As I mentioned in yesterday’s last post, I’m leaving my home for a short vacation this morning (in fact, by the time you read this, I will have already left), and that probably means we won’t have the usual number of posts today. I’m not 100% sure that I’ll be able to put together our usual Sunday post either.
But before vanishing for two or three days, I did want to contribute something, and this short post is what I’ve done. It consists of a grand total of three songs that surfaced during the last 24 hours, and only three, but they’re very good and I hope you’ll dig ’em.
Nightgrave ought to be a familiar name to you if you’ve been a patron of that regular Sunday column mentioned above, SHADES OF BLACK, because I’ve written there frequently about this one-man Indian band, the work of self-taught musician and vocalist Sushant Rawat. But rather than hold my thoughts about his newest music until Sunday, I thought I’d provide them now, in the hope of catching the ear of some new listeners.
Black Earth (reviewed here) was Nightgrave’s last album, but as disclosed in a recent interview at Indy Metal Vault, it was only the first installment in a “Void” trilogy, to be followed by two more — The Curse of Life and The Loom of Void — which have already been completed and will be released together. (Rawat also mentioned that those might be the last Nightgrave releases, but I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that.)
So far, Nightgrave has released two singles from these two albums, the most recent of which is “Ruins“. The unpredictably changing musical course of that song, which has become a recognizable hallmark of Nightgrave’s music, makes more sense in light of Rawat’s comments in that same interview about his approach to making music:
“When it comes to making music, I tend to make it a natural process that stems from within. It would mostly start with an idea of a certain musical movement that eventually gives way to more layers and different subsequent progressions and as this takes place, the story being written within the song reveals itself further and further unless it reaches a certain point of closure.
“I think that is why Nightgrave songs don’t follow a predetermined structure and end at a much different place than where they began, owing to the ever evolving and transitional element present within. Everything inspires.”
The adjectives that came immediately to my mind in listening to “Ruins” were: tumultuous, fiery, bleak, otherworldly, mystical, hypnotic, wistful, haunting. It is music of many contrasting textures and moods, but the sound is enormously full and enveloping throughout (Rawat is a talented producer of his own music, as well as a talented songwriter and performer).
Indeed, “Ruins” is a torrent of sound at first — the sound of a huge, steamrolling demolition machine, which includes explosive drum detonations, crazed, blaring and bruising guitar chords and freakish note swirls, and wild, raw, vicious howling and roaring vocals that channel madness. It’s a hugely head-moving, but also just brutally crazed, phase of the track.
The music changes, with the sound of guitar-strumming over dopplering waves of sound and bone-rattling drum blows (the song is still head-moving), and the vocals turning clean, like a ghostly wail. The music changes again — the drums evaporate, and a layered shimmer and squeal of ambient music provides the backdrop for bright acoustic guitar picking.
Listen to “Ruins” below, and I’ve also included the stream of another single from the forthcoming double-album — “Procession of Credence”.
Yesterday also brought us another advance track off Ecliptic Butchery, the new album by Delaware’s Scorched, which will be released on September 28th by 20 Buck Spin. As the press release for the single accurately states: “Fans of Vastum, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Extremity, Witch Vomit, Necrot, Exhumed, and Homewrecker need to get SCORCHED.”
With this new album, Scorched are pretty much at “can’t miss” status in my book (aided by the fact that the two live shows I’ve seen have been killer). The track reveled yesterday, “Mortuary of Nightmares” sounds IMMENSE. As always, the frequently changing drum rhythms are a highlight. The song is massive and mauling — a galloping, roiling, booming monstrosity, loaded with gruesome guttural growls, sadistic mid-paced jackhammering riffs. and pulsating shrieks of guitar torture. You’ll find a pair of fiery, freakish solos in the song, and you’ll find that the music also soars in its bleakness — but ends in a slab of pile-driving brutishness.
I don’t believe we ever wrote anything about the debut album of this German death metal band, which was entitled …Smouldering and came out in 2013. And although it’s possible that I heard a track or two from it back then, I’m also pretty sure I never got around to the full album. But despite that, I’m now very excited to hear the band’s new record, Mesa, because of this next song, which was released yesterday.
Mesa is being referred to as a “mini-album”, but it consists of ten tracks and 35 minutes of music. This first advance track, “Ocaeon“, is a work of mad genius. And both of the words are carefully selected — this really is brilliant, and it really is deranged.
Yes, it’s recognizably death metal, but certainly an avant-garde approach to death metal. It manages to be compulsively head-moving track, but it’s equally poisonous, unhinged, and unpredictable, a tempo-dynamic head-trip made of magnetic drumwork that’s constantly changing (accented by bursts of strange clattering percussive sound); twisted, warping, boiling guitar emanations; wounding and wound-cauterizing vocals; bursts of thuggish chords and a light-speed string-melting solo.
In a nutshell, this is a seriously attention-grabbing track, one that really stands out from the crowd.
Mesa will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on November 1st (CD and 12″ vinyl) in conjunction with the Iron Bonehead / Nuclear War Now!-curated Never Surrender Festival set to take place in Berlin on November 1-3. Abyssous will be giving an exclusive performance at that fest.