Apologies for not posting a SHADES OF BLACK on Sunday, where it belongs. For reasons related to my day job I had to go to Texas for a long weekend, and spent a big part Sunday getting back to Seattle. While in Texas I had time to pick what I wanted to write about, but not enough time to do the writing. And then Sunday night my home lost power and internet access due to a snowfall, with the problems lasting well into mid-day on Monday, so that trashed my plans to post this yesterday.
In the meantime, of course, a lot more black metal has surfaced, and I decided to include just one of those new songs along with the ones I originally picked for Sunday.
“God Knows Why” is the one new song I decided to add. It debuted today along with a fascinating but NSFW video. The song is off the new album by the Polish black metal band Medico Peste, whose music is also fascinating and not safe for work, or for just about anyplace else.
I’ll begin the introduction by excerpting a few statements from the press release distributed today by Season of Mist, whose Underground Activists sub-label is releasing the album (entitled ב :The Black Bile) on March 20:
“Sharing live musicians with the titans of Mgła, MEDICO PESTE approach common narratives in black metal from a darker and more twisted state of mind than their contemporaries. The five-piece embrace a different look at death, religion, the Devil and his work, by exploring the distorted views of a tormented, neurotic subject and his schizophrenic visions.
“Themes such as madness, religion and nihilism form the core part of the band’s lyrics, accompanied by music which emanates psychopathic rage, intertwined with a wide range of non-metal influences like post-punk, avantgarde and cabaret music. ב :The Black Bile builds on a specific vision of madness revolving around butoh theatre, ecclesiogenic neurosis, schizophrenia, dark grotesque and Jungian archetypes. Beware when you enter these nightmarish visions, emanating from a contorted mind.”
Even if you hadn’t been told about the themes of the music, you probably could have figured out many of them from the dissonant and disturbing song in the video. The music itself seems schizophrenic, not to mention insane. It changes personality almost from moment to moment, and all the personalities are creepy and crazed. The vocals alone, which often straddle a shifting line between growling and screaming but also change, seem to have left sanity far behind in the dust.
Watch and listen to this just before bedtime and then see if you can remember your dreams in the morning.
ב :The Black Bile was recorded, mixed, and mastered by M. at the No Solace studio.
TOD HUETET UEBEL
In mid-September of last year Tod Huetet Uebel vocalist Marcos M announced on Facebook that the band had ceased to exist. Nevertheless, a new THU album was released on January 1st, which we must assume is the final one. Afterward, Marcos commented about the work of his former THU bandmate, musician Daniel C.: “If this is a brilliant album, it will be because of him. If it is the opposite, it is also due to him.”
The album, Nomen Nescio, certainly reveals at least flashes of brilliance, and beyond that it also proves to be an immersive experience, from the ominous piano chords in the opening song straight through to the last moments of madness in “Lamento” (the album’s best track imo). Not surprisingly, it’s also an intensely disconcerting experience, the vocals continuously manifesting a lunatic hysteria, the guitars creating contorted and dissonant aural phenomena (as well as nightmarish hallucinations), and the drumming flying through divergent patterns and tempos with abandon.
If that Medico Peste song left your mind feeling slightly unhinged, Nomen Nescio may take the hinges completely off. It’s a freakish and bewildering experience — not the kind of songs that have a tremendous amount of individual character separating them from each other, but collectively creating a kind of out-of-body experience that at least this listener found to be transfixing.
P.S. THU’s Daniel C. continues to be a member of Archaic Tomb and Festering, and Marcos M. has formed a new band named Torpe with drummer E.R. Below I’ve included a single named “Ardo, Perpétuo, Maligno” released by Torpe last September.
Ossaert is a new one-person Dutch band, hailing from the city of Zwolle. The band’s first full-length, which also includes the work of session drummer W., is named Bedehuis, and it will be released on February 14th by Argento Records. The four songs on the album (which totals 35 minutes of music despite the number of tracks) don’t have names, only numbers, and the opener is the one that’s now out in the world for streaming. I think it’s great!
