The last 24 hours didn’t go as I had planned, but I have no one to blame but myself. I separated myself from most NCS activities after finishing yesterday’s round-up, and then partied a bit too hard with my spouse during one of our rare outings to a local bar and restaurant (which is very serious about social distancing). On the plus side, I slept for 11 hours after that. On the minus side, my brain was in a dense fog after awakening, a fog that’s only now beginning to dissipate.
So, to avoid letting the day pass entirely by without one of these usual Sunday collections, I had to change my plans and limit myself to a handful of individual songs and videos (and one demo), rather than trying to write about some recently released full-lengths that I want to strongly recommend. I’ll have to find some other way to do that.
CULTUS PROFANO (U.S.)
The first selection is “Cursed in Sin, Op. 25“, a song from the upcoming album Accursed Possession by Cultus Profano. We premiered not one but two songs off this Los Angeles-based duo’s debut album Sacramentum Obscurus, which was a terrific first full-length. And I’ve been eager to hear this new one.
The opening riff rings with an eerie and uneasy harmony, and the vocalist’s extravagant goblin snarl increases the guitars’ preternatural and poisoned atmosphere, which becomes increasingly intense as the speed and heat of whirring chords magnify. The drumming is a riveting presence, nuanced and restrained but vital to the experience, providing a gripping sense of dynamic movement beneath the dense enveloping waves of intensifying sound.
Accursed Possesion will be released by Debemur Morti Productions (CD/LP/Digital) on August 28th. The tremendous cover artwork was painted by Khaos Diktator Design.
This next song benefits from a vibrant bass thrust and equally electric drum rhythms, and the riffing is an immersive and emotionally evocative experience, just as scintillating as the rhythms but creating moods of intense longing and a sense of loss verging on despair. The feeling of melancholy in the music isn’t gloomy however, but instead comes across with a kind of heart-breaking grandeur verging on euphoria, while the harsh screaming vocals are frighteningly intense.
Like other songs selected for this post, the song has a powerfully immersive quality, creating sweeping panoramas of sound, and as such it also benefits from the drum and bass performances, whose changing patterns enhance the music’s dynamism without detracting from the persistently gripping atmospheric power of the melodies.
“Some Ritual” is a new single released on June 25th from Dumal‘s forthcoming second full-length The Confessor, which will be released by Fólkvangr and Vigor Deconstruct on vinyl and cassette.
(not yet available)
This demo, released in late March, begins with a chanted mantra over a sparkling percussive pattern and then moves into “Babaylan, Descending of the Wrathcaller’s Oath“, a torrent of maniacally darting guitars and explosive drumming. With the lyrics voiced in hostile and scorching tones, the rapid fretwork (which includes the bass) creates leaping and swirling sensations, channeling a feeling of wild, contagious, and overpowering ecstasy that’s matched by the exuberance of the drumming. The flashing movements in the song are kaleidoscopic and intricate, but the band hold all these explosive and gloriously head-spinning ingredients together with reappearing melodic and rhythmic motifs.
The remaining three tracks are just as breathtaking. Fast and furious, they blaze with nova-like brilliance and storming, warlike intensity, and they’re capable of spinning your brain like a cranial centrifuge and rushing the blood in your veins like blasting water in a firehose that’s been opened all the way up. This isn’t symphonic black metal (no synths or keyboards that I can discern), but it has the power and intensity of a crescendoing orchestra showing off its virtuosity in a symphony’s final allegro movement.
The demo was released on CD by Born For Burning Productions and on cassette by Davao Hellbangers Production. Korihor also have a new release named Warmageddon that’s set for cassette tape release in August and is already up on the Davao Hellbangers Bandcamp page (here). I’m now eager to check out that one.
“Immersed through the light-dark path” makes for a very good follow-on to that Korihor demo. It too blazes with a resonance of powerful, head-spinning grandeur. Elaborately textured and dynamic, the music alternately blares and mesmerizes, dazzles the senses with rapid-fire, scissoring fretwork and sends out fanfares of magisterial menace. It creates feeling of feverish tension and imminent peril, of unreasoning cruelty and wrenching agony, of dancing gleefulness and flailing derangement — and all of the off-the-hook and exultant energy of the fretwork is matched by the incendiary vocal barbarism.
In the mid-section, Kizin allow the listener to catch a few quick breaths as the music slows and becomes almost dreamlike, revealing a dimension of mystical wonder — but it’s a dimension that still maintains a feeling of tension and peril. After that mid-song digression, the song becomes even more multi-faceted and spectacular, proving not only Kizin‘s impressive technical skills but also the intricacy and adventurousness of their song-writing. All in all, it’s an eye-popping, jaw-dropping experience, and makes a fine reminder of this band’s talents — which were already proven by their 2018 debut album Abstraction (which we wrote about here).
This new song will appear on Kizin‘s forthcoming second album, Existentialism, The Sense of Human Essence. I haven’t yet seen a release date.
In January of this year Duplicate Records released Demoniac Ethics, the excellent fourth album by this Turkish black metal band (we premiered and reviewed that album here). Zifir recently released a reminder of how good it is by presenting a squirming new video for one of the album’s strongest tracks, “Empire of Worms“. I’m just going to repeat what I’ve previously written about that particular song:
“With ‘Empire of Worms‘ Zifir create feelings of tension and turmoil, peril and pestilence, but do so with eerie melodic accents that give the music an esoteric and unearthly quality. It’s disturbing, poisonous music, stripped of hope and succor, but strangely spellbinding as well. It leaves no doubt that we will all be wormfood, at least figuratively, with the end of humankind brought about by our own hands, but the music is also undeniably scintillating.”
The music makes the message even more clear:
“Beneath the ground filled with bones
The heaven is bare and empty
Dig up the graves
You will see the empire of worms
Nothingness of the past
Nourished the God in them”
Everything in this collection so far has been generally fast and electrifying, and so I decided to close with a new single by Grisvelos, because the intro to the song is so placid and beautiful. It seemed like a good way to turn the heat down a bit. But in the interest of full disclosure, that soft reverie doesn’t last long. The music suddenly explodes in a cascade of searing and jabbing guitar and neck-popping drumwork. Bursts of flickering fretwork and hammering drum rhythms create a feeling of fracturing sanity, and at other moments, even when the drumming is maintaining a riotous pace, the melody becomes languid and mesmerizing. And in addition to all these other changing sensations, the music also creates visions of brazen defiance and triumph.
So, despite the way the song begins, it proves to be just as electrifying as everything else in this post — until you reach the end, when a moody but entrancing acoustic guitar outro brings the heat down once again.
P.S. There are no vocals in this song. However, I don’t think you’ll feel short-changed by their absence.
“Nostalgia” is the first single from a forthcoming Grisvelos LP, and the song is available now on Bandcamp.