Here’s another short round-up of songs and videos as a way of wrapping up our posts for this week. I have in mind another one for Saturday.
This first video has it all — flashing images of swarming maggots, snakes, death in the insect kingdom, human and goat skulls, stone tombs, abundant torches and candles, skies ripped by lightning, and a masked and corpse-painted band ripping through their song in a cavern. It’s missing a human sacrifice, but we shouldn’t be greedy.
The song in the video, “Golden Tomb“, is a black-hearted beast. These Austrians discharge torrents of cold, seething riffage, thunderous drumming, and fervent vocals that range from superheated screams to ghastly bellows and unhinged yells. As the song proceeds, the riffing continually changes in its moods, becoming more scorching as it writhes in displays of frenzied violence, and also tremendously more ominous, dismal, and steeped in poison. The whites of your eyes may be showing by the time it wraps up (mine sure as hell were).
The track is taken from the album Fragment : Erhabenheit, to be released on September 11th by AOP Records. The video was made by Schrankenstein Media. The terrific cover art is by Jose Gabriel Sabogal.
I deserve a quick slap in the face (don’t you dare, I’ll do it myself) for losing track of this two-man destroyer from the Basque Country of Spain after writing about their debut album Eilatik last November. Since then, it seems they’ve released a pair of singles, an EP, and now another single. I have to go catch up with the earlier material I missed, but today I just want to focus on the newest single, “End Origin End“.
I don’t expect you to remember what I wrote about the album last fall, but it did include such words as “corrosive”, “maniacally brutal”, “ferocious”, and “freakish”. Rennie, who recommended it to me, characterized it as “rampaging death metal attack with strangled vocals, a septic mix of Morbid Angel and Incantation“. On the other hand, Rennie’s notes on this new song were: “Very Cure/Disintegration. Katatonia would be proud”. Huh?
Well, sure enough, all those references ring true. The song is slow and sobering, and quite entrancing — though, after a pause of silence, what began as a haunting and dreamlike spell becomes a more frightening apparition, thanks to the joinder of terrifying vocals and intensifying fever in the music.
‘Twas December of last year when I encountered a video for a demo song named “In the Corner of A Dead End Street” by this Israeli band, which at the time was reported to be an excerpt from a then-untitled debut album that would include guest appearances by this constellation of names:
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost)
Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy/Nevermore) – a memorial personal song about Warrel Dane.
Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell)
Spiros Antoniou (Septicflesh)
Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ)
Mikko Kotamaki (Swallow The Sun)
Kobi Farhi (Orphaned Land)
Anders Jacobsson (Draconian)
Shlomi Bracha (Mashina)
Lisa Cuthbert (Session live vocals of The Sisters Of Mercy)
Well, now the album has a name (Hollow) and a release date (September 11, through AOP Records) — and I see that there’s another album track available for streaming.
I might as well begin by repeating what I wrote about the previously previewed album track, “In the Corner of A Dead End Street”, which has now been released in its final version and includes performances by Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ and Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost:
“I have little doubt that the song will appeal to fans of such bands as My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, and to fans of Fields Of The Nephilim and The Sisters Of Mercy. The vocals, which range from deep, gothic intonations to harrowing goblin snarls and howls, and wretched roars, have a lot to do with the song’s appeal, but the combination of ethereal shimmering tones, craggy and jolting riffs soaked in misery, and gut-punching rhythms, are equally transfixing. The song is steeped in doom, but becomes feverishly anguished and electrifying, and the extended soloing near the end is a thing of grief-stricken glory.”
The other track, “Fear” (which features a guest appearance by none other than Aaron Stainthorpe), opens in a grand anthem of agony, its heaving heaviness leavened by ethereal ringing keyboards and complemented by gloom-shrouded gothic vocals and soulful guitars. The music also pounds and moans as savage, tortured growls replace the singing, and the music ascends in tragic grandeur. A different voice sings as the brutishness of the music recedes and the song becomes more ghostly and beguiling. The musical textures in the song are rich, and include the strummed vibrancy of something like a lute and harpsichord-like keys. When it crescendos, and the voices join together, the song becomes a towering monument of heartbreak.
I suppose it’s a form of heresy for me to make the last song of the week one that’s not metal. But don’t strap me to the pyre and ignite it just yet. Because although the video for the track was released by a Russian label (Untitled Burial) that describes itself as “The Universe of Witch House, Wave and new Experimental Electronic music”, the music is plenty dark.
Indeed, the video that accompanies the track stitches together movie scenes of suicide, with subtitles that in a way provide the lyrics to the music, even though there really aren’t any. As for the music itself, it makes use of an enormous electro beat as the current, and surrounds that with a wash of cold yet magical sound and injects motifs of ethereal pinging melody. Things get much more intense as the song moves, adding to the music flurries of light-speed munitions, what might be phantasmagorical voices, and an increasingly blinding celestial sheen.
The song is “Absolution“, which is the title track to an album released in February of this year by the Ukrainian project mhls. Thanks to Miloš for suggesting this one.