This has been another banner week for new metal, and fortunately I’ve had enough time to compile one more round-up to follow the one from two days ago. Of course, even the combination of the two doesn’t provide a comprehensive display of everything I’ve been enjoying this week. As usual, the choices I’ve made were impulsive, though I also made the usual effort to include variety in today’s post.
I also hope this late-week collection will make up for the fact that I won’t be writing anything for NCS this weekend because I’ll be traveling on a short vacation. However, we should still have a Waxing Lyrical column from Andy tomorrow, and our ally HGD has stepped up to do Sunday’s Shades of Black feature (I’ve seen his selections, and they’re good ones). I’ll be back in the NCS harness on Monday.
Deiphago describe their music as “Experimental Hyper-speed Satanic Bestial Metal” — and every word of that is true, perhaps never more so than on the track I’ve chosen to begin today’s collection. It simply doesn’t sound like anything else you’re likely to find in the realms of black metal or black/death. It challenges convention, it viciously shoves us out of our musical comfort zones, it’s likely to leave you bewildered and bedazzled (or at least severely unbalanced).
As a broad musical genre, extreme metal is well-suited to manifesting the sensations of chaos, and summoning chaos has been a consistent objective, especially in black metal. “Deus Alienus (God of the Other Side)” revels in chaos and glories in the destruction of order. One imagines a demonic orgy, all participants in the throes of possession, eyes rolled back in their heads, consumed in the intense fires of violent freedom.
But this is one of those unusual forms of chaos-summoning that displays impressive technical skill, and no doubt was the result of meticulous planning and untold hours of rehearsal, notwithstanding how wild the result sounds. This can’t have been a performance that was easy to execute. And so while it’s a brutal skull-crusher, and a vicious flesh-ripper, and reaches heights of explosive cacophony, it doesn’t stay in the same groove for very long, and all the twists and turns occur with impressive precision (the work of the rhythm section stands out immediately, but further listens reveal the fleet-fingered extravagance of the guitar work, too).
Take some very deep breaths and then dive into this head-spinning maelstrom below.
“Deus Alienus (God of the Other Side)” is one of eight tracks on this long-running band’s fifth album, I, The Devil, which will be released during the first quarter of 2019 by Hells Headbangers. Notably, it was recorded at Godcity Studios with Kurt Ballou (Converge), and it was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. The striking cover art was created by the great Joe Petago.
1. Intro: Decimation
2. Quantum Death
3. Neuro-Satanic Circuit
5. Deus Alienus
6. Chaos Protocols
7. Anti-Cosmic Trigger
8. I, The Devil
The Danish death metal band Phrenelith played at Kill-Town Death Fest in Copenhagen roughly two weeks ago, and at that event they released a 7″ vinyl entitled Ornamented Dead Eyes. It consisted of two songs that the band describe as “a concept of oppositions, one song dealing with our inevitable annihilation of the imminent future, and the other delving into the secret knowledge already lost in the past”.
Yesterday this new EP became available on Bandcamp — and it just further solidifies the high standing of this band. Both “Triumphing Blight” and “Ornamented Dead Eyes” are heavy as hell, as nasty as cold-blooded murder, and creepier than a battalion of zombies marching on your home. They’re also vibrantly dynamic, display impressive technical execution, and reveal not only neck-wrecking grooves, seething riffs, dismal soloing, and cavernous vocal horrors, but also a knack for crafting bleak, discomfiting melodies that get stuck in the head. Bravo!
While Ornamented Dead Eyes is now available for download, vinyl copies may still be available through Night Shroud Records (https://nightshroud.bigcartel.com/).
DEFY THE CURSE
Now for a taste of Sweden by way of the Netherlands, courtesy of Defy the Curse, a relatively new band whose members previously honed their sonic weaponry in such groups as Legion Of The Damned, Collision, Slam Squad, Inhume, and Acid Deathtrip. Some of the band’s talents become quite evident through this new song, “The Messiah Complex“, which was released not long ago through a lyric video.
First, they know how to cook up a clobbering caveman riff, and then flesh out that brutal thing with a massive HM-2 tone and the kind of drum-and-bass work that slugs damned hard right in the solar plexus (and the neck). The first minute-and-a-half of the song is just made for headbanging (and made very well for that purpose).
Second, the band are also adept at awakening that dormant circle pit in your head, which is what they do when they start romping, rampaging, and chainsawing after that mid-paced opening segment. (But fear not, they come back to that staggering opening rhythm soon enough).
And third, the band’s vocalist clearly needs to be tested for rabies.
“The Messiah Complex” comes from the band’s self-titled debut EP, which will be released by Hammerheart Records on December 7th (CD and cassette tape). The eye-catching cover art was created by V B R R T R D.
(Thanks to Miloš for pointing me to this track.)
Having ventured into death-metal realms for the last two selections in this post I’m moving back into black metal for the remaining selections, though the styles are dramatically different from that Deiphago track I chose to open this cavalcade of extremity. First up is a song by Germany’s Ultha that premiered yesterday at Invisible Oranges.
As Ultha’s Ralph Schmidt says in that Invisible Oranges article, “omnipresent sadness and hopelessness is the key element to Ultha’s art”, deriving from a “chronic melancholia” that pervades the core of his own life. This new song, “Cyanide Lips” is indeed a bleak experience, reaching harrowing levels of tension, turmoil, despair, and mortifying gloom. There’s also an unearthly sheen to the sound, which is one factor in making this disquieting song so mesmerizing — and it is indeed the kind of music that pulls the listener into another world, immersing you in its own dark, haunted dimensions.
Perhaps needless to say, in light of Ultha‘s previous creations, this is also a dynamic excursion as well as a deeply atmospheric one, and the brilliantly crafted changes more than justify the song’s longer-than-average length.
Wildlife is the forthcoming third album by Lascar, the solo project of Gabriel Hugo from Santiago, Chile, whose previous releases have been so good that this one will also demand close attention. And based on the two tracks that have been revealed so far, the attention is again definitely deserved.
The most recent of those two tracks, “Petals“, was released two days ago. The song’s soft, introspective opening has a wistful, heart-aching quality, and the sense of sorrow and loss becomes even stronger as the music becomes heavier and gradually more intense. The song wears its emotions on its sleeve, so to speak, but the lush, cascading melodies in the music burrow ever deeper into the mind as they repeat. An acoustic interlude calls back to the mood of the opening, and what comes after displays grandeur as well as grief.
“The Disdain” is the other track you can hear now, having been disclosed on September 4th. While still depressive in its mood, and equally memorable, it’s more wrenchingly anguished, more fiery, and more gloriously soaring. It, too, includes slower and softer movements, and of course the vocals (as always) are shattering.
Wildlife will be released on October 25th and it’s available for pre-order now through Bandcamp.