This is the second part of a new-music round-up that I started here yesterday.
Back in 2018, the first recommendation our supporter Speelie made to me, in a comment, was for Hecate’s Une voix venue d’ailleurs. That turned out to be a valuable recommendation, as I attempted to explain in my too-brief review of that superb album (here). Many other valuable recommendations by Speelie have followed, most recently his message to me about a new song by Hecate that debuted on January 12th, and a new album from them that’s set for release by Mourning Light Records (on CD) in March of this year.
The name of the album is Ode au désert suspendu, and the first track revealed from it is “Oracle Atone“. The lyrics are in the band’s native tongue (French), which (alas) I don’t understand, and the Google Translate rendition of them in English is obviously a bit garbled, but I’m fascinated by the words anyway:
I blaze songs with dying wings
I collect the fruits of the solar howl
I snow the images that crack harmony
And sale on the trees up to the white estuaries
I drink the days of the nights and the clouds
Crucified thunders that smear my skin
Viscous bones from the sky spanning all ages
And dreaming of the universe with his brushstrokes
Out of time under intense sputum
Blind comets our sculpted faces
Who read dancing foam on the marrow
The eddies burnt golden high in the Milky Way
I’m also fascinated by the music. The ringing guitar melody that opens the song is mournful but mesmerizing, and intensifies when joined by a heavy bass-and-drum pulse, a frantically flickering lead, and extravagantly scorching vocals. The song’s intensity continues to surge and soar, becoming increasingly electrifying, with all performers driving harder and faster, but there’s a grandeur in the music despite its frenzies, and an ethereal lunar quality to the mysterious tones that vibrate through the riveting instrumental maelstrom.
The band do find a few brief moments in which to allow the listener a quick breath, and each performer interweaves quite a rich array of permutations in what they’re doing, but the sheer riotous energy and emotional power of the music is almost unrelenting — and its enthralling allure persists to the very end. Fantastic!
I haven’t seen a precise release date in March or any pre-order links, but if you keep an eye on these locations, you will surely see them in the coming days:
UPDATE (Feb. 12): Ode au désert suspendu will be released on March 27th and it’s now available for pre-order on Bandcamp.
Since the revival of the mighty Wombbath in 2015 after a long hibernation I’ve been singing their praises almost incessantly, doing my own meager part to spread the word about their comeback album Downfall Rising and the full-length that followed it, 2018’s The Great Desolation, as well as splits in between. Now I’m happy to report that Wombbath have a new album named Choirs of the Fallen that’s set for release on March 6th via Soulseller Records (and was mixed by Tomas Skogsberg at the legendary Sunlight Studios in Stockholm, with spooky cover art by Benny Moberg of Sufficiently Studios).
Since the preceding album, the Wombbath line-up has changed. To quote from Soulseller’s Bandcamp page for the new record: “On guitar, Thomas Von Wachenfeldt known from Wachenfeldt, session bass player for Entombed and as well known for arranging the Entombed Symphony. On bass you find Matthew Davidson. He took over the bass after Johan Momqvist left early 2019. Matthew is known from Repulsive Vision where he plays guitar. Since 2018 Jon Rudin, known from Just Before Dawn, is punishing the drums.”
But of course Wombbath is still anchored by guitarist Håkan Stuvemark, who has been there since the beginning, and by vocalist Jonny Pettersson, who has been a fixture since the band’s revival.
The first advance track, “A Vulgar Declaration“, is anchored by that delicious chainsawing guitar tone (which always produces a Pavlovian slobbering response in my case), but there’s a lot more to slobber over in this track besides the meaty riffs. At time it’s a wild, vicious race, loaded with obliterating drum assaults, roiling and grinding fretwork, and unhinged vocal savagery (sometimes doubled-up for extra ferocity). At other times it’s a lurching, gut-roiling monstrosity. And at others, the band lock into neck-bending grooves or scampering gallops, and accent the mayhem with darting, flickering, slithering solos.
Through all the differing movements, there’s a berserker quality to the song despite the sharpness of the changes, and that sense of mayhem is a big reason why it’s so exciting.
My comrade Mr. Synn included the debut full-length of the Montréal prog/tech/death band Sutrah on his list of 2017’s “Great” albums, and Dunes was indeed a marvel. I am therefore very happy to report that Sutrah are returning with a follow-up to that album. On March 13th they will release a new EP named Aletheia, which features session drumming by Kevin Paradis (of Benighted, Mithridatic, and more) and cover art by CT Nelson.
The new EP consists of four tracks, one of which (“Variation I.ii – Lethe“) was revealed not long ago. It’s a serious head-spinner and mind-bender, and as vicious as a rabid mastiff. But although the instrumental performances are technically jaw-dropping, almost constantly surprising, and mostly explosive in their impact, the pyrotechnics are connected by recurring guitar motifs that give the song a cohesive quality. I’d also like to offer a few rounds of applause for all the wonderful guitar tones and for the bestiality of the vocals.
I’ve listened to the song multiple times, paying closer attention to specific aspects of it each time, and still don’t feel I’ve plumbed all its depths — but I’ve been transfixed by it each time. Can’t wait to hear the rest….
(Thanks to Miloš for linking me to this one.)
When I learned last fall that New Jersey-based Putrascension included members of Tombs, Hammer Fight, Windfaerer, and Degrader, that was really all I needed to know in deciding whether to check out their debut EP, Hate Lust, which was released on Halloween. My high expectations weren’t disappointed, as I explained in this review. At that time I didn’t know whether Putrascension was a one-off thing or a continuing project, but it seems they’ve been inspired to continue, because on January 16th they released a second EP, The Obsidian Fog (it premiered at Decibel, with an interview).
The first EP included two tracks, and the new one includes three — which is very positive progress for a greedy fan such as myself. I’m also delighted to report that these new tracks are every bit as thrilling as the first two. The music (which is an amalgam of melodic black and death metal) is savage and stunningly destructive, and the vocals are absolutely crazed (and remarkably wide-ranging in their forms of extremity), but all of the instrumental performances (and especially the drumming) are constantly eye-popping in their athleticism, and more intricate and dynamic than you might expect from the adjectives I first used in an attempt to capture the music’s sensations.
In addition, the central riffs and the leads have a way of sticking in the head, giving each song its own character, although each one is emotionally very intense. “Erasure” seems bleak, cruel, and tyrannical; the mood of “Banished” is more despairing and devastated; and “The Age of Rust” pulls us into a black abyss of hopelessness and also surges into frenzies of pain and wretchedness (though I confess that the absolutely spine-tingling and skin-chilling torment of the vocals has a lot to do with that impression).
The EP is a shattering experience, but also a huge adrenaline rush, and it absolutely should not be missed.
The cover art for The Obsidian Fog, which is great, was done by the band’s vocalist Michael Gonçalves. And here’s full line-up:
Michael Gonçalves – Vocals
Dan Higgins – Guitar
Joe Fonseca – Guitar
Joe Kreiss – Bass
Justin Spaeth – Drums