As you can see, I had time enough yesterday to make my way through a lot of music that surfaced over the last week or so, and found a lot to like — even more than you’ll see here, because I decided to devote this round-up exclusively to songs with videos and leave the others for another time. The visual approaches are quite wide-ranging and so is the music. I decided to set them out in alphabetical order by band name, and that coincidentally turned out to make for an interesting sonic sequence.
Get popcorn, or whatever else you like to chew on while glued to a screen, and perhaps a preferred intoxicant, then sit back and get ruined or rapt or both.
Benighted teamed up with Metal Injection for the premiere of a lyric video for a new digital single, “A Personified Evil,” which includes guest vocals by Francesco Paoli from Fleshgod Apocalypse. As if the song weren’t slaughtering enough without him.
Of course you know that Benighted have a Ph.D. in Slaughtering, earned with a thesis on high-speed butchery. And even if you didn’t already know that, you would quickly figure that out from this deranged and destructive new song.
BEYOND GRACE (UK)
Let’s begin the introduction to this next song and video (which premiered at New Noise) by quoting some of what Beyond Grace had to say about it: “A word of warning for you: this particular video isn’t for the faint of heart, but the message is still clear – abuse feeds abuse, violence breeds violence, words have weight and can take a toll on even the strongest person”. I think the following, more detailed, explanation about the song by our own Andy Synn, who’s the band’s lyricist and vocalist, is also well worth reading as a preface to the video:
“The title [“Factions Speak Louder Than Herds“] comes from an interview with the writer Si Spurrier – and while I’m sure he’s not the first to use the phrase I still want him to get the credit – about how the loudest, nastiest voices so often drown out any hope of communication or compromise, with the lyrics also touching upon the way that this sort of abuse perpetuates itself, how it poisons and polarises us, and blinds us to the damage we’re doing – both to others and to ourselves.”
The video, in addition to being a compelling metaphor for the lyrical theme, is indeed tough to watch, especially since it’s our friend Andy who is being subjected to brutal beatings and torture. Knowing that this isn’t really happening to him doesn’t entirely mitigate the visceral impact of such scenes.
The music is often very dark and disturbing too. It administers its own beatings and becomes dissonant and discordant. It includes a gleaming instrumental break that sounds wistful, a break that serves as a prelude to more rampant mayhem, but within the mayhem you’ll encounter an absolutely electrifying guitar solo.
The new album from Beyond Grace, Our Kingdom Undone, will be released by Prosthetic Records on
THE BREATHING PROCESS (US)
Next up is a well-made performance video for a song called “The Shroud“, taken from the new album Labyrinthian by The Breathing Process. a band that began as a deathcore powerhouse and has evolved in significant ways, as this new song proves (again).
Soaring symphonic synths and soaring screams create an aura of sweeping but tragic grandeur, but the song is also a battering, jolting, scything, and searing assault, and the vocals are absolutely savage.
Labyrinthian will be released by Unique Leader on October 8th.
THE BREATHING PROCESS:
BURN IN HELL (Australia)
Now we’re getting to something that I had in mind when writing at the outset about the coincidental flow of this collection which was produced by alphabetizing the selections — because we’re about to begin a two-track block that’s just… fucking… obliterating.
The next video is the least elaborate of all the ones in this collection, though it does connect to the themes of both the song and the album. But it doesn’t really matter that there’s not more to see, because the song will bash your head so damned hard that your orbits will be ejected from their sockets. Figuratively speaking.
Also figuratively speaking, the band’s amalgam of hardcore, metal, and powerviolence is the kind of destructive, enraged juggernaut that seems capable of jackhammering both tall buildings into rubble and ruining your own skeletal integrity.
The song comes from Burn In Hell‘s forthcoming second album Disavowal Of The Creator God, due out on August 6th via Reason and Rage Records.
BURN IN HELL:
As mentioned above, we’re in the midst of a two-track block of utterly obliterating sounds, about to follow up that hellish Burn In Hell barrage with “Lust For Death” by a death/grind band from Green Bay, Wisconsin named Choke.
Seriously, this song is a murderous megaton barrage. The grooves sound like a carpet bombing campaign; the riffing resembles the blaze of automatic weaponry; the throat-shredding vocals are authentically unhinged. It’s powerful enough to take your breath away. And the video, directed by Dave Jackson and recorded by him and Adam Koepke (who also did a great job editing the video) succeeds in spinning up the violence dial even more.
Part of the reason why this song sounds so fucking pulverizing is that it was mixed by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Brad Boatright, but the recording work by Caleb Cheslock gave them a hell of a lot punishing sounds to work with.
