I have significant ambitions for this Sunday’s column, but it’s only half-written, and you know how ill-advised it is for me to announce a two-part thing when the second part is just swimming in my head instead of securely captured on a hard-drive. But I never learn, no matter how hard-taught the past lessons, and not just when it comes to blogging (yesterday’s day-long hangover proves that).
Anyway, I can confidently state that Part 1 of this post includes advance tracks from five forthcoming records. Less confidently, I can say that Part 2 will include four complete new releases.
“Well I have to admit to never having heard of …and Oceans before, and also admit to mainly being drawn to listen to this track based on the click-worthy cover art. But I’ll just say this is infectious like the plague.”
That was the message I received from our old pal Booker last week concerning “The Dissolution of Mind and Matter“, an advance track from this Finnish band’s new album, Cosmic World Mother. Somewhere up above that message in our nightmare of an in-box I found the link for our promo of the album, which I will soon explore.
photo by Mikael Karlbom (do not adjust your set; this is as it was meant to be)
I confess that I, too, was unfamiliar with …and Oceans, perhaps in part because their last album was released 18 years ago (though I also missed the self-titled EP they released last year via Necrogod Records). They do have an interesting history, which dates back to their first demo in 1995 and seems to have included dabbling in industrial and power electronics. When they reunited for this new album, it was with a new vocalist, Finntroll’s Mathias Lillmåns, and a new drummer (Kauko Kuusisalo) and keyboardist (Antti Simonen), who also have extensive resumes.
As for the musical direction of Cosmic World Mother, insofar as we can discern that from “The Dissolution of Mind and Matter“, it is flamboyant. The song combines breathtaking drum assaults, delirious riffing, bestial vocals, and soaring symphonics. As the song spirals up and out, the drummer inserts other interesting patterns in between the assaults of hyper-blasting, finishing them off with extravagant, booming toms before spitting bullets again. The music swirls and gleams in a kind of otherworldly ecstasy, and when the hurtling pace briefly pauses, it creates an atmosphere of mystical majesty.
Exhilarating music… and yes, damned infectious too. The lyric video for the song makes good use of the fantastic cover art by Adrien Bousson, as well as other astonishing visual embellishments that well-suit the astonishing effect of the music.
Cosmic World Mother will be released by Season of Mist on May 8th.
Almost always, this column is devoted to variations of black metal, but sometimes I include music that’s more accurately labeled under some other genre, either because it seems to fit the column’s profile nevertheless, or because I just don’t want to wait to rave about the music. And both things motivated me to include this new song by the death metal band Living Gate. But before we get to the music, let’s let the band introduce themselves:
“While touring together, various members of Yob, Wiegedood, Oathbreaker and Amenra found themselves bonding over a common love of death metal bands both classic (morbid angel, suffocation, Death) and contemporary (Tomb Mold, Blood Incantation). It is in recognition of these shared admirations as well as a mutual respect of each other’s musical chops that LIVING GATE has been founded. Purposefully devoid of over-polished, meticulously edited sounds, Living Gate puts its emphasis upon unrelenting, raw drums which are continuously blanketed by a vomit of menacing riffs and heaving guttural orations. Make ready your earholes for the debut EP, DeathLust out May 2020.”
Seeing the names Yob, Wiegedood, Oathbreaker and Amenra certainly piqued by interest, which was further piqued by the band’s first single, which they named for themselves and presented through the video you’ll find below.
I thought the song paired well with the first song in today’s collection. “Living Gate” is in part a channeling of ominous and unearthly grandeur, but it’s also as vicious as a rabid wolfpack, and it’s also eerie, pestilential, and cruel. The instrumental performances are also constantly changing and technically accomplished, intertwining long, morbid chords, dissonant arpeggios, frenzied fretwork skittering, jolting percussive assaults, and rampant blasting.
About mid-way through the song, you’ll also encounter a spectacular guitar solo that perfectly suits the song’s queasy and crazed moods. And near the end there’s a very cool transition, as if the music is being swallowed by a leviathan, which leads into an exotic and dreamlike outro instrumental.
Living Gate is: Lennart Bossu, Wim Coppers, Aaron Rieseberg, Levy Seynaeve.
(Thank-you to HGD for alerting me to this new track.)
