I can’t think of anything very coherent to say by way of introduction this week, perhaps because the music below has rendered me incoherent. [Correction: more incoherent.] So let’s just go right in:
Void Prayer (previously known as Cave Ritual) are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its members are part of the Black Plague Circle, which also includes Nigrum Ignis Circuli, Deathcircle, Niteris, and Obskuritatem. Their previous releases under the Void Prayer name include a 2014 self-titled demo and a 2017 debut album, Stillbirth From the Psychotic Void, neither of which I’ve heard, but about which I’ve heard good things.
The Signal Rex label will be releasing a new Void Prayer three-track promo tape called L’appel du vide (“the call of the void”), and the first song in this collection is its title track.
All the references to the void which surround the band and their titles suggest a certain kind of blood-freezing atmospheric black metal, and “L’appel du vide” bears out that inference. The sound is abrasively raw, the voice a shrieking horror, the mood intensely wretched and unhinged. But within this storm of suffering are head-hooking rhythmic ingredients and clean, ringing guitar tones that provide an ethereal and mesmerizing contrast to the surrounding vortex. The near-clean wailing vocals provide another contrast, though they don’t diminish the song’s ravaging intensity, which becomes further magnified by a shrill, flickering solo.
The song really is incredibly intense. It’s frighteningly deranged, and all the gleaming, mystical tonalities give it a hallucinatory quality. The sound is so dense and distorted that you probably won’t be able to really focus on everything that happens in the track on just one listen, and I’ve found that the time spent going through it again and again, focusing on just one thing at a time, is time well spent.
I haven’t found a release date or pre-order info for this tape. My thanks (for the 1000th time, give or take) go to Rennie (starkweather) for recommending this track.
Through my acquaintance with this German band’s 2015 debut EP, Archar, and their 2018 first album, Maltrér, I became impressed with their ability to create dramatic music of anthemic grandeur and funereal darkness (among other sensations). And now, hot on the heels of their debut album the band will be releasing a second full-length named Monolith.
Of the two songs from the new album that are currently streaming, the title track is fast and furious, with a strong bass pulse, racing drumwork, and ebullient hammering chords mixed with cascades of high, wondrous melody, flickering arpeggios, and strident, impassioned vocals. It really gets the blood surging and the head hammering, and the sheer, unbridled vibrancy of the music is glorious. It’s a savage and severe onslaught, to be sure, but so emotionally explosive that I think if you’re feeling down in the dumps it will instead make you feel like you can fight the world and win.
The second song now available, “He who sowed a poisoned seed“, is also a high-energy surge, but perhaps more melodically exotic, and both more melancholy and more delirious in its moods. There are chiming and trilling tones in the song that really make an impression, mixed in with some killer head-moving riffs and even more extravagant vocal fieriness and rage. The bassist and drummer really shine in the song, and there’s a great guitar solo as well. Like the title track, it’s a multi-faceted and dynamic affair, and one that’s a huge thrill every time I’ve heard it.
Monolith will be released on October 4th by Vendetta Records.
Some songs seduce a listener faster than others, and the solo guitar melody that opens Disharmony‘s “Corpus Christi” (backed by shimmering, sorcerous, gothic keyboard tones) does so within a dozen seconds. It’s a moody, soulful melody that’s completely captivating, and it becomes increasingly enchanting as the moments pass. The song builds in intensity through a magnetic drum performance and the evolution of the melody through a sequence of killer riffs, and the advent of throat-cutting vocal fervor.
The song becomes a big head-mover, and the extended solo that arrives near the end is fantastic. Waves of wonderful melody carry the song to a grand finish. In the ancient Greek way, the entire track is an amalgam of dark rock, “classic” heavy metal, and black metal that’s absolutely magickal.
“Corpus Christi” comes from Messe de Minuit, a four-song EP that was released about a year ago on tape by Iron Bonehead Productions. I discovered it more recently because Iron Bonehead now plans to release it on 12″ vinyl and CD on November 29, with a fifth bonus track named “Midnight Mass” that’s more than 22 minutes long and is reportedly an excerpt from a real Satanic mass. I’d say that’s a hell of a bonus.
P.S. We’ve written previously about another Greek band also named Disharmony. This isn’t that one. This Greek band originated in 1990 but were dormant from 1993 until the release of their debut album Goddamn the Sun in 2017.
BLOT & BOD
I’m following that last excerpt from an Iron Bonehead release with another excerpt from an Iron Bonehead release. This one comes from the second album by the part-Danish, part-Norwegian trio Blot & Bod, whose first full-length Ligæder I reviewed (all too briefly but quite enthusiastically) here. The new one, entitled Ormekongens Argelist, will be released by IBP on December 6th.
Like the preceding Disharmony track, the song below, “Arg“, sets the hook damned fast with big distorted fanfare chords and bursts of pummeling drum thunder. And then the ravaging begins in earnest, with a wall of caustic riffing and electrifying drumwork. Undergirded by a heavy bass thrum, the drum patterns change frequently, and slashing punk-like riffs enter the fray, along with completely insane vocals. You’ll have chances to get your head moving, but rampant, violent chaos reigns just as often. It’s the kind of musical melee whose incendiary energy is highly contagious as well.
BLOT & BOD:
DIE KUNST DER FINSTERNIS
“Die Kunst Der Finsternis performs Gothic Horror Metal exclusively.” That statement appears on the Bandcamp page for the band’s new album Revenant in a Phantom World, and the first advance track from that album is indeed a summoning of Gothic horror.
But the song doesn’t begin that way. This makes the third track in a row that sets the hook fast. This one does it through a dose of vicious, fleet-fingered mauling with a ravaging juggernaut quality, even though the underlying drum rhythm is measured and metronomic. With truly barbaric vocal hostility in the mix, this opening sequence is a pulse-pounder, but transformations do occur as the racing momentum abates and an eerie melotron-like keyboard melody becomes the accompaniment to those extravagant, creepy vocals. The sound is vampiric, oppressive, frightening…
Deep, chant-like wails and buzzing riffage increase the music’s poisonous and otherworldly aura, with bursts of compulsive drum mania and bubbling bass notes providing a handhold on reality in the midst of all the other nightmarish and exotic sounds.
Revenant in a Phantom World is the third album by this Swedish one-man project, and is accompanied by a sub-title which refers to it as a “Queen of Owls Addendum” (Queen of Owls is the band’s second album). It will be jointly released by Lamech Records and Amor Fati Productions on October 31st (a fitting release date indeed).
To close this week’s selection I’ve chosen a two-track EP named Like the Wind by a new atmospheric black metal band named Lesath, whose sole member prefers to remain anonymous. It was digitally released on September 24th.
The first of the two tracks provides a sharp contrast to everything else I’ve collected today. It proceeds under the drive of a mid-paced but hard-punching drum rhythm, and the melodies are carried by a layered acoustic guitar performance that’s beautiful but very sad. The vocals are sheer wretchedness, adding to the song’s depressive mood. After an acoustic solo, the song seems to become brighter. The drum beat becomes more vibrant, the cymbals vibrantly crash, and there’s a lilting quality to the melody, backed by slow, sweeping cascades of sound, that bespeaks hopefulness (even if the vocals still sound ravaged).
The second song, on the other hand, begins in scalding fashion. The drums gallop and batter; the riffing sears the senses; the vocals are full of splintering pain. There are again waves of grand but dolorous melody that cascade high above all the torment, providing a sense of wonder to the terrible misfortune, and the ringing guitars, shimmering keyboards, and syncopated rhythms near the end once more provide glimmers of something better on the horizon.