For reasons I can’t identify, these days I feel compelled to throw as much music your way as I can. I’ve noticed that, contrary to my expectations, this unnerving shut-in phase that most of us are going through has led to a significant increase in daily visits to our site. Maybe people need music more than usual to get through these dark days. Maybe that’s the source of my greater-than-usual compulsion.
Whatever the reason, it seems like you’ll be seeing more and more of these big compilations (with brevity of words) rather than the more typical SEEN AND HEARD posts. I hope I can do another one tomorrow, because I still have a lot I want to recommend.
AEONIAN SORROW (Finland/Greece)
A beautifully contrasting experience from this multinational funeral doom band, the song juxtaposes graceful and ethereal sounds of mist and mysticism and episodes of ravaging heaviness and splintering sorrow, combining the most harrowing roars and haunting feminine singing, creating moods of stately bereavement and wrenching frenzy. A really beautifully executed new video, too.
The song is from A Life Without, an EP that we premiered in late January and is out now.
ARCANE SANCTUARY (Germany)
Rennie (starkweather) wrote me about this next song and playthrough video: “Get in on this — Arcane Sanctuary. Dude has Kevin Paradis drumming for him. Stuff is pretty killer. Has tech metal chops and a mix of prog and melo-death. Very cool.” Yes indeed, a full-throttle dose of spidery fretwork, nuanced drumming, scraped-raw vocals, and doses of both jolting groove and moody, flowing melody. An attention-grabbing solo in here too. Very promising….
The song, which hasn’t yet been professionally mixed and mastered, will appear on a forthcoming album by this one-man band.
Quite a dynamic 11-minute experience, this next song. A spooky, yowling guitar arpeggio leads into sludgy bass growls and knee-capping drum progressions. Matched with cruel roaring vocals and scorching howls, the riffing slithers and squirms, jumps and jolts, building tension and a sense of unreasoning malice and then breaking open into a battering, electrifying assault, accented by enthralling progressive flourishes. Intense, eerie, heavy as hell, and capable of bending you at the waist like a pumping oil derrick, up and down you go….
Taken from the forthcoming album Old Smoke, with a release date of April 24 on Season of Mist.
CARNAL SAVAGERY (Sweden)
Mind-needling riffery undergirded by big, battering bass-and-drum blows, gradually accelerating with pummeling double-bass, galloping snare, and crazed blaring chords. Red-throated, serrated-edge yells amplify the music’s growing sense of mayhem — but the song also devolves into a crawl, the vocals transforming into malicious roars and the music oozing a ghastly feeling of oppressive gloom and suppurating rot, capped by a squirmy maggot of a solo and one last racing barrage of crazed cruelty.
From the album Grotesque Macabre by this Swedish band, which features two members of old Cromlech, due for release on April 1st by Chaos Records.
Accompanied by film footage from The Great War and the song’s lyrics, the video presents a mid-paced mutilator that harnesses methodical rhythms, feverishly dismal guitar work, and wild guttural bellowing. The melody creates a feeling of despondency, fear, and despair, and the soloing channels wailing wretchedness. While creating musical imagery of the ravages of war and the broken men it leaves in its wake, the song also digs pretty deep into your head as it goes.
The return of a band I’ve written about frequently in the past. This is the title track from Shells Will Fall, a new album coming on May 29th via FDA Records.
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR (Greece)
My habit is not to write about the news of a forthcoming album until I have a complete song to share. Here, I only have a minute-long teaser. But it’s from one of my favorite bands, Hail Spirit Noir, so I’m making an exception. Yes, the teaser is only a minute long, but long enough to create intrigue about the band’s further evolution….
The new album is Eden In Reverse, due out on June 19th from Agonia Records.
This next item is a full album, but I’m only going to comment on the opening track. What “Path of Logic” provides is a thrilling cavalcade of thunderous, bone-fracturing brutality with a mix of blurting chords, fast-jabbing, riffs, frantically squirming leads, and a delirious solo accompanying all the jackhammering grooves and livid howls. It’s a head-twister as well as a bludgeoning skull-smasher. If you dig this track, you’ll definitely dig what comes after it, which hybridizes groove and death metal with freakish progressive permutations and a powerhouse sound.
The album is Reckoning, and it ws released on March 24th by Narcoleptica Productions.
LIGHTNING BOLT (U.S.)
Just watching Lightning Bolt‘s grotesquely masked drummer Brian Chippendale go nuts in this live performance is reason enough to watch it. But his band-mate Brian Gibson creates a wide array of equally insane and unpredictable sounds from his bass (some of which are mesmerizing but most of which are crazed and contorted), deploying what must be an extravagant array of effects pedals and pre-recorded sonic mutilations (including some throat-bursting vocals). A mind-bending and exhilarating experience.
The three songs here, “The Metal East”, “Blow To The Head”, and “USA Is A Psycho”, were performed at the Le Guess Who? festival last November in Utrecht, Netherlands, and was just released today.
ORANSSI PAZUZU (FINLAND)
I already wrote about this next song a week ago after it first surfaced, and now it has been paired with a new music video. As for the music, I’ll just repeat my first impressions: “Trance-inducing, body-moving rhythms provide the compulsive propulsion. Darting, skittering, screaming tones, twisted riffing, and demonic vocals provide the hallucinogenic poison. It swells into a grand madness, and descends into an opium dream. All hail the return of Oranssi Pazuzu…”
As for the video, it’s damned cool. And frankly, I’ll take any excuse to listen to this fiendishly addictive song again.
From the new album Mestarin Kynsi, due for release by Nuclear Blast on April 17th.
PARADISE LOST (UK)
Did you really think I would forget about Paradise Lost? Granted, I’m very late in posting about this new song, “Fall From Grace“, which debuted through the following music video four days ago. No mis-steps here, similar in style to Medusa, a beautifully anguished and undeniably memorable song from these venerable Lords of Doom and Death, who seem to have lost none of their strength.
The song comes from their new album Obsidian, the release of which which Nuclear Blast offered to postpone due to Covid-19, but at the band’s urging will be released on May 15th as originally scheduled.
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST (Germany)
A long song to close, and a transfixing one. Deeply immersive, plundering in its heaviness, creating haunting and desolate moods that have a lasting effect. The vocals enhance those moods by themselves combining both haunting and terrifying sounds. The glinting guitars cast a spell, shaking the soul, while the powerful rhythms shake the spine. A feeling of menace goes hand in hand with the music’s penetrating melancholy and dreamlike atmosphere. The song is called “Silhouettes of Death’s Grace“, and it couldn’t have been better named.
Taken from the EP Don’t Walk On The Mass Graves, which is a split with Mourning Beloveth, to be released on March 27th by Ván Records.
Rennie made me aware of this track, and said it strongly reminded him of an old band he had educated me about a few weeks back, a band named Fear of God. I thought I’d include a stream of their unreleased 1991 demo, Beyond the Veil, so you can get educated too.
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST: