Especially after yesterday’s humongous round-up it probably wasn’t smart for me to follow it with another one, but that’s what I’ve done. As you’ve probably figured out by now, careful thinking and reflection never have much to do with my NCS contributions. Impulse and enthusiasm tend to rule the day.
RITUAL MOON (U.S.)
I had intended to fully explore this L.A. band’s January 2021 debut album after listening to an advance track many months ago, but never got back to it until my comrade DGR recently posted about it. He figured it would be up my alley. It definitely is.
There’s considerable variety across the 12 diabolical tracks on Ritual Moon I, including episodes of chilling, venomous belligerence; visceral, swaggering carnality; and fiery, frightening ecstasy. The riffs also generate vibrating waves of dread, hopelessness, and anguish, as well as delivering head-hooking, pulse-pumping, thrash-fueled headbangers — and some of the songs include moments that have the appeal of classic heavy metal anthems. Here and there, witchy soloing also makes its mark, and the vocals, which range from goblin screams to grotesque bear-like roars, are ferocious enough to raise goose-bumps on your arms.
My only complaint is that there’s a clicky sound in the kick drums and a brittle-ness to the bass tone that I thought distracted from an otherwise capable performance by the rhythm section. But it’s a minor complaint about an otherwise impressively hell-raising album extravaganza.
GRINNING DEATH’S HEAD (U.S.)
I discovered this next EP thanks to Neill Jameson, who included it in a recent playlist he prepared for us. There, among other things, he assured us that this record would be on his year-end list. Having now listened to it, I can understand full well why he was so smitten with it.
Cataclysm is the perfect name for this EP. The crazed, scorching assault of the riffing and the possessed vocals in these two songs are intense enough to suck the wind from your lungs; the eerie keyboards that rise and cascade above everything else add an element of perilous, unearthly wonder; and the rapidly morphing drum rhythms still manage to stand out despite the frightening, all-consuming, surround-sound intensity of everything else.
PA VESH EN (Belarus)
Speaking of unearthly sensations, the opening ambient sequence of Pa Vesh En‘s new song, “The Eyes Full of Horror“, is both weird and wondrous. It portends the approach of something alien and dangerous, especially when the dense, grinding guitar mass and momentous percussive detonations arrive. The glimmering celestial sounds continue to wash over the song in mesmerizing fashion, even when the drums go mad and caustic shrieks emanate from somewhere deep within the vortex. Earthshaking tones menacingly undulate and heave in the low end, creating a constrast with the unsettling astral glories and larynx-lacerating lunacy high up above. There is majesty in the music, and sounds of harrowing and haunting emotional wreckage.
The song will appear on this band’s new album Maniac Manifest, which will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on September 10th.
Groza’s new song “The Redemptive End” is marked by spine-tingling vocal permutations, blistering riffs that straddle a line between wild ferocity and searing pain, and adrenaline-fueling drumwork. The song is overflowing with quickly addictive riffs, but there’s an extended digression in the mid-section that consists of soft, moody, mesmerizing acoustic strings, and a warm bass-and-drum performance. As the song moves back into a raging firestorm, that interlude becomes celestial in its sound. And though the music’s fieriness returns and the sound soars, it’s shadowed by melancholy and despair. An emotionally evocative and completely enthralling song….
The track is the first single (and the title track) from a new album set for release by AOP Records on July 30th.
I had to dig pretty deep under ground to find this next song, but the glorious, blazing riff that slashes through the opening seized me immediately. The mood of the song does get more gloomy and emotionally desolate when it slows and heaves, and maybe because of that, when the opening riff returns it seems more forlorn.
The song is “Tiamath” and it comes from an album named Black Wind of the Plague, which was released on May 15th. I haven’t yet checked out the complete release, but definitely will.
Feelings of tension and inner turmoil powerfully radiate from this next song, as well as eye-popping ravages of incendiary intensity. The piercing gleam of the riffing envelops the senses, but the drum performance is also riveting, and the bass plays a prominent role as well. The reverberations of the vocalist’s wrenching screams and harrowing roars make an intense impact as well. The extended, heart-swelling, guitar refrain that eventually emerges carries the song to new emotional heights, and it’s very hard to forget. It sounds beseeching, yearning, and maybe even hopeful.
“Nøkkerose” is the opening track from this Norwegian band’s self-titled full-length debut, set for release on June 25th.
This next song grips the senses in different ways from the two immediately preceding ones in this collection. The opening riff and the soaring lead that accompanies it is full of menace and peril, and as the song evolves it reveals moods of sorcery and mayhem. The song further includes vicious snarls in the vocal department; a wild, glittering guitar solo; crystalline, dancing keyboards; moments of soaring grandeur; and bursts of darting, head-moving fretwork. In other words, it’s a multi-faceted, heart-racing song, and one that has kept pulling me back to it since I first encountered it.
“Hosanna In The Highest” comes with a new lyric video, and it’s from this German blackened death metal band’s latest album Pilgrim; it was released in February by Listenable Records.
This closing song is another pretty deep underground cut, and it’s just plain nasty. It pulls the listener into a miasma of murky riffage whose mad, roiling contortions are mentally mutilating, and that’s accented by sickeningly quivering guitar leads. The vocals are ghastly and murderous. The surrealistic accompanying video accentuates the music’s disturbing impacts. All of that is perversely transfixing, but the tone and the full-throttle vigor of the drumming is at least equally vital to the song’s appeal.
The track is “Diadem of Encrusted Discharge“. The album, Regina Mundi, is due for release on June 17th.
P.S. I now see that you have to go to YouTube to listen to the song and watch the video. Just click below.