The last time I posted a round-up of new music (here) was 15 days ago. At the time I had 10 new songs I wanted to recommend, and no logical way to arrange them, given the diversity of the sounds, other than in alphabetical order by band name. I got through five bands in the A-M range, with every intention of posting a second installment of five in the M-Z range by the next day. That didn’t happen, and I didn’t get it done by the end of that week, or the next week either, and now it’s Thursday of this week. My fucking day job has been killing me lately.
Of course, a ton more songs have been released in the last 15 days, but I’ve decided to stick with my original plan and finish that selection of 10 that I started more than two weeks ago, even though the music is no longer “hot off the presses”. I have made one change, because one of the songs I had chosen for the second group of five (by Misotheist) coincidentally wound up in eiterorm’s guest edition of SHADES OF BLACK last Sunday, so I made a substitution.
You ought to be able to guess which band I chose as a substitution for Misotheist, since I had to backtrack a bit in the alphabet in adding Haustið.
I learned about this project just before Thanksgiving last year, thanks to a recommendation from Rennie of starkweather, who vividly compared Haustið’s then-latest demo to “a cross of Emanation and Wolok on a suicide mission”.
When I wrote about that demo, Howling, the Sol Above, Nothing Below, I described “a surreal quality to the music as it flows along its twisting course, with outbursts of dark, dissonant, thorny permutations interwoven with soulful, gliding, and sinuous instrumental passages, both moody and mystical, that sometimes partake of traditions other than extreme metal”.
The newest Haustið recording is a two-track EP named Long Lost Ruins Cried their Black Soot that will be released on June 14th, and the title track appeared on Bandcamp last weekend. I also learned about this new one from Rennie, minutes before noticing the Bandcamp alert in my e-mail. Like Haustið’s previous music, this new song is also a marvelously multifaceted experience.
It thunders and rumbles, jolts and pounds, stomps and moans. The physical impact is powerful, the atmosphere bitter and chilly. The lead-guitar accents, which have a bright tone that contrasts with the titanic weight of everything else, give us one changing experience after another, yet all of them seem to channel forms of sorrow in piercing, soulful, and beguiling ways. The vibrant flickering and gleaming melody that surfaces near the end is especially gripping, and the wistful acoustic guitar performance which follows it makes for a beautiful finale. Fantastic song.
Haustið, by the way, is Icelandic for “autumn”, but it is the solo project of a Brazilian man who uses the name Draug.
Now I’m picking up with the rest of the alphabetic sorting that I began more than two weeks ago, moving forward with “M”.
This Virginia deathgrind quartet’s full name is Millennial Snowflakes of Death. Are you smiling? I’m smiling. But I’m going to stick with “MSD” (they probably should too).
Their debut EP, Demo Sessions Vol. 1 (released on March 20), consists of three tracks, with the longest one at 1:34. It will take you just a bit longer than 4 minutes to experience the whole thing. What have you got to lose? I mean, other than 4 minutes? And a few thousand brain cells?
“Hell Planet” is a real bruiser, a slow-moving, heavyweight juggernaut of destructive power at first, it becomes a berserker rampage. The song introduces us to the immense weight of the riffing, the bone-breaking assaults of the rhythm section, and the band’s tandem of gargantuan roars and vicious howls in the vocal department. “Crush the Esophagus” is just as heavy, and after a head-moving start, it proves to be just as obliterating as it moves from d-beat romping to blast-beat brazenness. A mix of pulsating chords and buzzing tremolo leads anchors “Televised Atrocities” as it surges ahead with barbaric ferocity, slowing only briefly at the end as if to survey all the wreckage it has left in its wake.
This is hellishly good stuff, a very impressive first demo. More please!
If you’ve followed even a fraction of my scribblings for NCS then you’ll know that any project which includes Håkan Stuvemark and Rogga Johansson is going to pull me to it like iron filings to a magnet. And PermaDeath is exactly that — a collaboration between those two icons of the Swedish death metal pantheon (I’m not trying to butter them up, that’s just the way I see it).
Both of them have many projects in which they’ve distinguished themselves over three decades (I’m not trying to make them feel old, that’s just the facts), but I do believe this is the first time they’ve joined forces. Under the banner of PermaDeath they’ve recorded an album entitled Vermillion, which will be released this spring by Hecatombe Records. Stuvemark handles the guitar, bass, and keys, while Rogga lends his scorching howls — and they’re aided by drummer extraordinaire Jon Skäre, and by other talented vocalist guests, including Lars ”Lerta” Palmqvist, Jonny Pettersson, and Thobbe Englund.
The first song we have from the album is the title track. If you’re expecting “old school Swedish death metal”, you’re due for a surprise. The music is often abrasive, discordant, eerie, and wailing, like a flight through poltergeist kingdoms. There are more than a few chances to bang your head, but the tempo changes frequently, and the juxtaposition of brawling fretwork chaos and a slow, fluid, dolorous lead just adds to the song’s strange and unexpected permutations. Perhaps the biggest surprise comes near the end, with a clean, melodic vocal chorus followed by moody guitar picking, which together give the end of the song a dreamlike quality.
I found “Vermillion” fascinating, and definitely not the kind of track you can fully absorb on a single listen. I’m not sure when the album will be released, but I’ll be watching this page like a hawk to find out:
For a reason very similar to why I fixated on PermaDeath, I glommed on to Premature Burial: Because of the pedigree of who’s behind it. In this case it’s JM Dopico, whose work in Machetazo, Bodybag, and Dishammer (among others) you should know without me having to tell you. Like Stuvemark and Johansson, he’s been kicking ass with his music for 30 years.
He does (almost) everything on the debut album of Premature Burial, the name of which is Antihuman. I really didn’t need to know anything else besides the name of the person who made the album, but you might, and so I’ll share a bit of the press material, which mentions a mix of influences “from the glorious 80’s Heavy Metal, Doom Rock and Punk” and drops names likes Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost, Motörhead, Voivoid, Saint Vitus, Mercyful Fate, The Obsessed, Venom, Carnivore, and Amebix.
If reading that list fucks up your head, I don’t blame you. But when you listen to the song below, it’s not as outlandish a combination as you might think. The hard-driving opening riff and the surging, rocking drum beat of the track are geared toward immediate head-movement, while Dopico‘s vicious, bestial growls give it a sinister edge. As the music keeps moving, you’ll be treated to some classic heavy metal gold; a shrieking, boiling solo; and basically a three-and-a-half-minute headbang orgy. It’s also virally infectious.
Not all those influences mentioned above are to be found in this one song, but there are a bunch of other songs to come, and this one makes me eager to hear all the rest.
(Óscar Dafonte, a virtuous guitar player and music teacher, recorded all the guitar solos featured in the album.)
Antihuman will be released by Selfmadegod Records on May 1st. The cover art is by Nor Prego.
To conclude this excessively delayed round-up of new music I chose a song from the new album by the German trio Vagrant. With a name like that I suspected hardcore, crust, or sludge, but all those guesses were dead wrong across the board.
Judging by the lyric video for the first single from their debut album, The Rise of Norn (as if you couldn’t guess from that title), Vagrant‘s music is melodic death metal with roots in Nordic myth. “Blood On A Crow’s Beak” is an irresistible gallop of heroic riffing and glorious leads, of compulsive rhythms and scorching vocals, accented by acoustic strumming and ominous keyboard layers. The tale in the song is a tragic one, and there is sorrow in the atmosphere when the warlike charge abates, sharing a dying warrior’s final thoughts. I’ll add that the song is very catchy.
The Rise of Norn will be released on June 14th by Black Lion Records.