SEEN AND HEARD: MODERN RITES, BIAŁYWILK, VAELMYST, WITCH VOMIT, MAZE OF TERROR, DIMENTIANON, UNREQVITED
Lots of good stuff in today’s round-up, with a variety of new black metal, death metal, and thrash, plus a towering exit song. All of the songs are off forthcoming records, with the exception of a just-released EP that I’ve sandwiched in the middle. You’ll see some really good cover art in this collection too.
Even though I and most of the NCS writers are in the U.S., the preponderance of the music we cover (along with half our readers) seems to emanate from outside U.S. borders. Thus it’s unusual that (coincidentally) almost all of the following music comes from U.S. bands.
MODERN RITES (U.S./Switzerland)
The opening song today, “Self Synthesis“, swells in sound, like what you might hear if gradually approaching an industrial metal-mangling machine, and then erupts in a hammering, searing discharge of instrumental and vocal intensity — with eerie, wraith-like tones swirling in sorrow above. It revisits those mangling sensations, which begin to seem apocalyptic….
The source of the song is an album named Monuments, which will be out on August 27th via Debemur Morti, and is described as “melodic Black Metal heavily rooted in dark Industrial music of the 90s”. The band is a collaboration between guitarist Berg from the Swiss band Aara and Jonny Warren (bass, rhythm, synths, vocals), who has a solo project named Kuyashii. Jonny Warren also created the album’s fascinating cover art.
Fans of Chicago’s Vukari will want to pay special attention to this next song. It’s the first one released from a debut album entitled Próżnia by Bialywilk, which is the solo side project of leading Vukari member Marek Cimochowicz. Here, he’s aided by an impressive group of session musicians — John Kerr (drums), Spenser Morris (bass), and Adam Harris (who performed synths on “Próżnia I”).
“Lachesis” thunders and howls immediately, with that full-throttle rampage overlaid by blazing waves of ominous yet splendorous synths, both heart-broken and beseeching in their mood. The music ultimately transforms into a monumental symphonic pageant of awe-inspiring, tragic grandeur, but with hardly any relent in the explosive rhythmic engine that drives it.
The album art is the work of Nate Burns.
My comrade DGR was enthusiastic about the debut EP of the California band Vaelmyst three years ago (and explained why in this review), and it was he who alerted me to the news that they now have a debut full-length headed for release on August 13th. They also have a song from that album up for streaming.
The popping drums, burbling bass, slashing riffage, and scaling howls of “Dawnless” put the spurs to the listener right away, and then Vaelmyst pepper the onslaught with booming percussive detonations, maniacally skittering and shrieking fretwork, crazed bellowing, contorted bass maneuverings, and a fluid yet lunatic solo that creates a hell of a crescendo for this intricate and electrifying madness.
Vaelmyst’s album is named Secrypts of the Egochasm. Like their 2018 EP, it’s adorned by the artwork of Travis Smith.
WITCH VOMIT (U.S.)
Last Friday, Portland’s Witch Vomit dropped a surprise EP via 20 Buck Spin. Abhorrent Rapture is its name, and a well-chosen name it is.
The EP’s four tracks are a particularly ghastly, gargantuan, and tremendously obliterating form of death metal, so immensely powerful and mercilessly mauling that the music feels overpowering, and the berserker guitar frenzies sound thoroughly deranged.
That’s not to say this is unmitigated chaos — far from it. The songs include plenty of spine-snapping rhythmic grooves delivered with immense, bone-smashing heaviness, as well as bracing gallops and riffing motifs that, while not exactly “earworms”, do spike and burrow into the brain. Moreover, here and there, at seemingly just the right moments, the band shift gears and drag you by the hair into deep abysses of diseased, putrefying flesh and hungry ghouls. I should also warn that the vocals, in both their uber-cavernous and their mindlessly screamed expressions, are nightmarish.
This is indeed an abhorrent rapture. The horrid and hopeless cover art for the EP was created by Matt Stikker.
MAZE OF TERROR (Peru)
I’ve been singing the praises of the Peruvian band Maze of Terror since coming across (and reviewing) their debut EP Skullcrusher in 2014. I count seven NCS articles I’ve written since then which included the band’s music, including a post in which I anointed one of their tracks as among 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Now they have a second album scheduled for release by Xtreem Music on August 26th, and the next song in this collection is the first one revealed from that record.
“Angels of Acid” gives you a strong dose of what makes Maze of Terror so good. Morbid and miserable at first, the song ramps up into a thoroughly evil yet hook-laden blood-rush. The riffing switches gears fast, and the deranged, channel-separated, dual-guitar soloing pushes this vicious, hard-driving song even further into the red zone. But the song is intensely menacing and supernatural too, and the vocals are utterly demonic. On top of all that, and to the surprise of no one familiar with this band, the song is also virally contagious.
The name of the forthcoming album is Offer to the Fucking Beasts. The creator of the ghastly cover art is Karl Dahmer. Xtreem sums up the album as “10 songs of an intense, savage and catchy Thrash/ Death influenced by bands like INFERNÄL MÄJESTY, MERCILESS, MASSACRA, PROTECTOR, DEMOLITION HAMMER, SARCÓFAGO…”
MAZE OF TERROR:
We take a turn into a hellish pit of blackened doom/death with this next song, “Dwelling Into Madness“. It lumbers like a great shaggy netherworld-beast, melding stomping drums, fuzzed-out down-tuned chords, ghostly reverberating keys, and macabre, murderous growls. Hard not to move along with it, even though it’s a frightening and paranormal experience. At one point the drums begin spitting bullets, and the riffing puts the beast into a feverish spasm that makes you want to get out of the way lest you be smashed to pieces.
“Dwelling Into Madness” comes from Dreaming Yuggoth, the fifth full-length from Dimentianon, whose line-up now includes Don Zaros (Evoken) on keyboards and Joe Fogarazzo (Rigor Sardonicous) returning on guitar and bass. It will be released on July 13th by Paragon Records.
And now I’ve decided to usher you out of today’s collection with the second single from Unreqvited’s Beautiful Ghosts, an album that’s set for release on August 13 by Prophecy Productions.
Unreqvited’s alter ego 鬼 (“Ghost“) describes this song, “Funeral Pyre“, as unlike all the other songs on the album, in that it “has a somber twist to it”, while most of the others are “lighter, prettier sounding tracks”.
Indeed, “light” and “pretty” aren’t words that come to mind in listening to this. “Sweeping”, “towering”, “celestial”, and “magnificent” are more apt expressions for the monumental symphonic swells and ringing piano keys. It does indeed have a somber mood, and somewhere in the distance a shattering voice might be heard, but it’s far from gloomy — the darting strings, shimmering and soaring synths, and viscerally potent rhythms help ensure against that. Prepare to be swept away, body and soul….
The beautiful cover art for the album was created by Delta Options.