The last week didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. The crunch at my day job eased up, but not as much as I wanted, and assorted other nuisances and diversions reared their ugly heads. So, some things I’d hope to accomplish at NCS besides the usual premieres fell by the wayside.
I also managed to fuck up my opportunity to catch up with new music today by (a) drinking heavily last night during a couple of Zoom get-togethers, and (b) sleeping for 10 hours. As a result of (a), (b) didn’t really leave me feeling rested — more like death warmed over instead. Maybe I’ll do more catching up later, but for now wanted to get a few things out there for your eyes and ears without further delay.
I confess that nostalgia led me to choose the first two songs and videos in this collection, both by Finnish bands that long ago played a role in leading me toward extreme metal, and along the way became very big names. But don’t worry, we’ll get into more underground sounds before we’re done today.
Insomnium’s new single “The Conjurer” is both as gloomy and as glittering as the stunning landscapes in the video. Steeped in sorrow, it radiates that same pale blue wintry light. With hair whipping, the band throw themselves into channeling the music’s fraught emotions in the video, but the narrative that goes side-by-side with the band in the video even more closely matches the wrenching nature of the musical spell Insomnium have created.
And for my next nostalgia-induced selection I chose a lyric video for a live recording by Amorphis of their song “Daughter of Hate“. The track is off Live At Helsinki Ice Hall, which will be released on May 21st by Nuclear Blast (that show took place on December 7, 2019).
Despite the name of our site I think I should be forgiven for including Tomi Joutsen‘s melodious verse-singing in today’s collection, especially because it makes his gargantuan growl even more spine-tingling when the song reaches the fiery, ravaging choruses.
Well, if you decided that the first two songs in this collection were too pretty, then you’ll be glad for the next one here. And if you were just fine starting off with Insomnium and Amorphis, prepare to suffer a whiplash effect, because “Slumbering Crevasses” is massively mauling and destructive.
Backed by obliterating drum cannonades, Gateway deliver a storm of titanic proportions — though the heavyweight punch of the bass and the jolting riffs will get your head moving too. The guest vocals by M are thoroughly monstrous and ghastly, and when the song drops into a leviathan crawl, it becomes monstrous in its formulation of hopelessness too, aided by a spectral wailing solo. For such a titanic and frequently ravishing attack, the song also manages to become mesmerizing in its slower movements — and very memorable.
The song is from a new EP named Flesh Reborn that’s now set for release on May 7 by Chaos Records. (I already wrote about this song back in January, but decided to give it a fresh take because since then, when it appeared on Gateway’s Bandcamp page, it has been taken down from there and has recently reappeared on the Chaos Records page.)
SJUK AV ORO (Sweden)
The next song is by a new project from a well-established artist — vocalist Alexander Högbom (October Tide, ex-Demonical, ex-Volturyon). Here, under the guise of Sjuk Av Oro, he’s joined by musician Jon Ekström (Dödsvarg). This isn’t the first time they’ve joined forces. Last year Högbom performed vocals on a Dödsvarg song called “Pestens tid är nu”, which I wrote about here.
This time they set for themselves the task of covering a 1987 New Order song named “True Faith“, which is you may know is a bouncing and ridiculously catchy dance track that helped plant the seeds for current synthwave trends. Sjuk Av Oro turn it into a much heavier and more dangerous beast, thanks in part to lead-weighted bass lines, slashing guitars, vicious growls, and cutting screams. The song features even more vocal variety than I just mentioned, especially in the soaring chorus, which seems to burst with pain, but also elsewhere, including the ghostly gasps that join with keyboards to bring the track to a close. You’ll still want to move your head, almost as much as in the original, but this is a much more harrowing experience than what New Order gave us.
The song will be exclusively released on cassette, limited to 50 hand-numbered copies. It can be purchased via DM to Alexander Högbom on Facebook or Instagram @alexanderhogbom.
“Smiles are contagious, so in these troubled times Throat urge you to smile less”. Those were the first words in an e-mail I received about Throat’s new album Smile Less. It made me smile.
It also made me want to check out the video for the first single from that album, and I’m glad I did, even though it’s not metal in the sense you’ve come to expect around here. It’s just so gut-rumbling, neck-slugging, hard-rocking, and nasty that I couldn’t resist.