(For the second (or is it the third?) time, our editor (that would be me) screwed up and didn’t get Gonzo’s Friday music round-up posted before having to turn to non-NCS work, but we’ll just pretend again that Monday is the new Friday. Hope you have a good weekend on Tuesday.)
Doing what you love for a living can often be the ultimate study in double-edged swords, in the sense that getting paid to do it all day makes doing it for fun… somewhat less fun.
In this case, I’m talking about writing. The past month has seen me doing a lot of it, and unfortunately, the bulk of that has gone towards my new day job instead of describing the dark and devastating tones found here at NCS.
Today is Friday, though, and my chronic addiction to loud music is overtaking any professional obligations. For now.
Join me as I blast out some words about some new shit you can crank up and bang your head to.
Moonspell, “The Greater Good”
I love tracing Moonspell’s career path, from their lo-fi black metal origins to their refined Sisters of Mercy-like evolution into 2015’s brilliant Extinct and beyond. They’ve gone down a similar road as other bands like Paradise Lost in that sense; a multifaceted approach that sees the band throw out all rules and flex their creative songwriting muscle in exactly the way they want to.
2018’s 1755 was a solid enough follow-up, but didn’t grab me the way Extinct did. With “The Greater Good,” the Portuguese lords of darkness sound more comfortable with what they’re doing and less like they’re trying too hard. The song hits everything they do best – Fernando Ribiero’s melodic croons punctuated by his ferocious growls, a thin veneer of goth-metal keyboards overlaid by delicious riffage, and a hook that’s just as memorable as some of the band’s best recent output.
“The Greater Good” is the kickoff track from the band’s forthcoming album Hermitage, due out on Feb. 20, 2021.
VOLA, “Head Mounted Sideways”
This is one I’ve been waiting for, but until this morning I had absolutely no idea when I’d get it. I’m glad the wait is over.
2018’s Applause of a Distant Crowd might not be considered something that would get a lot of buzz on the pages of NCS, but the djent/prog Danes in VOLA have piled on the heaviness for this one. “Head Mounted Sideways” opens with an almost Fear Factory-esque industrial dirge, then retracts itself into a cavernous groove reminiscent of Meshuggah.
The melodic elements are still there on “Head Mounted Sideways,” and they layer gloriously over the enormously heavy backdrop. My only complaint is there seems to be no sign of a forthcoming album for now, but I’m just happy to have a new VOLA track in the world.
Gama Bomb, “Miami Supercops”
I’m thankful that the thrash revival wasn’t just a flavor-of-the-week drop in the bucket. While bands like Iron Reagan and Power Trip (RIP, Riley) tend to get more of the lion’s shred of attention in the thrash/crossover subgenre, Irish maniacs Gama Bomb have carved out a niche for themselves as well.
“Miami Supercops” is rife with all the pit-ready savagery you’d come to expect from the band by now; frenetic tempos match dizzying riffs, with lyrics that are every bit as ridiculous as the song’s title suggests. I also really appreciate how the band’s Bandcamp bio reads “Thrash metal from Ireland, underpants from China.” Yeah, you know exactly what you’re getting into here.
The band’s new album, Sea Savage, is due out next Friday, Dec. 4.
Wolf King, “Sanctuary”
California blackened hardcore/sludge warlords Wolf King have returned with another slab of sonic anguish. After listening to this track one time, I felt like I’d just eaten a bag of psychedelic mushrooms while watching a tornado tear through a trailer park.
The sheer ferocity of the stampeding drums, throat-ripping vocals and solidly balanced mix on “Sanctuary” make it clear that Wolf King have taken a major step forward in their evolution. 2018’s Loyal to the Soil was a decent but mostly forgettable album, as the blackened hardcore subgenre is (in this humble scribe’s opinion) a bit tough to nail. Lots of bands seem to want to jump on this bandwagon, but the merging of the two styles is too often a hard one to crack.
Wolf King’s new album The Path of Wrath will be tearing its way to your eardrums on Feb. 5, 2021.