I wasn’t able to post a SHADES OF BLACK column or anything else yesterday, but fear not, all is well here in NCS land; I was just wholly consumed all weekend with activities related to my fucking day job, almost all of them quite pleasurable but nevertheless not conducive to my listening to new music or writing about it. I did manage to go through some of the songs on my ever-burgeoning list of new releases last night, and what follows are the ones I chose to recommend on this Monday morning.
I also have in mind presenting a collection of three new EPs that made an impression while I was listening last night. Don’t know if I can pull that off today, but I do know that before the day is out we’ll have a review of Craft’s new album and premieres of two other albums that I’m confident you’ll enjoy.
My colleague Andy Synn gave quite a positive review to the debut album by UK’s Allfather in 2016, which concluded as follows:
“Not quite a true world-beater, not yet anyway, Allfather still have the three g’s – grit, grime, and groove – down perfectly. Couple these to their effortlessly effective songwriting style and a clear and unshakable sense of conviction that practically bleeds from your speakers, and you get an album that not only stands strong on its own terms, but also fills me with confidence that we’ll only be seeing bigger and better things from these guys in the future.”
Allfather are now following up that album with a new full-length named And All Will Be Desolation, which will be released by Rotting Throne Records on September 7. The song from the album that recently premiered at Ghost Cult Magazine, “Black Triangle“, makes a big, positive impression.
Lyrically, “Black Triangle” is about “what happens when people fail to oppose fascism, partly inspired by the Nazi T4 program, where disabled people were removed from their families and killed. It was the prototype for the Holocaust, and happened in plain sight to very little opposition.” Allfather plainly believe that bit of horrid history is still relevant, and I for one wouldn’t disagree with them.
Andy‘s review of the previous album (Bless the Earth With Fire) characterized the band’s music as “heaving, doomy sludgery with a backbone of gritty Metallic Hardcore and a belly full of piss and vinegar”. Those words still apply to “Black Triangle“, which begins with the reverberations of an ominous but exotic solo guitar melody, and then begins to batter and boom. The song boils with savage energy, the vocals a raw, incinerating fury, and the thick main riff a completely electrifying head-mover. Eventually the music transforms into a slow, bleak, black-eyed stomp before ramping up again into a pile-driving head-smasher, fueled by a solo that’s soulful and devastating.
The PR materials we received about the new album assert that “Allfather connect the dots between Entombed’s death and roll, Crowbar’s anguished sludge, Nails’ hardcore intensity and the swaggering southern doom of early Down“.
Whythre is a Seattle-based melodic death metal band whose line-up includes vocalist Gabe Tachell (whose band Rhine we’ve written about in glowing terms before) and drummer Daryl Williams from Beltfed Weapon, along with guitarists Adam Chambers and Shon Petrey, and bassist Jesse Thompson. Their new single, “Savage“, is the next track I decided to include in this Monday round-up. It was released on May 5.
An air of melancholy permeates the slow opening dual-guitar harmony of “Savage“, but when the band really kick the song into gear after a thrashy guitar bridge, it gets the adrenaline flowing. The drums snap and boom; the nimble, pulsing bass work amplifies the song’s surging, head-moving rhythms; the guitarists deliver jabs and jolts, fiery soloing, and fluid melody; and Tachell‘s vocals are scalding in their intensity. You put all that together, and you get music that sends the blood rushing and proves to be highly addictive as well.
I’ve written before about the punishment, the dysphoria, and the derangement meted out by the Scottish band Frontierer, but not recently — it’s been about two and a half years since the release of their last album Orange Mathematics. But at last there’s a new record set for release on July 27th, the name of which is Unloved.
The song that premiered last week is “Glitcher“, and if you let the player below continue to run, you’ll also hear a previously released song (the album opener) called “Tumoric“. Both are squalling, brawling storms of unnerving sound segmented by bone-breaking grooves, the storms pierced by freakish forms of guitar torture and blistering vocal madness. The drumming, which hits with spleen-rupturing impact, is fascinating in its unpredictability. Blindingly intense music that shoves you off balance and leaves you mentally and physically bruised, feeling bewildered and hopeless — but hyped.
Unloved was written, recorded, and mixed by Frontierer guitarist Pedram Valiani and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. It will be free to download at Bandcamp on the release date, so the pre-orders that make sense are for physical editions.
Nachtschattenreich is the name of the new album by the German one-man black metal project Askvald. We’re told that the name means “empire of nightly shadows” in English. We’re further told that the album thematically connects to Askvald’s last full-length Nebelpfade, but abandons the synths that provided a key element to the previous music.
The advance track recently released for streaming is “Morgenstund“. The song strikes with a megaton of low-end physical punch and power, but the high guitar leads are searing and soaring. The music erupts in flurries of blasting and racing, but for most of its length is the kind of track that’s very headbang-friendly. The vocals are of the classic caustic shrieking variety, but near the end are paired with clean vocals that enhance the music’s dramatic emotional impact — which is substantial.
Nachtschattenreich will be released by Naturmacht Productions on July 14th.
To conclude today’s round-up I selected a six-track debut album named Reign of Enthrallment by Disgusted Geist from San Luis Obispo, California. It was released digitally on June 19th.
In genre terms, Reign of Enthrallment, is a death metal monster with significant elements of doom (and lesser elements of black metal) in its DNA. And I do mean “monster” — when the pacing of the music is slower and more deliberate, it’s absolutely pulverizing, thanks to a skull-crushingly brutal rhythm section (the drums often sound like bombs going off), massive hammering and seething riffs with a thoroughly vicious, heavily distorted tone, and heartless, gargantuan roaring in the vocal department.
Vocalist Peter Tomis also sends his voice into frenzies of deranged shrieking, and his bandmates also change the pace, both slowing into crushing, groaning, funereal slogs and surging into displays of rampaging chaos. But regardless of what gear they’re in, the music is galvanizing — and as dark-hearted and merciless as a willful plague-carrier. That doesn’t mean you can’t rock out to this album; there are opportunities to do that, along with opportunities to sink into a cesspool of pestilence and putrefaction.
The album was recorded and mixed by Greg Wilkinson and mastered by Justin Weis. The ghastly cover art — which is a serious eye-catcher — was created by Roman Ocadiz. And James Rauh (Swamp Witch, Caffa) contributed additional vocals on the clobbering, thoroughly doom-stricken closer, “Let it Rot”.