Here we are again. with so many new songs and videos that I want to recommend that I’m resorting to what I did last weekend — compiling lots of sights and sounds (which are all over the map in genre terms), accompanied by only very brief comments of my own. I also added one news item that excited me, though there’s no music to be heard yet.
I should add that I hope you are all well, and that you’re doing your damnedest to physically stay away from other people to the greatest extent possible.
ABYSMAL DAWN (U.S.)
We begin with a jackhammering, shivering, and slithering piece of death metal menace, complete with thoroughly beastly vocals and twisted melodic accents and grooves that both prove to be ridiculously catchy. I could swear they actually used a heavy-caliber machibe gun instead of drums for parts of this, and that they tortured a poltergeist for the solos.
“Soul-Sick Nation” is taken from Abysmal Dawn‘s forthcoming album Phylogenesis, to be released on April 17 by Nuclear Blast.
Here’s the new item, sadly lacking in music: The veteran Swedish death metal band Centinex are returning with a new studio album entitled Death In Pieces on May 29th via Agonia Records. Their first two albums following the band’s reunion, Redeeming Filth and Doomsday Rituals, were so damned good that this is thrilling news.
Though I don’t have any music to share at this point, here’s Bahrull Marta‘s cover art:
This next video premiered two days ago at DECIBEL. The music: Absolutely brutal and bludgeoning barbarism, laced with spectral leads and spiked with volcanic eruptions of discordant mania and surges of galloping, jolting mayhem. Things get fluidly and beautifully melodic at the end.
As for the video, which depicts the many ways in which a man kills himself (or imagines doing so), encouraged by the hand of Death, viewer discretion is advised — and there’s a helpline at the end.
The song is on the band’s 2018 album Matricide, which was released by Unique Leader.
COOLING TOWER (Australia)
This is the first of two big exceptions to our Rule: A very nice dose of witchy stoner doom with plenty of riff-hooks, brilliantly hallucinogenic soloing, growly bass lines, and aces-high vocals. Good exercise for the neck muscles too. Bang your heads, fools! But beware — it gets even spookier when the neck-wreckage abates for a bit. (If you let this player run you can hear the rest of this fine debut EP — Under the Cover of Night — which was released on January 23rd.)
DEATH COURIER (Greece)
A fast death/thrashing escapade — thunderous drumming, ecstatically vicious riffing that seethes and pummels, vocals that sound like a rabid mastiff. It’s over almost before you know it, but left me hungry for more — which is a good thing, right?
Taken from the upcoming full-length album Necrotic Verses, which has a June 5 release date through Transcending Obscurity Records.
Due to the virus-related cancellation of his touring plans, Devin Townsend set up a GoFundMe campaign, asking his fans to economically support him and the people who work in his various enterprises. He wrote yesterday: “I know we are all affected by this and yes, I could look for another job during this period like so many others will have to, but I figure that the best thing I can do is focus on my work and hopefully provide some sort of relief doing what I’m best at.”
I’m not sure how I feel about that. But anyway, what DT has done so far to “provide some sort of relief” is to release the song and video below, and other things will follow — “it may be many different styles, Twitch streams, concerts, perhaps a podcast…” For this first song, Morgan Agren performed drums and Mattias Eklundh performed Violguitar.
The following two onslaughts of thrashing black/death are sinister as hell and hot as hell too — they will jolt your adrenal glands wide awake. The lead riff in “Shackled to the Grave” is infernally glorious, and the fleet-fingered fretwork remains wild and evil throughout, with both magisterial chords and crazed frenzies in the mix, while the vocals are pure blood-lusting terror. The second track, “Exhumation of the Damned” is in the same vein, but even more of a hellfire scorcher — but also even more of a skull-wrecker (and the soloing is utterly ghoulish and possessed).
From the debut EP Evil Torment, coming from Blood Harvest on May 29th.
Something new from an Australian black metal band we’ve been writing about for years. This new track is swaggering and hard-rocking, carnal and calamitous. Aided by a mountainous bass and ice-pick sharp drumming, the song’s rhythms are compulsive, while the riffing is often dissonant and discordant and the vocals are completely unhinged. Even with its primal grooves, the song is otherworldly and mesmerizing, despite the splintering fear it channels and the crushing gloom that it brings down.
