I’m posting this Friday round-up on my way to Sea-Tac airport, where I hope to depart the area for a mini-vacation in Wyoming with a bunch of other miscreants, returning Monday night. I’m not sure how much else I’ll be able to write for NCS between now and then, and I’ve been scurrying even to get this round-up completed before I disappear into the wild blue yonder.
A ton of new music has appeared over the last 24 hours, much of it from bigger names in the metal cosmos. I’ve included some of that here, but not all of it. There is, for example, a video released today for a new Insomnium song called “Valediction” (here) from the album Heart Like A Grave, out on October 4th, that I haven’t included. I assume it’s proving to be a crowd-pleaser. I’ve only listened to it once, and it did get its hooks in my noggin, but I also have some mixed feelings about it. And anyway, I wanted to make room for a couple of more obscure names in addition to the big ones below.
I’m beginning with a video for a new song by Alcest named “Protection“, from their new album Spiritual Instinct. Here’s what vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Neige had to say about it:
“‘Protection’ is the first track I wrote for Spiritual Instinct. It’s probably one of our most heavy, spontaneous songs. It is about inner conflict, the tension between the spiritual and darker sides of a person, facing your own anguishes in order to embrace them and then fight them. Like the other tracks on the album, writing it was a very cathartic, healing process for me.”
I like this song quite a lot. It is definitely heavy, with a sludgy low-end weight, but it also includes crystalline guitar melodies, and of course a striking contrast in Neige’s vocals as well. It’s mesmerizing, and it also builds to a rage. The video made for the song by Craig Murray turns out to be as fascinating as the music, though I didn’t think it would be at first.
Spiritual Instinct will be released on released on October 25th by Nuclear Blast.
I’ve been slobbering over Necrolord’s cover art for this album since the day it was publicly revealed. Now I can slobber over a song as well. The song, released through a music video (filmed by by Jonna Andersson), is “Black Storm“, the first single from In Mourning‘s new album Garden of Storms.
My comrade DGR remarked in our private NCS group, “The opening few minutes sound like they could’ve come right off of Shrouded Divine, holy shit”. A bit later he remarked, “Oh man, and then the back half channels ‘The Poet and the Painter of Souls’ from Monolith“.
Which leaves me, I guess, to comment about the middle of the song, which is great. The song drives drives really hard at first, but then slows and becomes more ethereal when Tobias Netzell begins singing. The way the song ramps up again is killer, with the guitar flickering over staccato bursts by the bass and drums, and a rhythm eventually emerging, joined by a second guitar just before the surge fully resumes.
The video is quite attractive, too (and I’m referring in particular to the beautiful, elfin redhead).
THE GREAT OLD ONES
Next on this playlist is a lyric video for another song from the new album by those French metal Lovecraftians, The Great Old Ones. Here’s the band’s introduction to it:
“We are proud to present you ‘Nyarlathotep,’ a song based on the Lovecraft’s text with the same name. What better than a dark and heavy track to bring us in front of the ‘messenger, heart, and soul’ of the Outer Gods, to sink into madness and the knowledge of occult secrets. Enjoy the encounter, be afraid for your sanity. He is the scourge, he is the wounds, he is the purge, who brings the final dooms.”
The song is a classic build, beginning with a metronomic drum beat and deep droning bass reverberations, joined by bleak, oppressive chord progressions and savage growls. It sounds magisterial and menacing, and a flickering guitar lead emerges that’s the sound of anguish and incipient madness.
The song’s gigantic rhythmic pulse is made for the slow headbang, but includes sequences of juggernaut drum pounding and craggy bass hammering. And it does build — toward an apocalyptic crescendo, becoming an all-enveloping storm of sound with an intense, otherworldly solo driving the music to a cacophonous conclusion.
Mahasamadhi is the debut album of Selenite, a project created by Stefan Traunmüller of the ’90s symphonic bleak metal band Golden Dawn. Here, he wrote and recorded everything, joined by an operatic soprano on two tracks. The music is described in the PR material as an amalgam of symphonic black metal, funeral doom, and doom/death.
The first advance track from the album, “Final Reckoning“, is yet another in this round-up that has a heavyweight bass pulse, and it also features a neck-bending, gut-bruising drum performance. The music is mid-paced and gloomy, but the principal melody is carried by high wailing vocals, and it’s haunting. The melody is eventually picked up and carried by the guitar, as the vocals drop into a deep growl. The combined effect is spellbinding.
About 4 minutes in, the song briefly picks up energy with a jabbing riff over a rumbling low end, so you can move your head faster (and you’ll want to), before resuming its stately ferry crossing over the Styx.
Mahasamadhi will be released on October 21st by Seance Records.
I previously reviewed the debut EP of the atmospheric death metal band Jade in 2018 when it was released digitally and on tape. Now, on October 11 it will be released by Pulverised Records on MCD and MLP with new artwork (by Adam Burke) and design. The Swedish label Nigredo Records will also release a limited digipack CD edition.
I thought this news was a good excuse to include one of the great songs on that EP here today, which is now streaming at a new Bandcamp page for Jade. This song, “Dead Stone Mask“, is another build. Over a heavy, jolting, and crashing rhythm we hear an urgent, deleterious guitar motif that begins to cycle and to build an atmosphere of anguish, accompanied by a mix of deep, serrated roars and wild echoing cries.
That guitar refrain ratchets the tension like a methodically winding wrench, climbing higher and higher in the registry, weeping and crying out in pain, and eventually the drummer kicks up his own intensity with a hammering snare beat. The repetitions within the song become mesmerizing, even as the music draws us closer and closer to an emotional bonfire, whose heat becomes searing near the end.
As I hear them, the songs I’ve collected in this post up to now have certain similarities in sound and mood. So, to conclude the collection, I decided to kick the music into overdrive with a new single by an Israeli band I’ve written about before — Svpremacist (creators of “Black Fuck You Metal”).
This new track, “No Life Matters“, appears on MILIM KASHOT VOL. 1, a compilation that will be released on September 25th by the Tel Aviv-based music website Machine Music. It’s a technically impressive performance, and the fireball energy and blazing ferocity of the track make it even more exhilarating.
In fact, it makes me think of a wild, whirling dance and a head-long rush happening at the same time. The music seems to whip around like a dervish, to leap into the air, to careen off the walls in a mad melee. The energy really is explosive, and the mood is one of delirious ecstasy, though the caustic vocals are undeniably vicious. The song does slow down briefly — just before an insane solo that presages the whirlwind spinning up again.
There are some other tracks from the compilation now streaming at Bandcamp, and I definitely intend to check them out this weekend while I’m gazing at the Teton Range.