In many weeks the title of this round-up hasn’t been entirely accurate, because although I post them on Saturdays, sometimes I’ve listened to the songs before Saturday has arrived. Not this time.
This time I let the entire week go by without listening to much new music other than what I had agreed to premiere. My day job has been unusually annoying this week, and I continue to be distracted by the unnerving daily news of what’s happening in the world around us. This time, after gulping a couple of cups of coffee, I started the day by trying to catch up, and these selections survived that Saturday morning sifting process.
Needless to say, I didn’t make much headway in my giant list of things I wanted to check out from the past week (and the weeks before), but I had really good luck with what I did decide to check out.
I contend that there’s no better “intro” to a Primitive Man song than the gashing of ears with feedback, because what usually happens next is an ugly and unnerving experience. Why sugarcoat it?
Photo by Alvino Salcedo
Primitive Man seem to agree, because the first single from their next album gives you a dose of feedback before saturating the senses with gruesome distorted chords, slow percussive body blows, tormented roars, wretched howls, and demented, boiling leads. It’s abrasive, discordant, and thoroughly miserable, a thick, roiling trough of oppressiveness and despair. Will you survive it? Depends on whether you have a pre-existing immune system deficiency.
Ethan McCarthy says about this song: “‘The Lifer’ is about being cursed with and unable to shed the desire to create. The lack of financial security that comes with that. It is also about the ever present on-the-road psychosis touring musicians get as well as the enemies you meet along the way.”
“The Lifer” will appear on Immersion, a new album set for release on August 14th by Relapse Records.
Rebel Wizard has established a very distinctive and recognizable genre-bending sound. Many of those signal ingredients are on display in the latest track to be revealed from the band’s next album — the wild thrashing energy, the gloriously flaring heavy-metal riffs, the skull–plundering rhythms, and the abrasive shrieking vocals (whose unhinged intensity has always been a polarizing challenge to listeners who might otherwise have quickly embraced the other ingredients). But this new song seems especially riotous.
There’s a crazed feeling to the blaring and hammering riffs, the berserker soloing, and the rambunctious drumming. Or maybe you’ll get a a feeling of explosive ebullience from the music, though it also takes on a sinister cast — right before it launches into a neck-wrecking chug-fest around the 2:00 mark, and follows that with a display of rampant guitar ecstasy that culminates in a glorious display of soloing fireworks. If you’re in need of a big injection of adrenaline, you’ve come to the right place.
In the video for this song you’ll see an old film clip of a man being interviewed in his home, with his words appearing in subtitles. I’m not sure who this is, although some of Rebel Wizard‘s previous works have seemingly been connected to the teachings of Indian gurus such as Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj and J. Krishnamurti, teachings that seem to me to be the most likely means of understanding the word “negative” in Rebel Wizard‘s description of his music as “negative wizard metal”. And the words of the interview in the video are in line with what I know of those teachings (read this, for example, if you’re interested in learning more).
The new song provides a sharp contrast with “Not Rain but the Wizard’s Tears”, the first single from Rebel Wizard‘s new album, Magickal Mystical Indifference. The pace of that one, which you’ll also find below, is stately and plodding. The reverberating guitar sounds that move around them in dense cascades and swirling filaments are a reverent lament, though the vocals (of course) are shrieks of searing pain. When the decibels diminish, the music becomes mystical, like the glimmering radiations of body becoming spirit.
Magickal Mystical Indifference will be released on July 10th via Prosthetic Records.
The London-based project Cult Burial released its debut EP, Sorrow, in February of this year. I wrote about one of its two songs soon after hearing it and then premiered the second one. I thought both were tremendously good. And so is the new single that was released on June 19th.
This new song, “Moribund“, is a mauling and mangling demolition machine, but who whose vibrant jackhammer-like riffing and preternatural, swirling leads become quickly addictive. The heavyweight rhythmic push in the song is compelling, and the insane bellowing and screaming vocals are electrifying. The song’s integration of bone-smashing heaviness and ravaging ferocity with head-hooking rhythms and insidiously seductive melody make it stand out immediately. It’s both explosive and eerie, and when the fret-melter of a solo cuts loose near the end, it becomes spectacular.
