SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: HIDEOUS DIVINITY, THE DROWNED GOD, CONAN, THY CATAFALQUE, SHINY DAGGERS, REAPER, GYAOS:DIABOLICAL, HALLUCINATION, BEAST MODE, THE SECOND FOVEA, WHEEL
I’m going to indulge myself and let you know what’s recently been going on behind the scenes here at our putrid site before we get to the music below.
As I moaned and bitched about over the last couple of weeks, I have indeed been crushed by a project for my day job. For many days last week I couldn’t do anything but write premieres I had promised to do, and for two of those days I couldn’t even do that. Thankfully, Andy Synn stepped in and did the editing and posting of some things written by others (and by himself) so that the site didn’t go dark.
While consumed by work, I couldn’t even pay much attention to our email or announcements on social media and music-related messages from friends. But the worst part of that project ended yesterday, and I did a little catching up (just a few days’ worth), enough that I made a list of 47 songs and videos to check out (I’m not making that up). Of course I’ve only randomly jumped around in that list. I’ll probably never get to the rest of it, much less everything else that came out while I was missing in action. From that random darting around I picked the following songs and videos.
I’ll mention a couple of other things while I’m meandering here. First, that fucking day-job project isn’t completely done. The coming week will be a lot more normal than the last two, but still not ideal. Second, I was reminded by a reader’s comment that the Most Infectious Song list just kind of petered out, without the usual “wrap up” post listing everything in one place. It depressed me that I couldn’t finish the roll-out of the list, but it’s almost the middle of March and it seems kind of ridiculous for me to try to resume it now. But I will get that wrap-up post done.
And with that, onward to the music, with a scattering of brief introductory words.
HIDEOUS DIVINITY (Italy)
My wife and I have watched the second Alien movie (as well as the first one) literally dozens of times. “Watched” isn’t entirely accurate, because it’s often on in the background while we’re doing other things, but of course I always have to stop and focus on it even when I shouldn’t be doing that. Maybe some other time I’ll explain in more detail why we do this, but basically my wife does the same thing with lots of other movies — she just wants to have noise around her, but can’t stand the kind of noise I like to listen to.
Anyway, because of what I explained above, I was thrilled to learn that Hideous Divinity‘s new EP, LV-426, is a concept EP based on a sub-narrative of that second Aliens movie. They explain: “We chose to concentrate on the story of Rebeca ‘Newt’ Jorden, the 6-year old girl rescued on the alien infested planetoid LV-426 by Ellen Ripley. We live the story from her point of view, a mixture of childhood’s happy life and memories cut off by the alien attack.”
The EP’s opening track “Acheron, Stream of Woe” was released yesterday. As my comrade DGR commented, put this on and “rattle your house into the dirt”. It summons the unnerving fear, the jolting horror, the violent chaos, and the blood-freezing atmosphere that much of the movie portrays, but also the almost unimaginable terror and strength of a child who managed to persevere in the midst of such an awful place. And even if you knew nothing about what inspired the song, it’s still stunning.
THE DROWNED GOD (U.S.)
“I Met You” is dissonant and deranged, pummeling and poisonous, a tightening coil of tension around your throat, a reflexive toe-tapper at times (with a bass you can feel in your bowels), and an elixir of fear… accompanied by a great video by Chariot of the Black Moth. Amazing cover art too (by Can Pekdemir).
It’s from a new album named Pale Home, out March 26th on Solid State Records.
THE DROWNED GOD:
Be afraid… be very afraid… This live recording of “Battle in the Swamp” is scary all by itself, but the video effectively amps the horror and the fear, and of course because it’s Conan the music will jolt your spine, rudely gouge out your intestines, and rob you of your chances for a peaceful slumber.
The track will appear on Live at Freak Valley, which was recorded at the German Freak Valley festival in 2019. It was released yesterday via Napalm Records.
THY CATAFALQUE (Hungary-Scotland)
Now I’m going to start changing direction in ways that will get your pulse racing and your head spinning, beginning with this next song and then staying with this kind of high energy for almost the rest of today’s collection.
I listen to this and, as Old Lodge Skins says in Little Big Man, my heart soars like a hawk… Tamás Kátai uses his incendiary black metal voice over hyper-speed drums and the vast, soaring, celestial magnificence of the music. Just fucking breathtaking….
