I took the weekend off for a short road trip with my spouse. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry on Friday morning to get out of town I might have thought to mention that, so people wouldn’t get the wrong idea about why we didn’t post anything over the weekend. I didn’t listen to any new metal over the weekend either (my wife has no use for it), at least not until after we got home last night. And I didn’t have enough time to make much of a dent in my listening list after the return home — but enough time to find the new songs you’ll find below, all of which are IMHO great.
My introduction to this Galician black/death band came through their 2013 EP, As Fontes Do Negrume (“The Origin Of Darkness”), which demonstrated the band’s impressive ability to combine exotic melody and harrowing ferocity. The conviction only grew stronger three years later when they participated in a split release (Resvrrezionespiritval) with Ysengrin, which Semjaza of Thy Darkened Shade included in his 2016 year-end list for our site, with praise. Early last year we premiered their next release, a split with Balmog, which only strengthened the attraction to their music.
Now, at last, Sartegos has a debut album on the way: On November 29th Blood Harvest Records and I, Voidhanger Records will jointly release O Sangue Da Noite.
The song below, “Sangue e Noite“, is a great introduction to the new album. The band’s principal creator Rou Morgade (joined here by drummer J. Farré) has concocted killer riffs that are jittery and braying, swarming and jolting, and melodically fiery and poisonous. The clean guitar leads that surface when the hurtling drum drive slows are eerie and seductive pieces of witchery, while Rou‘s deep growls (giving monstrous voice to Galician lyrics) are chilling. Electrifying stuff….
I, Voidhanger is releasing the album on CD; Blood Harvest is releasing it on tape and vinyl. Digital downloads will be available through both labels.
My comrade TheMadIsraeli reviewed Avslut’s 2018 debut album, Deceptis, calling them “a delightfully straight-forward Swedish melodic black metal band who waste no time and are all about consistent blast-beats and double-bass with atmospheric, full-chorded riffing and gorgeous sinister and enigmatic leads”, and comparing the record to “the best of bands like Naglfar or Nordjevel“.
Avslut’s second album Tyranni is now set for release by Osmose Productions on November 29th. I haven’t yet had time to listen to all of it, but the first advance track (which is the title track) is terrific. The drum propulsion is fast as jets, the vocals an ugly snarling, the riffing an alternating display of furious, soaring ecstasy and miserable bleakness. The rhythms turn out to be a dynamic affair, and the band periodically put some severe jolts into your neck while they charge through this grand, intense narrative.
The first two bands in this collection were known quantities and already respected ones, but this part-Norwegian/part-Icelandic group is a new discovery — and they’re kind of astonishing. Only after being wowed by the two songs below did I discover that Golden Core‘s two members — guitarist Simen Jakobsen Harstad and vocalist/drummer Johannes Thor Sandal — are only 15 and 17 years old, respectively. Their new album Fimbultýr was produced by Blood Command’s Yngve Andersen and mixed by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, and it’s not even their first album (that one was released in 2017).
Fimbultýr is described as “a concept album, spinning around the Norse god Óðinn, the mythology, rune magic, knowledge, curse, death and war”, with lyrics that were mostly inspired by the Poetic Edda and Old Norse Skaldic poetry. It will be released by Fysisk Format on November 1st.
The song “Hrafnaspá” is a huge head-mover and a potent gut-puncher. The big, thick riffs are heavily hook-laden and deliciously groovesome, and the rhythm section know how to make you want to move from head to toe. And while there’s a stoner-rock quality to the song, particularly in the gloriously twisting, fuzzed-out leads, the vocals are as vicious as rabid wolverines. At the end, the song also drifts away on cosmic lanes, gliding on shimmering keyboards and spacey bass tones. I’m warning you now: The song is obscenely infectious, so be prepared to have it stuck in your head like a spike.
The second track, “Villist Vættir“, is also hook-laden, but veers into black metal through gales of tremolo’d riffing and blasting percussion. It doesn’t last long, but long enough to switch the mood into more brooding and anguished territory.
Who knows what the rest of the album holds in store, given the variety displayed by these two tracks alone? Well, I will find out soon and let you know.
New Jersey’s Toothgrinder have shared another new song from their upcoming third album, I AM, which will be released on October 11 through Spinefarm Records. That song, “The Silence of a Sleeping WASP,” is a big, battering, bruising brawler — and a jangling, buzzing rocker, with varying vocals that include clean wailing tones which become one of the song’s many melodic hooks. A friend once compared Toothgrinder to a splicing of Dillinger Escape Plan and Faith No More. I’m beginning to understand that now.
In the spring of 2018, when I saw that Zarraza were based in Kazakhstan, I couldn’t resist checking out their music. I do have a weakness for underdogs, and given that Kazakhstan is not exactly the best-positioned launching pad for metal bands, Zarraza seem to qualify as such. Their touring, for example, has taken them to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan rather than Berlin, Paris, Rome, or London, much less North America. But of course, a band’s location has no inherent connection to the strength or weakness of their music, and in this case Zarraza’s debut album Necroshiva was pretty damned good.
Zarraza are following that album with an EP named Rotten Remains, scheduled for release on November 29th. According to the band, the songs on the EP are old, but have been re-recorded by the current line-up.
What you’ll find below, to close out today’s selection, is a video for a track from the EP named “The Grudge ’19“. The video was filmed in the mountains around Big Almaty Lake in Almaty, Kazakhstan and features guest musician Anar Kassymova playing a traditional instrument called the kyl-kobyz. The setting of the video is striking, and you’ll also see that it includes a bit of weather, which the band commented on as follows:
“There is a belief that every time someone approach sacred places in the mountains, spirits send out bad weather to keep away uninvited guests. It seems a stone bowl of giant boulders near the Big Almaty Lake is such a special place. While filming on the lake went smoothly, the same task in stone bowl was a challenge. Every time we started shooting, it was snowing. When we stopped filming, the snow stopped too. We’d start to shoot again — and again, the snow! But in the video, it looks good. No harm done.”
There are no vocals in this particular song, but I didn’t miss them. The eerie, theremin-like wailing of that old Kazakh horsehair-stringed instrument make a fine substitute for a voice, and as for the heavy metal in the song, it will kick your pulse rate into high gear through a barrage of jolting, jackhammering riffs and skull-busting rhythms, segmented by bursts of interesting drum beats and accented by fire-breathing guitar solos. The integration of the shamanistic melodies of the kyl-kobyz and the metallic extremity really is beautifully done.