Just a few opening notes:
First, all of the following songs are the first advance tracks from forthcoming albums, The opening four in today’s collection are absolutely wild, and the first three of those put me in mind of the kind of full-throttle, all-enveloping extravagance that often forms the closing movement of a classical symphony.
Second, today I’m just launching immediately into thoughts about the songs I picked, and providing the details about the bands and the releases only after that.
Third, I’m so far behind in mentioning recently released full albums from the black realms that I have in mind another one of these columns tomorrow, which won’t include full reviews of those albums but only teasers. Because that won’t take me as much time, there’s a greater likelihood I’ll be able to follow through.
You will notice a feverish piano arpeggio rippling through “Alone Among Wolves“, surrounded by titanic percussive detonations, neck-wrecking snare patterns, and full-on light-speed blasting, as well as searing waves of whirring chords and scorching vocals. The mood of the music is ominous and perilous at first, and grows increasingly unhinged and unearthly, though still bleak, yet the rising splendor of the music is unmistakable.
As mentioned above, the song reminds me of an extravagant symphonic finale, and its own soaring crescendo is itself extravagant. However, you’ll get a chance to breathe again as the song then guides you out into the cosmos on mystical ambient waves.
The song comes from Age of Capricorn by the Polish black metal band Arkona. It will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on December 13th.
“Serpent As Time Reveals” immediately surges ahead in a blast-driven race. The writhing and roiling riffs are fast and riveting, and remain so as the song unfolds. The drummer astutely chooses when to change patterns and tempos, and the riffing morphs as well, at times seeming like a whirling dance but also like a glorious war charge across the heavens. The band also employ techniques from outside black meta, interweaving grand heavy metal chords and bursts of thrash riffing as well.
What an ebullient and absolutely thrilling spectacle this is!
“Serpent As Time Reveals” will be included on Cosmic Terror, the second album by the German trio The Spirit. AOP Records plans to release it on February 4, 2020. The cover art was created by Valnois (Metastazis).
(Thanks to eiterorm for pointing me to this new song.)
Like the preceding songs I’ve chosen today, “Burial Mound” leaps ahead immediately in a riotous rush, propelled by hyper-fast double-bass and a metronomic snare rhythm, and it floods the senses with waves of intense riffing and sky-high shrieking. There’s a feeling of anguish in the music even then, but when the pace abates into a dirge-like cadence, the wretchedness and misery become even more unmistakable, thanks to an extended lead-guitar instrumental that’s the centerpiece of the song.
The music eventually rocket ahead again, growing increasingly… wild… and increasingly intense. The pain in the music never goes away, but the near-panoramic sweep of the sound coupled with the the searing intensity becomes breathtaking.
“Burial Mound” comes from the third studio album, entitled RÖK, by the Swedish black metal band Mara. It will be released by Immortal Frost Productions on November 29th.
“Prince of Disgust” is a turbo-charged, pulse-pounding black thrasher, though it includes alternating movements of blast-beat mayhem and forlorn yet alluring melody, as well as a slower interlude that seems both bereft and poisonous. As for the vocals, it’s clear that the band have managed to capture and chain down a demon, who lunges and strains at those chains with bestial rage and vicious loathing.
Shame Is Just A Word is the album that includes “Prince of Disgust“. It’s the fifth full-length by the Norwegian band Svarttjern, and it’s set for a January 17 release by Soulseller Records.
(Thanks again to eiterorm for alerting me to this song.)
Unlike the first four songs in today’s column, I would not call “Vestiges of An End” wild. Bone-chilling is closer to the mark. The words chosen for the album as a whole by the publicist fit this track very well: “cold martial industrial drum patterns with surreal and disorienting electronic noise soundscapes and walls of mangled, angular, and dissonant guitars create a monstrous alien landscape and transport the listener to an otherworldly dimension.”
The sound is indeed alien, and frightening, and hallucinogenic. We can hear the roars and shrieks of distant horrors through these sprawling panoramas of miasma-like, oppressive sound, as well as high-toned wraith-like vibrations and heaving bass frequencies.
This is the first of two songs in today’s collection that come from albums that will be released by Sentient Ruin. “Vestiges of An End” is from Ekpyrosis, which has a release date of November 22. That’s the debut full-length by multinational industrial atmospheric black metal entity Decoherence, whose self-titled debut EP came out earlier this year.
The absolutely spot-on cover art was created by Lev Sloujitel (Lev.fm).
“World, Sacrificed To Satan” is brutish black/death, combining obliterating drum-work, cyclones of dense, incendiary riffing, and abyssal bellowing. The low-end power is massive; the cascades of gale-force melody are sadistically cruel and crazed; the song seems like a vortex straight down to the torture chambers of Hell, where the lords of pain await with lustful longing. I’ll add that the music is also insidiously addictive.
This track is one of three on Unholy March, the debut EP by the Belarusian war machine Goat Terror. Sentient Ruin will release it on November 15th.