SEEN AND HEARD: CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX, OXALATE, REBAELLIUN, TENEBRA
Happy hump-day. To help get you over the hump I compiled this short collection of new songs and videos from among others I checked out last night and this morning. Apart from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed all of these, they give you a lot of variety. Surely you will enjoy at least one, if not all of them. If you don’t, we’re not offering refunds.
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
The opening drum pattern in this first song and video reminded me of Kate Bush‘s hit from the mid-’80s, “Running Up That Hill”. Even if I hadn’t already been a fan of Crippled Black Phoenix and curious to see what they’d be doing on their new album, that alone would have rooted me in place for the rest of this ride — and what a wonderful ride it is.
The rumbling, tumbling drum patterns (and a hefty bass pulse) remain a vital (and highly addictive) presence throughout “Cry of Love“, and they’re not the only thing that put me in mind of music from the ’80s. The ringing, reverb-ed guitars, which come in waves and also sparkle, have a post-punk feel, and other aspects of the song (including the vocals — by Belinda Kordic and guest vocalist Ryan Patterson of Coliseum) brought the goth-rock of such bands as Fields of Nephilim to mind. The music and the vocals in the chorus elevate, not in glory but in a kind of tragic majesty. This one sticks in the head hard.
Guilherme Henriques does his usual excellent job on the video, which depicts a grim-faced, downcast man carrying a swaddled bundle down lanes, through forests, and toward the ocean. What is he carrying toward a sandy resting place?
“This is a song about losing a loved family member, but not a human one, it’s about our feline companions,” explains mainman Justin Greaves. “Ryan came back with the words and vocals after I sent him the song and it blew us away. We already connected with Ryan when on tour and being fellow animal lovers and vegans, he, Belinda and myself have a deep appreciation for speaking out about our animal friends.
“The song lyrics are about Ryan’s cat Willie who sadly passed away. Coincidentally, at the same time we (Belinda and myself) lost two of our cat family, Nell and Tigger (the old three-legged dude who starred on the cover of Horrific Honorifics). So this song is like a coming together to celebrate the love we have for the cats, how we miss them and how they influence our lives”.
As a cat lover, and someone who has mourned the loss of his own feline family members, I guess that explanation just burrowed the song even deeper into my heart.
Ryan Patterson isn’t the only guest vocalist on this English band’s new album Ellengæst. It also includes appearances by Anathema singer Vincent Cavanagh, Tribulation‘s Jonathan Hulten, Ghaal of Gaahls WYRD, and UK solo artist Suzie Stapleton. The album will be released by Season of Mist on October 9th.
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX:
It may have been because I had just listened to that Crippled Black Phoenix track, but I thought I detected a hint of post-punk resonance in the opening measures of this next song, albeit processed through a fractured death metal prism. And that wasn’t the only interesting thing to happen, because it turns out that the song twists and turns, contorting its shape continuously over its compact length.
The music pounds and slashes in grand, soaring fashion. It attacks with wild, feverish savagery. It devolves into an apocalyptic stomp. It brays like a siren, darts like a cornered wolverine, screams like ghosts in flames. On top of all this, the song has an overarching aura of hellish majesty. And speaking of screaming, the vocalist does that in chilling fashion at the end, but before that his belly-deep growl is a truly monstrous presence.
The song is “Dark Ritual“. The band is Oxalate, from New Jersey and New York. Their new EP, which includes this killer track, is Infatuating Sickness, and it will be released on September 4 by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.
P.S. I just saw that Blood Harvest Records will release a four-way split among Oxalate, Perpetuated, Blood Spore, and Vivisect on July 24 (digital) and September 4 (physical). I now have to track that down.
“Vile” sets the hook quickly with a heavy, pulsing riff and a rhythmically hammering drum beat. Rebaelliun might have stuck with that hook, but it turns out they had other hooks to pull out and stick in. Over the course of the song they mix things up with sinister, swirling melody, bouts of feverish frenzy and blaring derangement, riveting bursts of insectile guitar swarming backed by attention-grabbing drum-and-bass interplay, and a roaring vocal assault.
I would have been excited about the return of this venerable Brazilian death metal band even without hearing this damned good song, because they can be counted on to deliver the goods. Thankfully, their new album is arriving only four years after the last one (The Hell’s Decrees) (which we reviewed and premiered here), rather than 15 years, which was the amount of time between that album and the band’s debut full-length (Burn the Promised Land).
The name of the new record hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be released at some point in the autumn of this year by Agonia Records. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.
All the preceding songs in today’s collection benefit from compelling drum performances, and the last one here does too. The drumming isn’t super-fancy, but the heart-beat punch of the bass drum, the snap and clatter of the snare, and the shifting rhythmic patterns do a nice job of augmenting the riffs, which have their own sinister, head-hooking appeal. The chords flare and seethe in a display of menace, ecstasy, and brooding while the vocalist vents his goblin shrieks in a full fury.
Things change when the rhythmic push abates, and a mercurial guitar arpeggio rings its changes. Even in this sequence, the drumming shares center stage, but the music draws you into its melancholy lament with seductive power and a sharp change in the song’s stylistic ingredients. I sort of wish that interlude had lasted longer, but the following surge in energy generously compensated for the loss.
The song is named for the band — “Tenebra” — and it comes from Through Crying Souls I See What I Was…, an EP that will be released by Cult of Parthenope on September 5th. Tenebra (the band) is the solo work of Lord Lemory, who is described as “active in the Italian underground scene since the late 90’s”. It’s further reported that the record was first released by Neapolis Niger in a limited cassette edition in 2007. Thirteen years later, the song holds up very well.
Hey, another Wednesday, another good set of bands over at NCS. Who’d have thought Rebaellion’d still be around? They didnt age much, it seems, something I cannot say about myself, hehe.
I haven’t listened to CBP in a really long time…but this is really good.
An excellent post, congratulations !!