I feel like a broken record in writing this sentence, but will say again that my list of new songs that have appeared just in the last two weeks, and seem worth checking out, is enormous — more than 50 tracks long at this point. The paucity of SEEN AND HEARD posts over that period, due to the paucity of time I’ve been able to devote to NCS as a result of other distractions, means that the list has grown at a much faster rate than I’ve been able to whittle it down through listening and writing.
So, I came up with an idea for making headway against the tide: Rather than compiling “playlists” of four or five songs (or more) as is usual for the SEEN AND HEARD column, I’m going to spend at least the next week creating much shorter collections, under a new title, limited myself to only two tracks per post. This is the first of those. I hope to do this on a daily basis, but may fail.
Honestly, I’m not sure what happened here. Many of the scribblers at NCS, including me, have been devout fans of Crocell. And yet they came out with their fifth album in March (Relics) and until today we’ve said nothing about it. Having completely overlooked it, I haven’t even heard the record. But this new lyric video will cause me to remedy that glaring omission pretty damned quick.
The video is for the new album’s opening track, “Black Death Redemption“. An overpowering torrent of cruel, explosive sound greets your ears right from the start, a storm of thundering drums, bleeding-fast, jabbing riffs, and inflamed ear-scouring howls. When a more discernible melody does surface, it rolls forward like a wave of bleakness, and in the moments when the thundering cadence subsides, a deep sorrow emerges in the reverberations of the guitars.
Such a good song — so dark, so heavy, a great blend of immense savagery, hard-hitting riffs, and emotionally evocative melody. (The rest of the album is streaming at Bandcamp, where I’ll be returning later today to catch up on what I missed.)
Like Crocell, Vancouver’s Nylithia have been a band near and dear to my heart for a long time — in fact, since their very first release of music. Witness the fact that I’ve written about them no fewer than 10 times since 2012, despite the relative paucity of their output. Their last release was the Hyperthrash album in 2015, but yesterday they re-emerged with a new single.
Lyrically, “Goddamn Type 1” is about Type I diabetes, and its theme is more about perseverance and survival than complaints or self-pity. Musically, the song is just pure Grade A electrification.
Nylithia’s brand of thrash has always had a futuristic, extra-dimensional aspect, and that vibe comes through again here. In the opening moments you hear an ominous robotic speaking voice intoning the subject of the song, and then the music explodes — a jittery jolting riff, a mountainous bass line, a neck-snapping drum rhythm.
The song pauses, gathers steam, and explodes again — pounding and shrieking and thrashing. You’re more than 2 1/2 minutes in before the main line of the track really kicks in as the red-eyed, slavering vocal attack joins the fray. The music continues to twist and turn, start and stop, pummel and thrum, detonate and fly like the wind, while firing off fanfares of melody like fireworks from a maniacal freight train that’s summoned the speed of a rocket.
Welcome back dudes. Don’t stay gone so long the next time.