(Another work-week is ending, and Gonzo again helps usher it out with a selection of new songs and videos from forthcoming or just-released records.)
It only dawned on me this morning that we’re a week away from November, and given that most of this year has felt like floating in some nebulous void in an endlessly dystopian universe, that was a weird thought.
Even as snow falls just south of my Colorado home as I type this, wildfires continue to burn just north and west of me. It’s a confounding juxtaposition of fire and ice that’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Just another day in 2020, I suppose. With any luck, the plummeting temperatures and prevailing snowfall will help extinguish the flames that have been turning the sky into an unsettling shade of apocalyptic as of late.
All that being said, here’s a few bangers this Friday to make you forget how fucked up the world is right now.
Soilwork, “The Nothingness and the Devil”
It’s good to know the chainheart machine still churns in the darkest of times. Last year’s Verkligheten was a solid addition to the Swedes’ discography, even if the standard for them is still 2013’s inimitable The Living Infinite.
This new single from a forthcoming EP (A Whisp of the Atlantic, out on December 4th) sees the band in its usual going-for-the-jugular melodeath form, continuing their streak of killer material since 2010’s The Panic Broadcast. The songwriting flows well throughout, with Bjorn “Speed” Strid’s trademark shout powering David Andersson’s masterful leads. It’s almost like Sworn to a Great Divide never happened.
Red Moon Architect, “One Shines Brighter”
The Finnish lords of all things morose have returned with another album, following last year’s epic Kuura. Whereas that album just had three songs, two of which clocked in at just under 20 minutes, the new album Emptiness Weighs the Most takes a more conventional approach with nine tracks of mournful death/doom.
The slow-paced, guttural doom of this album is ideal for wintertime listening. Try not to lose yourself in the soft, inviting piano intro atop Anni Viljanen’s ethereal vocals, eventually giving way to Ville Rutanen’s suffocating roar with each chorus. (The song comes with a video just released today.)
Summoning the Lich, “Descend”
St. Louis tech-death crew Summoning the Lich emerge from nowhere to deliver a blistering three-minute monster with “Descend.” Sounding like a coked-up Black Dahlia Murder that started a riot with Job for a Cowboy in a dingy back alley, the band erupts with ferocious twists and turns, complete with the requisite level of dizzying work on behalf of the rhythm section.
With a full-length debut still in the works for Prosthetic Records, Summoning the Lich is one band to watch in the coming year, especially in the saturated realm of technical death metal.
Even if you’re not usually a fan of bands that arbitrarily break the “clean singing” rule of this site, the newest single from Soen is really worth a listen. So is their entire back catalog, for that matter, but we’ll stick to the newest output for the sake of this post.
More to the point, the imaginative music video and urgent lyrics behind this song demand to be seen and heard. I didn’t realize Soen was as dialed into social issues and politics as they’ve revealed here, but I’m glad I made that discovery this morning. Beyond that, the song itself is a riff-driven groove monster that you won’t want to get out of your head anytime soon. (The song is from Imperial, a new album that will be released on January 29th 2021, via Silver Lining Music).
Raging Speedhorn, “Spitfire”
In further “shit I never saw coming” discoveries that made me giddy this morning, the new Raging Speedhorn album might top the list. Much like the raw, kick-down-the-door intensity of everything else they’ve released, “Spitfire” is right up there with the band’s thumping approach to crust/sludge/d-beat/whatever the hell you prefer to call it.
Featuring new vocalist Dan Cook’s raspy bark, the latest album Hard to Kill is rife with renewed energy, thunderous riffs, and an overall attitude that makes me miss live shows more than anything else in the world right now. “Spitfire” is one I found myself going back to a few times already, but seriously, the entire album absolutely shreds with a vengeance.