This is a completely re-recorded version of “Erdgeist“, the very first Thy Catafalque song ever written in 1998. The original version was released on Sublunary Tragedies, 1999. This new version is available as a digital single.
SHINY DAGGERS (?)
Now I bring you fire and ice — ice in the gorgeous visuals, fire in the blazing music, the maniacal soloing, and the scorching, unhinged vocals (with feelings of longing, despair, and magnificence in the gripping melodies).
The song is from an album named Devil Inside that’s set for release on March 19th by Emanzipation Productions.
The next music feels like gasoline has been injected in the neck and then ignited, and off we go on a turbocharged thrillride through a wasteland, hair on fire and bound for glory, shiny and chrome. That’s “Raid the Heavens” and “Dogs of the Crumbled Firmament“, two doses of punkish black lightning off the highly anticipated (by me, as well as many others) second album by Reaper. Entitled The Atonality of Flesh, it will be released by Iron Bonehead on March 19th.
Let’s stay in blazing (but dynamic) thrash mode with this next dose of gut-punching, skull-cracking, adrenaline-fueled crossover, courtesy of New Hampshire-based GYAOS:DIABOLICAL. You get this into your system, it’s hard to get it out. (There are seven more tracks on the album this one comes from, which is entitled Let the Vultures Speak, and I’m looking forward to letting this run hard right through my skull.)
Here’s an EP that will take less than 9 minutes to consume you — a scraped raw amalgam of d-beat crust, hardcore, scathing noise, delirious thrashing viciousness, spitfire soloing, and utterly berserk vocals. I love imagining what would happen in a mosh pit driven insane by this music whenever such a thing is possible again. It’s out now on Sentient Ruin.
BEAST MODE (U.S.)
Loosen up your neck before you hit up this next track, and if you’ve got one of those vests that pro quarterbacks wear so they don’t get broken ribs when 300-pound linemen hit them, you should strap that on too. And in addition to being a giant neck-ruiner, muscle-bruiser, and bone-breaker, “Frostbite” is a savage, exhilarating, and highly addictive piece of work too. Beast Mode also pull together lots of genre ingredients really well, from blackened thrash to classic heavy metal.
Their new album Pound of Flesh, which includes this track, is due for release on April 2nd.
THE SECOND FOVEA (U.S.)
My wife goes on daily rants about shit happening in the world. Today she was yelling in a rage about racists, xenophobes, homophobes, religious bigots, and perpetrators of hate crimes, exclaiming that she had no obligation to try to understand the many of them in our own country, because it’s a waste of time to try to understand hate, ignorance, and delusion. They simply have to be stopped to the greatest extent possible from doing damage to others (they’re already severely damaged themselves).
Not long after that tirade I started listening to music, and came across the lyric video for “Headshot“, which is The Second Fovea‘s “expression of condemning hate crimes and racism across the globe”. How could I not include it? It brings appropriately furious vocals, heavyweight jackhammering grooves, bleak, cruel riffing — and a segue into a more sorrowful mood that includes some singing, which suits the change. (It’s a free download at Bandcamp.)
And now that we’ve allowed some singing under the tent, we might as well bring it all the way in with this final choice today, which my comrade DGR brought to my attention.
I love the concept of Wheel’s new song “Fugue“. As explained by Wheel’s James Lascelles on YouTube, it “was inspired by a form of long-distance space travel in the Dan Simmons series Hyperion Cantos. In the books, cryogenic fugue allows individuals to enter a form of stasis that enables them to cross vast cosmic distances; the convenience of this suspended state presents major risks however, such as brain damage” — and he then goes on to relate this narrative to how we’ve all been living during the pandemic. You should read the whole explanation here.
I’ve made a big exception to our rule, because there’s singing and no harsh vocals in the song. The music isn’t harsh either, but instead it’s mesmerizing.
“Fugue” is the third single from Wheel’s upcoming album Resident Human, to be released on March 26.
Love Conan, I’ve found lots of their live versions to be my favorite versions of some songs.
The “Gnashing of Teeth” from that upcoming Drowned God album is also pretty groovy: