As you can see, it’s time for another gigantic round-up. I took extra time and included artwork for this installment. I’m also very happy with the variety of what I chose, which I’ll forewarn you includes a batch of songs at the end which include singing.
Two tracks off the new album by this death metal band from Santiago De Querétaro, Mexico, are now streaming. They provide vivid reminders of just how good Question are, providing ravaging vocals, unpredictable rhythmic shifts, and equally surprising fretwork that moves the music in eerie and freakish directions while also generating an atmosphere of unearthly menace and unhinged mania.
Thanks to the adventurousness of the song-writing and the excellence of every performer’s technical skills, the experience in both songs is electrifying (and mentally destabilizing). And thankfully, the clarity of the production allows a listener to become fascinated by what each instrumentalist is doing in these dark and vicious escapades. I have a feeling this entire album is going to be brilliant.
The album, Reflections of the Void, will be released by Chaos Records on June 29th. The artwork was was done by Lucas Korte (Shoggoth Kinetics).
This UK-based multinational band’s 2019 debut album Ekpyrosis was lauded by our own Andy Synn as “one of the best Black Metal albums of the year”:
“Equal parts dense, droning dissonance, pneumatic, pulse-pounding percussion, and cold, claustrophobic atmosphere, these five songs blend together elements and aspects of several different styles – howling guitars and intense industrial rhythms butting up against asphyxiating ambient soundscapes and eerie electronic vibrations – in what can only be described as a titanic display of analog aggression and digital desolation”.
Rennie (starkweather) was a fan too, and name-checked Killing Joke among other reference points. And so it came as no great surprise to him to discover that Decoherence had released a cover of a Killing Joke song — “The Wait“. He linked me to the song stream, and I’m sure glad he did. Along with the pounding, punishing industrialized rhythms and howling vocal madness, Decoherence bring dissonance into play and long cascades of celestial melody. It’s a dynamite cover of a dynamite song. Get ready to wreck your neck.
The note on Soundcloud says this song will be on a forthcoming release. And by the way, for some reason I’m not able to embed the Soundcloud player, so you’ll have to follow the link to hear the song.
“Catacombs” begins seductively and then slowly builds the layers, which include a bone-deep bass and a skull-cracking drum beat. When the band then jam the pedal to the metal, the surge of the music is damned exciting, though there’s an air of desperation in the music, and the shrieking vocals sound possessed by a demon of pain. Occasionally the band create breaks in the hurtling drums and ravaging riffs, and in one of those the bass takes center stage, providing the transition to a writhing, swirling wave of guitars that lifts you off your feet.
From the self-titled debut album of this Austin, Texas, band, which has a July 10 release date via 20 Buck Spin.
“Onward to…” is “stripped down”, and the rock beats and chord progressions are very addictive. But the song is also a bleak and bruising affair, and the vocals (on a moving line between a growl and a scream) are damned intense. I suppose you could say it’s a blend of punk and depressive black metal. Whatever you call it, it will clamp its claws around your throat and its teeth in your jugular and shake you ’til the blood sprays.
The album is VT-XXVI || The Grobian Fall, the third full-length by this Portland band, and Vrasubatlat will release it (tape and digital) on June 30, with a vinyl edition coming from Goatowarex.
Hunkered down in a dimly-lit, trashed-out, bunker-like room, a man roars, howls, gibbers, and wails, and eventually starts busting up the meager pieces of furniture. That man in this next video is Alexander Högbom, vocalist for October Tide and ex-vocalist for such bands as Centinex, Demonical, and Volturyon. He contributed his potent voice to this song by Dödsvarg, which is the solo project of Jon Ekström. Pelle Andersson (Slutavverkning) played organ on the track and also mastered it.
The song is pitch-black in its mood, amalgamating heavy, gloomy chords, bone-cracking drums, and freakishly flickering and desperately moaning tones (which resemble a brass instrument). Meanwhile, Högbom‘s vocals are as chilling as the music, authentically presenting the sounds of a man losing his mind in isolation.
The name of the song is painted on the walls of Mr. Högbom‘s bunker: “Pestens tid är nu” (“the time of the plague is now”). It will be released on Bandcamp, Spotify and other digital platforms on May 18th.
Now we’ll shift gears into a couple of short and savage pieces of work. The first one, “Slaves“, includes a great vocal sample at the beginning and then wrecks havoc in brutal and battering fashion while the vocalist bellows, roars, screams, and rages in your face. It doesn’t last long, but long enough to give your neck a quick workout.
“Slaves” will appear on Carnivore Carnival, a new album by this Polish grindcore band that will be released by Deformeathing Production this coming fall.
What cinched my decision to include this next song and video were the vocals of Hautajaisyö frontman J. Partanen, whose gritty, belly-deep, ferocious bellows make an impression as big as his girth. The song as a whole is damned good too, delivering full-throttle death-metal savagery that’s loaded with infectious riffs and pulse-pounding momentum.
The song is “Uhraus” and it will appear on the band’s upcoming third album. A release date hasn’t yet been announced, but the track is now available on Bandcamp.
Now I’m moving into those “clean singing” tracks I mentioned in the introduction, beginning with the first advance song from the debut album of Executioner’s Mask, a group that includes Jay Gambit (Crowhurst) on vocals, guitarists Ryan Wilson (Intestinal Disgorge) and Craig Mickle (LACE and Cop Warmth), and Jason Duarte (bass, synth). The album description says that the songs offer “a modern take on the classic blueprints set by bands like AFI, The Sisters Of Mercy and Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry“.
And here’s where I confess (if I haven’t before) an abiding affection for new wave and gothic post-punk, and the latter-day synthwave which has built upon those roots, as well as the stylings of deathrock that Executioner’s Mask also weave into “No Funeral“.
The album is Despair Anthems, and it will be released by Profound Lore on July 10.
Monumental‘s self-promotion for their new single is almost insufferable (“trve atmospheric black metal master piece da ball”… “WORLD SENSATION!!! Only for a perishable moment we honored you to hear the black metal major choir from our universe!”), though I’m ready to forgive them because it seems to be done with tongue in cheek. I also forgive them because “Ritual” is so appealing.
It’s a gloomy piece of work that mounts in intensity, seeming to channel feverish despair as well as ominous darkness. The vocal interplay is also an attraction. It features dark choral proclamations, a haunting female voice, and vicious growls. The music further includes episodes of frantic fretwork and thunderous drumming that build to a crescendo of fearsome delirium.
The song comes from an album named Purification which is due to drop on May 25th.
“Blod og Stål” (Danish for “Blood And Steel”), and the vocals of Bersærk‘s frontman Casper Roland-Popp, remind me of Tau Cross and the vocal stylings of Rob Miller, which is intended as high praise despite Rob the Baron outing himself as drawing inspiration from a Holocaust denier.
Apart from the high quality of the nuanced vocals (which become quite intense), the thick riffs and chiming arpeggios in the song get their hooks in the head, as does the driving rhythm. And despite tall those irally contagious hooks, it’s pleasingly dark as well.
“Blod og stål” was released on May 8th as a single. The video was made by artist and rune magician Ræveðis. The band’s next album is projected for release this coming fall.
This next song grew on me rapidly — indeed, over the course of the very first listen. The rippling guitar at the outset is alluring, but it’s when vocalist Charlotte takes the stage that the music sends tingles down the spine. Her wrenching scream is strikingly intense, and the guitars grow in intensity right along with her, becoming a blaze of sound. The song beautifully subsides into a haunting and mesmerizing moodiness, becoming spine-tingling in a different way, and the vapor trail in the video captures the mood.
“Hellion” is taken from Melt‘s second album, The Secret Teaching Of Sorrow, which will be released on June 19 by Mongrel Records.
PRE-ORDER/PRE-ADD The Secret Teaching Of Sorrow
Last, but definitely not least, I’ve chosen Un Calme entre les Tempêtes, a new three-track EP by the French band Baume (the solo creation of Juif Gaetan). I was an ardent admirer of Baume‘s 2018 debut Les Années Décapitées (and explained why in a review), but somehow failed to comment about the next one, 2019’s L’odeur de la lumière.
This new one is a twist from what I recall of the earlier EPs. Shedding the remnants of black metal altogether, the long opening song “Rien ne Dure” presents an amalgam of rhythmic electronic beats, shimmering and searing keyboard ambience that moves in panoramic cascades, and skittering and buzzing tones that create a feeling of tension. The music often sounds vast, and it has a spellbinding quality, but it channels peril as well.
The emphasis on electronic music continues in the next two tracks, but “Un Calme entre les Tempêtes” also includes somber spoken words in addition to that combination of body-moving beats and gleaming cosmic cascades. The music is immersive and almost meditative, but far from somnolent — too many dark thrills for that, especially when “Octobre”soars in otherworldly grandeur, accompanied by what sound like the chant of choral voices.