Although there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to the musical parameters of Part 1 of today’s roundup, Part 2 is a little more coherent since it uniformly leans into black metal. However, to suggest that these four songs follow a consistent pattern would be wrong — each one sounds very different from the rest.
SPECTRAL LORE (Greece)
My first choice is “Φονικό Φως (Murderous Light)“, which surfaced as a digital single on Bandcamp yesterday. It was originally written for and released as part of Art Against Censorship, a compilation of 36 songs from Greek musicians to protest a law that was intended to target and silence radical political artists.
That comp was released in February of this year as a free download (here), and I managed to overlook it. It obviously includes a ton of music, and most of it is from bands whose names I don’t recognize, so one benefit of Spectral Lore‘s single will be to help draw attention to it. (I’m not surprised to see a Yovel song at the close of the comp.)
The other benefit, of course, is that we get another display of Ayloss‘ prodigious talents.
If you visit Spectral Lore‘s Facebook page you’ll be able to read the fierce, revolutionary lyrics of “Φονικό Φως“. The music matches the fierceness and fervor of the words, through feverishly writhing guitar, vibrantly bubbling bass lines, hammering drums, and vehement but varying vocal expressions that reach heights of unbridled passion and raw fury.
The music catches us up in a whirling bonfire of sound, with layers of wild flickering and celestial leads threaded through it, and melodies that display a dancing folk influence. The music fights, but also sounds irrepressibly exultant. It is a warning to tyrants, and it manages to be both earthy and transcendent, and breathtaking.
P.S. You probably also know, but if you don’t now you do, that Spectral Lore has a new album named Ετερόφωτος that will be released on April 23rd and can be pre-ordered here. The artwork is just above.
DEMERSUS AD NIHILUM (Austria)
The next song, “Verwünschung“, caught my eye because it includes guest vocals by C.S.R of Schammasch, and also because Demersus ad Nihilum is the solo project of Florian from Theotoxin. (The EP also features a guest appearance by Torsten of Agrypnie).
The joyful, arresting sounds of the song’s ringing, chiming guitars and vibrant post-punk rhythms are immediately inviting, and the infectious energy of the track never abates, but it does bring in other dimensions. The snarling vocals are feral and poisonous, and as the band smoothly move the melody it becomes more bleak and harried. Even the first darting guitar instrumental has a wistful mood, though it continues to quicken the listener’s pulse.
In one segment near the end, when the wonderful vitality of the earlier guitar instrumental makes a return appearance, this time backed by moody strings, the vocals transform into passionate song, and then the music begins to wash over us in shining but dangerous waves, backed by the riveting pop of the drums.
A wonderfully multi-faceted and moving experience that pulled me back to the start without delay the first time I heard it.
The song is the first single taken from an upcoming EP to be released by AOP Records on May 28th (digital and digipack), with a vinyl edition coming in October. It appears that the name of the EP is //180703//.
DEMERSUS AD NIHILUM:
Vancouver’s Kafirun impressed me with their debut album Eschaton in 2017, and thus the appearance of this next song was most welcome. For now, “The Seed, The Serpent, The Scythe” is a single, but I gather that a new album is also headed our way.
You do get twisted glimpses of the band playing in the accompanying video, but those glimpses come in the midst of nightmarish imagery. The song itself is also nightmarish, and hallucinatory. It’s violent and vortextual, and the mercurial guitar arpeggios sound like a life-threatening overdose in progress — but it’s a wondrous seizure in which remarkable visions spring to life.
The barbaric madness of the vocals are in keeping with the dissonant, darting madness of the guitars and the paroxysms of the rhythm section. All the performers are going full-tilt all the time, and yet the song still has a spellbinding quality, maybe because it’s impossible to think of anything else when you’re in its midst. A pure wild-hunt adrenaline rush that messes with your mind at the same time.
To close this two-part round-up I settled on the first song (“Ratis“) revealed from a forthcoming concept album named Nedra, which is described in part this way:
“A mystical and abysmal journey into the most hidden enigmas of our universe. From Mesopotamia to Ireland, from China to North America, our planet is strewn with megalithic structures united by a terrible and apocalyptic design that is lost in the mists of time.”
“Ratis” is a massive track, but Omega use its 12 minutes masterfully. It’s a spell of a very different kind compared to the Kafirun track. Its throbbing guitar rhythms and skull-busting drum beats are immensely strong, so viscerally compulsive that resistance to them is futile. But on the other hand, the shrieking vocals are off-the-hook, way out in the land of mindless possession. And on the third hand, when the hurtling madness of the music subsides, and the drums become steady, the music both rises in night-shade grandeur and ripples and rings in sprite-like effervescence.
And all that happens before you’re even half-way in. From there, the band carry you into a soft, glimmering river of sound that truly does become entrancing, like floating on a warm stream gazing at winking stars above in the strange gleam of a slivered moon.
But of course the song begins to bludgeon and batter again, maybe even more mercilessly than before, and the vocals again claw at our sanity with their off-the-charts screaming, while the rest of the music is triggering all sorts of muscle reflexes. Seriously, Omega know how to put the groove into every fiber of your being — even if they spend their final moments putting the frighteners across your goose-bumped flesh.
The song’s lyrics, which I’ve seen, are mysterious but evocative, and full of the kind of arcane references that will send the curious-minded into energized research.
Nedra is set for release by the Dusktone label on April 23rd.