Man, have I got a red-hot New Year’s Eve planned with my wife. Bring in some kind of dangerous take-out food. Watch some re-runs of Law and Order. Maybe have an egg nog with a shot of whiskey (but only one because I don’t need the calories and I’m cutting back on the booze). Asleep by 10:30 at the latest. I’m so fucking excited that I’m hyperventilating.
You think I’m joking, but I’m really not (except about the hyperventilating). After more than a few decades of severe misbehavior, the idea of a quiet night and a New Year’s Day without a cataclysmic hangover has become very appealing. No more day-after’s wondering “is that blood on my shirt mine?”, “whose room is this?”, and “where did I leave my pants?”
These days I tend to get a lot of my thrills from heavy music, and I spent this morning catching up on some new sounds, some of which I’m recommending to you in this round-up. This actually started as what might have been a second SHADES OF BLACK installment yesterday, but I decided to throw in a few other styles of music and finish it up for today.
I was quite impressed by the first demo (Archaic Discipline) released by the hooded Dutch duo Jubal through Clandestine Faith earlier this year, and said so here: “There is foreboding, catastrophe, and grandeur in the sensations of these savage, dramatic songs, along with a panoply of killer riffs and the kind of vocals that summon visions of demons coming for your throat.” I was thus excited to learn that Jubal have a new release headed our way in 2019.
That new release is an EP entitled Through Flesh and Bone (again featuring cover art by Manuel Tinnemans, visible at the top of this post), which will again be released by Clandestine Faith. Yesterday we got our first taste of the music through a stream of a song called “Death and the Firmament“.
Febrile riffing and battering, smashing, booming drumwork drive the music in a savage rush as vicious snarls and murderous howls add cold poison to the frenzy. Sinister, queasy leads emanate a feeling of wretchedness and doom. Catastrophe and madness loom over the music, yet even here there is an atmosphere of blood-chilling grandeur that shadows the delirium and desolation.
Jubal isn’t the only band favored around these parts who are returning with new music in 2019. The Australian Lovecraftian overlords in Obed Marsh will be following 2016’s magnificently monstrous Innsmouth with a new album named Dunwich, which will finally be released on January 7th. Of Innsmouth, our own Andy Synn wrote:
“If you’re looking for something particularly foul and malevolent, something so morbidly, infectiously grim that it might also prove to be a danger to both your body and your mind (to say nothing of your immortal soul), then you should plan on making a journey to Innsmouth as soon as you can.”
Based on the first song revealed from Dunwich, we will be most eager to journey through that album as well, at the earliest opportunity. That song, “Lavinia: The Lights That Lay Before My Eyes“, includes these lyrics, voiced in horrific shrieks:
my pale skin, it reminds me of my discarded vessel
broken, inwardly scarred; something is so wrong
eidolic spheres surge before my eyes
swelling as far as my vision distends
i shudder at the voices within my spraining mind
i am touched, raped, defiled
what is this befoulment inside of me?
it reeks perversely, corruptly
i feel it writhing, my cosmic insemination
my body is a tool, ‘beyond-one’
poor blood-father, playing
The music mirrors the lyrics. A slow, blackened doom abyss opens beneath our feet, pulling us into a soul-sucking pit of terror and despair with the gravity of unearthly horror. The melodies moan and wail over a methodical pounding rhythm, creating an unnerving and even sickening sensation, defiling the mind while mesmerizing it.
Departure Chandelier was a band whose members came from Akitsa and Ash Pool. Their lone album, Antichrist Rise To Power, was recorded nearly a decade ago, allegedly in a basement at grave-level behind the New York City Marble Cemetery (the oldest cemetery in New York City). The album traces the life and death of Napoleon, envisioning him, and honoring him, as the Antichrist. Although the album was made long ago, it is now being released for the first time by Nuclear War Now! — on February 28th.
The eloquence of J. Campbell‘s introduction to the album on Bandcamp justifies an excerpt from it (which also rings true as I hear the music):
“Compositionally, one hears the heavy influence of Bathory and other seminal acts overwritten by the sound of classic French black metal such as Osculum Infame, Bekhira, Chemin de Haine, Cantus Bestiae, and Machiavel. The tracks are rich in melody interspersed with an air of intransigent pride and adorned in the opulent ornamentalism of aristocracy and empire. Keyboard stabs and swells outline the riffs, accentuating the guitar’s stately thrust. Rising out of the music, the vocals seethe, the commingled expression of scorn for life and spiritual dissent.
“The recording manages to capture the best elements of raw black metal, leaving the guitars brittle and charged, while simultaneously supplying depth and balance. The juxtaposition between the lean, stripped down essence of the recording with the ornate and complex melodies and florid compositional accents is a perfect complement to the album’s boldly unique detail of the Napoleonic era.”
The song below is “Forever Faithful To the Emperor“. Upon reflection, having quoted those words above, I’ll just leave you to the music rather than add my own thoughts, other than to say this is very appealing.
CVLT OV THE SVN
Finland’s Cvlt Ov the Svn brand their music as “Occult Murder Pop”, an amalgam of “black metal, pop and stoner rock with an aggressive touch”. The members remain anonymous, though they are rumored to be names of some renown in their homeland. One thing is evident: They have a Midas touch when it comes to riffs and melodic hooks.
“Whore Of Babylon” is the second song to be revealed (through a lyric video) from an upcoming EP entitled Occult Murder Pop, which will be released in January. And I will warn you (or perhaps intrigue you) that you will have a tough time getting it out of your head.
It’s a devilish and seductive piece of music, in more ways than simply the lyrics. There’s hot blood in the sound, and carnal, thrusting rhythms, and vocals that straddle a line between demonic gasping and reverent yet infernal song. The melodies yearn and soar, and spike themselves in the memory.
Whore Of Babylon
Luna In The Sky Forever
I Know I’m Dancing With The Devil
In a comment on yesterday’s SHADES OF BLACK post, our supporter and occasional contributor Conchobar left a link to this final item for today’s round-up, which is a new EP (following an album named Лихиї вітри стогнуть без упину released last May) by the Ukrainian atmospheric black metal band Svrm. Entitled Згарище, it was released on December 25th. Because Conchobar seems to know my own tastes very well, based on past experience, I dove into the music this morning.
Sorrow dwells in the music, like lost souls who haunt the living. But while the music is deeply melancholy, it’s also extremely powerful. It will give you a sore neck, set your nerves on fire, and swell your heart near to bursting — and it just as effectively sends the mind away to quiet places, in wistful reflections on lost treasures and dreams of what might have been.
Each of these songs is fully immersive, capable of seizing control of your emotions and carrying you off. The band make torment and despair sound glorious, raising lost causes to mythic elevations, and the unbridled, wretched passion of the vocals is a key factor in that effect, along with all the sweeping melodic panoramas. Beautiful, mesmerizing, heart-felt music that only a heart turned to stone could fail to be moved by.