Climate Reanalyzer Global Weather Map – July 27, 2018
(Andy Synn has compiled a collection of songs from seven bands suitable for the hell we find ourselves in.)
Depending on where you are right now in the world, there’s a good chance you’re enjoying/enduring (delete as appropriate) the same sweltering heat and blazing sunshine which is currently scorching us here in the UK, and perhaps you find yourself wondering, as the earth around you slowly returns to its molten, primordial state… what albums provide the best soundtrack to my current situation?
After all, while a lot of Stoner Rock/Metal bands have built a career out of an association with lazy, sun-kissed vibes and hazy, weed-fuelled riffs, the majority of the more Extreme/Underground bands we cover here at NCS tend to be more associated with darkness and shadow… heck, about 50% of all the world’s Black Metal bands are obsessed with snow and ice, regardless of where they actually hail from… and there’s a reason we so often use words like “dank” and “cavernous”, “chilling” and “frostbitten, to describe their music – it just fits!
As a result I had to think long and hard about what albums truly capture the sensation of being trapped and tormented by the oppressive weight of the burning sun in all its torrid and terrible glory, before finally settling on the handful of suggestions you’ll find below.
ULCERATE – THE DESTROYERS OF ALL
With an opening track titled “Burning Skies”, and an overall aesthetic which is perhaps best described as “apocalyptic”, you’d better believe this was one of the very first albums to spring to mind.
It’s as monstrous now as it was when it was first released and still remains, in my opinion at least, the band’s finest hour.
PHOBOCOSM – BRINGER OF DROUGHT
When it comes to thinking about “oppressive weight”, the soul-crushingly heavy second album by Canada’s Phobocosm was another one my mind almost immediately turned to… which shouldn’t be surprising as this album was one of my favourites of 2016, and remains in pretty regular rotation even now, despite (or perhaps because of) how unbearably ugly and unflinchingly heavy it is.
Plus it’s called Bringer of Drought… and if that’s not a fitting title for the way things are going right now, I don’t know what is.
SOLSTORM – SOLSTORM
In terms of Post-Metal there were probably quite a few possibilities (both of the genre’s granddaddies – Neurosis and Isis – were very much in contention) which I could have chosen instead of this one, but, when in doubt, it’s my policy to always go with the underdog, and this album rightfully deserves a lot more attention than it has received.
Yes, it’s over seven years old now, and yes, the band still haven’t produced a follow-up (though I’ve been advised they’re working on it as we speak), but the scorching intensity of these tracks is just as potent and as powerful as ever.
THE FUNERAL PYRE – VULTURES AT DAWN
Here’s a little something you might not know — I’ve always wanted to put together a recording project which replaces the cold, lifeless glacial vistas of traditional Black Metal with the bleak, barren emptiness of the desert, in an attempt to capture and define a different take on the innate wonder/horror of nature which is so often at the core of the style.
But, until that comes to fruition, I’d like to draw your attention to the withering, blistered assault of Vultures at Dawn by The Funeral Pyre, as the Californian quintet really did hit upon something special with their final album
TURBID NORTH – EYES ALIVE
A concept album about a post-apocalyptic future where the sun has become a colossal red giant is just the sort of record to make you realise that, as bad as things might be for you right now… they can always get worse.
Plus the record absolutely rips.
RIVERS OF NIHIL – MONARCHY
Another concept album, this time about a future where the earth has been transformed into a vast desert wasteland, and the remnants of mankind have been reduced to cult-like worship of the sun, Monarchy is another personal favourite of mine, and I think you’ll find that the mix of relentless riffage and searing melody found on songs like “Sand Baptism”, “Dehydrate”, and “Suntold” really suit the bristling tinderbox of our current political and atmospheric climate.
NILE – ANNIHILATION OF THE WICKED
And, of course, this list would be incomplete without at least one Nile album and, after much back and forth, I decided that album just had to be Annihilation of the Wicked, if only for the utterly ominous, horrendously heavy intro to “Sacrifice Unto Sebek”, which immediately fills my mind with images of endless, rolling dunes, and air so hot it actually seems to shimmer and spark with its own internal fire.
Of course it helps that this is still, in my opinion, the band’s finest hour, with barely any weak moments to remark on, as well as a truly punishing exercise in what the human body can endure.