I didn’t expect to prepare another new-music round-up so soon, since I posted one of these just yesterday, but I found myself with enough free time — just barely enough — to do it. Without further ado:
Yesterday brought us the debut of a track called “The Hardship of the Scots” from the new album by Darkthrone, Old Star. Unsurprisingly, the news of a new Darkthrone song spread like wildfire, and predictably provoked reflexive praise. The thing is, such reflexes have been conditioned by decades of praiseworthy work by this band, and in this instance (more importantly), it really is a hell of a good song — which I have had serious difficulty getting out of my head so I can focus on other things.
“BLACK OLD HEAVY METAL with slow thrash, classic doom and slow death metal” is a top-level description of Old Star by Fenriz, who also calls it “our most 80s album so far and our most metal one to date.” It was Fenriz who wrote this particular song, and it lives up to those overview statements.
Launched by a brazen, blaring riff and a rocking beat, the song seques into a dismal, dragging crawl accompanied by the reverberation of ghastly, wraithlike vocals. After moving back and forth (and bringing forth a mewling and wailing solo steeped in misery), the band launch a further progression, with a jittery/braying riff and a head-hammering percussive cadence that’s both gloomy and fiery. Ultimately, the song spirals upward and vibrates in a sign of tragic glory (a movement that Fenriz likens to “epic 20-year-old ENSLAVED or something”). The whole song has tremendous visceral appeal, but it’s that final segment that really rooted the track damned deep in my head.
A few more details: Old Star was recorded at the band’s Necrohell 2 Studios, with engineering and production duties carried out by Nocturno Culto. It was mixed by Sanford Parker and mastered by Jack Control, and the excellent cover art was crafted by Chadwick St John (a piece entitled “The Shepherd of the Deep”).
Old Star will be released by Peaceville on May 31st.
OLD STAR TRACK LIST:
1. I Muffle Your Inner Choir [06:26]
2. The Hardship Of The Scots [07:36]
3. Old Star [04:28]
4. Alp Man [05:27]
5. Duke Of Gloat [06:49]
6. The Key Is Inside The Wall [07:24]
I have a well-disclosed weakness for the Norwegian band Vulture Industries, in no small part due to the distinctive, theatrical vocals of Bjørnar Nilsen and the idiosyncracies of the their music, which seems to delight in mangling genre boundaries. And so I wasted little time in checking out the band’s new single, “Deeper“, which debuted yesterday via Dark Essence Records, with cover art by Costin Choireanu.
I think I’ll just let Bjørnar Nilsen introduce the song:
“‘Deeper‘ tells the story of man’s insatiable greed for more, as symbolized by the miners digging all the way to Hell. Starting out with a haunting trumpet solo, the track mixes a Spaghetti Western vibe with the rhythmic and melodic drive of a large-scale rock opus. Musically, ‘Deeper’ nods in the direction of such diverse acts as Ennio Morricone, Type O Negative, The Beatles, and Lee Hazlewood, but at the same time there is also a solid dose of rock and metal, in the signature form of Vulture Industries“.
STELLAR MASTER ELITE
The next item I’ve chosen is the latest track to be revealed from Hologram Temple, the fourth album by Germany’s Stellar Master Elite, which will be released on May 3rd by Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork.
At the outset, “Ad Infinitum” sounds like funeral doom, both massive and celestial, conceived and recorded a few year lights from our system. Later, the song hammers and slashes, pulsates and shimmers, blazes in grim yet extravagant glory, and becomes a shivering emanation from the void. Your head will bang if it doesn’t crack open first. The vocals, as always, are more intense than a sucking chest wound.
And finally, yesterday brought us a lyric video for a track named “Shell Shock” from the third album by Memoriam, Requiem For Mankind. If you’re unfamiliar with Memoriam and don’t know who’s in the line-up, you’ll find out in the lyric video. If you’re not a fan of old school death metal, then we’ll bid you good-by right now. But otherwise, I’m guessing you’ll enjoy this new track — which is a vicious, turbocharged headbanger, melding electrifying, neck-wrecking riffs and bleak melodies suitable to the subject matter. Karl Willetts‘ vocals are, of course, tremendous.
Dan Segrave created the cover art for Requiem For Mankind. The album is due for release on June 21st by Nuclear Blast.