In Part 1 of this column yesterday I promised that Part 2 would includes streams of five complete released I’ve recently discovered and want to recommend. But being short on time, I’ve had to leave the fifth one for another day. Due to the same time constraints, I’ve included only some very high-level impressions of each of the other four by way of introduction, rather than attempting to write more thorough reviews.
Riivaus is the solo endeavor of Hoath Daemnator, who under different pseudonyms is also a member of Sacrificium Carmen, Wömit Angel, and Nôidva (among other groups). Flying the Riivaus banner, he released a debut album in 2017 (Lyöden taudein ja kirouksin), which I haven’t heard, and about 10 days ago released a compact second full-length named Hehkumaton.
For some listeners, Hoath‘s unhinged screeching voice may take some getting-used-to. Its larynx-lacerating tone operates as an unrelenting ice-pick to the eardrums. But the riffs in these songs are damned good, and the variance among them within the songs (matched by variations in the drum patterns) is a strong point. They bring blazing intensity, in tandem with maniacally flickering leads, but Hoath also knows how to get us to rock out like feral punks, and further demonstrates a knack for introducing anthemic heavy metal glories.
On top of all that, the songs also include episodes of moodiness, melancholy, and distress (especially in the title track and the closing number), and “Vala Perkeleelle” (where the vocals change to a chant) is a sinister, chilling, and hallucinatory ritual.
(Thanks to our long-standing supporter speelie for recommending this one.)
SHRINE OV ABSURD (Cuba)
Shrine Ov Absurd is another solo project, the work of a Cuban musician who goes by the initial J. The project’s second album, Monotony, was independently released last October, but Godz Ov War picked up the album and made a CD and digital release on April 17th, which is what put it on my radar screen.
These five long songs, each in the 6-8 minute range, strike with formidable power. At their zeniths of intensity they discharge dense, enveloping storms of incendiary (though often bleak and distressing) riffage, thundering bass lines, and maniacally hurtling drums, as accompaniment to bestial, serrated-edge howls and intense cries. The combined impact is capable of sucking the air from your lungs. At low ebb, where spoken words occasionally appear, the reverberations of the guitar are just as intense and piercing, but vastly more stricken in their mood.
As hinted at above, the overarching atmosphere of the music is depressive and calamitous, but it’s unlikely to wear you down and cause you to give up before the album ends because the passion in the music is so viscerally powerful and the riffing so magnetic.
Unlike the first two bands in this collection, Raat is one whose music I’ve written about frequently. The most recent Raat recording is an EP named Sylvan that was released on April 2nd.
The EP’s title track is an especially long one and incorporates much (but not all) of what makes Raat‘s stylistic amalgams of post-/atmospheric black metal so appealing. It ranges from soft, wistful, crystalline musings to waves of dense, raw, scathing riffage, tormented vocals and leads, and tumultuous drum upheavals, as well as passages of harrowing desolation that are near-apocalyptic in their scale and intensity despite the greater steadiness occasionally displayed in the drum rhythms.
The remaining two songs demonstrate other aspects of Raat‘s musical and vocal range. “Cold Wind”, accented by acoustic guitar and spectral wails, is a haunting spell, while “Yearning” rings like sad, soulful chimes in some tidal astral realm where wraiths howl their pain — but it’s likely to get your head moving too, and the shoegaze-like melodies have their own spell-binding qualities.
KWADE DROES (Netherlands->Germany)
I wonder what the attraction is of music that’s so frightening and warped that it becomes viscerally uncomfortable; “entertainment” seems like the wrong word for such experiences. I ask myself that question every time I encounter new music from Kwade Droes, most recently while listening to their second full-length Met onoprechte deelneming, which was released on April 15th.
Certainly, the deranged and abrasive quality of the harsh vocals has a lot to do with why the music is so scary — even the vocal samples and soaring choral voices are frightening — but the simmering lunacy and other twisted and hallucinatory psychoses made manifest in the guitar work and other noise-generating implements has a lot to do with that too.
Interestingly, the fear and queasiness factors in the music are potent despite the fact that the bass sounds warm and the drums rarely go wild (though they will often keep you off-balance nonetheless). Even when the final track unexpectedly reaches wondrous heights of symphonic celestial grandeur, it puts a chill down the spine, especially when the angelic host lose their minds.
In a nutshell, welcome to hell. The devils are all here waiting for you.