I didn’t try to make this usual Sunday column last Sunday. Just too weary and too hungover, which I did predict on Saturday. By waiting, I came across things that I wouldn’t have written about then, because I didn’t know about them then.
The music in this blackened roundup reinforces my belief (which is reinforced every day) that I will never become bored with extreme music. It continues to evolve, and to be filled with tremendous spirit and inventiveness.
Yeah sure, there’s a lot of boring music being made by metal bands. I encounter plenty of that. You do too. But in general, barring the lightning strike, there’s nothing good in any aspect of our lives that doesn’t require sitting in the stream with the pan in your hand, sifting for the gold until your ass is drenched and your fingers are numb. Here are some nuggets, even if they might slice your fingers and draw blood when you try to grasp them.
We begin with Paydretz, a French black/folk metal project featuring members of Véhémence, Himinbjorg, Hanternoz, Grylle, Belenos, and Wÿntër Ärvn. Their debut album, Chroniques de l’Insurrection, focuses on the 18th-century War in the Vendée and the Chouannerie (a French rebellion against the Revolution).
In the song below, Paydretz rumble and thunder, snarl and scream, and surround their savagery with music that’s sweeping and soaring but also grim and downcast — and it whirls in glorious, heart-pumping fashion. It does summon visions of conflict perceived through the mists of time, with ancient melodic accents that will come as no surprise to followers of those other bands mentioned above.
Chroniques de l’Insurrection has an October 8 release date via Antiq Records.
SIGNS OF THE DYING SUMMER (Poland)
This song has infected me more than any other in today’s collection (though it’s a close race). As it goes, it brings into play a variety of stylistic ingredients, not all of them from metal. The heavyweight pulse and punch of the rocking rhythms is irresistible, and when the drums start blasting and the riffing catches fire it’s a huge adrenaline rush. The vocalist is a shrieking madman, and the constantly morphing guitar work often sounds a bit unhinged too, but it’s just as often diabolically mesmerizing.
When the tempo slows, the rhythm section are still a prominent force but the music becomes dolorous — and then devilish again. The bass solo at the end is delicious icing on a sumptuous cake. The song quickly leaped onto my list of candidates for our year-end “Most Infectious Song” awards.
The track is from Oto jest Pustka, set for a November 21 release by Godz Ov War Productions.
This duo of multi-instrumentalists Weirding Batweilder and Jean Farraige variously characterize their music as Blackened Death Rock or Arthouse Metal. I’ve slept on them way too long, but no longer.
The first song from their new album is strange and unpredictable. The overture sounds like a space odyssey, or perhaps the parting of an interdimensional veil, and what comes through is a sorcerous amalgam of pungent beats and swirling, apparitional sounds, with a collage of wailing and savagely growling and howling voices. The music seems to dance and levitate, and it becomes disorienting and delightful, but also very creepy. Both the singing and the guitars seem to quiver and squirm within this sonic hallucination, and the song as a whole manages to be both bizarre and intoxicating.
When the Witches Fall arrives via Trepanation Recordings on October 8th. In case you were wondering, the fantastic cover art is “Lightning Struck a Flock of Witches” by William Holbrook Beard.
The next song is a collaboration between Sophist’s Davis Hay (programming, vocals, additional guitars) and Beaver Fever‘s Tsunami Nagasaki (guitars, bass). It hits like a high-speed barrage, propelled by rumbling and pounding rhythms and toxic-toned riffing that rakes and roils. The vocals are toxic too, and absolutely rabid. The feverish soloing effectively adds to the overarching feeling of depravity and ugliness, but the industrialized grooves will still be throbbing in your head well after the song ends.
“Metabolic Chasm……” is a single out now on Bandcamp. It will be available on other digital platforms on August 13th.
ALL LIFE DIES (U.S.)
All Life Dies is a new group, with a line-up that includes two members of Oceans of Slumber. They claim inspiration from early Opeth, Insomnium, and Behemoth. The song below is the opening track from an EP named Ghost Dust, coming out on August 13th.
The music deploys dissonance and discordance over viscerally compelling drum-and-bass work, coupled with vocals that come for your throat like a ravenous goblin and growl like a voracious beast. While there’s a twisted and unnerving quality to the guitar permutations, the song also shifts into a dreamlike interlude made of glistening arpeggios, humming bass, and tormented singing. That interlude makes the clobbering and contorted mayhem that follows even more startling — and the ensuing harsh vocals seem even more frightening than before.