To get this new week off to a rousing start I have a round-up of new music from six bands, culled from the good, the bad, and the ugly sounds that found their way to my earholes this past weekend. As is often the case, part of my design in this culling was to provide a selection of metal that might appeal to a range of tastes.
2019 has already proven to be another banner year for death metal, but the news that Sorcery will be releasing a new album still lit up my head like a Roman candle. I know it seems like my enthusiasm overflows on a daily basis around here (the appearances, by the way, aren’t deceiving), but Sorcery still occupy a special place in my black-hearted affections. (The fact that their new album is adorned with another fantastic piece of artwork by Juanjo Castellano is sweet icing on the cake.)
I confess that a big part of my affection can be sourced to the fact that Sorcery’s roots (and recordings) go back to the mid-’80s — AND to the fact (and it is a fact) that despite a 22-year hibernation after 1991’s Bloodchilling Tales, they’ve been killing it again since their return with 2013’s Arrival at Six. Death metal revivals aren’t rare these days, but at least in my estimation few have been as welcome or as accomplished as this band’s.
Sorcery’s new album, Necessary Excess of Violence (great title), will be released on August 20 by Xtreem Music (on CD and vinyl), preceded by the song I’ve chosen to start today’s collection, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark“. If its hammering beat and flaring riff don’t get your head moving within five seconds, you may be in need of mouth-mouth resuscitation (don’t look at me, I don’t know where your mouth has been).
Apart from its intensely head-moving qualities and deliciously radioactive guitar tone, the song is wild — from the unhinged vocals to the shrieking guitar solo. And it’s also massive in its mauling heaviness, and authentically morbid. That ability to channel sensations that are gruesome, ghastly, destructive, and delirious, all within the same song, is an example of why Sorcery continue to sound so fiercely alive more than 30 years after they began.
From humble underground beginnings as a kind of side project for many of its members, Crypt Sermon has in very short order achieved tremendous notoriety, and justly so, with a meteoric rise propelled by the strength of their 2015 debut album, Out of the Garden, and by riveting live performances that have been showcased at one prominent festival after another on both sides of the Atlantic (seriously, if you haven’t seen them on stage and have the chance to do so, jump at it).
Many of us who fell hard for that first album have been curious (and perhaps some have been a little anxious) about what they would do on their second one, The Ruins of Fading Light, which is now set for release by Dark Descent Records on September 13th. It’s fair to say that they’ve tried some new things, but if anything, the music here is darker and more extreme in some ways than Out of the Garden. It’s also going to please the hell out of everyone who loved the first record.
The first advance track, “Key of Solomon“, oozes esoteric atmosphere, with sinuous black-magic leads that kindle the imagination and predictably extravagant vocals that are as sorcerous as they are fervent and fanatical. It’s also a heavy beast, with a big low-end tone and a bruising central riff that, especially when coupled with the compulsive drum rhythms, are capable of putting you into a full-body lurch. Of course, Crypt Sermon are a doom band first and foremost, but this song soars as much as it chills, and the solo is a glorious, fiery creature.
It probably goes without saying, if you’ve heard the last album, but the song is also damned catchy.
As for the inspiration for the song’s lyrics, vocalist Brooks Wilson has commented, “We live in a time where the practices of science and magic serve distinctly different purposes. This was not always the case. The Italian Renaissance was an age where science and magic intertwined; summoning rituals connecting exorcists to esoteric revelations. ‘Key of Solomon’ refers to a pseudepigraphical text of the same name.”
MORE DETAILS: The line-up on the new album includes new bassist Frank Chin, in addition to the original foursome of Brooks Wilson, guitarists Steve Jannson and James Lipczynski, and drummer Enrique Sagarnaga. Credit for the album’s cover art also goes to Brooks Wilson. As on the first album, the music on the new one was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Eternal Champion, Sumerlands, etc.) at Creep Records.
Someone needs to send Andy Synn a button he can wear that reads I’M A BAEST SUPER-FAN!!!, with lots of sparkly hearts and rainbows all around it. For weeks he’s been bugging me to include their new single in a round-up, with threats of continued nagging until I acquiesced.
To be clear, it wasn’t that I felt ho-hum about the single (I didn’t even check it out until this past weekend), it was because I had so little time in recent weeks to prepare these collections. But now I find myself in a win-win situation: I’ve discovered a hell of a good song, and Mr. Synn will perhaps now message me about something other than Baest.
The new single (which comes with a video) is named “Gula“, and it really is a single, which you can download by itself even though it’s also destined to appear on a Baest album called Venenum.
If you’re fond of the shapely spherical nature of your head, you can kiss that good-by, because it will be flatter than a dinner plate after this brutish, primitive dose of megaton pounding is done with you. The song does do other things besides using that massive HM-2 guitar tone and lead-weighted rhythm section to clobber the bejesus out of you. It also cuts like a circle saw, jolts like a jackhammer, crawls like a reanimated but partially dismembered corpse, and periodically erupts in violent, chaotic frenzies. The vocals are a howling, roaring horror. In other words, it’s fantastic.
Venenum will be released on September 13, and pre-sales will begin on July 5th.