Taken from King of the Silent World, set for release by Impure Sounds on April 17th.
This is the other big exception to our Rule. If the name Hellhookah sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you read my verbal frothing at the mouth when I heard the first single from their new album last September (here). It’s been a surprisingly long time, but we now have two more tracks from this Lithuanian duo, and the album release finally seems to be fast-approaching.
“Running Through Time” is a devilishly seductive black-magic dance with skull-shaking rhythms, fuzzy narcotic riffing, and fine wailing vocals. “The Curse” is a gloomier and more poisonous offering, but no easier on your skull and just as likely to put you into a drug-induced trance.
The Curse is the name of the album, and it’s supposed to be released in late March, but I haven’t yet found a precise release date or anyplace to order it.
Next is a new video for an intense track from this German black metal band’s fourth full-length, Venenare, released by Eisenwald last November and reviewed here. The song is flooded with tension, but that’s matched with a kind of ominous, threatening grandeur as well as moods of crushing desolation.
LAMB OF GOD (U.S.)
Man, Randy Blythe really has a powerhouse of a voice. That, of course, is not late-breaking news. But this next song and its frightening video accompaniment ARE late-breaking, and both are damned good. After a thoroughly doom-drenched opening in which Blythe sings in a gloomy, gothic timbre (think Sisters of Mercy), the band take off in a high-voltage romp, with plenty of punchy rhythms and darting riffs, and a particularly fine opportunity before the song ends to ruin your neck.
“Memento Mori” is the opening track to Lamb of God‘s self-titled new album, which will be released on May 8th.
What an unexpectedly twisting and turning trip! At moments you get absolutely thunderous bass with earthquake drumming, and riffs that spectacularly blaze high overhead, with tormented howling and shrieking in the vocal department that wouldn’t be out of place in screamo. At others you get warm, moody bass tones and lilting or mystical guitar instrumentals. At other times, the music channels wretched desperation, dreaming introspection, haunted grief, or wanderings through an asylum populated by wraiths. And that’s just the first song on this EP, Have Heart, Waste Flesh (released on March 16th).
The other two tracks are equally inventive and kaleidoscopic, and executed with just as much instrumental panache. A completely unpredictable, and sometimes jarringly disjointed, but always fascinating, hodgepodge of metal, noise rock, post-hardcore, and… oh hell… lots of other things. I should mention that the closing minutes of the second track and the opening minutes of the third one one are sublimely beautiful in different ways, because you may not see that coming and you shouldn’t miss them.
They seem to be poets too:
Your head held high, your shoulders low
Your wings abandon ground and grow
From childish cheeks and a bosom so narrow
Your beauty screams, a child of sorrow
Of miracles and silent rays
Of violent grace and worthless praise
Of clotted blood and fruitless wine
Of heart and flesh put on the line
complementary parts that we shall be
God is you and me
This debut EP goes in the genre category of “a real mind-fuck”. The first two tracks are a noxious but somehow infectious stew of pulsating electronic beats (some wobbly and some maniacally cavorting), assortments of mercilessly ear-abrading noise, and howling, uber-distorted vocal madness. The third one has a glacially slow beat and is just straight-up nightmarish. The sound of washing waves and darting electronic tones dominate the fourth track — until it sounds like someone has just been throat-slit. And then I guess they succeeded in summoning a demon, because it sounds like they did.
This is Evocation, released on March 13th by a Seattle trio who “decided to write music about summoning demons”.
WHITE STONES (Uruguay -> Sweden -> Spain)
This final song in today’s collection (presented through a new lyric video) heaves and stomps like a woozy behemoth and then jitters, squirms, and shrieks as if spasms have afflicted the monster (but not the vocalist — he growls through gravel and howls through shards of fragmented glass). Some excellent soloing in this heavy head-trip too, along with all the delicious grooves.
The song appears on Kuarahy, the debut album by White Stones, the solo death metal project of Opeth bassist Martín Méndez (aided here by vocalist Eloi Boucherie and by guitar soloists Frederik Akesson and Per Eriksson). It was released on March 13th by Nuclear Blast, and I have no earthly idea why we haven’t paid more attention to it, because it sounds great.