Hell, the song is spectacular from start to finish! If you’re not already on board with what this band is doing, you need to get with the program fast before it leaves you in the dust.
The next song marks the welcome return of the German death metal band Cytotoxin, who have demonstrated an impressive aptitude for combining brutal death and technical death metal. “Lupus Aurora“, presented through a lyric video, only reinforces that impression. Compared to what I recall of their previous work, this track is even more technically deranged. It’s fast, and packed with maniacally darting and swirling fretwork. But when the pacing slows, the song also includes a melancholy, wraithlike guitar solo that gives the music an eerie, wailing quality.
It will come as no surprise to say that the song is also pulverizing, especially when the band unload bursts of nail-gunning riffage and bullet-spitting drum assaults. And it’s a groovesome affair as well, with the savage growls just as rhythmically attuned as the instrumentation.
“Lupus Aurora” will appear on Cytotoxin’s new album Nuklearth, set for release on August 21st by Unique Leader Records.
OČI VLKA (a name that means “Eyes of Wolf” in English) is a two-piece Czech band formed in 2018 in the city of Chomutov, which is located in the Ore mountains. Their debut demo seized the attention of Caligari Records, who will release it on July 15th. The next item in today’s collection is the first preview track from the demo, and it’s hellishly good.
The track doesn’t seem to have a name, just a long string of periods. And Caligari does a fine job describing the music:
“[O]ne can certainly detect traces of black metal, death metal, doom, and grind of various stylistic strands each. What results is an utterly ugly smokestack of dread, darkness, and scorched-earth emotion. The physicality is palpable, and leaden with a heft that betrays the band’s two-person membership; in fact, OČI VLKA’s swarming attack would be irrevocably overwhelming if not for the fact that the duo’s songwriting patiently plays itself out, establishing mood just as handily as metallic might, and altogether creates a sensation of hovering hypnosis…all before the reality hits you, HARD, and drags you down to the abyss.”
The song succeeds in unleashing barbaric savagery, combining blizzards of buzzing, distorted riffing and thunderous rhythms, along with inflamed vocal hostility. But make no mistake, the melodies in the song, though they are dark and dismal, waste no time sinking their hooks deep under the skin. And there’s an almost majestic quality to their melancholy and desperate sounds. A really enthralling and memorable song (and one that’s driven by a top-shelf drum performance).
VIOLENT MAGIC ORCHESTRA
I confess that I had forgotten about Violent Magic Orchestra until receiving an email this week about their new EP, Principle of Light Speed Invariance. For those who may be seeing their name for the first time, I’ll quote from the words of the label (Gabber Eleganza’s Never Sleep) concerning the band:
“Music should be evocative and symbiotic of the current social climate. VMO (Violent Magic Orchestra) from Osaka are exactly that. Angst, rage and a community based project. They are an art music group where techno, black metal, industrial and noise come together.”
It may also help you to know that their first album Catastrophic Anonymous included Chip King (The Body) and Mayhem’s Attila Csihar as guest vocalists. I’ll also share what I wrote about some of the music from that album four years ago:
“It’s crazy, like a fox. It delivers the abrasion and ferocity of harsh noise and black metal, but punches with the compulsive rhythms of industrial/techno — and includes a gliding, symphonic, astral melody as well. On top of all that, the vocals are thoroughly unhinged”.
The new EP, released on, June 12th, is crazy too — and crazy good.
The music is quite unpredictable. Genuinely unnerving and supernatural at times, the EP’s opening track “You are hate” combines driving electro beats and slow piano arpeggios, waves of scalding abrasion and soaring celestial cascades, distorted banshee screams and ghostly quavering radiations.
“Massive Aggressive” might be even more immense in its sound. It pounds like a pile-driver, screams like an asylum on fire, and sends shining astral waves washing across the scalding battery below.
And finally, “New world ballad” is beautiful and mesmerizing. There are vibrant electronic rhythms that run through the first part of the track, but the piano melodies and orchestral synths are sublime, even when the scorched earth vocals make an appearance mid-way through. The music does eventually begin to pound and expand like an extravagant sunrise, but at the end, when the pounding relents, it becomes even more wondrous and heart-filling than before.