon, I thought it made a bit of sense to follow the lunar music of Onirism with the music of this band from Tours, France, that bears her name.
Hecate’s new album is Une voix venue d’ailleurs (“a voice coming from elsewhere”), and it was released on January 2nd. I’m afraid I haven’t spent enough time with the album to give it a decent review, but certainly enough time to give it a strong recommendation. I’ve chosen only one track for this post, in the hope that it will entice you to explore further.
“Une Charogne” (“a rotting carcass”) appears in the middle of the album, and the rocking riff and hard-pounding drum rhythm that open the song provide an enormous, attention-grabbing start. The song races and ravages in a blazing fury as well, and it also regularly puts a pneumatic jolt into the listener’s spine, but that main riff and the compulsive bass-and-drum rhythms that go with it really are solid-gold slayers.
Please do explore the rest of this album. It includes many more facets than you might guess at from “Une Charogne” alone, some of which you’ll discover immediately at the start of the very first track.
(Thanks to NCS commenter Speelie and to Miloš for recommending this album.)
Igne Natura Renovatur Integra is the new album by the Polish black metal band Misanthropic Rage, and it’s scheduled for release by Godz Ov War on March 12th. It follows the band’s debut full-length, Gates No Longer Shut, which appeared in 2016. The album’s first single, “The Hammer and the Nails“, is what I chose as this collection’s next track.
Misanthropic Rage have attracted the “avant-garde black metal” label, but just put aside any reactions you might have to that nomenclature and allow yourself to be drawn into the song’s labyrinthine passages. Along some pathways its somewhat off-kilter rhythms are titanic (and brutal). Along others, a spectral melody soars above enormous jackhammering riffage. The band will thrash you raw, pound your head with skull-cracking force, and open your eyes with white-hot soloing. Livid cries echo from the walls around some corners, while bestial growls come right for your throat around others.
All these twists and turns make for a very charismatic experience, one that still keeps me on the edge of my seat even after listening to it multiple times.
The album will be released by Godz Ov War in both jewel-case and slipcase CD editions. A digital download will be available on Bandcamp on the release date. The arresting cover art was created by Maciej Kamuda.
I’ve already included the music of two French black metal bands in today’s column, and here’s a third. What you’ll find next are two songs released so far from Goétie Funeste, the fourth album by Ende, which will be released by Obscure Abhorrence Productions (CD) and Dread Records (tape) on March 10th.
These two tracks, “Crawling in Winter” and “In Bones“, display the band’s keen grasp of dynamic movement, and their skill at infiltrating seductive (albeit sinister or funereal) melodies within music that often exudes pestilence and hate. It’s a great blend of blood-freezing gloom, rampant barbarism, and exultant triumphalism — which is to say that the music is as heavy as a granite crypt and as vicious as attacking wolves, but it also soars. (Plenty of punchy grooves in these songs, too.)
(Thanks again to HGD for reminding me to check out these tracks.)
I’ve left Kostnatění’s new EP for last, but not because it’s the least of the creations I’ve collected here. To the contrary, Konec je všude is an enormous and very welcome surprise. It marks yet another fascinating choice by Fallen Empire Records, who released it on February 19th.
The word “kaleidoscopic” is usually what springs to mind first when I hear music as multi-faceted as this, and that’s one of the adjectives that leaped into my head when listening to the music of this one-man band from the Czech Republic. The dissonant, rapidly writhing leads are somehow both lunatic and enthralling; the slower, more fluid and serpentine movements are equally beguiling; the soloing is as bright and eye-popping as a fireworks display; the tempos are in constant flux; the vocals are terroristic.
A musician acquaintance to whom I recommended the EP commented, “Some of this has a weird retro thrash guitar tone like a cross between ’80s Voivod and Kreator.” And yes, that’s a fair point, too. Other descriptive points could also be made about this “convoluted and labyrinthian” debut (to quote Fallen Empire), but maybe it’s best just to say that you should give every song your full attention. Surprises lurk around every bend.