SEEN AND HEARD: 1914, GLACIAL TOMB, THE INVICT, UNHOLD, TABLEAU MORT
Here’s a mid-week collection of new songs that have struck a chord in my listening over the last day or two, and have the added benefit of presenting a range of styles and moods, increasing the odds that you’ll find something to like as well.
1914 are based in Lviv, Ukraine. Their debut album Eschatology of War was released at the end of 2015 by Archaic Sound. As the band’s name suggests, they have devoted themselves to exploring the horrors of World War I in their music. That’s rare subject matter in metal, and for that reason alone I decided to explore that first album, and came away mightily impressed by its blending of samples from period songs and punishing hellfire, and by its agile balancing of musical elements from black, death, doom, and even progressive metal. I wrote at the time:
“It vividly captures the devastation and heartache of a conflict that destroyed a generation, while delivering some of the most pulverizing and dynamic metal you’re likely to hear this year. A truly fascinating and emotionally staggering musical journey, inventively imagined, ingeniously written, and expertly performed.”
Since then, 1914 have released a split, a compilation, an EP, and a single, all of which are very much worth your time, and now they are readying the release of a new album, The Blind Leading the Blind, on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of this year — the 100th Anniversary of the End of Great War. From that album they’re recently presented a track called “Passchenhell“, which I assume is a play on words referring to the Battle of Passchendaele near the Belgian city of Ypres, and which 1914 recorded in collaboration with the great David Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Just Before Dawn, Ursinne, Down Among the Dead Men).
Dave Ingram‘s shattering roar is an unmistakable strength of this new track, but not the only one. The music itself is massively heavy and steeped in the shocking misery of shattered bodies and pervasive death, and it’s also explosively violent, with searing riffs and soaring leads that, together with blazing drumwork and wrenching voices, raise visions of the horrible grandeur and mortifying terror of such man-made conflagrations as the battle to which this song alludes.
It will really get your head moving, too — and I’m glad that 1914 have also continued to insert excerpts from period songs, as they do at the end of this track.
For more background info about 1914 (and an interesting read), I recommend this interview from earlier in the year.
UPDATE: I’ve learned that Redefining Darkness Records will be releasing the album in the Western Hemisphere, and I’ve included the pre-order link below.
Glacial Tomb hit my radar screen in the summer of last year, thanks to their debut EP, Cognitive Erosion, which I characterized as “a genre-bending amalgamation that includes elements of black and death metal, grind, and sludgy doom”. Now this formidable trio — guitarist/vocalist Ben Hutcherson (Khemmis), bassist/vocalist Connor Woods (ex-Abigail Williams), and drummer Michael Salazar (Cult of the Lost Cause) — have finished work on a self-titled debut album, which will be released on October 26th by Gilead Media.
The song “Breath of Pestilence” premiered at Revolver yesterday, and man, it’s a completely electrifying rush — battering and jolting, stalking and stomping, bounding and berserk. The vocals are savagely unhinged, the leads completely inflamed, the moods of the music both crushingly dismal and terrifyingly crazed. “Dynamic” is perhaps an understatement for the way in which the band have interwoven elements of black metal, death metal, and doom into such an ever-changing but persistently gripping excursion.
The technical execution is impressive; the music has been produced in a way that lends it dramatic immediacy and bone-breaking power; and it leaves me hungering for more.
Following a 2015 EP (This Cracking Shelter), which I haven’t heard, this Dutch melodic death metal quartet will be releasing their first album, A Sun That Never Sets, through Profane Records on November 5th. Not knowing what to expect, I nevertheless gave some attention yesterday to a song from the album named “My Shrine“, presented in a video made by Naro Studios.
In an nutshell, this track put a big smile on my face, and did so really quickly. It combines enormous, body-moving grooves, quickly addictive pulsating riffs, bursts of rampant derangement, episodes of dismal moodiness, and threads of alluring but sorrowful melody that stitch all these moving parts together. The vocalist’s bestial growls effectively enhance the song’s intensity. It’s a well-written, well-performed piece that has significant addictive properties. I have a feeling it will be fun to discover the rest of this album.
I gave only fleeting attention at our site to this Swiss band’s fourth album, Towering, in the run-up to its release in 2015, but the words were laudatory, and although I never got around to a full review, I became thoroughly enamored of that record. And now we’re about to get a new one, entitled Here Is the Blood.
The album title was apparently drawn from a track named “Convoy“, whose lyrics deal “with a dystopian kind of stature, a colossus representing all that’s plaguing the prosperity of human kind. A hydra headed golem built from human body parts, steering the world with a malevolent plan”, and “Convoy” is the track you’ll find below.
As the band (or the label) accurately state in the press release for this track, “the main riff is very blunt, primitive and repetitive — like a line of vehicles plowing through barren land”, and the harmonics do resemble a war horn. But there’s more here as well:
The vocals (in all their permutations) are intense; the little pulsating guitar lead that surfaces here and there is ephemeral in comparison to the pavement-cracking weight in the song, and clearly has mentally magnetic properties; the solo is psychoactive; and the song as a whole combines all these many facets into a very memorable (and very heavy) gem.
Here Is the Blood will be released on November 9th through Czar Of Bullets.
To provide one last stylistic twist in this mid-week collection of new music I’m turning to London-based Tableau Mort, who have just released their first single, “Impending Corruption“, which will be included on a debut album to be released in November. When you read this excerpt from an e-mail we received, I think you’ll understand why I leaped at the chance to hear the new track:
Tableau Mort combines traditional black metal with doom and romanian orthodox church chants. The band was formed in November 2017 and the line-up consists of Daniel Neagoe – vocals (Clouds, Eye of Solitude, Bereft of Light, Pantheist, Shape of Despair), George Topor – guitars, Radu Vulpe – guitars (ex-Necrovile, Decease, Pathogenic Virulence), Marek Basista – bass, Cristian Giurgiu – guitars (ex-Sin), George Bratosin – Drums (ex-Indian Fall).
The beautiful, haunting, chanted vocals in the song are worth the listen all by themselves. They come first, followed by a simple yet spooky keyboard interlude which leads into an increasingly high-intensity black-metal experience that’s both beleaguered and emotionally devastating. Grand, dramatic melodies course through the music, conveying moods of ominous peril and soul-flensing tragedy, and the drum fusillades and vibrant bass-work very effectively get the blood rushing, too.
Speaking of flensing, the shrieked vocals are downright shattering in their intensity, and the blending of them with deep, solemn, clean vocals reminiscent of those opening chants was an inspired choice.
At this point I haven’t discovered precisely when or how Tableau Mort‘s album will be released, but I plan to keep an eye on this location in the meantime: