Maybe it’s the mental discombobulation that comes from being basically stuck at home for two and a half months, but I’ve noticed that I’ve started inserting things into these round-ups that don’t fit in with our usual musical interests and that sometimes violate our general (yet historically porous) rule about singing. I don’t want anyone to worry too much about this drift, because extreme underground sounds are always going to be my lodestar, but in today’s collection I’m once again indulging some musical interests that diverge from main lines of NCS.
And yes, there will again be a lot of singing. But just so you don’t get too freaked-out, I’m bookending the collection with some harsher recommendations.
I found out about this first song just this morning, thanks to a timely message from Rennie (starkweather), who wrote: “Guitar tone is almost like early Portal, but, the bass has far more clank and clatter and then there are chord choices that are more informed by conventional black metal and folk melodies… vocalist sounds like a deadite.” Which made me lament the fact that I haven’t been clever enough to compare vocalists to deadites before.
This song, “Thy Way with the Serpent Entwined“, bears out Rennie’s description. It also creates an atmosphere that’s both deranged and steeped in dread and despair, both eerie and poisonous, and the combined force of the bass and drums is potent enough to fracture skulls and rupture internal organs. The music also uneasily lingers in the mind for a long time. A very promising first sign for this new album.
The band is Dkharmakhaoz, a duo from Belarus, and the song is the first one revealed from a debut album named Proclamation ov the Black Suns. It’s set for release on July 31st, and Iron Bonehead Productions will release it on CD and LP.
This makes the third time I’ve written about Wędrowcy~Tułacze~Zbiegi, and each time I’ve offered a different translation of their name. The latest is one I found at Metal-Archives today — “Wanderers~Exiles~Fugitives”, which isn’t too far away from the one I offered the last time: “wanderers-roamers-runaways”. The band was at one time known as Duszę Wypuścił, and it’s the brainchild of Sars from the excellent Polish black metal groups Furia and Massemord.
I’ve been perpetually fascinated by the project’s releases, and it looks like that will be true again. The new output is an EP named Berliner Vulkan, which will be released by Devoted Art Propaganda on 12″ vinyl “soon”. The single below, “Nieporozumienie“, will be included on it.
“Polish black metal turns to 80s synthpop. That’s what Jesus wanted.” That’s an amusing comment I saw on a reddit thread about this song. It does indeed make significant use of darting and shimmering synths and a dance-able electro-beat. To my ears, both the beat and the principal clean vocals have a bit of a reggae flavor, and it’s damned addictive. As for black metal, about the only sign of it is in the brief appearance of some frightening vocals, though the music does come to include sensations of tension and feverishness.
I would add that on May 29th Devoted Art Propaganda will be releasing the band’s last album, Marynistyka Suchego Lądu (which I highly recommend), on CD. It was digitally released last August.
DEVOTED ART PROPAGANDA:
I’ve been an ardent fan of this Vancouver band for years (and have premiered music from some of their past releases), although Bronson Lee Norton‘s vocals are most definitely an exception to our rule about singing — and a very well-earned one. The band’s latest release (on May 18th) is a terrific cover of the Soundgarden song “Room A Thousand Years Wide” (from the 1991 Badmotorfinger album).
Seer‘s cover is a crusher, anchored by a granite-heavy chugging riff and bone-smashing drumwork. Trippy leads and high, wailing tones give the music a psychedelic quality to go along with the massive groove. And the singing is tremendous. The vocals do eventually turn to scarring screams as the band ramp up the destructive intensity of the music.
“Psychedelic stoner doom swamp magick” is the genre label appended by this Washington, D.C. band (whose name is pronounced Sor-guh) to their music. Their self-titled debut EP is set for release on June 5th, and what you’ll find below are streams of two of the four songs that it will include.
“Argent” does have a swampy and psychedelic atmosphere, but there’s a gut-gouging tone to the main low-end riff and a heavy-weight punch to the drums, which create a contrast with the shrieking and moaning leads and the wailing vocals, which gradually soar in the ravaging intensity of their pain. The song, I should add, is also a bone-breaker.
“Astral Burnout” follows the zenith of intensity that closes “Argent” with a different kind of psychedelic trip — an astral one, as the title suggests. The song sounds to me like a marriage between early Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin (the vocalist really does bring Robert Plant to mind), though with added ugliness in the guitar tone, and it’s capped by a hell of a guitar solo. Fantastic song….
Next up is a self-titled EP by Sectarian Bloom from the Bay Area. It was released on April 26th by Transylvanian Tapes. I found out about it three days ago, thanks to a Bandcamp alert, so maybe it has only now been digitally released.
Recently I’ve confessed that I was a big fan of New Wave and post-punk in the ’80s — though I had basically stopped listening to anything more recent, and only made occasional forays into the old stuff, for nostalgia’s sake. Over the last year or so, I’ve been drifting back into the genres, or at least what they’ve evolved into (or perhaps more accurately, how they’ve been resurrected). I would put the self-titled EP of Sectarian Bloom into that category of updated, dark post-punk.
The heft and abrasion in the bass give the music a dangerous edge, and the fast pace of the songs coupled with the feverish energy (and the ringing, piercing tone) of the guitar adds to their electrifying intensity, while the vocals are right in line with the genre’s lineage (and are very good). The band made an astute decision to pull back the intensity in the trippy intro to “Working Daydream”, creating a kind of mid-EP break, before kicking the song into driving gear, and then maintaining the boisterous spirit straight through to the end. For people with a taste for this style, Sectarian Bloom should prove to be a big thrill-ride.
And now for the other bookend. It comes from the Roman death metal band Bedsore, whose debut LP, Hypnagogic Hallucinations, will be released on July 24th through 20 Buck Spin. Given the label that’s behind this release, I just reflexively assume it’s going to be very good. The lead single, “The Gate, Closure (Sarcoptes Obitus)“, certainly is.
The great appeal of the song lies in its interesting amalgamation of ingredients, which range from eerie, wailing guitars and mind-warping chords, which together generate a horror-movie atmosphere, to enraged-goblin vocals and a slow, dreamlike, and seductive guitar-and-bass duet at the end. The song is also dynamically paced and includes high-intensity passages of jittery fretwork and battering drums.
You’ll get a further idea of how interesting the potion is that Bedsore have brewed by taking a look at 20 Buck Spin‘s “recommended for fans of” list: Ghastly, Black Hole, Morbus Chron, Sweven, Sentenced, Sepulchur, Execration, Venenum, and Goblin.