After three premieres today, we’re nearing the end of our normal posting hours, and I find myself with just enough time to quickly assemble a shorter-than-usual round-up. Tomorrow will probably be a fairly barren day around here, because I’m leaving home at about 4:15 a.m. to begin the journey to Sea-Tac airport, and from there to a top-secret location in Wyoming where I’ll be meeting with world leaders in a training session I call “How To Pull Your Head Out Of Your Ass Even If You Have the IQ of A Ground Squirrel, With Apologies to Ground Squirrels Everywhere.” I expect the event will be well-attended.
Despite the awfulness of my departure time from home tomorrow, I do hope to get at least something short completed to start the day before I sleep tonight, and I do have a review in hand from one of our contributors, and perhaps something else will show up unexpectedly.
Six years is a long time to wait for a new album when the band in question is as immensely talented as Evoken, and a long six years it has been since Atra Mors. But this morning’s e-mail arrivals brought a press release announcing that on November 9th Profound Lore will release a new Evoken album named Hypnagogia. And as an added bonus, it features cover art by Adam Burke.
This will be a concept album, as described by drummer/lyricist Vince Verkay:
“Hypnagogia is based around World War I and its physiological impact on those who fought. It’s used metaphorically about events that impacted me the past three years, which I will keep to myself. But the story behind this World War I theme is based on a soldier who was so bitter about being lied to and is losing his life. He’s wounded in battle and decides to write a journal of his final hours, describing what he sees and what he feels as his life is slipping away. Feeling cheated, he makes a pact with a sadistic god that he can leave a part of his soul, which contains all of his suffering, within this journal.
“To feel some sort of vengeance, anyone who reads this journal releases that part of his soul and it attaches itself to the reader like a host. Each emotion being experienced as if they too where there. As the reader descends into a deep despair, they cannot handle this suffering, deciding to take their own life. Once gone, that part of their soul, containing all the misery is taken by the writer’s misery-laden soul and attaches itself to this journal again, increasing its powerful grip onto the next reader and each time its read with its power increasing.”
I have a feeling this is going to be very, very good. It might assist you in preparing your mind to revisit the track below.
Benighted are a perennial favorite among the hobgoblins who make up the NCS staff. It was thus an outpouring of vicious joy from among our ranks that greeted the disclosure of a song from these French death-grinders’ new 20th anniversary collection, which is entitled Dogs Always Bite Harder Than their Master.
The press release we received explains that this new record will include three previously unreleased tracks, including one featuring Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé and Nikita Kamprad from Der Weg Einer Freheit as guest vocalists, a cover of an At the Gates classic (“Slaughter of the Soul”), and five live tracks from Benighted’s 20th Anniversary show. It will be released on October 12th.
The new track below, “Martyr“, includes a tasty little drum-and-bass groove (which reappears again later), enough breeeeeeee-o to loosen your urethral sphincters, big jolts of jet-fast, full-throttle mayhem, and healthy doses of merciless bludgeoning. There’s more, too, but let’s just say that the song as a whole is the kind of raving, highly communicable lunacy that we’ve come to expect from these barbarians.
The last of the brand new items I wanted to include in this brief round-up just surfaced this morning. It’s the first complete track to be publicly revealed from the debut demo, Shavasana, by a multinational collective who’ve chosen the name Kāla. The song you’re about to hear — “Like Fires Of Virabhadra” — is described by guitarist/composer Steven Santos in these words:
“To honor the powers of rudra which pulsate ever in madness. We bestow the first instrument and vocal composition from Shavasana entitled ‘Like Fires Of Virabhadra’. This working to be an auspicious poetry of a vision of dissolution ignited by the powers of Rudra, described throughout the mighty puranas. It invokes the ideal that all things in the world must return to their origin through decay.”
I’ve included the lyrics right after the track stream. As for the sounds beyond the words, a haunting and mystical gloom flows from the early moments of the music like scented smoke, as whispered words slip out over echoing notes. The cadence remains stately as the drums come in (even when they catch fire), and as the layered guitars cast uneasy spells, shading the mood of the music in an even deeper and more miserable gloom. The vocals are harsh and intense, cracked with agony. The long, lingering reverberations of the chords and notes bespeak the eminence of death, and when the riffing becomes a fiery whirr, pain becomes manifest.
You won’t soon forget that moody yet mesmerizing intro to the track, because those eerie tones return again at the close, flowing into a shimmering cascade of sound that creates an unsettling reverie.
Shavasana will be release at some as-yet unidentified future date by Clandestone Faith.
In a circle spun the crushed creation
In a slumber that I dared to sleep.
Night opened the skies of Kalpas to show his Vama-form
Constellations formed a trishul which swung
and Crushed through the worlds.
Chanting mantras of darkness invoking the powers of death.
A silent witness of a world in everlasting pain.
Divine revelations of cosmic dissolution within.
Like the fires of Virabhadra it devours the material worlds of creation.