Different formulations of extreme metal provoke thrills (and chills) in different ways, but if we’re honest, thrill-seeking explains a lot of the genre’s attraction among fans. We want the jolt to the nerves, the punch to our pulse-rate, the feeling of wild freedom — experiences that are harder to find in other kinds of music.
It’s often difficult to explain these attractions to people who are unfamiliar with metallic extremity — especially when the excitement is provoked by sensations of unearthly, blood-freezing terror. And that is the kind of experience that the trans-Atlantic band Palus Somni excel at creating. Their music is electrifying, and it creates a sense of wonder, but it seems to draw its power from hideous dimensions that exist elsewhere from our earthly domain.
Palus Somni is a trio consisting of Stroda (known for this work on U.K.-based industrial/black metal act Decoherence), drummer Eoghan (who has worked with Akhlys and Aoratos), and vocalist Imber (from U.S.-based record label Noxial). Though we don’t know for sure how they chose the name of the band, a little researching reveals that Palus Somni (Latin for “marsh of dreams”) is an area of the Moon whose pallor is different from that of any other lunar terrain. If that is indeed the source of the name, it’s a fitting one, because their music doesn’t sound like it was sourced from this Earth.
The band’s debut album, Monarch Of Dark Matter, will be released by BlackSeed Productions on May 3rd, and today we premiere the record’s fourth track, “Sidus Ludoviciana” (a bit more research reveals that this is the name of a giant star in the asterism of the Big Dipper).
This new song assaults the mind with a roiling swarm of dissonant, poisonous riffage, heavy bass thrumming, and vibrant, clattering drums. As the timbre of the riffing rises and falls, it transmits intense sensations of cruelty and madness. When the drums begin blasting and the bass froths like superheated magma, cauterizing shrieks join the mayhem from a distance, and the collective sounds become an overwhelming storm of derangement.
All storms eventually abate, and this one briefly does so, allowing the otherworldly eeriness of the music to shine through (and the pulse of the bass to become even more prominent). Even when the torment and terrors of the music become dominant again, the chilling alien-ness of the atmosphere remains — though by the end you may find that you’ve become unexpectedly entranced by its horrors.
There’s one other track (“Unholy Cosmic Quintessence“) from Monarch Of Dark Matter already out in the world, and I’ll paraphrase what I wrote about it before: It creates a boiling miasma of intense and disturbing abrasion over drum-and-bass-work that sounds like mortar fire and machine guns. It’s a near-overpowering, all-enveloping assault that’s so demented and dissonant that it may put your teeth on edge, and so rhythmically destructive that you can imagine your home being shaken and blasted into rubble.
There comes a point when the guitar rings out in exotic celestial tones over the continuing upheaval in the low end, but then the song seamlessly transitions again into an extravagant maelstrom. There are again distant screams within the breathtaking berserker storms, so distant that it might even be your own feeble mind crying out in fear.
BlackSeed Productions will be releasing the album on LP and CD, as well as digitally, and pre-orders will be available soon.