I didn’t make it to the point when the clock ticked over into 2020 last night, not even close. On the other hand, despite going to bed well before midnight I slept like a dead man for 10 hours, which is an extreme rarity. After all that time in the Land of Nod, I also felt extremely fuzzy-headed this morning, though a bout of drinking last night might have had something to do with that, even though it seemed pretty moderate to me at the time.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I got a very late and slow start today… and then had to focus on finishing up some work on today’s first post. All of that explains why this round-up arrives much later than I had planned. Fortunately, I picked all the music yesterday, or the post would be arriving even later. As usual, it’s a fairly random and stylistically quite divergent selection, united only by the fact that I like the hell out of everything here. (All of it is also very new.)
The first song I’ve picked, “Thus Spake the Stone“, is off a debut album named Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom by the Spanish black metal band Grimah. The album is set for release on January 3rd, on CD via VERTEBRAE and digitally.
The outset of the song is absolutely thrilling, the riffing exultant, the drumwork full-throttle, the bass a vibrant pulse, the roaring vocals on fire — yet sounding like an expression of wrenching torment. And there are signs of anguish in the fiery, flickering melodies, too. The melancholy moods of the song deepen like lengthening shadows beneath a setting sun when the tempo slows, and the music soars like a blazing sun, too. Such an emotional powerhouse of a song! Very easy to be caught up in it and become carried away….
I’m changing genres and continents now, moving into a form of primal death metal created by a band based in Davenport, Iowa. That band, Darkrift, features members of The Horde and Allegaeon, and they recommend their music for fans of Decapitated, Cryptopsy, Decrepit Birth, Morbid Angel, and Hate Eternal.
On December 30 Darkrift released a pair of demo tracks, “Parasites” and “REDSHIFT“. Both are absolutely explosive and absolutely mind-mauling. They’re generally fast as greased lightning and as hard-hitting as thunderstorms, but also loaded with crazed, destabilizing string mutations, a constantly changing panoply of wild, fleet-fingered fretwork that creates a multitude of weird and wondrous (and obliterating) sounds to go along with the vocalist’s vicious bellows and the rhythm section’s bone-smashing mania.
Turns out, those other band names mentioned above provide excellent clues to these two sensational experiences.
Jumping across the ocean again, I’m landing in Belgium, which is home to the technical death metal band Pestifer. They have a new album (their third) named Expanding Oblivion that will be released by Xenokorp on March 13, 2020, and on December 27th they released a single from the album entitled “Ominous Wanderers“.
Like the music of the first two bands in today’s collection, this song will get your adrenaline pumping and your head spinning. It demonstrates a high level of technical proficiency, but this isn’t an example of people just showing off. The music is mesmerizing and memorable, a constantly changing thrill-ride to be sure, but also a form of ebullient musical sorcery that will likely put a big smile on your face (it sure as hell does that to me every time I hear it). Yes, the growling is savage, but there’s so much damned fierce and frantic joy in this music that it becomes highly contagious.
This single is available now on Bandcamp along with an instrumental version of the same song.
If you’ve never heard the music of Zmey Gorynich, you won’t be prepared for how many WTF? moments you’ll have in listening to their new two-track single Дед Мороз. There are even a few WTF? moments in the band’s written introduction to the music:
“WE CONGRATULATE ALL OF YE ON HAPPY NEW YEAR OF TELARIAN SPIDER, WE WISH YE THE WILD FUN, FIERY LOVE AND EVERYDAY HAPPINESS. AND IN HONOR OF SUCH EVENT WE GIFT YE A NEW YEAR’S SONG, ANNIVERSARY OF OUR UPCOMING SECOND ALBUM, TO LET YOU BURST INTO AN UNSEEN DANCE AND LAUD THE WINTER GRAND!! HAPPY NEW YEAR.”
You know what? I think I’m going to dispense with the usual efforts at description so as to avoid spoiling the surprises. I’ll just say, this is NUTS (which is intended as a compliment).
(The second track is an instrumental version of the same song, and almost as wild as the one with vocals.)
Disappear is the new EP by the Swiss black metal band Deathvoid. It was co-released just yesterday by Glossolalia Records (U.S.) and Xenoglossy Productions (Italy)
Here’s the band’s description: “This EP has been recorded on a broken tape recorder and it’s an experiment in off-key riffing. Garage raw black metal.”
Whereas there was a lot of insane joy in the music of the last two bands I included in this round-up, Deathvoid‘s four tracks on this EP are even more insane, but a hell of a lot more dangerous, destructive, and… well… hellish. The sound is a loud, dense, noisy, über-distorted barrage, both mangled in its sound and mind-mangling in its impact. Sometimes the unchained drum rhythms give you something to hang onto in the midst of these gut-churning, brain-splattering maelstroms, and there’s something freakishly alluring about the lunatic leads, but the vocals are grotesque and terrifying.
I found myself both horrified and entranced by the EP. You, on the other hand, might run for the hills or cower in the corner, and there would be no shame in that.
The song “Control” is out of the ordinary for the kind of music we typically feature at NCS, more hard rock than metal. But I’ve watched and listened to the video for it so many times that it would be shameful of me not to share it here. The music is stuck hard in my head, and brings a big smile to my face every time I hear it.
“Control” comes from a debut album named Bourbon Souls by the Finnish rock band Stråle. It will be released by FDA Records on February 21st. On this song they rock out damned hard, but the song has other dimensions too, and vocalist Ålarik has a hell of a voice, capable of both rocketing intensity and an almost gothic moodiness. In the riffing and the keyboard work, it reminds me at times of Scandinavian melodic death metal, and there’s a bit of wintry melancholy in the moods too. But mainly, this is a fucking fist-pumping, arena-ready anthem.