SEEN AND HEARD: ENGEL, LYCHGATE, SINIESTRO, ENDROT, EAGLE TWIN
I would have started this post with the new At the Gates song, but DGR is including that in a big round-up for Monday, and I don’t want to steal his thunder because I’m too interested in reading his take (I know he likes the song, as do I). But I am beginning with another melodeath band for whom I also have a soft spot, so it’s all good.
By the way, by the time you read this I’ll be in Iceland, with a bunch of friends from Seattle. The main object of the trip is the third and final edition of Oration Fest in Reykjavik this week, but because we have days on either side of that, I assume we’ll also explore the environs beyond the capital city.
Because of this metal-filled vacation, I think it’s likely that the volume of posts at our site will decline this coming week. I have agreed to write one (but only one) premiere each day, and my NCS comrades have some things in the works, plus I’ve learned not to underestimate the strength of my blog addiction. For example, unless jet lag completely short-circuits my own biological batteries, I do have some ideas for a SHADES OF BLACK post in the near future.
I actually posed the following query in the secret Facebook group populated by our longest-standing writers: “Are we too cult for Engel? I hope not, because this song is a really big earworm”. And the reactions I got were much the same as my own… soft spots for the band born of remembrances from years ago, and favorable impressions of this new song.
“The Condemned” is the name of the song, and it’s the first single off Engel’s fifth album, Abandon All Hope, which will be released by Gain Music Entertainment on May 11.
The afore-mention DGR said it reminded him a lot of “Six Feet Deep” from the Threnody album, and they do sound like siblings. Yeah, it’s kind of a metal pop song, and yeah there’s some cheese in this sandwich, but those guitar melodies are so damned catchy, and it’s got enough drive and aggressiveness that I don’t feel like a wimp listening to it. Plus it’s got a huge nostalgia factor working for it, at least for me.
After listening to the new Lychgate song I went back and read Todd Manning’s review of the band’s last album, An Antidote For the Glass Pill (which was Todd’s first appearance at NCS, writing under a pseudonym).
He expressed the feeling of “surprise and excitement” that came to him upon listening to the album, praised the way in which the prominent organ melodies integrated so well with the guitar and bass, and remarked upon the odd time signatures, the unusual drum patterns, and the interesting shifts between black metal and doom.
Each track, he explained, added “another layer of experimentation and intrigue,” resulting in a challenging album that gave the listener “the visceral satisfaction of the most straightforward acts while adding obscene amounts of cerebral stimulation, inspired by the most avant-garde sources, Metal or otherwise.”
And I’ve provided all those excerpts from Todd’s review, because it all applies to this new song, “Republic“, which is the first track on the band’s new album, The Contagion In Nine Steps. It will be released on March 30 by Blood Music.
That Lychgate track does have many aspects of cerebral fascination. This new Siniestro song does not. It just reaches down inside your pants and gets the procreative juices flowing. There’s no pretension to it, no sophistication, nothing to throw you off-balance. What’s that thing Mick Jagger used to yell? It’s only rock ‘n’ roll but I like it?
Siniestro like it too, but they like it really nasty, preferably with a lot of blood spray on the sheets and the walls. They call the music “arctic black thrash”, but there’s not the slightest thing frigid about this fiery hormonal surge of a song they called “Arctic Blood“. There is, however, a shitload of pig’s blood in the video — 100 gallons of it, we’re told.
Hope you have fun with this song and video (which premiered at DECIBEL last week)… I sure as hell did.
“Arctic Blood” is the title track from this Swedish band’s new EP, which was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren and which will be released by Black Lion Records in May. The video was made by Owe Lingvall.
You may be getting the sense that I had lots of fun listening to all the music in this post. Grimm and kvlt it may not be, but one can’t live on the flesh of cold dead children alone. Or at least I can’t. And since I was put into such a fun-loving mood with the preceding tracks (along with a bit of brain-scrambling by Lychgate), I decided to include this new EP by Endrot, to keep the flow going.
There was at least a possibility the was going to be fun just based on the title: Killer Chainsaw Robot From Beyond! And look at that artwork. The thing is, based on the title and the artwork, it could also have been stupid or silly. Or just plain terrible.
It isn’t any of those negative things. It is in fact fun, and it will in fact kick your ass. This is a turbocharged dose of Boss HM-2 worship, a torrent of old school Swedish death metal savagery played at the pace of grindcore, and with grind-like song lengths too.
And honestly, that’s my main frustration: These tracks could easily have been three or four times longer without surrendering a thing, and might have been better if they had been. Or maybe I’m just fucking greedy.
Endrot, by the way, is the solo project of Mike Taylor from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The EP was released on February 28th.
Still in a fun-loving groove, I decided to go with this new song by Eagle Twin to wrap up this round-up. But if you’re not familiar with this Salt Lake City band, I have to warn you that while the song is fun — in the sense that you absolutely can’t sit still listening to it — it’s also heavier and meaner than a giant python that’s just swallowed all your neighbors and isn’t satiated yet, and it somehow knows how to open your door.
Seriously, this is a megalithic crusher, but primally compelling. Part of its primal appeal comes from the huge connection it makes to the blues. It’s completely fitting that the song is called “Heavy Hoof” and that the album it comes from is named The Thundering Heard (Songs Of Hoof And Horn) — and that’s not a typo.
Southern Lord will release the album on LP, CD, and digital formats on March 30th.
I bought that Twin Eagle record, quickly. Heavy is right!
Eagle Twin is money! \m/ I’m jelly as hell of you right now….I would love to see Iceland and Norway so much! Have fun and be safe!
Wow, Eagle Twin is so sick… Its amazing to hear the spirit of Iceburn live on. I still listen to Hephaestus on a monthly basis.
Stoked to hear of a new Lychgate release just around the corner. Always exciting.