SEEN AND HEARD: BENEDICTION, DESTRUCTION, FOREIGN PAIN, KLANEN, MISANTHUR, UNHOLY VAMPYRIC SLAUGHTER SECT, VIRIAL
Lo and behold, I again found time to prepare a round-up, right here in the middle of the week, thanks to the fact that our album premiere today was written by Mr. Synn instead of moi (and if you haven’t read that and listened to the new Fawn Limbs record, don’t forget to do it).
For today’s collection of new songs and videos I again decided to include a mix of both very well-known names and deeply underground ones, again arranged in alphabetical order. I enjoyed them all, and hope you will too.
It’s great to see Benediction performing in this video, a reminder of how much we have missed from the plague-driven banishment of shows. The song, as you may already know, is a grim and ravaging heavy-hitter that kicks into a savage scamper before slowing into a doomed musical apocalypse. And man, Dave Ingram‘s deep, fully rounded growl is (as always) spine-tingling. (He also made this video.)
“Tear Off These Wings” is from Benediction’s most recent album Scriptures, which was released last October by Nuclear Blast. The video was put together and edited by Mr. Ingram himself.
The next video, like the previous one from Benediction, is another reminder of what we’ve been missing — at least those of us in the U.S. It’s a clip from Destruction’s live performance at the the Z7 venue in Switzerland on January 1st — still in the middle of the pandemic. The song, which dates back to 1985’s Infernal Overkill, is adrenaline-fueled hell on wheels.
The track appears on an album named Live Attack!, a recording of that January 1 performance. It’s set for release on August 13th by Napalm Records.
FOREIGN PAIN (US)
I picked this next song because it’s such a goddamn head-bludgeoner and body-mover, though the larynx-lacerating ferocity of the vocals and the sinister rippling melodies, which operate in tandem with the clanging, atonal riffs, have their own attractions too. Bleak, brutish, and enraged, it’s a throwback to the glory days of metalcore (with no clean singing!), but the nostalgia factor is just part of its visceral appeal.
From this LA band’s album Death of Divinity, set for release on September 3rd by Good Fight.
This next song, by Virginia-based Klanen, features blowtorch vocals, hammering drums, and swirling, blazing waves of guitar and synths that paint the skies with glorious fire (but harbor beleaguered and anguished moods too, and to my ears reveal the influence of medieval music as well). A brief digression reveals softer sounds, a glimmering guitar melody that’s wistful and beautiful, before the music races your heart and enthralls your mind again — and then drifts away into mysterious ambient mists.
“Fall From Grace” is from a four-way split release by Klanen, Μνήμα, Celestial Sword, and The Oracle, which will be released on August 27th by Crown and Throne Ltd.
The moods of the next song, at both its highest tides and its lowest ebbs, are anguished. The slowest movement, when the guitars wail, weep, and ring in hypnotizing tones, and the vocalist growls in torment, are the most moving and captivating. The hurtling bookends to that movement are gripping as well, transmitting despair in ways that get the adrenaline flowing but creating their own mind-altering spells.
From the debut album Ephemeris, set for release by Season of Mist Underground Activists on October 15th.
UNHOLY VAMPYRIC SLAUGHTER SECT (US)
Like the previous song from Klanen off a different Crown & Throne split, this one is also a scorcher, but dramatically more deranged. Super-heated guitars shriek, swirl, and spasm, creating a blazing swarm of sound around feverishly humming bass, riotous drumming, and throat-tearing vocals. The change that happens in this one, as the rampant pace slows, is mind-mutilating, both frightening and desolate, like massive vipers slowly slithering up paralyzed legs. It’s a fascinating song that pierces the mind like spikes wielded by ruthless hands, and somehow entrancing despite how disturbing it is.
This one is from a split named What Sin Hath Twisted, which also includes tracks by Glemt, Crucifixion Bell, and Celestial Sword. Crown and Throne Ltd. will release it on August 27th.
Primitive, brutish, and menacing at first (reminiscent in my mind of Dying Fetus), this final song (accompanied by a performance video) begins to gallop, dart, and flail in technically exuberant fashion — but laced with sinister, pestilential melody. It includes a burst of soloing fireworks by Christian Wieser, as well as truly abyssal vocals by his brother Thomas.
The song is from the album Transhumanism, set for release on September 24th by Vicious Instinct Records. It was mixed at Mordor Sounds Studio by Hannes Grossmann and was mastered at Woodshed Studio by Victor Santura.