SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: DEATH KARMA, ULVDALIR, HANORMALE, PROLIFERHATE, BATTALIONS
I didn’t really listen to these songs for the first time today. It was actually last night, though I did listen to them again on this Saturday morning, just to make sure that the vodka in my system on the previous evening hadn’t warped my judgment. I concluded it hadn’t, even if it might have super-heated an already warm reaction.
I like the way this playlist of new music and videos flows, even without the vodka lubricant, though it won’t put you in a single headspace and let you linger there for very long. It starts in ravaging and ravishing fashion, shifts into much more bewildering and cerebral gears, and then just rocks out.
Thanks to a tip from my Norwegian
fiend friend eitororm, I learned that the Czech band Death Karma, who share a couple of members (Vladimír Pavelka and Tom Coroner) with Cult of Fire, will be releasing a new album, The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part 2, TODAY on CD (and digitally on November 26th).
As the title explains, this new album is a continuation of a series that began with 2015’s The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I which musically explores the funeral rituals and perceptions of death in different cultures and countries around the world. That first album in the series was the source of several tracks I considered for our list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs (I ultimately picked “Slovakia – Journey of the Soul”), and I eagerly dived in to the first advance track from this new album to see if it might have a similarly strong magnetic effect.
The new album musically explores burial traditions from Haiti, Tibet, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Egypt, the Czech Republic, Japan, and Indonesia. The first publicly streaming song (which premiered here) focuses on the last of those, with the title “INDONESIA – Tana Toraja“. The band comment: “The dead ancestor shares the same roof, the same house. This is great respect and act of boundless love in Rambu Soloq ceremonies in Tana Toraja.”
This dynamic new song, for most of its duration, is explosive in its energy and near-breathtaking in its speed, but in its moods it casts a dark and ominous shadow, and it also gleams with changing facets of beauty — dreamlike, mysterious, and as blindingly grand as a rapidly soaring sunrise. There’s riveting intensity in the bestial vocals, and the multi-faceted song as a whole is completely absorbing.
In addition to “Tana Toraja”, I’m including a stream of excerpts from the album. The CD edition of the album is being released today by Beyond Eyes Production; the digital edition will be released through Bandcamp on November 26; cassette tape and vinyl editions will be released in 2019. Dávid Glomba created the cover art.
…of Death Eternal, the fourth album by the Russian black metal band Ulvdalir, and their first in eight years, will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on January 25, 2019. The first advance track, “Swords of Belial“, is the next item in today’s collection.
In its mid-paced opening, “Swords…” is infernally imperialistic — ominous, oppressive, and yet indicative of a dark and looming grandeur. Even when the pacing surges to a gallop and when the rhythm segues into a rocking beat, the atmosphere of being in the presence of a dangerous and demonic eminence persists, aided by the cruel and crazed viciousness of the vocals, which themselves sound demonic, and the near-panoramic sweep of the majestic melodies. In its fantastic finale, the song also features an exotic, fiery, extended guitar solo and reverent, soaring clean voices indicative of praise and supplication.
It’s very easy to be caught up in this grand whirlwind of sound and carried aloft, nerves alight, heart pounding, and head spinning.
I’ve been meaning to write about Hanormale and their new album Reborn In Butterfly ever since becoming enthralled by a remarkable video the band released in late September for a song from the album named “Candentibus Organis“. While I dithered, the band’s label (Dusktone) released another song from the album on Bandcamp (“It Is Happening Again“) — which I discovered was the subject of a video released in June. And then, just today, Hanormale released a third video, this one featuring guest percussionist Jeko from the industrial band ‘Progetto Sperimentale Infonebbia.
In the first of these videos, for “Candentibus Organis”, there’s a clever split screen effect which features new guitarist Dirac Sea and Hanormale’s mastermind Arcanus Incubus in the foreground, who knows what’s coming, even if you won’t. In all its very soft and very grand and sweeping phases, the song is thoroughly entrancing. At the end of the video you also get a small hint (if you didn’t already know) that Hanormale are capable of creating more racing and ravaging sounds.
In the second song I’ve included below (“It Is Happening Again”), which begins the album and is featured here through another cleverly constructed video, the band provide a black metal variation on “Laura Palmer’s Theme“, composed by the great Angelo Badalamenti for the Twin Peaks series. The ways in which Hanormale honor but twist the beguiling original music is fascinating.
And in the third video, there is an excerpt of Jeko performing “Sfera 6” on an instrument hand-made by Azzam Bells during Hanormale’s performance of an album track “which tells of a Japanese legend where a fox takes revenge of a hunter who killed his puppies, disguising himself as a monk.” I’m not positive which track it is (since I haven’t heard the whole album yet), but would guess from the quoted description that it’s “Hakuzosu“.
If you might think that these three tracks provide an exhaustive portrayal of Hanormale’s chameleon-like musical creativity, you would be wrong. There seem to be a dozen performers on this album, and other instruments outside the usual spheres of metal.
Proliferhate are a progressive Italian death metal band with a new album named Demigod Of Perfection that was released on November 23rd. I haven’t yet listened to the album, but I did see the beautifully filmed video they just released for one of the new album songs (“Naked Monstrosity“) and have become quite taken with it.
The song is a well-integrated amalgam of head-moving rhythms, pulsating riffs, harsh growling vocals, and beautifully variable fretwork. As it fluidly unfurls through numerous phases of darkness and light, the music is capable of getting the blood rushing through your veins, putting shivers down your spine, and also sending your mind into sublime meditative reveries.
To conclude this Saturday playlist I’ve chosen a video that was released a couple of days ago to spotlight Forever Marching Backwards, the new album by the bearded British sludge band Battalions, which will be released by APF Records on November 30. The video, for the song “Devil’s Footsteps“, originally premiered at DECIBEL and features Dave Rowlands of Pist on vocals.
As forecast at the outset of today’s collection, it’s time to rock out. The python-thick riffs coil and uncoil in a way that proves to be narcotic, but the song also includes leads that will make you want to bounce, and grooves that will make you want to bounce even higher. It’s heavy and dark, and there’s scorching acid in the vocals, but the song sparkles with electric vibrancy as well.
You can already listen to Hanormale’s new album on Deezer! https://www.deezer.com/nl/album/78353352