The song saturates the senses, delivering full-throttle drumming, rapidly gouging riffs, insanely lickering leads, febrile bass lines, and a rich array of harsh and clean vocals, which collectively become astonishing. Near the middle, a new riff appears which conjoins feelings of bleakness and grandeur, and becomes magnetically attractive. The song attacks and it soars, and its intensity is unrelenting. I found it tremendously exciting — maybe “breathtaking” is a better word.
Bedenhuis will be available on limited blood/smoke vinyl, black vinyl and digital, with more formats following later.
BEAST OF REVELATION
I was induced to listen to the first “single” from the debut album of Beast Of Revelation (entitled The Ancient Ritual of Death) by the names in the line-up: drummer Bob Bagchus (Hellehond, Infidel Reich, ex-Asphyx, Grand Supreme Blood Court, Soulburn, and more); guitarist/bassist A.J. van Drenth (Temple, Throne, ex-Beyond Belief), and vocalist John McEntee (Incantation). Admit it: you’re interested now too, aren’t you?
That single, which is the title track, isn’t black metal (more in the vein of doom-death), but I’ve included it here because it’s pitch-black in every other way. Consistent with the vocals in all the tracks that have preceded it in today’s collection, McEntee‘s here are demented and disorienting, an expression of roaring and wailing wretchedness that gives goosebumps. Meanwhile, the music is absolutely crushing, and authentically disturbing, heavy and hard enough to pound your skull into splinters and weird and woeful enough to fracture your sense of well-being too. Prepare for sore-neck syndrome, and for mental mutilation.
The album will be released on LP and CD by Iron Bonehead on March 6th. The cover artwork is by Manuel Tinnemans/Comaworx.
BEAST OF REVELATION:
STARVING FOR DEATH
I know nothing about Starving Death other than the music on the band’s self-titled debut, which will be released February 3rd by Cult of Osiris (a label based in Leeds, UK). And even as for the music, I’ve only heard the opening track, “The Fall of Earth“.
In a way it’s two tracks joined together. The first part is a sorrowful and haunting piano instrumental that becomes increasingly mesmerizing and addictive as its central motif cycles along. In the second part, a couple of minutes in, the music catches fire with a hammering drum rhythm and a rapidly flashing melodic lead (which also proves addictive). The vocals are themselves also scorching. There’s still an overarching dark mood to the music — there’s a sense of desperation even when it’s surging — although the darting keyboards near the end seem almost like a whirling dance.
If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself going back to this track repeatedly.
To conclude this delayed column I’m recommending The Immaterial Wound, a new two-track EP released on January 5th by Funestus. The band is the solo project of Hiems Egregor from Temuco, Chile.
The first track is harrowing in more ways than one, from the throat-splitting pain in the vocals to the searing misery channeled by the riffing. But this isn’t conventional depressive black metal. The song has an enormously powerful (as in head-moving) bass pulse, with drumming that’s also geared toward feeding your reptile brain. The dissonant reverberations and strange string-plucking sounds in the song might put your teeth on edge and lend a chill to your skin, but the song is transfixing, and builds to a crescendo of riotous drumming and emotional chaos. I have to use the word “breathtaking” for the second time in this post.
The second track is equally unnerving and equally fascinating. Also, if you feel a little out-of-breath (at least figuratively) by the end of the first song, the second one won’t let you oxygenate yourself. Its wild intensity is in the red zone, even though its emotional resonance might be in the pit of despair (or maybe in a bonfire of maddened fury). Those strange, exotic sounds I described (probably inaccurately) as “string-plucking” reappear here, and near the end the music climbs toward majestic plateaus — still harrowing, to be sure, but also kind of spectacular.
This one has gotten under my skin, and I’ve found the temptation to return to it irresistible.
(Thanks go to Miloš for sending me a link to this EP.)