The Glorious Dead
This has been a rough week. Unexpectedly, it’s been the busiest week I’ve had for my day job since the pandemic caused a shutdown here in Washington State back in March. Those job demands carried through into this weekend and consumed a big part of this Saturday. On top of that, four days ago Covid 19 rapidly claimed the life of a man in Texas (where I spent half my life) who has been a father figure to me since my teenage years. He also founded and led the organization I work for, and he was the longest-lasting and most influential mentor I’ve had in my working career. Because of the virus, I couldn’t be with him or his family, and that made an already tragic situation even worse.
I probably could have gotten a break from work because of his death, but I decided that staying busy was probably better for my mental and emotional health. For the same reason, I stuck to the commitments I’d made to premiere music at NCS this past week. But I didn’t have the time or mental clarity to do much of anything else here. I didn’t listen to any new music other than what I had promised to premiere. I’ve neglected NCS emails. And I haven’t kept up very well with the appearance of new songs and videos.
I attended an online funeral service for my friend on Thursday. He was Jewish, and tomorrow I will attend and speak at an online shiva with his family and many friends. On Monday night there will be another online memorial among the people who worked with him, and I’ll be speaking about him again then. Trying to hold it together through all of this has been, and will be, difficult, to say the least. Though I’ll continue to honor our premiere commitments this coming week, I can’t promise that I’ll be able to get my other NCS activities back to normal any time soon. I know all of you will understand.
I probably didn’t need to say anything about the decline in my NCS output or the reasons for it. I’m not sure how many people would have even noticed (though purely coincidentally, some of the other more active NCS writers had to focus on other things this past week themselves, which might have made the relatively meager output at the site more noticeable). But I decided to get this off my chest, and to put at ease anyone who might actually have worried about what the fuck was going on here.
Having done that, I’ve also bowed to my long-lasting compulsion to (almost) never post anything at the site that doesn’t have music to go along with it. For the reasons explained above, I didn’t listen to much new music this morning. But by chance I did quickly find the songs I’ve included below. Apart from the fact that I think they’re very good, they also seemed to fit well together. The music of both these bands also hit me in the right way. There is a certain bleakness in their music, which fit my own mood, but they also have ferocious energy, which is something I think I needed.
THE GLORIOUS DEAD
These first two songs are by a death metal band from Traverse City, Michigan, that formed back in 2009, released a debut EP that year, and then faded away until re-forming in 2017. Since then they’ve released a demo and an EP and are now on the path to releasing a debut album in September. The line-up includes Bindrune Recordings label boss Marty Rytkonen on guitars, as well as guitarist/vocalist T.J. Humlinski, drummer Chris Fulton, and bassist Chris Boris.
As “The Noise of Gravediggers” vividly demonstrates, The Glorious Dead have the capability of launching rumbling, pile-driving, juggernaut attacks, and of creating dismal, sinister, and queasy melodies. In short bursts, they also explode in displays of chaotic, swarming violence capped by deranged soloing. The belly-deep vocals are also monstrously good. “Cranial Festering” solidifies all these favorable impressions, though the soloing there is a manifestation of waling preternatural wretchedness.
Into Lifeless Shrines will be released by Bindrune Recordings, on vinyl and digitally, on September 4th.
Petrichor is the sister-label of the venerable Hammerheart Records. As Petrichor explains, “The label was born out of necessity when Hammerheart Records decided to focus solely on releasing 80’s/90’s bands and re-issues. A new entity was needed to give ‘new’ and fresh acts a place to blossom and develop. And thus Petrichor was born”.
Petrichor’s second signing is a band named Supruga, from Samara, Russia. The label describes their music as an “angst-ridden, gloomy blend of Endzeit emotions with darkened metal/sludge/core”. The name of their new album, which I assume is a debut, is Хаос/Никто не в безопасности, and it will be released in October 2020.
The song below is “Никто не в безопасности“. It makes good use of spine-shaking, HM-2-like distortion in the riffing, occasional punk rhythms, wolfish howls, and panther screams. And those riffs are killer — bleak and bruising for sure, and the song gets dramatically more dismal as it decelerates, but it’s a head-mover too. Also, very infectious.