The inimitable and much-missed Gorger wrote as follows at NCS (here) about this Belgian band’s 2016 debut album:
“Belgian Ars Veneficium are ready to conquer the world with bestial black metal consisting of a hellish drive, and a frenetic unvarnished inferno of foul contempt. Like black smoke from a tire fire, The Reign of the Infernal King fills the chamber with choking black nerve gas and rumbling fury that makes the room shake and its foundations to creak ominously at the seams. The prominent bass helps create this effect. Rather than cold black metal, they exhibit the extreme warmth from Dante’s infernal flames.”
I had some laudatory words of my own to share (here) about the band’s excellent 2019 split with Ulvdalir, In Death’s Cold Embrace, and now the subject is a song from Ars Veneficium‘s second album, Usurpation Of The Seven, which will be released on February 28th by Immortal Frost Productions (and which again features great artwork by Opposition Artworks, with layout by Moornebheym, who also created the video you’ll see below).
The song, presented through a lyric video, is “De Luiaard Heerst” and it includes guest vocals by V.Priest (of Acherontas and Shibalba). I discovered it before realizing that I had received a promo of the album, which I haven’t yet explored, but if it’s as good as this song, it will be very, very good indeed.
Introduced by an otherworldly guitar harmony, the song becomes a multi-faceted experience anchored by big, heavy bass tones and potent drum rhythms. The riffing burns and swirls with sinister intent, and becomes both reverential and savagely delirious, both ominous and dismal. The vocals also manifest these differing dimensions and moods, with V.Priest‘s solemn but frightening ritualistic narratives (in Greek) contrasting with the barbarism of the shrieking.
One other track from the new album is also out in the world (“Wrath of Life“), and you’ll find that stream below, along with “De Luiaard Heerst“.
Like Ars Veneficium, Enepsigos are a band who already made a very strong and favorable impression years ago with their debut album. On that album (Plague Of Plagues), Enepsigos consisted of Norwegian artist Doedsadmiral (Nordjevel, Svartelder, and Doedsvangr) in his guise as V.I.T.H.R, Italian drummer Thorns, who has worked with Blut Aus Nord, Deathrow, Fides Inversa, Frostmoon Eclipse, and Darvaza (among others), and guitarist/bassist Straff (ex-Sarkom).
Enepsigos now have a new album, Wrath of Wraths, on which Doedsadmiral and Thorns were joined by new guitarist/bassist Rituul. The album is described by the band’s new label Osmose Productions as “dark, disgusting, twisted, ritualistic, and violent”.
There’s a lot of truth in that description, judging from the advance track “Cups of Anger“, which manages to channel all of those sensations. With vocals that are ugly as sin, and a powerhouse rhythm section at work, the song constantly transitions until it seems to end at about the three-minute mark. But it doesn’t end. Instead, male and female choral voices join together in a beautiful but funereal lament that reaches operatic levels of reverential extravagance. And then hell breaks loose, with maniacally flickering guitar leads sending electrifying currents through the storms of sound, as the rhythm section continue to change the music’s dynamics in riveting ways.
Wrath of Wraths will be released on March 27th. The cover artwork was created by Benjamin Vierling and additional inlay artwork by Nestor Avalos. Thanks go to both Miloš and eiterorm for pointing me to this track — once again, before I realized I had a link to the entire album sitting in our nightmarish in-box.)
From two old favorites I’m turning to a new discovery (at least for me), the Peruvian black metal band Arcada. Their discography includes three demos and an EP, but it’s their forthcoming debut album Projections that has put them on my radar screen. It’s due for a March 27 release on CD and vinyl by Edged Circle Productions.
It seems that every track I’ve picked for Part 1 of today’s column includes elements of unearthly grandeur and reverence, to one degree or another, and I hear that in the title track of Projections. But like other songs in this collection, “Projections” is a multifaceted trip, and also channels moods of anguish and hysteria. There is a wailing and weeping sound in one of the recurring melodic motifs, and a mournful moodiness in the bass tones. The vocals themselves seem wildly distraught (as well as vicious), and they’re wide-ranging in their expressions, though all the expressions are scarily intense.
(Once again, I’m indebted to an ally (Miloš) for pointing me to this track before I knew that I had a promo of the album available to me.)