SEEN AND HEARD (PART 1): ALDA, ARAN, CHROME WAVES, CULT BURIAL, EUCHARIST, FAMISHGOD, KAECK, KORPIKLAANI
It’s a rare day when I have no premieres to write for our site, and no posts to edit and format from any of our other writers either. So I spent the extra time listening to more than the usual number of new songs and videos released this week, and found a whopping 16 of them I wanted to recommend.
Rather than put them all in a single post, which might have been like hitting you in the mouth with a bag of nails, I’ve divided them into two parts, arranged alphabetically from the beginning of Part 1 to the end of Part 2 — beginning with A and finishing with Z.
It’s been a long wait for something new from this very talented Washington State black metal band, but now they’re back with a new album named A Distant Fire, and a first advance track from the album that’s a sure sign the wait has been worthwhile.
Led by a vivid opening riff, fast, rumbling rhythms, and savage vocals, “Stonebreaker” quickly seizes attention. The harmonized guitars sound fiery but forlorn, and the mood grows more stricken when the racing pace pulls back, but the melancholy melodies are no less enthralling. It’s the kind of song that gets your heart beating fast and causes it to swell, and then to soften in the sublime cello/guitar duet that ends the track.
A Distant Fire is set for release on October 8th by Eisenwald. It includes four long tracks and two shorter ones, for a total of 50 minutes of music.
The next song by this Finnish atmospheric black metal band is a long one, and thus changes along its extended course, but is completely immersive. Packed with tension and a feeling of extravagant turmoil, the music attacks in hurtling and jolting fashion, but sweeping synths and rippling leads give it an aura of mythic grandeur. Aran also interweaves varied episodes of loneliness, sorrow, and astral mystery. The wailing of the guitar over heavy, head-moving rhythms is intensely affecting in its renditions of anguish and yearning, and the ambient and keyboard sequences are entrancing.
“Musta Meri” has been released as a single but will appear on the album Pimeyttä Vasten, set for release on September 3rd by Naturmacht Productions.
CHROME WAVES (US)
The next two songs are exceptions to our exception-riddled rule against singing, and probably to some other unwritten rules, but I’m just too hooked by it to neglect it here.
The second of these, “Tired“, premiered this week at Treble, and it includes guest vocals by Darja Vaarsi. Shadowed by dark moods, it pulls together bone-shaking, viscerally compulsive rhythmic heaviness, glittering, ephemeral melodies, and beautifully haunting vocal harmonies.
The previously released song, “Sometimes“, creates another compelling amalgam of skull-snapping rhythm (with a bit more bounce), high ringing guitars and shimmering synths, and soaring vocal melodies that set the hook damned hard. This one also includes a thoroughly enthralling guitar solo.
Both songs are off The Rain Will Cleanse, set for release on September 10 by disorder-recordings.
CULT BURIAL (UK)
The opening riff of this next song will vibrate your teeth, and the booming drums seem capable of fracturing vertebrae. After that jolting introduction, the guitars seethe and wail in dismal and dire fashion, building a feeling of tension and angst. As the vocalist roars like a wounded beast and the drums continue to batter and slug, the lead guitar boils in a tormented fever. The music winds the spring of tension to the breaking point and then becomes hallucinatory and haunting, but eventually joins that with titanic percussive punishment.
The song seems full of pain and hopelessness, and it’s so heavy that you can imagine the earth shaking beneath your feet, and is thus tremendously powerful on multiple levels in its portrayal of bleakness.
“Parasite” has been released as a stand-alone single, but it is also one of three songs that will be included on an EP named Oblivion that will be released on September 10.
Eucharist made a name for themselves as a melodic death metal band, with two albums released in 1993 and 1997. They’ve split up and re-formed more than once, but released no new music since 1997 — until today. And the new single, “Shadows“, which comes with a lyric video, is quite a dramatic departure from the music with which Eucharist put their name in the history books, much more in the vein of black metal than melodic death metal.
Like other songs in today’s collection, it’s announced by a gripping riff, one that’s feverish and searing. The manic quality of the riffing is matched by full-throttle drumming, and the goblin ugliness of the snarling vocals adds to the music’s vicious and pestilential qualities. This one gets the pulse racing fast and never lets up, and the panoply of flickering riffs, capped by a whirling solo, proves to be contagious.
“Shadows” is out now as a single but will be part of a new album named I am the Void, which will be released by Helter Skelter Productions and Regain Records.
Multi-instrumentalist Pako Deimler (who also has a new album set for release in October with his band Deimler) and vocalist Dave Rotten (who has again participated in a forthcoming Putrevore album) have joined forces for the third album by Famishgod. It’s a track from that record which comes next in today’s collection.
In a nutshell, “Ascension” is terrifying. The sound of the riffing is thoroughly dismal and diseased, and the vocals are monstrous. But in contrast to those oppressive and even claustrophobic sensations, a clean ephemeral guitar peals like bells of glass, giving the music an even more unearthly quality. The pace of the song is mainly slow and funereal, but spurs into a gallop near the middle, as a prelude to a vicious, head-moving riff and a frenzied solo.
The name of the album is Rotting Ceremony, and it will be released by Xtreem Music on September 2nd.
This next musical tale of war against a scarlet horizon is punishingly heavy, the sounds dense and choking. The militarized drumming attacks and recedes, and when it recedes the music brings in the supernatural sounds of synths and cold, desolate strumming. The viciousness of the music is amplified by demonic, howling vocals. The riffing erupts in spasms of chaos and leads the music in cruel marches — but the feeling that this is a conflict mounted by combatants risen from their graves, with specters flying overhead, just gets stronger and stronger.
“Tegen een scharlaken horizon” is from a new Kaeck album named Het Zwarte Dictaat, the first one since 2015’s ravishing Stormkult. It’s set for release on October 15th by Folter Records.
For whatever reason (and I haven’t given it much thought), we’ve shied away from folk metal to a much greater extent than we did in the early years of NCS. I guess it’s enough to say that our collective tastes have gradually drifted in other directions. But when I’m in the right mood I’ll still return to some of the bands in that genre, and Korpiklaani is one of them.
But I don’t think you need to have a strong taste for Korpiklaani’s music to enjoy this final video in Part 1 of today’s roundup. Simply having an appreciation for a truly jaw-dropping drummer should be sufficient. And as you’ll see in this playthrough video for the song “Kiuru“, Samuli Mikkonen really is fantastic.
“Kiuru” is from the album Jylhä, which was released in early February of this year by Nuclear Blast.