“A nano technological war has been unleashed in the void to defeat the last sower of human life, Krighsu. In a desperate attempt to help a galactic system in danger, Krighsu must access the vast Metaportal; what he doesn’t know yet is the reason for its existence.” And so begins the continuation of Wormed’s sci-fi narrative on a new EP named (of course) Metaportal.
I’m virtually certain that no one reading this round-up will need any introduction to Wormed, but in the unlikely event that one of you has no idea what to expect from “Cryptoubiquity“, which is the latest track from the EP to surface, it might be best to sit down before listening and have a syringe of horse tranquilizer on-hand for afterward.
For everyone else, you know what to expect, but that doesn’t make what you get any less exciting. And what you’ll get on this new song is a combination of hyper-speed drumming and fretwork, punishing brutality, highly unstable tempos, utterly foul gutturals, freakish discordance, and a closing segment of cosmic ambience to remind you that you left our planet as soon as you pressed play.
Metaportal will be released by Season of Mist on July 19th. Below you’ll find not only the latest advance track but also a stream of “Remote Void“.
I’ve been meaning to write something about the debut album of Axioma for weeks. In fact, I actually imagined that I had, but can find no evidence of it. And now the album is streaming in full (it was released on June 28 by Translation Loss), so my flowery words are perhaps less useful now than they might have been a week or two ago. But I still want to call your attention to Crown, even though I lack the time to discuss it as comprehensively as I’d like to.
Part of the reason that serious time would be needed to prepare a serious review is that the album is difficult to sum up succinctly. The music is genre-bending from beginning to end, but the songs also differ from each other, even though they’re all called upon to express the horror of humanity’s most vile and base need — the need to destroy and to control, “an unnatural aberration that kills and enslaves others to survive”.
The music is frequently full to the brim with fury and terror, manifested in different ways, deploying elements of black metal, death metal, sludge, post-metal, and doom — and other surprising ingredients (you’ll get a taste of one of them right off the bat, in the middle of “Sacred Killing Machine”, which the band made the subject of a music video you’ll find below). But there’s a lot more going on here than those sensations alone.
The tempos and moods are highly variable, usually within each song. On one end of the spectrum, when the band are really flying, the music is both technically impressive and breathtakingly violent. On the other end, Axioma are capable of creating seductive narcotic spells, of turning your inner ear upside down in slow, queasy miasmas of dissonance, and of sitting on your chest, oppressively squeezing the air from your lungs, like a heavy demon gazing hungrily into your eyes and drawing closer and closer to your throat.
Axioma are quite capable of giving you severe neck sprain too, but equally capable of pulling you into dire and dismal hallucinations, or doing their best to shred you with a cyclone of knives. It’s a fascinating, remarkably creative album from beginning to end, though to be fair, none of it will make you feel very good about the future, and a lot of it will make you look over your shoulder, fearful about what’s looming behind you.
You could throw a dart at the track list and almost always come away transfixed, but if a sample is what you’re after, I’ll cast a vote for the closing track, “Auto Da Fe“.
I did say at the outset of today’s collection that I aimed to provide variety, and there’s no better proof of that than the decision to include the new album by the bracket-obsessed Polish band . Although this album, [aether], is the band’s fifth full-length, it’s the first one I’ve been exposed to, and so I’m in no position to provide history or context. I will, however, quote the list of “Artists We Also Like” on the “About” section of their FB page: “NIN, deftones, tool, samo, vz, nyia, antigama, meshuggah, cannibal corpse, fear factory, korn, imminent“.
Got that? Well, I don’t blame you if that list doesn’t necessarily add up to anything you can imagine or make concrete. I don’t think the music really amalgamates all of those other sounds either, though the band don’t really make that claim. But the album is still a fascinating trip, and I’d say the majority of those references are relevant.
 don’t mess around with long songs. Almost all of them are in the two-to-three-minute range, and the others are shorter. I don’t think I can be any more succinct about the experience than Rennie of starkweather, who pointed me to the recording and who characterized the music as “Meshuggah meets Antigama“. And it is indeed a twisted amalgam of bone-smashing, Meshuggah-like poly-rhythms and grind-like dementia; Fear Factory would be another good reference.
 also put lots of other things into their fuming cauldron… including a rich toxic stew of crazed vocals (as well as some actual singing), industrial-strength grooves, bursts of asylum-like melody, drum artillery that would put uniformed professionals to shame, wisps of alien ambience, and enough tabs of LSD to wake Timothy Leary from his eternal slumber.
In a word, it’s nuts — and in another word, it’s fucking fantastic.
The music also led Rennie to remember a similar Polish act named [vz], whose name also appears in that list of Artists We Also Like, and may be related to  if the brackets are any clue (there’s some relationship in the music too). Below I’ve included one of several [vz] videos with an S&M theme to the visuals. This one, “psychogram“, is 9 years old, but as Rennie said, it “remains punishing”. The video, by the way, is most definitely NOT SAFE FOR WORK (not even a little bit).
UPDATE: Thanks to a comment below, we’ve learned that there is indeed a connection between  and [vz], and we’ve also discovered a fascinating video for [aether]‘s title track, which is now included along with the album stream, just before the video for “psychogram“.
[aether] was released on May 31st.