I forgot how long it had been since I wrote about the Parisian band DDENT in these pages. I mean shit, it’s been 3 1/2 years since the last article, and 4 years since we actually premiered a song for them. I lose track of far too many things, including bands. But man, this next song and video reminded me in vivid terms what I’ve been missing.
Without meaning to diminish the impact of other videos in this collection, the one for DDENT’s “Volemoi” is the most disturbing and the most memorable. I can’t even quite put my finger on why it’s so unnerving. Nothing overtly terrible happens in it, but it’s still disorienting, in part because of the jerkiness of the camera but mainly because (and this is a bit of a spoiler) what you see taking place is happening in reverse. And when you see how it begins, the experience becomes even more frighteningly mysterious.
The song itself is a remix and embellishment of a song named “Volemie” from DDENT’s most recent album, Couvre-sang. As explained in the wonderful introduction of the song/video premiere at Invisible Oranges, the genesis of the revision itself came from composer and multi-instrumentalist Louis Lambert listening to parts of the original song in reverse.
The powerfully immersive music has a powerful heartbeat at its core, and weaves a multitude of sonic textures around it, some of which brought memories of Pink Floyd to mind as I listened to it. It becomes persistently spellbinding, but there’s something about it that would also sound unnerving even if you weren’t simultaneously becoming unnerved by the video.
DEVIANT PROCESS (Canada)
The next song, “Asynchronous“, creates a jarring juxtaposition with the preceding one from DDENT. It thunders and storms almost from the beginning, but it’s also a multi-faceted head-spinner — and a vivid demonstration that this band’s amalgam of progressive and technical death metal, already well-honed before this album, has become if anything more extravagant and fascinating. The fantastic extended guitar solo in the track’s mid-section is worth hearing all by itself — which is saying something, because all of the instrumental performances are eye-popping (and the vocals are insane).
This track comes from this Canadian band’s sophomore full-length, Nurture, which will be released on October 15 by Season of Mist. Check out Andy Synn‘s glowing review of the debut album Paroxysm here.
“Ghorot strives to defiantly coalesce the dominions of sludge, doom, stoner, and black metal into a behemoth of sonic ferocity.” Ghorot says that, and their striving succeeds, as witnessed by the two songs and videos that are up next in today’s roundup.
The first of these, “Dead Gods“, is probably my favorite of the two. The riffing is über-thick and deeply penetrating, both woozy and sinister, feral and freakish. It’s one long riveting guitar workout, accompanied by the subterranean rumble and boom of ritual rhythms and by ghastly roars from a blood-freezing crypt.
The video juxtaposes scenes of religious possession with footage of destructive war, as if to send the message, “What the fuck are you thinking? What does any of your lunacy matter?” I don’t know why the video is age-restricted, but if you click on it below you’ll be transported to YouTube to view it and listen
The second more recent song and video is for “Harbinger“. The riffing is exotic and mesmerizing, with doses of psychedelia in the brew, but the song also becomes dangerous, even terrorizing, and brutally punishing (just like what happens in the video). The rhythm section still shake the earth, and the vocals are still scary as hell, if not more so than in the first song.
Ghorot is a trio from Boise, ID composed of Carson Russell (bass guitar, vocals), Brandon Walker (drums, vocals), and Chad Remains (guitar, vocals), who is also a member of Uzala. The songs here will appear on the band’s debut album Loss of Light. It will be released on July 23rd by Transylvanian Recordings (US) and Inverse Records (Finland).
PREY FOR NOTHING (Israel)
I’ve learned that the Israeli melodic death metal band Prey For Nothing have a devoted following in their home country, and elsewhere, and now I know why. Their latest album, Kivshan, is now out in the world, and although I haven’t yet had a chance to make my way through all of it, I do want to finish today’s round-up with a video that was released in support of the new record.
“Kivshan” is the Hebrew word for “furnace”, and that turns out not only to be an apt feature for elements of the music but also a foreshadowing of the songs’ politically charged lyrics. As the band have explained, “The album’s lyrics were written against the backdrop of an ongoing social crisis in Israel, in which the public is divided, torn, and systemically ignored by the government”. And thus they say it’s not surprising that Kivshan “turned out to be a protest album that combines stories about the Israeli ethos, while criticizing that ethos at the same time”.
The video below is for “Angels of Atheism“, an anti-religion polemic that includes the lyric “When ignorance is so viral, treated as if it’s some kind of art / Diminish the grandeur by knowing, by knowing it was never grand”. The music is a fast-paced, pulse-pounding, neck-hammering surge of thrashing death metal, with compulsive grooves and a plethora of darting riffage that sounds exultant and highly infectious. On the other hand, the vocals are ferocious, and the first swirling solo sounds hopeless — until it catches fire (there’s a second solo that goes off like magical fireworks right from the start).
I’ve also included a stream of Kivshan in its entirety for those who want to explore more.