The usual deluge of new music is already under way this week, but for the most part what I’ve pulled together in this round-up is music that surfaced last week. As I was making my way through a gigantic list of new tracks over the past weekend, I squirreled these away because I thought they’d make a good compilation.
All the music leans hard into death metal, though not without some other ingredients, and the three sensations that come to mind when I think about all of this after the fact are these: Violence, eeriness, and derangement.
THECODONTION (Italy) / VESSEL OF INIQUITY (UK)
To begin I’ve chosen a split released last Friday by Xenoglossy Productions and I, Voidhanger Records. Entitled The Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, it includes two tracks by Thecodontion and one long one by Vessel of Iniquity. Thematically, it is based on “the titular Permian-Triassic extinction event (commonly known as ‘The Great Dying’), and life emerging anew afterwards”. To quote further from the introduction on the Bandcamp page:
“THECODONTION‘s side explores two different creatures which lived after that catastrophic occurrence, thus during the Triassic period: Thecodontosarus antiquus was a an ancestral relative to sauropods; Procompsognathus triassicus was a small bipedal carnivorous theropod. VESSEL OF INIQUITY‘s side is sonically destructive, yet it features an evocative and almost poetic description of the inevitable cataclysm that occurred, putting an end to the Permian period and paving the way for new lifeforms during the Triassic”.
As rendered in sound, the two Thecodontion creatures are indeed primitive, but also strange. The music is crushingly brutish, but segmented by tumultuous upheavals, episodes of rock-grinding destructiveness, lurching jolts, and shimmering, wailing, and weirdly chiming melodies that prove to be beguiling even though they’re very unnerving — like sounds of misery and madness woven through sorcery. The heavily reverb-ed vocals add a feeling of ghastliness and derangement to these fascinating songs. I have a hard time thinking of any other bands who sound like Thecodontion, and these two tracks prove again how distinctive their unpredictable collage of sonic textures is.
As forecast by the Bandcamp quote above, Vessel of Iniquity‘s track is a decimating natural disaster, something like a combination of earthquakes, hurricanes, and explosive vulcanism. Dense and violent, and augmented by screams of possession, the song is a ruinous scourge. The drums are almost submerged in these roiling gales of sound, but occasionally surface from their high-speed battering to provide a measured pop.
There comes a time when the calamitous barrage subsides, almost completely fading away, and then the track leads us into a windy barren place, like the desolate aftermath of the disasters that preceded it. This ambient sequence is a chilling experience. When it ends, the song doesn’t immediately convert back into cataclysm, even though it again becomes heavy and abrasive. Instead, the music seems to stagger and wail in abject grief. The power and turbulence of the music does swell again, but those wrenching sounds of grief persist through the bloom of catastrophe — perhaps as a reminder that during The Great Dying almost all of the marine species, terrestrial vertebrates, and insects on earth became extinct.
The drum rhythms at the outset of the new Veilburner single lurch and jolt, creating a disorienting counterpoint to the gait of the blaring, dissonent chords and the flow of other glittering but demented sounds. That opening sequence is a fascinating hook, and once they’ve set it the band go crazy, creating a twisting and turning labyrinth that includes macabre vocals (growls, roars, screams, and grotesquely distorted spoken words), as well as spasms of blasting drums, a rapidly changing kaleidoscope of contorted fretwork and keyboards, and some of the weirdest (and most striking) guitar solos I’ve heard in a very long time.
It’s hard to know what’s more mind-boggling — the mad-scientist intricacy of the performances or the sheer number of sonic perturbances you’ll experience, right up through the eerie closing sequence of clanging guitars and ghostly keys.
Veilburner’s new album Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull will be released on September 24th by Transcending Obscurity.
I think I owe it to you to provide a warning about the next three tracks: They are truly hellish. They dump you into a vicious and viscous vortex of dissonant, roiling guitar distortion, maniacally squirming and sickeningly slithering leads, gruesome abyssal growls, demonic screams, lunatic barks and chants, sounds of wretched vomiting, thunderous double-kicks, riotous snare-blasting, assorted other rhythmic mutations, and an overarching atmosphere that’s extremely unhealthy to body and mind.
As black/death abominations go, Zaqquoem’s new EP Anarchic Rapture of Withering is ruthlessly ruinous — and all the better for that. I thought the verbiage on Sentient Ruin‘s Bandcamp page for this transfixing assualt was on-point, so I’ll quote it:
“Spawned from a wretched dimension of total ruin and oblivion, the three-song, eleven-minute terrorscape combines the diabolical fury of blackened death metal legions like Lucifyre and Pseudgod with the abstract surrealism and erraticism of more experimental extreme metal anomalies like Portal to literally devour and crush the listener inside an inescapable auditory nightmare”.
And now, get your crash helmets on, because this new song by Arizona-based Exsul is ruthlessly bludgeoning. But in addition to being an unhinged assault on your skull and spine, it’s also a violent attack on sanity. Heavy on the dissonance and unbounded by any kind of steady or predictable progression, the guitars create a jarring sequence of grand mal seizures, undergirded by massive lo-frequency heaviness, with some ferocious slashing and hammering in the mix. In keeping with all that maniacal destructiveness, the vocals are a cornucopia of horrors.
The song is from a new EP named Allegoresis, set for release by Caligari Records on October 22nd.
“Incantations of the Pyromancer” is the track that opens Charred’s new album, Prayers Of Malediction. Less than two minutes in length, it’s a thrashing, slashing, skull-busting, disemboweling burst of electrifying mayhem. It slugs damned hard and gallops like wild stallions; the soloing is berserk; and the vocals are hellishly bestial. It will also get your head moving even as these Floridians are doing their best to rip your guts out as fast as they can.
The album will be released by HPGD on October 1st.
The next selection is also an album opener, a track named “Thinning the Veil“. Very quickly, the mercilessly pounding beats and viciously squirming riffage create an atmosphere of ghoulish menace, and as it begins to race and the fretwork darts with abandon, it becomes even more diabolically deranged. When the song’s not charging and scampering, bits of weird melody chime like warped bells. When it’s going flat-out, the vocalist barks like a big rabid mastiff, and the guitar soloist does his best to turn his axe into molten slag.
The track is off Concrete’s forthcoming fourth album, fittingly named Ethereal Atrocities, which will be released by Rebirth the Metal Productions on September 25th.
The next song comes with a video that allows you to alternately watch the band in the throes of ferocity and follow a scary narrative in which the unnerved and apparently innocent protagonist is shadowed by menacing masked figures and eventually carried away by them to a cemetery, where… well, I won’t spoil what happens then.
The song, “Creatures of Habit“, might be the most melodic one in this collection, but it’s relentlessly sinister, creating moods of chilling dread and supernatural terror. The music has an eerie majestic mien, creating visions of towering infernal peril, while incorporating elements of misery and desperation. Though dynamically paced, it’s also a bone-smasher and a head-banger.
The track is off this Swedish band’s debut album Sermon of Apathy, which was released last fall by Black Lion Records.
The jittery riffing in this last song and video has a turgid and tormented tone, a manifestation of dementia and disease. The bass hums along and the drumming pounds and pops in ways that keep the groove going while the guitar skitters and darts and the vocalist alternately bellows and screams. It’s a nasty and nerve-wracking piece of work, and all the scenes of natural disaster in the video are nasty and nerve-wracking too.
“Baalanar” is taken from Decay’s debut album, ThORnMENThORn, which will be released on September 14th by Loud Rage Music.