SEEN AND HEARD: OXYGEN DESTROYER, TVSK, VRYKOLAKAS, REAPING ASMODEIA, NECROCHAOS
Lo and behold, I had enough time today to prepare a second round-up of new music today. I wasn’t sure I would, which is why they’re not labeled Part 1 and Part 2, but things worked out. The first installment was really all-over-the-place musically. This one is much more concentrated on various forms of death metal, though not exclusively so.
OXYGEN DESTROYER (U.S.)
These Kaiju-conjuring death-thrashers from Seattle made a radioactive impact with their 2018 debut album Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death, and now they’re about to do it again with their sophomore full-length, Sinister Monstrosities Spawned by the Unfathomable Ignorance of Humankind. Two songs are out in the world so far, the latest of which detonated last Friday.
You can listen to those two turbocharged songs from the new album below. The riffing is indeed radioactive and the pulse of it is superheated and wild; the drumming is a bullet-spitting fury; the bass-work is equally maniacal; and the vocals sound like a man being furiously garroted with barbed wire – and enjoying it. The crazed energy in the songs is powerful enough to light a city, and reaches extravagantly blazing heights under the propulsion of eye-popping guitar solos. It’s enough to take your breath away!
Sinister Monstrosities… will be released on August 27th by Redefining Darkness Records. Further details from the press announcement: “As expected, the Kaiju inspired lyrics and imagery are on full display with an even greater variety of Giant Monster Movies this time around. Side A of album pays tribute to a handful of Japanese Kaiju movies while the B side takes influence from American monster movies like ‘The Giant Claw’ and ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’, as well as the UK monster movie ‘Gorgo'”.
I have an overly simplistic view of Indonesian metal: When I think of that country I think of brutal death metal. But the metal is more varied than that, and the debut EP of Tvsk is a prime example.
Introduced by a very weird but somehow very enticing instrumental spell, Hymn for the Gloom, which was released on April 10th, presents a fashioning of black metal that pulls from other stylistic wellsprings too. The sound is persistently heavy, harrowing, and overpowering, the vocals persistently scalding enough to raise welts.
The title track, which comes next, reveals a crust/punk influence when it’s not blasting or staggering like a wounded beast, and the riffing is bleak but also blazes like a glorious but dangerous nova. At the end the reverberation of solitary, glinting notes creates a marked departure from what precedes it. And all of that is what makes this band’s music so damned gripping: It’s not tightly bound by black metal convention, and the attention to dynamism — in tempo, sonic power, and mood — elevates it beyond the average.
The title track isn’t an outlier. All the other songs run you through gauntlets of equally varied and electrifying experiences. They’re capable of jolting your spine with compelling intensity and achieving devastating levels of rampaging destructiveness, but equally capable of seizing your heart and your head and turning them in so many different directions that it’s a great disappointment when the EP ends. If you’re in the mindset for just a taste-test, I’d recommend “The Unholy Soul“, which at the moment is my favorite — but there are no weak links here.
For example, you really can’t miss the hallucinations spawned by “...Arrived” or the spotlight given to the tectonic bass solo in that song. And if you want to be dragged into a hellish abyss, boiled in oil, pulled from the cauldron in time for a punkish romp, and branded with a pentagram by a cruel demon lord, “Prologue of Fallen” is your ticket. The closer, “Endless Destruction“, dives back into the band’s blackened crust tendencies in thrilling fashion. Giving Martyrdöd a run for their money, they again pull the listener’s emotions in different directions, while also delivering the kind of beating that tall buildings couldn’t withstand.
I’m willing to bet (though I’ll never have to pay off because we’ll never know) that if this band were in North America or Europe they’d be getting tremendous underground (and even slightly aboveground) acclaim. I hope they will give us more music.
This Singapore band was first formed 30 years ago, and to commemorate that anniversary they will be release a new album on July 1st named … And Vrykolakas Brings Chaos And Destruction — which is a true statement.
From that album two videos have emerged, one for “The Dajjal Brings Chaos” and the other for “Yajuj Majuj Versus The World”. Both of them reveal the powers of a veteran band who are capable of discharging thoroughly electrifying savagery via thundering rhythmic force, head-hooking riffs and grooves, exotic soloing, eye-popping fretwork acrobatics (which are nonetheless completely integrated with the through-line of the songs), rabid vocal bestiality, and a level of songwriting dynamism that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
I suspect that Vrykolakas are well-known in Asia, but like Tvsk above, I feel certain that if they were based in Europe or North America, they would be vastly better known — because just based on these two songs, they’re tremendously good.
The new album will be released by Dark Blasphemies Records (Europe) on CD (international version), and by Sadist Records (Asia) on CD and tape (Asian version). I haven’t seen any pre-order links or other info about how to buy the album, but presumably that info will eventually surface at these locations:
REAPING ASMODEIA (U.S.)
It’s been roughly four long years since we last heard from this Minnesota band. On that last occasion we premiered their latest album, Impuritize, which was released by Prosthetic Records. I kind of lost my mind in attempting to describe the music:
“As you approach the album it may help to imagine yourself being strapped into some futuristic road machine with a deranged yet precise artificial intelligence of its own, one that rockets ahead with all the turbochargers and afterburners wide open, veering and careening with abandon, leaving the road (and the surface of the earth) with no warning, plunging into ravines, crashing through stands of timber like they’re blades of grass, scattering combatants in an active war zone, jamming on the brakes one minute, flooring it the next, and shaking your skeletal structure to pieces at the same time as it scrambles your brain over high heat into a foaming froth.”
I was reminded of those sensations when listening to their new single released on June 4th, which is a cover of Decapitated’s “Day 69” off that Polish band’s great 2006 album Organic Hallucinosis. This cover is just a bit more than three minutes long, but man, it will… send overpowering start-stop jolts into your brain stem, unfurl fluid bits of melodic sorcery, ignite bursts of feverish fretwork, spit enough bullets to leave a mountain of shell casings, wind up the clock springs that power some kind of rail gun, and scream at you like you’re the most miserable excuse for oxygen that could possibly exist. There’s also a fucking drum solo!
To close today’s roundup I’ve picked the first advance track from Mortal Angels Descent, the debut album of this German one-man death metal band.
Especially as the work of a single individual, “Word of God” is relentlessly devastating, so much so that the track might be a bit too long for its own good. From the outset, the battering, roiling vortex of sound is overpowering. Abyssal roaring, planet-fracturing grooves, and ruinous tremolo’d riffing will suck the wind from your lungs. Slightly slower abysmal episodes will mingle you with rotting corpses before the titanic instrumental wars resume. Those cycles of pummeling and agony continue until you’re gasping.
Reminiscences of Incantation, Teitanblood, and Mitochondrion come to mind — and those are very good memories.
Mortal Angels Descent will be released by Godz Ov War on June 14th.