In between bouts of activity driven by my fucking day job today, I had just enough time to pull together this relatively short round-up of new sounds — two tracks (both with videos) from forthcoming albums, and one recently released EP.
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM (U.S.)
WITTR’s new album has been officially announced. Entitled Primordial Arcana, it’s set for release on August 20th by Relapse Records. Coincident with that they released a video for the song “Mountain Magick“. The band made the video themselves, and filmed it “in the northern reaches of the Olympic Mountains and the ancient forests that shroud the foothills”. They also recorded, produced, and mixed the album themselves.
In the new video (which is extremely well-done), we see occult masks and feathered staffs, glowing stones and brimming horns, flowing waters and flickering fires, mountain vistas and forest kingdoms. And in the music we experience an amalgam of blazing, battering intensity, towering, dramatic majesty, and dark, mesmerizing mysticism that comes in shimmering and shining waves, accompanied by expulsions of extravagant screams and roars. I found it all thrilling.
The album’s cover art was created by Amjad Faur and the band.
Yesterday Prosthetic Records set August 27 for the release of a new album named Wolf Hex by this Canadian black metal band whom we’ve been following for many years. “Abracadabra“, the first advance track, premiered with a video at Decibel — and it is indeed an enthralling bit of musical prestidigitation.
Launched in a sonic cavalcade of sweeping and soaring magnificence, the song also rocks hard with a feral swagger, erupts in delirious, dervish-like frenzies, and delivers jolting, head-moving heavy metal goodness. Stunningly ferocious vocals and rapidly morphing rhythms add further fuel to an already dynamic and high-voltage song.
And now for that new EP I promised. It comes to us from Philadelphia’s Moros, whose previous releases of sludge/doom/death we’ve paid a lot of attention to, and whose line-up still seems to consist of guitarist/vocalist Jason Dost (Krieg, Occult 45), bassist John Hauser (Occult 45), and drummer Drew W. (Lonesummer). The title, a work of gallows humor, is High As Fuck And Ready To Die. Here are some impressions of the three tracks — which deliver primeval frights and delights galore.
“Ossified” is anything but that in its sound. It ominously heaves and pounds, creating a dismal mood, and then begins to rumble ahead like a big abrasive juggernaut that moves with a disconcerting, yet somehow still compulsive, off-kilter rhythm. A big, gravel-chewing bass and jumping beats anchor poisonous seething chords and vicious reverberating howls that are painting the walls with vocal bloodspray in the cavern next door. Percussive spasms and demented, quivering leads spurt from the music. The tempo alters without warning, and the rhythmic maneuvers keep you persistently off-balance. At times the music seems ebullient, at others oppressive and haunting. It never really lets you settle in, but its macabre and mercurial nature is part of what makes it so gripping.
That humongous, bone-grinding bass and a methodical snare crack get the title track started. The sound is primitive, mauling, and body-moving, but sure enough, the rhythm section periodically veer off again to disorient your inner ear. Unhinged vocal vitriol still reigns, along with disturbing surges of buzzing, unnerving fretwork (like a fever ripping through fragile flesh or hornets feeding on a fresh carcass).
And at the end there’s a Pentagram cover — “FMQ“. Wickedly, it comes like a big shambling beast, quaking the ground and radiating a scary supernatural aura. The music makes your own body want to lurch, but it sends out psychoactive vapors at the same time through squirmy febrile fretwork and trippy arpeggios, which seem to get more crazed as the tempo gradually slows and dies, leaving the nightmare still moving through your mind.
The EP was recorded and mixed by Moros and was mastered by Alex Poole. The art and layout design were done by Alyssa Maucere-Pike. A cassette release is being made by Putrid Hammer Conspiracies. The band describe the EP as “a three-song demo recorded in anticipation of the production of our next full-length”. Something else to look forward to.