My habit for a long time has been to stop posting things at NCS by around noon here in the Pacific time zone. At that point it’s getting into the late-night hours in Europe, where about half of our daily traffic comes from, and I usually need chunks of the afternoon to deal with work and personal business. But after sleeping for 10 hours last night and waking up much later than usual today, and then having to spend even more time getting my foggy head moderately clear, most of the morning was already gone.
I knew I wouldn’t get this post finished by noon — hell, I didn’t even start writing it until noon. But I thought, fuck it, if that noon-deadline rule comes from nowhere other than inside my own head, I can break it if I want to, even if a lot of people won’t see this until sometime Sunday.
The three Zoom happy hours I participated in yesterday, which began in the afternoon and went late into the night, prevented me from listening to any new music. And because I got such a late start this morning, I didn’t spend much time going through my list today either. But it was enough time to find and become satisfied with the following choices.
Based on past experience, when I begin listening to something new from Australia’s Rebel Wizard I expect an electrifying riot of sound packed with head-hooking riffs, pulse-pounding rhythms, and mind-wounding vocal extremity. And so, going in with those expectations, the first song from Rebel Wizard‘s new album proved to be a surprise.
The percussive rhythms in the song are titanic — you can feel those giant booms in your marrow — but the pace is a stately and plodding one. The reverberating guitar sounds that move around them in dense cascades and swirling filaments are a reverent lament, though the vocals are shrieks of shearing pain. When the decibels diminish, the music becomes mystical, like the glimmering radiations of body becoming spirit.
The name of the song is “Not Rain but the Wizard’s Tears”. It premiered yesterday, through a music video (which is both fascinating and lonely), at Invisible Oranges. The premiere included this statement from NKSV, the man behind Rebel Wizard:
“You might remember the day last year where upon the entire globe was drenched in non-stop rain. Well, let us reveal the truth of that down pour. It was on that day the wizard held his cat as she was injected with the no more. So it was not rain but the wizards tears. The song did then follow.”
And so the mood of the song is thereby explained. Maybe you have been in that position, too. I have, on the day five years ago when we allowed a vet to end the suffering of our dear feline friend who graced our lives for almost 20 years. It may have been a mercy to him, but the pain of feeling the life go out of him is one that never really goes away. I’m fated to now think of that whenever I hear this song.
The new album is Magickal Mystical Indifference. It will be released on July 10th via Prosthetic Records.
I confess that I haven’t given nearly enough attention to SkamHan, the debut album of the Danish band (0). Napalm Records describes it as a “hallucinating mixture of black, drone and post metal spiced with intense sludge and progressive influences”. It was released yesterday. To coincide with the release, (0) released a music video for the song “Sortfugl“, a video that documents an aspect of the way we now live.
It’s a fantastic song. It has heavy, dark undercurrents to be sure, and the vocals are incinerating, but there’s also tremendous vitality in the cracking snare rhythms, the slashing chords, and the fire-bright trilling riffs. The notes that ring out when the drums vanish sparkle, and the drum pattern that joins those scintillating sounds, along with the thrum of the bass, will get your neck going. The song builds to a writhing guitar frenzy and subsides into a mesmerizing dream-state, which carries the music into a mood of wistful remembrance. The surge of energy at the end is glorious, yet anguished, providing an emotionally intense conclusion to a wonderfully dynamic song.
PATRONS OF THE ROTTING GATE
Searching our site revealed to me that more than six years have passed since the last time I wrote (here) about this band from Northern Ireland. The occasion then was the release of their debut album, The Rose Coil. I might as well quote myelf:
“The Rose Coil storms like sheets of wind-driven hail. But the music is far from one non-stop blackened blaster after another. The music is remarkably dynamic and progressive, displaying fluid, intricate guitar and bass performances and a tremendously ambitious approach to songwriting that succeeds tremendously. Definitely not cookie-cutter music, not by a long stretch. Spiritually, Patrons of the Rotting Gate is a cousin of bands as diverse as Cormorant, Deathspell Omega, and Krallice, to name only a few who have been pushing the boundaries of black metal in interesting directions”.
The reason why so much time has passed since that last notice here is now evident — it’s because Patrons of the Rotting Gate hasn’t released anything since that first album, other than a 2014 EP of cover songs. But at last there’s a new record, Bathed In Ash, with a May 9 release date. Andrew Ross Millar continues to do everything (including the fantastic cover art), though credit is given to Matt Matheson of Potmos Hetoimos for guest vocals on “…We Have All Felt Abandon” — which happens to be one of the three songs now available for streaming on Bandcamp.
“Orphan” is tumultuous, an amalgam of thunderous drumming, fleet-fingered bass notes, rampantly riotous fretwork, and scorching vocal extremity. The unhinged quality of the darting and swirling guitars is electrifying — so much so that the brief piano interlude comes as a shock, yet the melding of the piano into the resumed storming of the other instruments is a beautiful thing.
“…We Have All Felt Abandon” represents a sharp change of mood, taking both the pace and the atmosphere of the music into much gloomier dimensions. The deep roar of the guest vocals enhances the feeling of oppressive hopelessness. The music does eventually become faster and more spirited, as if the derangement lurking just beneath the surface of the song’s opening has been given free rein, and the dissonance of the guitar mutilations puts your teeth on edge.
The third song, “Bleached Bones“, is further proof of how varied the album is. It pummels, jabs, and jolts, while swarming those slugging grooves with an eye-opening, head-spinning collage of crazed, insectile arpeggios that throw us back into the kind of riotous but inventively exuberant mayhem that marked “Orphan“. Yet the song continues to change in unexpected, and even seductive ways before building to a jaw-dropping crescendo and then closing in a movement of screaming and searing eeriness. What a song, what an incredible thrill-ride it is!
Thanks to Rennie (starkweather) for telling me about this new album.
Like Patrons of the Rotting Gate, Wired Anxiety are a band we’ve written about before, but in their case it was much more recently — February of 2019, to be precise. At that time we premiered a guitar playthrough video for a track off the band’s 2016 EP The Delirium of Negation. We also explained that Wired Anxiety had gotten their start in Mumbai, India, but that since the EP’s release, band members had relocated to Atlanta and Pittsburgh, where they were continuing to work on new music.
Today the band released another guitar playthrough video, this time for a killer new song named “Burn“. It features the performance of Naval Katoch, filmed by Shane Mayer inside the Carrie Furnace in Pittsburgh. Naval still appears cool as a cucumber as he works those seven strings with aplomb in this high-voltage attack. Although you can’t see them in the video, Sean Martinez from Decrepit Birth was the bassist on the song, Sumeet Ninanwe was behind the kit, and Dheeraj Govindraju provided the extravagantly ferocious vocals.
All together, they’ve created a full-throttle song that pulls together heavy, bruising, pulsating grooves, turbocharged drum battering, and plenty of swirling and darting fretwork fireworks. The growled and yelled vocals are absolutely livid, while the intricate interplay among all the instrumentalists is exhilarating, and impressive in the technical flare of its execution. The band also find a way to fluidly insinuate some memorable bits of dark and bewitching melody (along with a few pavement-pounding bass drops).
Fun to listen to and fun to watch. And with that I’ll leave you (until tomorrow) with a final wish to stay well and stay safe.