You know the drill: From the frothing torrents of new music that continuously rush through the stinking catacombs of the metal underground I sift out a handful of nuggets that appeal to me, and present them in these posts in the hope that they will appeal to you as well.
Today I’m beginning with a couple of bands in whom I have perhaps a more personal interest than most because the front-men are such good dudes… though I’ll quickly add that I was a big fan of their music before I got to know them.
I go back a ways with the music of the Arizona death metal band Lago, back to the discovery of their very impressive Tyranny demo in January 2013. They released an even more impressive debut album of the same name in 2014, from which we had the pleasure of premiering the first advance track. They followed that at the end of 2016 with a tremendously good split release with Poland’s Calm Hatchery, from which we also premiered a secret bonus track by Lago.
Since then Lago have completed work on a new album named Sea of Duress and signed with Unique Leader Records for its release, which will happen on June 8. And yesterday Metal Sucks premiered a video for one of the new album tracks, “Soiled Is the Crown“, which was directed by Matti Way (From the North Films).
Matti Way has said that what he wanted to do with the video “was really bring out Lago’s eerie and ominous musical vibes that are interwoven throughout Sea of Duress“. I’d say he succeeded.
“Eerie” and “ominous” are definitely two adjectives that apply to this new song. Dissonant notes ring out like clarion calls of pain through a changing soundscape of mountainous hammer blows and vicious riff-swarms, augmented by nimble bass work, freakish soloing, and Cole Jacobsen’s monstrous roar. It’s a spine-breaker and a brain-boiler that gets the adrenaline pumping in a rush.
P.S. NCS is very excited to be presenting the second annual Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle on May 31-June 2 of this year, and Lago is on the bill for the night of June 1 (along with Integrity, Primitive Man, Full of Hell, Gloam, Gatecreeper, Of Feather and Bone, Necrot, Wild Hunt, and Mortiferum). If they don’t play “Soiled Is the Crown”, I may have some cross words with them.
Lago on Facebook:
“The Dark Lullaby” is such a damned good song. At least for me, it will always be an imposing bar that Majestic Downfall have set for themselves, against which their new recordings will always be measured. And so it was a thrill to see that this Mexican doom/death band’s performance of that song during the 2018 edition of the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise was captured on video. It’s such an impassioned performance that the video is a thrill to watch, too.
The video also provides a reminder that Majestic Downfall are still alive and kicking, and in fact are at work on a new album to follow 2015’s …When Dead. That’s one we’ll be anxiously awaiting around here, and you’ll be anxious for it too if you know what’s good for you.
P.S. In case you missed the news when we first reported it earlier this year, the death metal band Zombiefication (which is another project of Majestic Downfall’s main man Jacobo Córdova) also has a new album on the way this year via Doomentia, the name of which is Below the Grief. In case you missed the riotously exhilarating first single from that album (“Blood Falls”) when it was released in March, I’ve included it along with that new live video from Majestic Downfall.
Here’s the third band in a row whose very impressive past releases have put a big spotlight on a new one. In this case, the group is the Brooklyn-based black metal band Anicon, whose line-up includes members of Pyrolatrous, Trenchgrinder, Woe, Krallice, and Yellow Eyes. Their debut album Exegeses was exceptionally good, and now we have evidence that their new one is likely to be exceptional, too.
The new album is Entropy Mantra, and yesterday DECIBEL premiered a track from it called “Drowned In the Mirage“, along with comments by guitarist/vocalist Owen Rundquist about the band’s progression since their debut and about the new song.
The vibrant guitar lead that leaps out as soon as the music kicks into high gear strikes like a spear. It immediately seizes attention, though the full-throttle force of the combined drum-and-riff attack is a serious jolt as well. As the band work through variations in that lead-off melodic motif and introduce new ones, while shifting gears in the rhythms, tempos, and volume along the way, the music just becomes more and more engrossing — elaborate in its textures, but damned explosive as well.
Last November, in another one of these new-music round-ups, I wrote about the impressive first single (“Seasons of Dark”) from Dark Divinity, a newly formed New Zealand melodic death metal band, whose line-up for that recoding consisted of Ian Moir (Into Orbit), Alan Gregson (Destructatron), Andy Woodd, and Jake Booth.
Just yesterday Dark Divinity released another single, and as forecast by statements from the band last fall, this one features an altered line-up, with guitarists Paul Stewart and Reece Davies, and bassist David Grinder, now joining in with vocalist Gregson and drummer Moir.
This new track, “Exegesis“, is a dark, heavy beast, one that lumbers and wails like a wounded leviathan at first and then recovers, bolting forward in a jolting rampage of plundering drum-and-bass work, penetrating riffs that pulsate and slither, and bloody-minded shrieking and howling. It’s a dynamic track and a thoroughly electrifying one from beginning to end.
These dudes are really onto a good thing. Let’s hope for more goodness from them before the year is out.
To close today’s round-up I have another video, this one for a song by the Portuguese crossover thrash band Rasgo. Though I knew nothing about them before seeing the video, I decided to check it out because I’ve had such good luck with Portuguese metal bands across a range of genres this year, and because I saw the words “live orchestra” in the press release.
Sure enough, Rasgo arranged to perform a song called “Homens Ao Mar” (“Men At Sea”) with Orquestra Círculo de Música de Câmara, directed by Pedro Teixeira Silva, and it was beautifully filmed and edited by a team headed by José Dinis.
The song is a hell of a lot of fun to hear, but honestly, what really compelled me to include the video is the pure joy that’s evident on the faces of the band members throughout the performance. It’s like they’re thinking to themselves as they rip through the song, “I can’t fucking believe we’re getting to do this!” Their joy is highly infectious, and certainly brightened my day.
“Homens Ao Mar” comes from Rasgo’s debut album Ecos da Selva Urbana (2017), which is available through Bandcamp.
Rasgo on Facebook: